One of the most eclectic and prolific artists in rock music, Steven Wilson has been writing, recording, and producing music continuously since the age of 10. A native of Hemel Hempstead in England, Steven was first exposed to music at the age of eight, when he started hearing his father listening to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” and his mother to Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby,” two albums that were pivotal in the development of his musical direction. His father, an electrical engineer, built him a multi-track tape machine, and he began to experiment with overdubbing and developing a repertoire of production techniques.Early demo tapes started to emerge in the mid 80’s while Steven was still at school, and at the end of the decade he created the two projects which gained him entry to the professional music world: Porcupine Tree and No Man. Porcupine Tree, which explored psychedelia, progressive music, and his love of ambitious seventies music, was initially an imaginary “band” which, in reality, Steven overdubbed all the instruments himself. This even extended to early demo tapes coming with a fictional written history of the band, and biographical info about the fictitious performers.Around the same time, Steven formed No-Man, his long-term collaboration with singer Tim Bowness. Influenced by everything from ambient music to hip-hop, their early singles and albums were a mixture of dance beats and lush orchestrations. Signing to One Little Indian in the UK, and Epic in the US in 1990, they received tremendous accolades from the music press, with Singles Of The Week in Melody Maker, Sounds and Hot Press.
Meanwhile, things progressed with Porcupine Tree, whose increasing popularity was fast outpacing the imaginary pretext of an actual group. The second full-length album, Up the Downstair was released in 1993 and was praised by Melody Maker as “a psychedelic masterpiece… one of the albums of the year.” This was the first album to include keyboardist Richard Barbieri and bassist Colin Edwin, albeit only as guests at this point, the album was still effectively a solo project.The next album The Sky Moves Sideways was a transitional album featuring both solo SW and band pieces, but from then on it became a full band with the addition of Chris Maitland on drums. Further albums throughout the late nineties, and extensive touring resulted in a string of indie chart placings and critical acclaim, many fans hailing them as the Pink Floyd of the nineties.