Main Index >> Media Index >> In Rainbows Media | UK Media | 2005 Interviews
[the very beginning of the conversation is missing]

Ed: "Yeah."

Zane Lowe: "You know?"

Ed: "Yeah."

Zane: "Grown a little Santa Claus beard for the occasion?"

Ed: "Yeah... the studio beard. Enough grey in there, too, to satisfy everyone."

Zane: "You do have a little salt-and-pepper coming through, I think it's dignified, personally."

Ed: "Yeah. I noticed this morning that I've got a few on the sideburns. So, you know..."

Zane: "Nice!"

Ed: "So it's not just on the chin."

Zane: "Nice! We're not here to talk about hair, and its ever-changing style. We're here to talk about you, Radiohead, and it's great of you to pop in before Christmas and give us a little heads-up. Obviously, erm, you know, there's a lot of people who want to hear about the new record. Probably you!"

Ed: "Yeah... (laughs) Oh yeah."

Zane: "And, you know, we're going to pretty much focus this entire interview down to questions that have come in from your fans around the world. But we're going to start in a sort of lighter mood. Do you and the rest of the band, do you get each other Christmas presents? Do you play secret Santa?"

Ed: "We used to give each other Christmas presents, but erm... I mean, now it's just Christmas cards. I think, 'cause everybody's got kids and it's just... we'd been working up until when... yeah, a week before Christmas. So erm, we're kind of, you know, 'Seen you enough! Yeah. Have a happy Christmas!' Yeah..."

Zane: "Nice, nice!"

Zane: "Speaking of presents: is it true - and this one comes from "dan trout" - 'Is it true that fans once brought you a goat for Christmas?'"

Ed: "Well yeah, last Christmas apparently. But I was away for a long time last Christmas."

Zane: "Right..."

Ed: "And I heard about these goats that they, that they bought. And some Radiohead fans... the whole deal was they were calling them all 'Ed'."

Zane: (laughs)

Ed: "So there were all these goats, in wherever..."

Zane: "You can't get mad, can you. 'Cause it's charity..."

Ed: "I thought that was cool, that it was really, really cool!"

Zane: "'Darrenatease' picks up from there and wonders if you do get the christmas presents that the Edquarters fan site sends you, 'cause, I mean, Edquarters is news to me, I mean, obviously I like the band..."

Ed: (laughs)

Zane: "Not focusing specifically on you myself, but..."

Ed: "Yeah, yeah!"

Zane: "...a lot of people do."

Ed: "Yeah. No, they're... I'm humbled and embarrassed in equal measure at that, 'cause it's amazing these people do it, and I'm like... yeah, I do get them, so thank you very much!"

Zane: "Right on! And Lee wants to know 'Are you aware of the discussion provoked by your pilates trousers amongst Radiohead female fans?'"

Ed: (laughs)

Zane: "What is this all about?"

Ed: "I have no idea!"

Zane: "Come on, Ed."

Ed: "What is this?"

Zane: "We've all worn a pair of pilates trousers every now and then."

Ed: "Yeah, I don't, I was really... I'll be honest, about two years ago, when we were touring and everything, someone said 'You should go onto this Edquarters site and check it out', and I was like 'Ok, I'm a bit reticent about doing it'. And I went on it and there was this whole spiel about how badly dressed I was. So it might allude to that."

Zane: (laughs)

Ed: "I admit I am the worst dressed member of Radiohead by a long way."

Zane: "Looking alright today! I have to say, Ladies and Gentlemen, he's fashioning a long-sleeved white shirt with a black shirt over the top with some kind of a logo, with a black scarf. It's a good look! Ok, next question from Alex: 'Is there gonna be or has there been a Radiohead Christmas party?' I mean, is there any sort of thing you could do? I mean, you said you'd lifted for a while but did you have a gathering before you did?"

Ed: "Yeah, well, erm... We didn't this year. I think, just 'cause we're so exhausted, but normally we do. And what we tended to do, we also tended to - which we should have done - is do a Webcast at the same time."

