The interview was aired on june 7th 2003, when the band was in the USA, therefore it must have been recorded earlier, probably in late may 2003. May 28th 2003 is highly likely, as on that day Ed, Colin and Phil also held an interview in London for XFM. http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/entertainment/music/radiohead_interview.shtml
[recording starts here]
[Plays Anyone Can Play Guitar]
Gary: "Gary Crowley, BBC London 94.9, Radiohead there from their debut album, Pablo Honey from 1993, 'Anyone Can Play Guitar', which was... well, a sort of hit for the band, back then. (Ed laughs) Can anybody guess what number that single got to?"
Gary: "Oooh, on the button there."
Gary: "Welcome to BBC London 94.9, Phil, Ed and Colin."
Gary: "Welcome, welcome, welcome."
Phil: "Hi Gary."
Gary: "It's good to see you. Let's go back if we can to that album, you might not want to, (Phil and Ed laugh) but humour me, if you can. I mean, what kind of sort of memories of you know kind of sort of recording that album springs to mind? A sharp intake of breath..."
Phil: "It was actually done in a very short period of time, how long was it, about..."
Ed: "Three weeks."
Phil: "Three weeks, and it was very... there was a lot of pressure around it, because..."
Gary: "In what way?"
Phil: "Well, you know, our first... our debut album going out on a major label, so I think there was quite a lot of expectation around it, and well, personally - from my point of view - I found it a nightmare recording it, really. I just froze really, in the studio, so not great memories of making it from that point of view, but at the same time it was, you know, as ever, we... it was a good collection of songs there."
Gary: "And does that also go for you two as well? I mean, you know, what kind of band were you, you know, around that sort of time, I mean, you know, was there a sort of confidence there, a sort of brashness even, or - like Phil says - kind of nervousness?"
Ed: "Yeah, I think when we went into the studio, I think it took a lot of conf... it took the stuffing out of us a bit, because I think before you go into the studio, you tend to think that you're the best band in the world, and then you go into the studio, and it's a very honest mirror to where you are, and it's like, oh well, you know, that racket that you make in the rehearsal room doesn't actually translate so well onto tape, so it wasn't... it was... I mean, just... we were so young as well, I just... I don't remember it being a particularly happy time, I just remember it being sort of particularly hazy, really."
Gary: "Well, we're going to talk about the new album, Hail To The Thief, which is out on Monday, June the 9th, a little bit later on. Of course, you were live here in London last weekend, two dates at the Shepherds Bush Empire. How was it for you? Colin?"
Colin: "It was great. We played two nights, we played Saturday and Sunday night, and on the Sunday night we played... we had some MTV cameras, which were dotted around the stage, which... you couldn't see them too much, but it sort of... It was... I find it difficult to concentrate and get beyond them to see the crowd, which was sort of, you know... which was my problem, our problem, whatever, but then the lighting was different, that was interesting, because the lighting guy had to change the lights, because of the TV cameras, obviously, so all the colours and the bursts that coincide with the bursts of sound and stuff weren't there normally, and so that muted the thing for me, but it was a great weekend, and we've really loved these last shows we've been doing, Edinburgh, Belfast, and Manchester and Dublin."
Gary: "So the band's certainly enjoying playing live at the moment?"
Gary: "Yeah, despite the cameras being there last Sunday."
Gary: "I mean, just out of interest, a question that I wanted to ask was, who's that picture of on Thom's stand-up piano, I was trying to..."
Phil: "That's the king of comedy, Sid James."
Gary: "Is it Sid James?"
Phil: "It is."
(Gary does Sid James' dirty laugh in the background)
Gary: "What's the story with him being on the piano, then... just..."
Phil: "I've no idea, actually."
Gary: "Right, I'll have to ask Thom that one."
Phil: "I think it was a birthday card that came to Thom at some point, wasn't it?"
Ed: "It was his birthday."
Gary: "I just mentioned, I was there on the Sunday, and there seemed to be a lot of family and sort of friends where I was sitting on Sunday, was that true, I mean, out of interest, what did they sort of like make of the show on Sunday?"
Colin: "They thought that the Saturday night show that they saw, they really enjoyed, but they thought we played better on Sunday and it was a more sort of emotionally intense experience on Sunday, so there was sort of different qualities to both nights, yeah."
