Ray Wilson is, of course, best known for his work with Genesis — having fronted the band for its final studio release in 1997. He’ll also appear with Steve Hackett on the guitarist’s Genesis Revisited tour.
Back in the studio, however, Wilson is collaborating with strings and this new configuration is, in many ways, having an even more profound impact as he prepares to release Chasing Rainbows — Wilson’s first original solo album since 2008.
“I think the introduction of classical musicians in my band was very important,” Wilson says in the attached video. “It took me in a slightly new direction. I’m always quite excited when I write and create the songs, and we have a basic four-piece band — and then you introduce new elements to it. Sometimes, it’s analog synthesizer stuff. But when you introduce the string arrangements, the songs change a lot. New melodies are created. It does something to the music. It’s a unique thing.”
Wilson worked with strings on the 2011 double CD/DVD release Genesis Classic, which featured the Berlin Symphony Ensemble. Violinists Alicja Chrzaszcz and Barbara Szelagiewicz, both members of his touring band, join Wilson for the forthcoming Chasing Rainbows.
In the video, Wilson also talks some about what he took away from that late-1990s stint with Genesis, in particular a way of creating music that he says went back to the group’s earliest days with Peter Gabriel.
“Basically, we created music, and then I would ad lib — improvise,” he says. “I would just put it on the headphones, quite loud, and I would just ad lib, sing the first thing that comes into my head.”
Wilson says he used that technique, as well as different vocal approaches to give the new album its own feel.