Steven Wilson on his absence from social media: “I don’t want to know what fans are saying”

“If out of 100 people, 99 say they love what you’ve just done and the one person doesn’t, that’s the one that sticks.”

Steven Wilson

Image: Guy Prives/Getty

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Steven Wilson has elaborated on his reasons for staying off social media, claiming that it is better for his mental health that he doesn’t know what his fans think of his music.

Speaking as part of an interview with Rob Moore, the Porcupine Tree guitarist elaborated on his choice to withdraw himself from social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook, stating that hearing negative feedback from fans lingers in his mind and can often disrupt his ability to concentrate on new material.

“The reason I don’t go on social media is because I don’t want to know what fans are saying,” he explains. “It’s hard to be completely immune from what somebody says. […] You can be in a room full of 3000 people, 2999 which are all going absolutely nuts for you, singing along to the words of every single song, clearly having a really great time. [However,] there might be one person that looks like they’re having a miserable time and not enjoying it. Yawning, they’re bored… the whole show at that point, in my mind, becomes just for that fucking person.”

He continues, explaining that when he sees any form of criticism or disinterest in his music, he has a tendency to fixate on it – regardless of how minuscule it may seem.

“If out of 100, people 99 say they love what you’ve just done, and one person doesn’t, that’s the one that sticks in your craw. That’s the one you cannot get out of your mind,” Wilson says to the host. “[All I can focus on is] ‘why is it that I don’t have unanimity and everyone doesn’t love this?’”

“I think that’s human nature, to always get stuck on those criticisms [and to] almost willfully block out of your consciousness all the positive things that people were saying, just to remember that one thing,” he adds, explaining that by withdrawing himself from social media scrutiny he is able to prioritise those who support him and his work. “That’s what I mean about that one person in the audience – the whole show becomes about them. And, of course, it should be the opposite.”

Porcupine Tree are currently underway with their North American tour, promoting comeback album Closure/Continuation. Tour dates can be found on the band’s website.

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