Steven Wilson has shared a surprise Christmas single called ‘December Skies’ after being challenged by a friend.
The Porcupine Tree frontman uploaded the track on December 14, where he shared the story of the unusually festive track.
On YouTube, Wilson shared he was “challenged by a friend last week on why I’d never done a Christmas song.”
“I protested it wasn’t really me, and besides I didn’t think I had it in me to write suitably Christmassy lyrics,” he continued. The friend suggested they use Chat GPT to write the song instead, where they instructed the AI to “generate Christmas lyrics in the style of Steven Wilson.”
“I was shocked at how instantaneous and easy it was to guide it”, Wilson said. He also revealed some further prompts they gave to refine the song: “don’t mention Christmas” and “make it feel cold and lonely”.
The musician also shared that he was “not entirely sure what I think about AI” after using it to create ‘December Skies’.
“The knee-jerk reaction is to consider it a threat to a musician like me,” he said, “but it’s clearly not going away, so this is my experiment to try embracing it and using it as a tool in the creative process. And of course also to have some fun doing something I would never normally have thought about doing, the archetypal seasonal song.
“I wonder what people will make of it. I wonder what I make of it.”
Wilson also revealed that the video for ‘December Skies’ was also created with the help of an AI system by Miles Skarin, based on “imagery drawn from some of my previous videos then placed into 2D and 3D backdrops.”
NME spoke to Wilson this August about his solo album ‘The Harmony Codex’, where he talked about the Manic Street Preachers remixing one of its singles. “The Manics took my lead vocal and created a whole different piece of music to go under it,” he said. “It was like nothing I’d expected and it blew me away.
“I’ve just done a remix for them in return. I wanted to do away with the notion of remixes. I approached people like Roland Orzabal who aren’t known for doing remixes, to say instead: ‘Reimagine the song how you want’.”