Yesterday evening I was fortunate enough to attend an ‘official fan playback’ of Steven Wilson‘s forthcoming album To The Bone.
Back in May, if you pre-ordered the (now sold out) box set edition from Steven’s site, then you were entered into a prize draw for the playback, which I’d totally forgotten about until an email landed in my inbox on Monday (I was later assured that I had just got lucky and wasn’t there because of SDE). So I joined around 30 other fans at London’s Sarm Studios for the playback event.
Phones were confiscated, beers/nibbles were provided and album was played in full. Afterwards, a ‘surprise’ guest arrived, as Steven joined us for a short Q&A. Fan: “What’s happening with Seeds of Love?” Steven: (gesturing towards me) “Ask Paul, he wrote the sleeve notes!”.
It’s a bit too early to make any judgements on the album, although predictably it was sonically stunning. Even though there was only the lucky few present, the event was impressive and it underlines Steven’s understanding of the fan/artist relationship. Yes, some of this will feed into the social media and promotional campaign for the album (they were filming/interviewing fans) but it was the details that impressed. Not only did the artist make the effort to turn up, but every person got 12-inch card with the album cover printed on one side and “Steven Wilson: Official Fan Playback” on the other. These were all individually numbered and Steven met everyone in person and signed their cards in front of them.
Great stuff. This activity was all being coordinated by Steven’s new label Caroline International, who are part of Universal. He was previously with Kscope.