January 26, 2021

Steven Wilson: the Innerviews interview

Steven Wilson
photo: Miles Skarin

Innerviews has an in-depth interview with Steven Wilson. About his new album The Future Bites:

The new album is quite accidentally very topical in how it explores consumerism and chaos, and the way things are marketed at us. I’m not just speaking in consumer terms, but the way the news is marketed at us, too. News and marketing aren’t words that should appear in the same sentence. And yet, realistically speaking, that's exactly what news is these days. It seems to be largely marketing. The whole phenomena of fake news and marketing, the way the media manipulate things, and the way social media distorts information and news is fascinating to me. It certainly means life doesn't get boring.

The album'ss center piece, Personal Shopper, features elton John reading off a shopping list:

Originally, when I wrote the song and demoed it, I had that sequence in the middle with what I call the list of first-world consumer items. What I mean by that is a list of things we really don't need, but we love anyway. So, some of the aforementioned things we've already talked about like box sets and 180-gram vinyl are included, but also things like branded water, sunglasses, teeth whitener, and designer trainers. And I always thought “You know what? It'd be great to get a fairly reasonably well-known voice to narrate this list.” I didn't know who. I thought maybe an actor or a musician of some sort. And then I went to see the Elton biopic, Rocketman. At the end, there's that little card that comes up saying, "Elton has managed to kick all his addictions with the exception of one." And then they put up a photograph of him holding these shopping bags. And he'd obviously been on a massive shopping spree.

At that moment, the light bulb went off and I'm like, "Of course. This guy is the most famous living consumer." Everyone knows Elton loves to go shopping. And I thought, “My God, this guy would be perfect. He's got a great voice and everyone recognizes it.”

I was very fortunate to have a mutual friend of Elton's and I sent the song to this friend and said, "Do you think Elton would be into this?" And he wrote me back and said, "I think he's going to love this." And so it proved to be. He absolutely loved the concept of it. Elton called me up the next day and said, "I really love this and I want to do this for you." So, we worked together on creating the definitive list of consumer items. There were some things he didn't want to say. For example, he's never owned a mobile phone, so he didn't want to say “mobile phone skins.” He also didn't want to say “personalized number plates.” He told me “I would never have anything like that.”

So, we arrived at this list that he felt comfortable with and he recorded it at his home in Antibes in France. He did a great job and was very engaged with it. It's one of those things where everything just came together and worked beautifully. It all just fell into place in the track.

The Future Bites will be released on January 29, 2021 on cassette, CD, vinyl, BluRay, and as a limited box set. Pre-order here or get it from his store.

Live dates:
  • 09/08 St David's Hall, Cardiff, United Kingdom
  • 09/09 Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • 09/11 O2 Apollo Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 09/12 The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • 09/13 Symphony Hall, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • 09/15 Portsmouth Guildhall, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
  • 09/16 Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
  • 09/17 The Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • 09/20 Sporthalle Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 09/21 AFAS Live, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 09/23 Rockhal, Esch-sur-alzette, Luxembourg
  • 09/24 Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
  • 09/25 Palais de la Musique et des Congres, Strasbourg, France
  • 09/27 Casino Barrière, Toulouse, France
  • 09/28 Theatre Femina, Bordeaux, France
  • 09/30 Zénith de Paris, Paris, France
  • 10/01 The City (The Nantes Conference Centre), Nantes, France
  • 10/02 Palais des congrès de Lyon, Lyon, France
  • 10/04 Arcimboldi Theater, Milan, Italy
  • 10/05 Teatro Tuscanyhall, Firenze, Italy
  • 10/06 Auditorium della Conciliazione, Roma, Italy
  • 10/08 Salle des Musiques Actuelles du Pays d'Aix, Aix-en-provence, France
  • 10/10 Sala Riviera, Madrid, Spain
  • 10/11 Razzmatazz, Barcelona, Spain
  • 10/14 Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany
  • 10/16 Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
  • 10/18 RuhrCongress Bochum, Bochum, Germany
  • 10/19 Volkshaus, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 10/20 Zenith, Munich, Germany
  • 10/21 MHPArena, Ludwigsburg, Germany

» stevenwilsonhq.com
» thefuturebites.com

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