Publié le 11/11/2009 à 17:02
Édité le 11/11/2009 à 17:02

Porcupine Tree Interview - Richard Barbieri - English version

Porcupine Tree was in Paris on the 13th of October. As a fan, I couldn't miss the occasion to chat with Richard Barbieri (keyboards) about the new Porcupine Tree album.

Hello Richard ! How is it going ?
It's going well, we just finished soundcheck. The previous shows have been amazing, it's sold out everywhere, it couldn't be better ! We're very excited about tonight, it is really a fantastic venue. We played here once before, I think we didn't sell out but tonight's different. It's a beautiful historical place to play.

Robert Fripp (King Crimson) is going to play tonight. It's kind of an event !
Yes it is, it is ! I hope that the audience will appreciate because they usually talk over his music.


You two bands did collaborate before, did you prepare anything special for this concert ?

Yes we have but no, we don't play on each other's material on a live show. Just having Robert here is very special. He's definitively an influence for Steven, who is a big fan of King Crimson. For me he is an influence for the other music that he played on, like David Bowie. I don't know too much about King Crimson.

The Incident, your latest album, came out recently.
And we are very proud of it ! I think it's a very challenging piece of music, not easy for people to get into it. It is very experimental. But playing it live is really enjoyable, there are many dynamic changes. It's a beautiful piece to play.

This is a 55 minutes piece of music, it might be quite challenging to play live !
It's difficult, it involves a lot of concentration, but we rehearsed it.

How long did you rehearse?
Only five or six days. A lot of bands rehearse for weeks. But we rehearse at home first, so most of the work is done when we start the rehearsals.

What kind of approach did you develop for the recording of The Incident ?
There are two kind of writing process. Most of the material is written by Steven, and he brings it to the band. Then we arrange it, play on it. But we also spend some time as a band, in the studio, and write material. It seems we found a balance between the two. Usually, it ends up with two thirds of Steven's material and one third of the band's.

I heard that Steven wrote pretty much everything before starting the group sessions, is that correct ?
He wrote pretty much all of The Incident track, yes. But there is another disc on the album which comes from the band sessions. And there are two or three pieces within The Incident comes from the band session as well.

Did he arrive to the group sessions saying "well guys, here's my 55 minutes song" ?
Well he did, and then we change it around a lot. We've completed the song with something else.

The Incident is a whole song, but separated into 14 tracks...
Yes, there is a lot of tracks, but it's not the way we recorded it. We actually separated the all song into five sections, with all the same tempo, the same type of key. But not every track is a song. It's quite funny because you think some tracks would develop in songs but then they stop (laughs). It's quite weird, because it's not expected. When I first listened to it I thought it was really challenging, and that's why I found it interesting as well. You can find a beautiful chorus and want it to last longer, but it's gone (laughs) !

Why 14 tracks then ?
That's a question you have to ask Steven at some point. I really don't why this separation is like that. There is probably a different concept and so on. But I can understand. It's quite possibly lyrical. But the interesting thing is that it doesn't follow some kind of a plan. There are some strong ups and downs, it's soft and hard, there are some melodic moments. Very interesting to play live indeed.

On the second disc, we find one of your song, Black Dahlia.
Yes I wrote the music. I had that piece written already and I brought it to the group sessions. We started to play on it, we added an extra chorus. But it pretty much stayed the same. Steven came back one hour later and he had the lyrics. You see, when we're working in the studio, we would be in different rooms sometimes, somebody would come with something, then somebody leaves to work on his own and comes back with new material, it's a very intense process.

Would you say that the solo album of Steven influenced in a way The Incident ?
Honestly I think no. I mean he would probably say yes. But to me The Incident is 100% Porcupine Tree. It sounds like the best f Porcupine Tree. There is a little a bit of all the albums we made. His solo album sounded a lot more different, different styles, and more experimental properly.

What's your view on synths within Porcupine Tree ? Do you build some kind of a base for guitars, or layers ?
Well it's a very difficult question. With synths you can perform any kind of function. With the guitar, drums, or bass, you know what sounds like, you know the limit of the range of the instrument. With synths you can play lower than the bass and higher than the range of a cymbal. You can play melodic sounds, strange sounds. So to me the possibilities are much more than if you had one instrument obviously. What I try to do is to find the right approach of the space, some times it doesn't need keyboards, then I won't play, but my role is about textures and the ambience.


So you would not consider yourself as a virtuous keyboardist like Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) can be ?
Oh no ! I'm the complete opposite (laughs) ! I don't want to play fast, and I'm glad I can't. You see, there is no reason to play fast (laughs) ! If you play something really fast on the keyboard, the sound has to be very very normal, so that you can hear the repetition of notes. So what I do when I work with synths is not to play one hundred notes but the right note at the right moment, with the right sound.

Pretty much all the previous concerts, included the one tonight, are sold-out. How do you welcome this commercial success ?
It's fantastic ! You know we've been worked a long time, and did a lot of touring. Things seem to change quite a lot. I don't why, I really don't know why. People certainly believe that we believe in our music and that we're not trying to be commercial, to please anyone. Maybe that's because people like it, I don't know.

It seems that more and more young people are into Porcupine Tree, which is not the kind of music you expect young people to listen to.
Yeah, it's really amazing. The young would rather listen to Muse, even if they are pretty progressive. Or Radiohead. It's possibly because they see us a little bit cool (laughs) !

The new website of the band features a tour photo blog, is some kind of a way to enable the fans to go backstage ?
Yes we have some help to run the website, because we don't really try to do much. We're kind of lazy with things like that. But the new website is a lot better. There is more pictures, more talk, more news, gossips. Once in a while a great shoot is posted online, and that's a very good way to keep the fans in touch with us.

I heard that a live dvd will come soon ?
Yes in spring, march or april. It looks fantastic, it's really high quality. It's like 16 camera shoots and it sounds really good. It will be a complete document on the Fear of a blank planet tour. It's taken from two concerts, in Holland. It's once again a really beautiful object.

Well, thank you for your time Richard !
You're welcome, it was a pleasure !


Huge thanks to Christine of Roadrunner Records, and Oli.

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le 11/11/09 à 18:19 Par Ted

[-] Re: Porcupine Tree Interview - Richard Barbieri - English version

Ted
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Terrier : F-C / Qc / IdF

Cool l'interview, il a l'air bien sympa Richard.
--
When a man loves a woman...
Can't keep his mind on w-fenec.org

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