Steven Wilson On Life: 'Time Is Ticking Away'

Porcupine Tree man tells UG about his new solo album, and how he was moved to tears while by guitar solos during the making of his new record.

Ultimate Guitar

Steven Wilson, best known for his work leading prog-rock titans Porcupine Tree, has released as a beautiful animation for the title track from his new solo album "The Raven That Refused To Sing".

In an exclusive interview with Ultimate Guitar to be published this Friday, Steven told us the story behind the song and the wider album concepts.

The album tells classic ghost stories - "not in the modern sense but more in the sense of late 19th century, early 20th century victorian tradition of stories that almost come from the nursery." They deal with regret, loss and a fear of mortality - things that bear heavily on Steven as he works relentlessly to be productive with his time, and his life.

"I think we're either unconsciously or consciously aware all the time that time is tick-tick-ticking away," he says. "We know that one day we will cease to exist, and so this gave rise to the idea of the fireside ghost tale. These songs are based on its own idea or its own story."

Recorded with legendary Pink Floyd engineer Alan Parsons in LA, Steven acted as musical director with a dream lineup of musicians including guitarist Guthrie Govan. During the interview, Steven reveals that there were moments during the recording which moved him to tears.

"Some of the solos did really move me a lot. And that's the way it should be," he said of one particular solo by Guthrie which was recorded in one take. "I have extraordinary musicians in my band, and the solos can totally blow me away. Just in terms of the lyricism, the expression and the way they resonate with some of the subject matter, which can be quite sad."

Steven is currently rehearsing to tour through to the end of May before a run of festival appearances - and then to return to Europe and North America for another tour. "I'm pretty much expecting this whole solo album cycle will take me to the end of the year," he said.

See Steven Wilson's video for "The Raven That Refused To Sing", directed by Simon Cartwright and animation artist Jess Cope:

YouTube preview picture

If you want to know what Steven plans to do after this album cycle, look out for our exclusive interview with him on Friday where he discusses working with Alan Parsons, mortality, and his biggest ambition: to score a movie soundtrack in Hollywood.

"The Raven That Refused To Sing" will be available from February 25. You can pre-order the limited-edition version at Burning Shed, which includes ghost stories written by Steven himself and all of the following across four discs:

CD1 - studio album

CD2 - 7 demo tracks (album tracks plus one unused idea, Clock Song)

DVD-V - HD stereo, plus two surround mixes Art Gallery Photo Gallery Studio Documentary

Blu-Ray - HD stereo, plus two surround mixes Instrumental versions of the album tracks Bonus track "Drive Home - lounge version" Art Gallery (images by Hajo Mueller) Photo Gallery (photographs by Lasse Hoile) Studio Documentary

33 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Steven Wilson is one of the last few artists still alive. Everything he does is so beautiful.
    This man is genius!...I've been listening to his work from almost 6 years (maybe more) and he hasn't let me down yet. That being said, I think, this song is one of the most moving pieces he has put out to date. So stoked to be seeing him in Toronto!
    I have nothing but the greatest respect for this man. If you don't know anything about him or his work, for god's sake look it up already. I absolutely agree with Fendergod above who said he is one of the last few artists alive. The guy is so in touch with his music it is inspiring to say the least.
    I love this animation. It might not be 'pixar quality' but have you ever seen anything like this?
    This guy has a never ending stream of great musical ideas. I really wish I could be like him.
    Flying Afros
    Steven Wilson is a font of creativity. I like earlier PT, but the past FOUR albums have been in continuous rotation for me. Grace For Drowning was pretty good too. I bought the Storm Corrosion album on vinyl, and it has to be one of the scariest things I've ever listened to in one sitting. Whenever he teams up with Mikael Akerfeldt magic happens. Don't listen to this record alone when you're stoned. But DO give it a listen.
    I've been meaning to look more into his work. I loved Storm Corrosion. If he has Guthrie Govan playing for him though, I am absolutely going to buy this next album. That man is an amazing guitar player, and I look forward to hearing it and how he works with Steven Wilson.
    I'm usually quick to criticise UG when it resorts to posting sensationalist stories and misleading headlines but articles like this and today's Randy Blythe story remind me why I come to the news section of the site. So if anyone from the site reads this I'd like to say thankyou and apologise for complaining so much.
    Thanks The site responds to what people click and comment on, so keep supporting these kind of posts and it will be easier to keep posting them.
    In 100 years every human that is alive right now will be dead....I wonder if UG will still be around.
    I respect Steven Wilson's vision and I like some Porcupine Tree songs, but seriously... He needs to stop complaining about how he didn't grow up in the 60's (and therefore missed the big prog boom that he's convinced he would have been on top of). Main reason I didn't like the Incident is because it was dominated by that piece of wank Time Flies. It's like yeah yeah, poor you, want a cookie?
    Time Flies was so not about that, it was about what he's talking about in this interview, the fact that time's short and you need to make the most of it... it was the whole centerpiece of that album, with songs about life's tragedies revolving around it.
    I loved Time Flies, and almost all of PT for the that matter.
    They have some good moments, but quite honestly Gavin Harrison was the driving force behind that band. Before he joined, they mostly just sounded like Pink Floyd wannabes. The only album I can listen to straight through before he joined is Signify.
    Steven Wilson still wrote 90% of the songs after Gavin Harrison joined, his personal musical tastes evolved (and are still evolving). you can hear the evolution between albums pre-Gavin joining.
    I really hate how simultaneously beautiful and boring this is
    this guy is endlessly talented, listening to the new album at the moment and loving every second of it
    This guy is just great, he's like the Jack White of modern Prog. Can't wait to hear the new album.