Gary: "And what's their kind of sort of take, you know - family and friends - on what you do as well. I mean, what do they sort of, you know, make of you guys, you know, being in this sort of, you know, rock and roll band and everything that goes with it? Ed?"
Ed: "I think... er... I think there's a kind of... there's a... they can see it for how lucky we are when we might complain, 'oh we're going away for...', you know, and they see, you know, how... I'm always joking with friends, they're going 'what are you up to, going off somewhere?', you know, but I think musically I think it's... I think the friends that I've got are just really... (laughs) they say they really like what we do, so... but they do, there's a real... you know, you play it to them, and you don't hear anything for a while, and they come back and say... and they'll comment in terms of how it... how it's part of... how does it fit in with the whole Radiohead scheme of things that's sort of the musical journey or whatever, and it's good... it's... but I think there's a nice kind of irreverence to it all as well, you know, I think that... I think what's really nice about the last couple of years is that there's not this kind of... I think we had this kind of mystique about... and we kind of played up to that, partly because of the insecurities, and the uncomfortable nature that we found ourselves... the situations we found ourselves in, and it's, you know, and I think what's really nice now is that we sort of quite openly take the piss out of ourselves and the situation, which is really healthy."
Gary: "Yeah. And going right back to the very beginning as well, you know, what was their kind of reaction - again - to you guys sort of wanting to make a go of being in a band as well, was there kind of sort of support right from the very beginning, Phil?"
Phil: "Er, yeah. I mean, I think people were a bit - inevitably - a bit incredulous about it, I mean, it's what every teenage boy, well, probably a lot of teenage girls say as well, it's just that 'oh, I'm going to be in a band, and we're going to be... we're going to make it', so you don't believe it at the time and... but people humoured us, and they still humour us (laughs)."
Gary: "Well, we'll talk some more, we're going to break for a track. This is the band's single, which was released on Monday, it's also the first track that you played on Sunday night as well, featuring your good self, Ed, on drums along with Jonny as well. What made this song - 'There There' - right as a set opener?"
Ed: "Erm... I think... it just... it's just one of those... we played it... we opened with it last year, we played a lot of these songs live last year in Spain and Portugal, and it just was, I think, the first time people had seen us for a year with a bunch of new songs, and the fact that there was, you know, there were three people hitting some drums was kind of 'ok, this is something different', it kind of opens you out to... it could either be, you know Talking Heads, or it could be Thompson Twins (laughs)."
Gary: "It's got a real groove to it, hasn't it?"
Ed: "Yeah, it is, it is. It's funny, it's one of those things, it's like last year, it really was, like on a good day, it was 'oh man, this is really cool, this is something different', on a bad day it's like the Thompson Twins, it's like images of the Thompson Twins on Top Of The Pops, circa you know like... hitting... (laughs)."
Phil: "Ah, but they had their fine moments, though."
Ed: "Ah, they did, it's not fair, you're right, Phil, they weren't all bad. They, you know, it's when they got to that, what was it? 'Hold Me Now', oh, that was appalling, wasn't it? It went all sort of MOR on us and stuff, so yeah."
Gary: "Well hopefully that comparison, or that, you know, picture that you had in your mind's eye isn't going to put people off, let's hear it, the new single."
[Plays There There]
Gary: "Gary Crowley on BBC London 94.9, we've got Ed, Colin and Phil from Radiohead with me, and we're playing tracks from the band's new album, Hail To The Thief, which we'll talk a little bit more in depth about later on. I wanted to talk about your relationship with your fans as well, I mean, as I said, I was there on Sunday, and I mean, Colin, you sort of, you know, mentioned about, you know, the cameras sort of slightly sort of spoiling it for you guys."
Gary: "But the reaction from the audience was unbelievable, I mean how would you sort of you know, try... (Colin laughs), why are you laughing?"
Ed: "Well, seventy percent of them were from the fan club, so... (laughs)"
Gary: "Oh, they were? Right, but I mean, you know..."
Colin: "They were all paid to be there."
Gary: "Were they? Well, they were certainly earning their money."
Colin: "There was sandwiches and coaches outside.
Gary: "Well, I didn't get any. But what about, you know, your relationship with the band... with the audience, as well, how would you kind of, sort of, you know, kind of sum that up, I mean, you know, what do they get from you and sort of vice versa as well?"
