By late 2021, the odds of a Porcupine Tree reunion seemed beyond slim. It had been 12 years since the alt-prog band's 10th LP (and apparent swan song), 2009's\u00a0The Incident, and singer-songwriter Steven Wilson\u00a0realized his rabid audience wasn't counting on a follow-up.\u00a0"Fans had probably given up on \u00a0ever making another record," he\u00a0tells SPIN, his polite eloquence downplaying a hilariously massive understatement. It's also not like Wilson initially had Porcupine Tree on the brain. After The Incident, feeling trapped in a hamster wheel of expectations and unspoken resentments, he stepped aside to focus on other projects \u2014 including various collaborations (Storm Corrosion with Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt), numerous remixing gigs (King Crimson, XTC), and a solo career that generated more stylistic breadth and commercial success. (His last two, 2017's To the Bone and 2021's The Future Bites, peaked in the U.K. top five.) All the while, he faced constant questions about his old band, and for years his responses were reasonably consistent: "I\u2019m not interested in going backwards"; "My solo work fulfills the musical needs I have now"; "I really can\u2019t say \u2013 there are no plans at the moment.\u201d Then in November, the group's current trio \u2014 Wilson, keyboardist Richard Barbieri, and drummer Gavin Harrison \u2014 announced their newly issued (and fittingly titled) comeback album, Closure\/Continuation. If you predicted this one, you're in the minority.\u00a0But in reality, a Porcupine Tree reunion has been brewing for nearly a decade \u2014 though not even the musicians themselves were sure right away. "I turned up at Gavin\u2019s one day to have a cup of tea, and he said to me, 'Do you want to have a jam?'" Wilson says over the phone from his home in the U.K., surveying the casual roots of their comeback. "And I said, 'Sure, what have you got?' He didn\u2019t have a guitar \u2014 he had a bass. So I picked up the bass, and we started jamming some ideas. There was always the possibility that Gavin and I would turn to each other and say, 'This is a new project.' I was playing bass, adding very spacious keyboards and guitar parts, and we were just jamming these grooves and polyrhythms \u2014 creating long, rambling structures. "I remember saying to Gavin, 'Maybe we\u2019ve got something new here.' He looked at me and said, 'Nah, this is Porcupine Tree.' As soon as he said that, I realized he was right." Wilson spoke to SPIN about the "freshness" of Closure\/Continuation, finding better band energy, and the odds of another Storm Corrosion album. SPIN: For years, you downplayed the odds of a Porcupine Tree reunion, but the origins of this album goes back to roughly 2011. How did this album get from the "casual jamming" stage to the "we're making an album" stage?\u00a0 Steven Wilson: It was an album made without any outside pressure at all. There were no deadlines. There were no record company advances hanging over our heads, no contracts or expectations. I think that was a good thing because we were able to just make music for fun, when we felt like it, and when we were able to. Of course, all of us have been very busy in the intervening years: I\u2019ve made about 10 records; Gavin\u2019s toured the world with King Crimson; Richard\u2019s made about six records himself. Porcupine Tree was allowed to go on the back burner and come back when we were available. Sometimes two years would pass before we\u2019d have an opportunity to work on the music. Then we would have a little flurry of activity, and then we would leave it for another year. There was also a sense of freshness when we did come back to it. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vAW5v4Ohxk5k Some of these tracks, like "Harridan" and "Chimera\u2019s Wreck," are very bass-heavy. There are stretches without much guitar, and there's much more space in the arrangements.\u00a0 I think you\u2019re absolutely right that there\u2019s more space on this record. Obviously there are a few things you can point to that are different: My bass style is very distinctly different than anything you\u2019ve heard on a Porcupine Tree record before; the fact that we wrote lots of the music together this time; and the role of heavy guitars is much less . I\u2019m thinking specifically of the last four records we made before the hiatus, which I guess some people would point to as the "metal years," where the very heavy metal guitar tone became a very strong part of the musical vocabulary. One of the reasons I took the band underground for so long is that I felt I\u2019d painted myself into a corner with that style and that sound. I was less interested in it. On this record, the metal element is still there on a couple tracks but very fleeting. It\u2019s amazing how much space frees up in the music when you don\u2019t have those heavy guitar tones that are multi-tracked three or four times to make them sound really huge. I was a bit taken back by this quote of yours in\u00a0The Guardian: "I didn\u2019t feel particularly liked or respected in the band." Were there specific incidents that made you feel that way, or were you just suspicious of that