Steven Wilson describes the concept behind solo album Hand. Cannot. Erase. as a “gift” because of the songwriting opportunities it brought him.
He was inspired by the story of Joyce Vincent, a recluse whose body was found in her London flat two years after she’d died. Neighbours hadn’t known anyone lived there and her family assumed she’d cut ties with them, so no one raised the alarm until bailiffs broke in to repossess the property over unpaid rent.
Wilson tells MusicRadar: “I was aware of the background of my character. I had seen a documentary on her, and I was very affected by it. I carried it around with me for some time.
“When I sat down to write new music, I found I was writing about a character based on Joyce Vincent. It wasn’t like I made a conscious decision – I just think something about her story stayed with me.
“I wouldn’t be so pretentious as to say ‘the story chose me’ but there were elements of that. The more I developed the story, the more of a gift it became; it touched on so many things that I wanted to talk about.”
He admits the follow-up to 2013’s The Raven That Refused To Sing is “a wilfully indulgent thing to do” but adds: “There does seem to be a bunch of people out there who appreciate it. They appreciate the album as an art medium – and they’re happy that there are people like me who want to tell stories across the long form.”
Hand. Cannot. Erase. is released on March 2 via Kscope. Wilson – who recently discussed the album in a Prog video – is the cover star of the current edition of Prog, on sale now and also featuring Peter Hammill, Beardfish, Luna Rossa, Periphery and much more.
Steven Wilson UK tour
Mar 12: Cambridge Corn Exchange
Mar 13: Cardiff St David’s Hall
Mar 14: Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Mar 16: Edinburgh Queens Hall
Mar 17: London Troxy
Mar 18: Wolverhampton Civic Hall