Phil: "I mean, we are incredibly lucky with the audience that we have, really, because they're very open-minded, I mean, for instance, last summer when we went out and toured this new material, we were going out and playing sets which, you know, had like eight new songs in a row, that people had never heard of, but people took it all on board, you know, so I mean, that gives us a lot of scope playing live, and also in terms of what we do in the studio, I think it's just like one... in some ways, one less thing to think about, you know, but... so from that point of view, yeah, we have a... well, in all aspects actually, we have a very good relationship there, I think."
Gary: "And you also, I think I'm right in saying, I mean did you kind of keep the audience up to date with the making of this album?"
Ed: "Not this one, because it happened so quickly, but I mean, we have done in the past, when we've disappeared into the studio, because, you know, the rumours come out about what's happening, or what's not happening, so we've sort of... I mean the internet is brilliant for that, I mean, I think that's something in the last... well since OK Computer, really, that we sort of... we started with it there, and realised that actually you can, you know, it's such a good medium, because you by-pass the middleman, you by-pass the media."
Gary: "Straight to the source..."
Ed: "So it's really good, and we do take it... we take it seriously, so..."
Gary: "And tell us about Radiohead TV as well, for those of us who haven't sort of visited the website, you've got something called Radiohead TV, Colin?"
Colin: "No. (laughs)"
Gary: "You haven't?"
Colin: "Yes, yes, no, yes, Ed, do you want to..."
Ed: "Well, it's basically a kind of..."
Gary: "A nice deflection there, Colin."
Gary: "Good call."
Ed: "It's sort of half an hour to an hour's worth of material, and it'll be... and what we've done in the last three years, we've done these sort of webcasts, and we've probably done about... have we done four or five of them?"
Colin: "At least."
Ed: "At least, and they're all about... they're when we're in the studio, and it's about... it's like letting off steam, and it's having a night where you spin some CDs, we might, you know, we shoot video camera stuff, and we just have a laugh for two hours."
Phil: "It's the last day of term, basically, isn't it?"
Ed: "The last day of term, exactly, and we wanted the spirit of that, we wanted to cap... you know, it's only seen by five thousand people who can, you know, watch it at the time on the net, so we wanted the spirit of that, to capture it on some kind of TV thing, and it's also... it's got that and it's got the people that we're involved with, Chris, Chris Brown, and Tim Brown who... Chris directs this, and he directs the webcasts, and then there's also, which is what's really exciting, what's really cool is, we asked fans to send in, you know, short films or anything they'd been making, so loads of stuff got sent in."
Gary: "Give us an idea of what kind of stuff that they were sending in then."
Ed: "Oh man, oh well... my favourite one is this one that... it's kind of this screen, it's this kind of black and white kind of... it looks like, it's kind of like, sort of... you know, the far... you know, the Eastern Europe kind of black and white, not quite animation, you don't know if it's animation or real people, and it's kind of shadows, but the screen is split in two, and on one half, you've got this DJ, doing this (does beatbox noise), and making... and the other half is obviously the apartment next door, and the guy's going crazy, and it's kind of like a brutal fairy tale, because it ends up with lots of blood and sickness, and stuff like that, and then the guy... the DJ gets killed, and then... and the light goes out in the apartment, and then the guy rises from the dead and starts this whole thing again, there's more... it's just fun, you know, it's sort of... it sounds fun? Yes, it is fun. (laughs)"
Phil: "Killing, death is fun."
Ed: "Yeah, but you know, it's done in that... you know like Shock Headed Peter, that kind of, those kiddies... those gruesome German fairy tales with like the guy with the scissors who came out and chopped off the kiddies hands, it's kind of in that..."
Gary: "Sounds like you've got a budding video director."
Ed: "Well, you know, that would be the ultimate... if you could find somebody that you could do a video with, and one of the... and there's this guy, Ed Holdsworth, who's done an amazing one for 'Sit Down. Stand Up.', and it's beautiful, so the idea is just like, good music, sort of late night thing, might have a spliff and a drink, and you know, you're just watching it and it..."
Gary: "Kick back and relax..."
Ed: "Yeah, exactly."
Gary: "Let's talk about your history as far as London is concerned as well, I mean, you know, I always sort of like to kind of give people an idea as far as, you know, where bands kind of first started as far as playing in London is concerned. I mean, where would have been the first venue that Radiohead would have played in in London, (Colin laughs) and what memories as well. (Ed laughs) Why are you all laughing?"
Ed: "The Rock Garden."
Gary: "You don't want to go back there?"
