Music is My Life: Episode 055

Steven Wilson on ‘The Future Bites,’ Porcupine Tree, and ‘Album Years’ Podcast

Steven Wilson is pictured in this shot by Lasse Hoile

Steven Wilson has been a part of more than a dozen musical projects and/or bands. Most notably, of course, is Porcupine Tree, with whom he released 10 studio albums and 12 live albums between 1992 and 2012. They broke up in 2009, and Wilson has been focused mostly on his solo career ever since. He released his sixth solo album, The Future Bites, earlier this year, and he still involves himself in several collaborative endeavors, including a podcast called The Album Years, which he co-hosts with Tim Bowness, who was one of Wilson’s first formative musical collaborators, beginning in the mid 1980s with the band No Man.

In this wide ranging interview, he discusses his musical evolution, which began with Donna Summer and Pink Floyd, and still continues to grow every day.

“Even when you think you know everything, the beautiful thing is there are still things from the past I haven’t discovered yet,” he says.

As for the prog-rock tag he is sometimes saddled with, Steven Wilson says, “when the notion of ‘progressive’ becomes a blueprint for a particular kind of music which you make within a particular set of parameters, it therefore has ceased to be progressive, and that’s my problem, and that’s why I’ve always been very reluctant to align myself with that genre even though I have made albums clearly in that tradition, and I completely acknowledge that, and I love a lot of the music that has been made in that tradition.”

Though he is best known for his guitar work, for The Future Bites, he began most of the songs with synths. He says he likes to be the type of artist who can do something totally different from one album to the next.

“I look at the world of cinema, and in the world of cinema, directors are almost encouraged to genre-hop. Someone like Christopher Nolan or Stanley Kubrick will make a war movie, and then a science fiction movie, and then a costume drama, and then a psychological thriller, etc., and it’s perfectly acceptable for them to do that. But it’s much less accepted in the world of the music industry.”