A FORMER Stockton Heath musician has teamed up with one of the biggest names in contemporary prog rock to release an album that has been 25 years in the making.

Tim Bowness, who grew up in Ackers Lane, and acclaimed performer Steven Wilson – who work together under the name No-Man – have just released their new album, Love You To Bits. It is the duo’s first collaboration in 11 years after 2008’s Schoolyard Ghosts but Tim told Weekend the album’s concept, about the aftermath of a relationship, has actually been in the back of their minds since the mid 90s.

Tim, who attended Appleton Grammar School, said: “Though the recordings are all from this year and the vast majority of the music was written over the past year, the origin of the album lies in a song we wrote in 1994.

“We’d always had the idea of writing an entire album around this particular song and developing its lyric further, but it never seemed right for what we were doing – until now.

“Musically and lyrically, it’s the most direct and ‘pop’ statement we’ve ever made, while also being the most sophisticated and complicated.

“It’s an album of contradictions and contrasts. We took a simple musical and lyrical starting point and developed it in an increasingly detailed way over 36 minutes.

“It includes contributions from Adam Holzman, who used to work with Miles Davis, Ash Soan, who has recorded with Adele, and – clearly in honour of my northern upbringing – a brass band.”

Although Tim and Steven only work together on albums intermittently, they have been in each others’ lives.

Tim added: “We’ve constantly kept in touch and Steven has mixed all of my recent solo albums, but this was the first time we’d written together for more than a decade.

“It was tremendous fun and a return to how we wrote and recorded our earliest music in that we spent days in the studio together throwing ideas around.

“We’re both perfectionists but we’ve known each other for years and there’s a surprisingly easy going – and often humorous – relationship at the core of everything we do.”

Meanwhile, the pair have both enjoyed more success recently with their solo careers.

Tim’s 2019 album Flowers At The Scene entered the UK top five in the rock, progressive, and vinyl charts while Steven’s most recent album, To The Bone, peaked at number three in the UK album chart and was in the top 20 in 15 countries.

Tim said: “In an age when things are selling less, the genre’s still doing well.

“No-Man’s music has always been eclectic, so we’ve been lucky enough to be covered equally in indie, prog, classic rock and electronic/dance music magazines worldwide. I don’t think the music we’ve produced has ever fit comfortably into any genre and I guess that’s a blessing and a curse.”

So can we expect a Parr Hall date on the next No-Man tour?

Tim added: “It would be great to do so as it’s a venue I have very fond memories of and like a lot. The first gigs I went to were at the Parr Hall and The Lion in Bridge Street and I have vivid recollections of them, including seeing a very youthful Iron Maiden at The Lion.”

Love You To Bits is out now