Ed: "It was the Rock Garden."
Gary: "Was it the Rock Garden in Covent Garden?"
Gary: "Right, so take us back to that night, what kind of sort of memories of that evening..."
Ed: "1988... (laughs)"
Gary: "Really?! We are going back..."
Phil: "Yeah, we were a much bigger band then, weren't we?"
Ed: "Yeah. (laughs)"
Gary: "What, as far as size was concerned, I mean, what, membership-wise?"
Ed: "Eight of us."
Phil: "Eight of us."
Gary: "There was eight? Oh, right, what happened to the other three?"
Colin: "They all got proper lives and careers and, you know, families."
Ed: "(laughs) Yeah. We we on a five band bill..."
Phil: "It was a pay to play night, really, wasn't it?"
Ed: "It was pay to play, and the only way we could get a soundcheck was if you paid for the video, you know, they're bastards all this... we arranged a coachload down at our expense..."
Colin: "It's a bit like Shepherds Bush, but only we were paying for everything."
Gary: "And no sandwiches."
Ed: "And they completely... they do screw you, they're like 'well, what do you want?' and they said 'do you want a soundcheck?', 'yeah, of course we want a soundcheck', 'well you have to pay for it', 'well, how do we do that?', 'well, you have to get a video', so you end up shelling out all this cash, even though you've got all these punters, all your friends from Oxford down on the coach, who are paying the five quid to get in, so they knew... you know."
Phil: "I'd like to add at this point that all the videos have been lost and destroyed. (everyone laughs)"
Ed: "They have."
Gary: "And what about... I mean, how important was it for the band as well, playing London, I mean, would it have been a sort of big deal, kind of coming down and playing for the first time? Colin?"
Phil: "Oh, very much..."
Gary: "Sorry, Phil."
Phil: "Sorry, no, no, Cozzie, you go."
Colin: "No, no, Phil, no, you go."
Phil: "Erm... yes, very much so (laughs), Colin?"
Colin: "I think, well there's this thing about London... because there's this black hole around London, that is the home counties, like Guildford, and places like that, so when you do tours of like England, you don't go to any of those places, because everyone goes to London and stuff, so you go to, you know, everyone's got their [?] we played some of our favourite gigs. I remember we played ULUs Merger's Bar, when we were doing... when we were working on The Bends, do you remember that gig? That was an amazing show, I think we played some of our sort of most sort of crucial shows in..."
Ed: "At the end of '93."
Colin: "I think it was, yeah."
Ed: "'92, the end of..."
Colin: "'92/'93, yeah, it was in the..."
Phil: "You've just got an encyclopaedic..."
Colin: "It's incredible, isn't it?"
Gary: "I'm very impressed."
Phil: "You're the almanac, aren't you?"
Gary: "He is the Bill Wyman of the band."
Ed: "Yes, I have fought(?)."
Gary: "Fellows, we need to pause... we need to pause for some music, and then we need to go to news and travel. I want to play one of my favourite tracks on the album, one of the more mellower tracks, 'Sail To The Moon', any kind of sort of, you know, memories about maybe the recording of this song?"
Colin: "(sighs heavily)"
Ed: "I think this song was typical of many in the studio that... remember that the way that we were doing it, we were doing a track a day, we did this... we recorded it in L.A. at Ocean Way, and it was just... it was... I think what was great about this record was the confidence we had as a band going in there, and going like 'ok, we're just building up to the take', and it was all done very traditionally, five people in a room, playing, and you know, and this was indicative... it was just like getting into the right mood, and within about two hours, maybe like eight... or eight playbacks, or eight run throughs of it, and recor... you know, we got the definitive take, and it's a very, very traditional way of recording, you know, when you read your Elvis Presley books, you know, that's the way that he made records, it goes way back, and it was all about... it's all about getting into the right, you know, the right frame of mind, and also you know, Thom's vocal's like... you're sort of, kind of, as the rest of the band, I think you're following his vocals, and you're hearing him, how he just sort of sits in there, and he's getting into the mental... the right space for it, so..."
Gary: "Let's hear it."
[Plays Sail To The Moon]
Gary: "It's a Radiohead special, I hope you're enjoying the music and also the chat, we've Phil, Ed and Colin keeping me company, and from The Bends, from September of 1995, that was a single as well, anyone remember what number that one got to?"
Ed: "The Bends?"
Gary: "No, 'Just'."
