PORCUPINE TREE's Steven Wilson recently spoke to the U.K. branch of Roadrunner Records about his much-anticipated collaboration project with OPETH's Mikael Åkerfeldt, tentatively dubbed "Storm Corrosion". You can now watch the chat below.
On how the songwriting sessions for "Storm Corrosion" are progressing:
Wilson: "In March we started [working on the material for it]. It's sporadic, because we get together once every three months. [Mikael] comes over to my studio and we work for a few days and we get really drunk on red wine, go buy and loads of records and then come back, and if we're lucky, do, like, ten minutes work. But the incredible thing was that although, comparatively, we haven't worked that long, what we produced we were so happy with, and we are so happy with. It's nice to know that what we always suspected was that when we actually got together, it was gonna be quite easy. It was also in the back of your mind, thinking, 'Maybe it won't work.' Maybe it [was] just built up so much [in my head before we started writing songs], and it was so easy. So easy. And the music was so crazy and so inspiring to both of us. So I think that was good to feel, like, 'It's gonna work.' So we have about, I'd say, 25 minutes of music [written] so far. We're getting together again in November to do another piece or two. Drink some more wine, buy some more records... So that's kind of a work in progress, and I don't know when that will come out. Then it would be great to do some shows around that, too, but he's [Mikael] gonna be back with OPETH next year at some point, so it may not be feasible. But certainly the record [should be ready to be recorded and released by then]."
On the similarities and differences between PORCUPINE TREE and OPETH and how they play into the new project:
Wilson: "The funny thing is that the music we're making together is actually nothing like either of us made before. Because I think we both had this idea of this kind of music that we knew we couldn't get our bands to play, but that we both kind of understood where we were coming from. 'Cause we have this kind of passion [for] very experimental, obscure records, almost orchestral in their scope. And we wanted to make a record like that for a long time. It's a long way from metal and it's a long way from anything that, I think, Mikael has ever done, including the 'Damnation' record [from OPETH]. I think a lot of people thought, 'Oh, it's gonna be like 'Damnation'.' It's not; it's a long way from that, too. And it's actually a long way from anything I've done; [it's] possibly closer to aspects of things I've done, but really quite distinct from anything I've ever [released]. [It's] very orchestral, lots of strings, lots of guitars and vocals, too. Lots of very long songs that kind of go in different directions that you don't necessarily expect them to go in — almost theatrical in a way. And we both kind of admitted to ourselves that there are a lot of fans out there that are probably gonna hate it. But we're doing it for us. The one thing we didn't wanna do is get together and do a prog-metal supergroup, which would have been so easy to do — and kind of expected, in a way. And, you know, we might do that anyway one day. But this time around, we thought, 'Let's just do this [kind of] record.' Some people will love it and some people will not, and that's OK, because, in a way, I don't think we wanted to just give what was expected, and we're certainly not doing that."
On whether Steven and Mikael are self-producing the new project:
Wilson: "Right now, we kind of fall into my studio at midnight and work through the night and just... It's great, because in many respects, Mikael is the closest I know to someone who is... How do I put this? He's the equivalent of me in his band. He's like the captain of the ship and we kind of understand each other — all the frustrations of being in that position, all the stresses and pressures of being in that situation — so because of that, there's no ego thing at all — yet! [Laughs] But we're both kind of control freaks, in a way, so that's kind of a strange situation to be, where you're working with someone where you don't feel any of those issues and you have that complete trust. So we're just like... [I go], 'Here, you have the guitar. Do something amazing.' And he does. And then I'm like, 'Oh, I've got an idea for that,' and I do some keyboard thing. And he's like, 'That's amazing! I love that.' And so it's really... It sounds like we're kind of blowing each other the whole time... [Laughs] But it's just so much fun. And that's the important thing — I think it's fun. Because there's no ego and there's no pressure. Because people don't know what to expect. And we've kind of already resigned ourselves to the fact that we're gonna do something that people are gonna hate, anyway. I mean, I'm exaggerating... I'm sure a lot of people are gonna dig it. But people are gonna be surprised by it. We're not giving people what they expect, so there's little pressure, really — there's very little pressure. It's just literally swapping instruments and I'm kind of recording it on my own system."
In a recent interview with U.K.'s Classic Rock, Åkerfeldt stated about the writing process for the "Storm Corrosion" CD, "I got together recently with Steven at his house, and we wrote a new tune straight away. Of course, with the two of us involved, it was 10 minutes long. And it came out so well that we started working on a second one as well."
Although DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy was initially supposed to be part of the project, it now appears that he will no longer be involved.
"To be honest, there's just no room for drums on what we've done so far," Åkerfeldt said. "I called Mike up, and he was cool about it. He's got so much going on anyway, and I'm sure we will work together in the future."
(Thanks: Miguel I. Santillán Martínez)