AM: What do you have in store for the Deadwing tour?
SW: "We're using a lot of projections and multimedia. I was never into the flamboyant side, the musicians that would wear costumes."
"Arriving Somewhere But Not Here," Deadwing's 12-minute centerpiece, shifts styles and time signatures several times, then ends on a fade. Why didn't you write a more emphatic conclusion?
"Sometimes you get into a groove or a pattern, and you don't want it to end. When you fade a song, it gives the impression that the song carries on indefinitely. It's no longer in your line of sight, but you know it's still there. It just keeps flying forever."
On recent records, you've used relatively accessible vocal melodies. Do you find it challenging to remain experimental while working with such structures?
"There's a lot of bullshit spoken about what's experimental. Some people think experimental music is when people play 15-minute guitar solos, and often the opposite is true. That's redundant, pedestrian music. 'Good Vibrations' and 'Strawberry Fields Forever' are two of the most experimental pieces of music ever made, yet they are both three-minute pop songs. I feel the last few records, though more vocally oriented, are innovative in a way that people who like 15-minute guitar solos don't appreciate."
Do you see Porcupine Tree as a dark band?
"Yes, I do. I always write the music when I'm feeling melancholic. That's the time I need that exorcism of negativity. Melancholic music connects people together, because we all have a shared human experience. When you hear something dark, it actually has a positive effect because it's a cathartic experience."
It's interesting to have those feelings expressed in progressive rock, because some people have looked to that genre for escapist lyrics.
"I never wanted to be a generic progressive musician. I never liked that sci-fi bollocks. I've always been more interested in what's going on in this world rather than some fantasy Hobbit land."