mood? standing onstage at the very last Porcupine Tree show at the Royal Albert Hall \u2014 it was supposed to be this high point in the band\u2019s career \u2014 and feeling not particularly good about it. feeling very out of sync with the reaction from the audience and feeling, "I don\u2019t want to do this anymore." Everyone around us \u2014 the record company, the management, the fans \u2014 felt that this was a very special moment for the band. We\u2019d finally arrived at a point everyone always thought we would, and I thought, "This is the end." There was the feeling that we\u2019d begun to repeat ourselves and that we were no longer developing artistically, which was always the number one thing for me. I never really cared about giving the fans what they wanted \u2014 in the nicest possible way, I always thought it was a red flag when you just give the flags more of what they want. Increasingly on that last tour, the atmosphere wasn\u2019t particularly good anyway. It\u2019s crazy how easy it is in bands for resentment or weirdness\u00a0to crop up.\u00a0 One of the other things that led me to that conclusion was that I felt like I\u2019d always been the worst musician onstage. That\u2019s not a bad thing \u2014 Frank Zappa always said his aim was to be the worst musician in the band, to be the person with the ideas, to be the captain of the ship when you\u2019ve got this extraordinary talent to make use of. But it\u2019s different when it\u2019s a band. When you\u2019re in a band and you\u2019re the worst musician \u2014 but you\u2019re also the one standing at the front getting all the attention, doing all the interviews, getting all the publishing royalties from the songs \u2014 you do inevitably get resentment from the other guys. And sometimes they don\u2019t vocalize it; you just feel it. I just felt, "It\u2019s time to give it a rest. Time to work with some musicians who will take joy in playing with you and performing your ideas and responding to your suggestions." I\u2019d begun to feel like it was actually a struggle in the context of the band at that point. In the last couple years, Gavin and Richard have been very vocal about disabusing me of that notion \u2014 they didn\u2019t feel that at all, but it was my reality at the time. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v_8yjtkTitsA I assume it's easier reunite like this when everyone has their own respective projects. You have a very successful solo career, so you already have a songwriting outlet. It reminds me of the situation with Genesis in the '80s after Phil Collins launched his solo career \u2014 all the band members would make their own albums, and then they'd come back to Genesis with a clean slate, so no one was angling to work in their own ideas.\u00a0 It\u2019s unusual, though, isn\u2019t it? I can think of perhaps one or two other examples, but they are unusual. Usually the gang mentality dictates that you are not allowed to have a solo career \u2014 certainly not a successful one, and certainly not one you give as much weight to. Maybe you\u2019re allowed to go out and do a little side project, but you can\u2019t do out and do a big solo statement and expect to be part of the gang when you come back. You mention Genesis \u2014 for me, Peter Gabriel had to leave that band to make his best work. I believe that was much earlier on in their history, when perhaps it wasn\u2019t something that would be entertained \u2014 that the singer could go off and make solo records: "If you\u2019re gonna do that, you\u2019ve gotta leave the band." But the second time around, it seemed like it was allowed. As you say, perhaps that worked in favor of the band. But it\u2019s very unusual because of that gang mentality. When you\u2019re younger, it\u2019s very frowned upon. It\u2019s no coincidence that we\u2019re all much older now, and we can realize that it is a good thing and can only make the band stronger. We\u2019ve all gone off and done stuff that\u2019s equally successful in its own way.\u00a0 I\u2019m excited you\u2019ll be reissuing the first\u00a0Storm Corrosion album this year. I know you get asked this a lot, but\u2026have you and Opeth's Mikael \u00c5kerfeldt talked recently about making another album? It is the 10th anniversary, so we\u2019re doing a new version, and we\u2019re gonna get together and do some press to promote it. We even talked about recording a new track for the new edition, but we said, "If we\u2019re gonna do that, why don\u2019t we just do a new record?" So the subject certainly has come up. I think we would love to do something else together. I don\u2019t think we\u2019d do a follow-up to that record. I think we want to do something quite different again. I don\u2019t know what that would be, but I know that\u2019s the way he is and what I am. That record is so perfect and definitive in what it tries to do and\u00a0what it achieves. It\u2019s a little diamond, I think. And I think a lot of people missed out on it because it\u2019s not what they expected us to do. But I know that for some people that it\u2019s their favorite thing that either of us have done. I\u2019ve heard that more and more. There\u2019s a little cult growing up around that record.