Main Index >> Media Index >> Amnesiac Media | UK Media | 2001 Interviews
Josie: "It’s Phil and Ed from Radiohead, welcome back to the show! Is it nice to be back?

Ed: "Yeah, it seems like a very long time ago that we were here.

Josie: "Mmm.

Phil: "And it was.

Ed: "And it was! [all laugh]

Josie: "Well, let’s talk about the new album, Amnesiac, which was recorded in the same session, apparently, that you did Kid A. Now, Kid A was notable for being... it kind of, people say, alienated a lot of, you know, sorted out the true Radiohead fans. What was the approach to Amnesiac, the album?

Ed: "It was exactly the same. Basically what happened was last year, when it came to April, we wanted to bring out a record and we had 26 songs that were finished. We basically spent a lot of time arguing because we were trying to... you know. Everyone’s got their own favourites, and we were trying to make it work and it just was not. ‘Pyramid Song’, which is, you know, it’s the first single! But ‘Pyramid Song’ didn’t work on Kid A and stuff like that. So, it basically, the way it was resolved was one of our managers said, “listen, why don’t you just do two records?”

Josie: "'Pyramid Song' is like a hymn - was it a natural choice for the single?

Phil: "I think with first singles, we tend to veer towards songs which we would play to our friends and say "this is what we've been doing" . It's nice to have a single out and hear our song on the radio again!

Ed: "3 weeks after 'Kid A' came out, we didn't hear any of our songs on the radio. It might sound a bit vain, but it's nice to hear your songs played on the radio.

Josie: "Were you surprised by the critical reaction to Kid A and Are you in any way worried about how the new set will be treated?

Ed: "When people say, “oh, Radiohead are being wilfully perverse, they’re making music for their bedrooms, why don’t they just f-off back to their bedrooms” it’s kind of like, “That really hurts!” We’re not trying to be... we’re not trying to alienate people! That’s ridiculous; we’re trying to do something different! And when you do that, you hope that people will understand it. So, yeah! We're really nervous about how it's going to be received.

Josie: "You chose not to do any videos or promotion for 'Kid A'. Was that because the response to 'Ok Computer' was so overwhelming?

Phil: "Definitely, I mean I think that kind of spectre was definitely hanging over us during the recording of 'Kid A' and 'Amnesiac' - certainly for the first half of it and it slowed us up considerably. But, as you say, the kind of press that 'OK Computer' had put us in a very strong position for the release of 'Kid A', really. It meant that we could actually look at it and come back out and be enthusiastic. We did what we felt was appropriate for the record.

Ed: "What was great about 'Kid A' for us was that we just dabbled in a bit of promotion but it was great to release music and not have to do the rest of it because the rest of it had always got in the way...we could stay relatively sane and normal!

Josie: "How do you keep sane when people like Michael Stipe say you’re so good it scares him, and Bono from U2 says you’re too good to ignore the mainstream?

Ed: "It’s great! [all laugh] It’s brilliant! But the other side of that is that when people say that as well they then expect all the trappings that go with that. For instance, expect us to be doing mega-stadium tours. We never wanted to be in the realms of R.E.M. and U2, partly because it involves so much hard work. Those fellows worked so hard and we’re lazy [bastards], we’d much rather stay in Oxfordshire and kick back a bit! [Interviewer laughs]

Josie: "Just harping back to last year’s tour and the diaries that were posted on the website, is the internet a very important medium for you?

Ed: "Mmm, it was. Particularly when we were making the record. It mean that, for instance, it was the first time, as a band, that we could go away and be in isolation for two and a half years yet still have contact. The thing that's brilliant about the diaries is that you could spend the whole day working and then you write your bit up and it's immediately on the website. I remember when I was a teenager and bands would disappear and you'd wonder if there was some kind of sorcery going on - some kind of witchcraft. It's not like that at all, it's sheer hard work!

Phil: "It’s actually great going for it when we were doing the sessions. You could tap in and say, “So, what did Ed think about today? Okay... right...!”

Ed: "Yeah, that is a bit weird. You write the diary entry and then... that’s right. [Interviewer laughs] “I hate that Phil, he can’t drum to save his life!” [all laugh]

Josie: "That’s Radiohead’s Diary as opposed to Bridget Jones’ Diary...

Ed: "Yeah.

Josie: "That would make an interesting film!

Ed: "A lot less sex, and more eating probably! [all laugh]

"Josie: Going back to the tour that you did last year, what was it like when they were all singing 'Karma Police' back at you?

Phil: "It's great now that we've got the material from 5 albums and actually being able to paste all those together, because it breathes new life into all the old material.

Josie: "So what was the business with the tent?

Ed: "One of the disagreeable things about playing arenas is the sound. Audiences put up with really crap acoustics, so it was a way of getting enough people in and controlling the environment so that the sound was great. There weren't any black spots.

Josie: "The crowd cry out for it, but you resist - will you ever play 'Creep' again?

Phil: "Who knows? If we find a way back into the song. When it was released, it felt like somebody else's song. Now nearly 8 years on from it, it's that times 10 and whenever we play it, it feels like a bit of a cabaret song. I think that the song seems to mean a lot to some people and I don't think we'd do justice to it at the moment. But maybe one day...

Josie: "So it won't appear on the set when you play Oxford?

Phil: "Well, you never know!

Josie: "Is that the one-off gig or will we get to see you play live anywhere else?

Ed: "That's it for the moment. We did quite a few shows last year - well for us! We haven't played in Oxford for 6 years - a bit like doing TOTP again. It's quite big, so hopefully enough people will be able to see it.

Josie: "In an exclusive... fantastic! Ed and Phil thank you for joining us on Top of the Pops and we look forward to seeing you on some live dates soon!