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Porcupine Tree: Ambitious for sure

Porcupine Tree is a unique band with an equally unique sound, and their albums feature immense musical quality. „Octane Twisted“, their new live album, is a must-have for all Prog fans. Bass player Colin Edwin told us a bit more about it.

The title sounds strangely familiar: "Octane Twisted" is a track of the 2009 opus "The Incident", and you released a live album of that tour. What can you tell us about that?
The title was actually suggested by Carl Glover, who designed the packaging for the releases, we had been passing ideas around about a possible title for the Live Album, and we had a compromise choice already, but this was one we all liked straight away. It made total sense to me, the album is really about the whole Incident Touring period, so using a title from The Incident itself fits perfectly.

Why did you choose to record a live album? Is it because you are busy with your side projects? It seems that those side projects are flourishing more.
I think there was demand from fans that there would be some form of live release from the long period of touring we did around the Incident, so this hopefully fills that demand. We had all agreed to take time off from Porcupine Tree at the end of 2010, everyone in the band has some other projects going on, and we all felt it wold be beneficial to do something else for a while. Among other things, I´ve started the band Metallic Taste of Blood with Italian musician Eraldo Bernocchi, and made a duo album "Burnt Belief" with ambient/experimental US guitarist Jon Durant, which is coming out next month. We all know that once Porcupine Tree activity starts again, we will all have to devote about two years solidly to recording and touring, so we all have to be ready.

What can you say about the production? The majority of the material was recorded in Chicago in 2010 and in the Royal Albert Hall.
Yes, most of Octane Twisted is a full performance of The Incident material from Chicago, a place we generally have a great crowd and a good show, and we all felt good about the Chicago versions of the Incident material, we were in the middle of a tour and all comfortable with the songs and the flow, and were playing to a very enthusiastic crowd.
We thought that it would be good to include some older and lesser played tunes, such as we played at the two special shows, like the full length version of Even Less and Dislocated Day for example, and we had good versions of these from the Royal Albert Hall. We weren´t able to use the full Royal Albert Hall concert recording for two reasons, firstly there were technical problems, and secondly, the venue wanted a lot of money, called an "origination fee" in the business, for us to use the entire recording. In the end, as we only used a few tracks from the Royal Albert Hall, they agreed to charge us a lesser fee, so it became affordable to make the album available.

All your publications are high quality. What is it that makes you feel satisfied as a band?
We´ve always taken care about everything we´ve done, I am glad that comes across to people. I am very happy to be in a band that people care about as much as they do, we´ve worked hard, but it´s a priviledge to able to move and inspire people, and earn a living doing it.
We´ve had fantastic experiences with audiences all over the world, sometimes in places we never thought we´d ever visit, that is incredibly satisfying to me.

How important is a live album for the audience?
As a listener I always enjoy live albums, they often show even very familiar material in a new light, and hopefully for the better.
Performing the whole Incident cycle of songs live, as we did throughout the tour, was quite challenging and I am glad we´ve got a good document of it, I don´t think it´s something we would undertake again, it was very ambitious for sure.

Were you nervous and more than usual, because you knew that the whole episode is being recorded?
It can be nerve wrecking to do any kind of performance, especially these days as everyone seems to want to record everything on their mobile phones.
In truth, I try not to think about it, you have to be "in the moment "to give the music it´s full attention, as soon as you start thinking about what could go wrong, it probably will.

There will be an edition with a bonus DVD. What can fans expect?
The DVD part of the package was filmed at the Chicago show. I think it´s a good document, however, it´s meant as a bonus to the live album, the intention was never to present it as equal to the Anesthetize DVD, it´s very different in look and feel.

Thanks for the interview! One important task is left to you, the last words.
I hope that Octane Twisted keeps the flame for those people waiting for the next Porcupine Tree activity, but I also hope it´s strong enough to come across to anyone unfamilliar with the band who might hear it and get turned on for the first time.
In the meantime, myself, Gavin, Steven and Richard are all very active doing our other collaborations and projects, so there´s plenty for people to discover and hopefully enjoy.

Author: Markus Seibel / medicine-mag.com, photos: Band
Date: 2013-01-05

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