Ed: "Oh, 'Just'?"
Gary: "Mmmm, no, lower, lower."
Gary: "Well, my Guiness Book of Hit Singles says number nineteen."
Ed: "Surely not."
Gary: "Are you shocked and stunned by that?"
Ed: "Surely not."
Gary: "I looked it up this morning."
Ed: "I thought we were strictly a top ten band. (laughs)"
Gary: "So did I. Get out! (laughs). Well, let's talk about that album as well, kind of sort of, you know, kind of good memories on the making of that one? (Ed laughs) I mean, Phil you mentioned a little bit earlier on about Pablo Honey and not enjoying that experience, you know. Had it begun to sort of get better with The Bends? (Colin & Ed laugh). A shaking of the head over there..."
Phil: "Errmm... I don't... I have to qualify anything I say about making, you know, the first five albums by saying that come album number six, Hail To The Thief, really enjoyed that, (Ed laughs) and it kind of laid a lot of ghosts to rest, I think, doing that album, because I think most of our sessions have really been marked by this... I don't know... it's just really struggling with that whole process of recording, and just trying to actually, you know, we know that we have this material there that's good and we, you know, there is the ability there, but actually being able to translate that to actually a recording it was just a... it was... it drew a blank with us for quite a long time, I think. Well, that's the sense, I mean, you know, I think for the kind of like the fifty minutes that make up the album, those were the moments during those sessions inevitably which actually came together, but around that, there was a lot of... self doubt about it, really, I think."
Gary: "But of course it's an album though that's, you know... I mean, I guess a lot of people would say is, you know, one of the sort of seminal Radiohead albums as well, I mean, if you'd been able to sort of stand back and sort of, you know, be kind of objective about it, why do you think it sort of struck a chord with people?"
Ed: "Yeah, well I listened to it for the first time in... since we... since we recorded it, about a year ago, driving back from Oxford to London, and I was sort of struck by it, I mean, I was struck by how much... I mean, the energy, I mean the songs are really good, but the energy of the thing, and it's really sort of... it's quite punky, you know, I think it's got... it's really spirited, and it was very much, you know, it wasn't like anything at the time, I remember when we were recording it, that first session that we did we were in RAK studios, it was '94, and Parklife had just come out by Blur, and I remember listening to that record and thinking 'Jeez, this is like such a slick...' and I mean slick in a good way, a really, really polished, beautiful, accomplished pop record that has captured the zeitgeist, and there we were, sort of, you know, tearing our hair out, you know, turning the guitars up and this kind of... it was just... it was very..."
Colin: "Weren't you on an exercise bike at some point?"
Ed: "(laughs) Yes. You know I was."
Colin: "Well, I didn't know if it was you, was it?"
Ed: "Yeah, one of the recordings..."
Ed: "But it was this whole thing of... it was the emotion, I think there was just... it was all blood... blood and guts, you know, around that time and it was, you know... that's... it happened by, I mean by sheer, sort of, you know, I think the emotion of it all really, and I think it's a really good record, I think and because it was... obviously you look back and you go like it was different from a lot of stuff that was out there, we weren't American, yet we weren't British, we sort of, we kind of, you know we were doing something quite different, but we... you know, that was all we were... that's all we were capable of doing at the time."
Gary: "Now the last time we saw each other, I think was when you came in for Kid A, around the time of the release of Kid A, I mean before we talk about you know, the new album, a little bit more in depth, how do you kind of sort of you know, look back at those sort of two albums now as well, I mean did they kind of sort of live up to any expectations that you may have had for them?"
Ed: "I think, I mean, I think in many ways, Kid A's probably the best thing that we've ever done and there's a purity to it that's kind of... because of the state of the band and where we were, we just made this record, and out of it came out the sound of, you know, the band at that time. I don't know about Amnesiac, because I always tend to find that the record... the one... the penultimate record that, you know, the one that you've last recorded is the one that you can't... you don't actually like that much, that's always the case."
Gary: "You need to take a bit of time to be objective about it?"
Ed: "Yeah, exactly."
Gary: "I mean, you know, Kid A, very much a sort of, you know, a different sounding album to the album before as well. I mean, what kind of a range of reactions did you get back from your fans as well, can you sort of remember those?"
