Steven Wilson

Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Church Street, Monday, January 25

STEVEN Wilson has been performing, recording and producing music since he was aged just ten - growing up experimenting on a homemade multi-track tape machine.

But while these early days of listening to Pink Floyd may have shaped the first steps of his musical journey, one factor from his childhood still shines through plain as day – his dislike for shoes.

“I was always without shoes, always coming home with my feet bleeding,” says Wilson “So when it came to performing live I was not trying to make a statement, I was just trying to feel more comfortable.”

Prog rocker Wilson admits he was trying to feel more comfortable because he never thought of himself a natural frontman - saying performing live was a “necessary evil”.

Now more than 30 years into his career Wilson says: “I have learned to love playing live. I started from the perspective that I just wanted to make records. But I have learned to enjoy and really be a frontman”.

With acclaimed projects such as No-Man and Porcupine Tree, for the better part of the last decade Wilson has decided to go it alone.

In regards to a Porcupine Tree reunion, after the band went on hiatus in 2011, he says: “I have not ruled it out, but I do not see the point for me. I never said the band had broken up but for me it had fulfilled its purpose and we were repeating ourselves”.

He adds: “never say never”.

The enigmatic musician and producer will coming to the Brighton Dome Concert Hall off the back of his latest mini-album 4 ½.

The six-track, 37-minute record started out not as a planned album but rather an assembly of songs which Wilson describes as “orphans”.

“I don’t want to call them leftovers, because that applies they are rejects,” says Wilson.

“They were just set aside because they just did not fit with the albums which are usually quite grand and thematic”.

Four of the songs originated during recording sessions for his fourth album Hand. Cannot. Erase, with one birthed from the sessions for his third album The Raven That Refused To Sing, and the final track Don’t Hate Me being originally recorded by Porcupine Tree.

The track was revitalised by Wilson and is based off a recent live recording made on his last tour of Europe with a new vocal added by him and Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb.

“The fact it was first recorded by Porcupine Tree does not make it a Porcupine Tree song,” Wilson says. “Of course the band contributed but a lot of those songs existed before them. Some of those tracks I feel more attached to than others and Don’t Hate Me is one that was never held in particularly high standing by the band or the fans.”

He continued, “I always conceived of it as a duet so it was nice to be able to finally do it as I have intended.

“It is odd and enjoyable working with another artist. It is always odd to hear your words in the mouth of someone else, especially when it is so personal, but Ninet is wonderful and she is a fantastic singer.”

Working with other artists is something which Wilson says he has “enjoyed so much about going solo”, adding in a band you are “always working with the same personalities” while his solo albums have felt more open ended.

“One of the things Bowie used to do was work with lots of different musicians," he says, bringing a solemn note following the legendary musician’s death earlier this month.

“Whether you acknowledge it or not, he has had some much direct and indirect influence over musicians. If you look at it, everything in Prog Rock goes back to the Beatles and Bowie and how many times they reinvented themselves.

“Bowie was one of those guys who was so ubiquitous. From a personal point of view he was a tremendous musical influence.

“One of the first records I got was the Beauty And The Beast single from Heroes. To a ten-year-old kid it sounded like nothing else on earth. It is an extraordinary experimental production and his voice was so strong and very unique. It was like nothing else I had heard then and nothing else I had heard since.”

Henry Holloway

Starts 7.45pm, tickets from £24. Call 01273 709709.