You are here

Richard Barbieri - Porcupine Tree | Podcast

Closure / Continuation By Rob Puricelli
Published April 2023
Richard Barbieri - Porcupine TreePhoto: Adam Taylor - Air Studios

As part of Japan, Richard Barbieri soon became the thinking person’s synthesist, famous for his rich and textural electronic backings that beautifully complemented the work of other band members to forge what is still a unique sound to this day.

Japan disbanded at the height of their fame and Richard went on to work on a wide array of projects, some with fellow members of Japan, one of which introduced him to Steven Wilson. He joined Porcupine Tree in 1993 and, aside from Wilson, is their longest serving member to this day.

After a 12 year hiatus, Porcupine Tree reconvened to write and record Closure / Continuation, their 11th and, some would say, best album to date. Rob Puricelli caught up with Richard during rehearsals for the first leg of their tour to support the album and began by asking him about his first exposure to, and experience of, electronic music.

Show Notes


00:00 - Introduction
01:16 - What was your first experience of electronic music?
03:33 - The Non-Musician
06:44 - Synth Heroes
10:05 - Do the old synths still have a place in your work?
12:37 - Sound Design and your go-to synth
16:26 - Sampling
19:36 - Using Reason
25:37 - The live rig and touring with Porcupine Tree in 2022/23
32:11 - Getting the band back together
33:55 - Spatial Audio
38:26 - The new album
44:57 - Regurgitating the past
46:30 - What gear excites you today?

Richard Barbieri - Biog

Hailing from London, Richard joined Japan in 1975 and saw huge success around the world until the band split in 1982. He continued to work with David Sylvian, as well as Sylvian’s brother, Steve Jansen, on separate projects. Richard reunited with Sylvian, Jansen and bass player Mick Karn for the Rain Tree Crow project and continued to play with Steve and Mick as part of JBK. In the early 1990s, the three of them teamed up with Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson as part of No-Man and it was here that Barbieri and Wilson would begin their long musical association.

Porcupine Tree had initially been a Wilson solo project but he recruited Richard in 1993 and, over the next 17 years, became one of the shining lights of the neo-prog / pop scene, embracing a more heavy style as the years went on. Reuniting in 2021, they released the first Porcupine Tree album in 12 years with 2022’s Closure / Continuation, a critically acclaimed return to form. Richard has a large body of solo work which he started to release in 2005 and still does to this day.

Links And Credits

Music clips provided by Richard Barbieri
Richard Barbieri’s Artist Page -
Porcupine Tree Website - 

Interviewer: Rob Puricelli - Biog

Rob Puricelli.Rob Puricelli is a Music Technologist and Instructional Designer who has a healthy obsession with classic synthesizers and their history. In conjunction with former Fairlight Studio Manager, Peter Wielk, he fixes and restores Fairlight CMI’s so that they can enjoy prolonged and productive lives with new owners. He also writes reviews and articles for Sound On Sound, his own website, Failed Muso, and other music-related publications, as well as hosting a weekly livestream on YouTube for the Pro Synth Network and guesting on numerous music technology podcasts and shows. Rob also works alongside a number of manufacturers, demonstrating their products and lecturing about music technology at various educational and vocational establishments.

Twitter/Instagram/Facebook @failedmuso

About the Electronic Music podcast channel

On this channel we feature some of the pioneers of the industry, interview musicians and talk about retro and current gear.

Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon or wherever you get your podcasts.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.
Listen on Google Podcasts.
Listen on Spotify Podcast.
Listen on Amazon Music