Ed: "I think on Kid A, I mean, I think that what we... we had really good reactions back from Kid A from people who understood it, and I mean, you know, what happens is that, you know, when you do an album like OK Computer, you suddenly sort of... you tap into that Q audience, whether you like it or not, you know, and part of those people, they're people who buy one... you know, ten CDs a year, so obviously they weren't going to get Kid A, they weren't going to like it, because it needed a bit of work, but what's brilliant about where we got to, and where we are, is that, you know, amongst our fans, or you know, we were talking about earlier, there's a certain trust, there's a kind of ok, you know, what might appear to be madness at the beginning, there is some method to it, you know, give it some listening. It's like what you have to do with probably every good record is, that you have to find the hour of the day, so, you know, you have to find out when it's relevant. Say The Bends might be like, I don't know, a Saturday night record, before you're going out, or whatever, and OK Computer is a warm summer's evening, like ten o'clock, you know, and (laughs) Kid A's like a four o'clock in the morning, it's that after you've had the big night out or whatever, and you're still awake and it's, you know, the body, the metabolism has slowed down and all that, and you might have had a couple of smokes too, you know, it's all that stuff, so, and... but people trust us now, because we're not going to release a record that is, you know... that doesn't... that's just, you know, trying to piss off people, or trying to be anti-commercial, that's, you know... well, why do that?"
Gary: "Ok, let's pause for some music. This is the track that opens the album, the new album, Hail To The Thief released on Monday, June the 9th, as I said. We'll talk some more after we've heard '2+2=5'."
Gary: "'2+2=5', Radiohead. Well, three of them are my very special guests. We've got Ed, Colin and Phil here. You mentioned a little bit earlier on about some of the other albums, Ed, and saying, you know, the best time perhaps for people to sort of, you know, to hear them. How would you sort of describe Hail To The Thief, where does this album find Radiohead then?"
Ed: "We always thought it was a bit of a shiny pop record."
Ed: "(laughs) But that's in our own little world."
Gary: "I think you described, you know, this album, Ed, I mean you were quoted as saying that this album, for you, the band have found their swagger."
Gary: "Can you elaborate on that for me?"
Ed: "Well, I think in the last two years, what's happened is that... going out and playing these... playing the songs from Kid A and Amnesiac on the road, we're better musicians, and the joy of playing it, we're not uptight, so you're more relaxed, and in doing so, we... you know, every band gets... you know, if you're enjoying it, and you get... after a certain amount of time, people playing together, you swagger, you know, there's an intuitive kind of groove or whatever, and I think what... I think what we wanted to do was to capture that on record, we hadn't caught that on record, you know, 'Go To Sleep', that end section of 'Go To Sleep', I mean, as a band, I think we've always... we've never been able to make a recording like that, we've never been able to capture that, because we hadn't played like that, but to actually capture it on tape, it's kind of like emulating people that, you know, we looked up to, like the Stone Roses and stuff like that, that kind of groove, and that kind of thing, and to get it on record, it's like 'wow, we've done it', you know, 'we've done it, we've got it on record', because, you know, in twenty years time, you know, that's the only way people are going to remember us, so..."
Gary: "Let's remind people of how the kind of sort of process starts with you guys as far as recording is concerned, I mean, can you kind of sort of talk us through that, I mean, am I right in saying that, you know, Thom will kind of sort of come to you guys with some ideas for songs, and then... well, if you can sort of like, you know, pick up the ball there, what kind of sort of happens after that?"
Phil: "Well, before we actually even started working in rehearsals, I mean, as you say, yeah, Thom did come to us with a collection of songs, stuff, material from, you know, over a period of about two years really, and within that, he'd left a lot of space within the arrangements, they were very sparse arrangements, and so we were able to live with the material for a little while, and actually start getting ideas together, and then we came into rehearsals, and we spent six weeks just arranging stuff, pulling in, you know, different directions, some of the stuff staying fairly true to what Thom originally did. And from there, because we wanted to... it was much more of a traditional approach to working and recording..."
Gary: "This time round..."
Phil: "This time, yeah, and that seemed to be the best way to actually, you know, capture what Ed was, you know, talking about in terms of like that swagger, that kind of groove there, and so we wanted to go out and play live as well. And that really, I think actually, you know, gave some kind of focus, some kind of energy, which then spilled over into the sessions, we were able to work really quickly, so yeah, we set... we had a deadline for Christmas, this Christmas just gone, and we stuck to it, which for us is pretty good."
Gary: "Pretty good going. I mean, you recorded the album, as you mentioned a little bit earlier on, Ed, at Ocean Way..."
