Steven Wilson: Album concept was a 'gift'

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

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.