Ed: "Ocean Way, yeah."
Gary: "...studios in L.A., and I mean, I think you've recorded in Paris before, haven't you, but am I right in saying there was initially a reluctance to go to L.A. to record?"
Colin: "Err... well, Nigel Godrich, our producer, he wanted to take us to Ocean Way, because he really loved the studio, it had some magic to it, and he'd recorded a Beck record... two Beck records there, hadn't he?"
Colin: "And a Travis record, and it was a wonderful place to get sounds up quickly and capture a live performance, a group of people playing in this huge seventies room with lino floor, and mad angular sort of wooden shapes, and control room sticking out, and Sinatra and Nat King Cole, Dean Martin..."
Gary: "(?) recorded there. Fantastic."
Colin: "And all those people."
Ed: "'We Are The World'."
Colin: "Yeah, 'We Are The World', and er..."
Gary: "(laughs) Oh, that was done there as well? Right."
Colin: "Yeah, and Lionel Hampton put like Nat King Cole in there after he'd discovered him in a club off Sunset and Vine in the '50s and stuff."
Colin: "So it was an amazing place to go, and Nigel loved it, and we were up for some sunshine."
Gary: "Yeah, and did you sort of fall in love with it quite quickly as well?"
Gary: "It's kind of a silly question, but as far as kind of, sort of, climate and you know, location, I mean, how important are they as to, you know, the overall sort of sound of a record?"
Ed: "I think it's really important. I think, you know, you look at Kid A, we started off the sessions in Paris in January, then we went to Copenhagen in February..."
Gary: "Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen."
Ed: "Yeah, and it's... hence it's got a real northern European... it's very cold, and this record is, you know, it's very simple, you put musicians, or people in a band, they don't have to be musicians... you put them in the sunshine, and you know, and suddenly you feel better, and you're looser, you know, and that translates, obviously, in the way you play. And I think the whole L.A. thing, I mean, I think the reluctance initially was that, you know, there's kind of been a sort of a love hate thing with L.A., and you kind of worry a bit that you... you know, you go out there for two weeks and you end up riding Harleys and growing your hair."
Gary: "And hanging out with The Eagles."
Ed: "Yeah, exactly, and... but to go there and realise, you know, to use it for what it is, and to dip into it, this mad city, and also it's very geared up to playing in a band, you know, you want something within half an hour, you've got it."
Gary: "Yeah, and what about..."
Ed: "And that's not just the drugs either (Gary laughs)... No there are (laughs)... if anyone... I was worried that that might sound like, you know... no, it's musical equipment."
Gary: "Right, right."
Ed: "Not recreational."
Phil: "I think you've dug yourself out of that one."
Ed: "Yeah. (laughs)"
Gary: "What about the title of the album as well, you know, tell us about that. Am I right in saying that that was inspired by a book about George W's election victory in Florida? Am I right in saying that? 'Hail To The Thief'?"
Ed: "Well, it came, I mean, you know... this is the thing that we sort of... (sighs) you know, we... it was... it was in a Michael Moore book, that's right, but people kept on asking us, you know, saying, you know, is this just an anti George W album, you know, and we were like, you know we... Radiohead do not pin all their colours to the same mast, this is not what we do, we're not single issue people, but... I mean, the whole album title, and you know, a lot of the lyrics around it just eludes to the fact that, you know, the society... the world that we live in today, you know, a lot of fear of the future, based on what's happening at the moment, and what's happened in the, you know, not too distant past, so... and of course, you know, George W's one of those who we should rightly fear, you know, so..."
Gary: "Yeah. Listen, thanks for coming in and you know, giving us an idea about the making of the albums. As I said, the album is Hail To The Thief, we're going to end with one of my other favourite songs on the album as well, the wonderfully titled 'A Punchup At A Wedding'. Tell us a little bit about this song, if anyone can, before we hear it."
Colin: "Err... it's... yeah... it's kind of the more sort of darkly humourous side to the record, perhaps, and it's one of the ones we... it's like, yeah... well... it's... it's great."
Phil: "It grooves some."
Colin: "It grooves some, yeah."
Ed: "It grooves some. (laughs)"
Colin: "You know, it's just all of us in a room together bashing out a tune, yeah."
Gary: "Listen, thanks for coming by, Charlie Gillett is on the way, this is Radiohead, cheers, fellows."