Zane: "Yeah..."

Ed: "...where everyone drinks, has a... has a smoke, and we end up doing the party tunes around the tree in front of 600 people over the web, and that's, you know, that cool. But we haven't, you know, it's been a funny old year as they say."

Zane: "We're gonna get to that in a second... but, yeah, before we do, with 24-hour drinking coming in, Frankie wants to know: 'What kind of drinker are you? Are you a good drunk?'"

Ed: "Uh, no, I'm a really, really bad drunk! Really bad."

Zane: "Like, feisty?"

Ed: "Uh, yeah, that's the problem! It's true, I get a bit leery, I get a bit, you know..."

Zane: "(Slurring) 'I been meaning to tell you this for a long time: Your songs stink, this whole operation stinks!'"

Ed: "It is either: 'I love you, man' or it is like 'You wot? You... you, what are you lookin' at?'"

Zane: "Ah, ok. Tammy wants to know your best karaoke song..."

Ed: "Um. Yeah, my favourite is Barry Manilowe's 'Copacabana'."

Zane: "Oh, yeah, right on!"

Ed: "I love that one."

Zane: "She also wants to know if you've ever sung a Radiohead song. Please say no?"

Ed: "No. No, no... No way."

Zane: "That'd be when you'd drunk way too much, at that point. Have you heard the cover that Mark Ronson's done of 'Just'? With the Dapking?"

Ed: "No, but I heard it's amazing."

Zane: "Wanna hear it?"

Ed: "Well, I'd love to hear it!"

Zane: "Let's go!"

Ed: "Totally."

Zane: "Alright, let's play it, here it is Mark Ronson's cover of 'Just' from The Bends. Ed's with us. A little Christmas spirit."

[plays 'Just' by Mark Ronson]

Zane: "What do you reckon?"

Ed: "Superb. Absolutely brilliant."

Zane: "Right on man! Excellent! What an amazing thing for you to hear that for the very first time on this show! I would've thought it would have crossed your radar, but well, there you go!"

Ed: "You know, like I said, I heard about it, but um, someone texted me and said 'You gotta check it out', and that's an honor to hear one of your songs put out like that."

Zane: "It's some funky, funky action!"

Ed: "It's great, man!"

Zane: "He's pulled it off! Mark Ronson, Ladies and Gentlemen, with the Dapkings and Alex from Phantom Planet, doing a version of - obviously, your band - Radiohead's 'Just'."

Ed: "Well done, chaps."

Zane: "And, er, you can't speak for the whole entire band, but I think the odds of that one getting signed up are better than they were about 3 1/2 minutes ago."

Ed: "I can say, I'd be very confident to see that get signed up."

Zane: "Right, so, good news! We're not here to talk about Radiohead covers albums, we've got Ed O'Brien here pre-Christmas for a little catch up, and it's good to see you, Sir, thank you again! Ah, but we... Really a lot of people primarily - when they sent in their questions to the BBC Radio One website - all want to know about this album, and you knew what you were getting yourself into when you woke up this morning and you decided to come in and do this!"

Ed: "Yeah."

Zane: "Alright! New Radiohead album. Rich from Blackpool wants to know: 'From the photographs on Radiohead.com' - and make no mistake, they're watching you - 'it looks like the album's going to be quite acoustic: is that the case?'"

Ed: "No. It's not... (laughs)"

Zane: "Ok, well it's... Which leads us to the next question, which I'm going to ask on behalf of everybody. The new album - talk us through what you know so far."

Ed: "I'll be honest as well, because it's been a really weird and hard year, because basically we took all of last year off. So we started rehearsal in March of this year and it's a bit like... when you start doing this again - the whole Radiohead thing - it takes a lot... you don't realise how much of what Radiohead is about is momentum and inertia. You know, if you take a year off it's like, you're out of one an other's orbits, like, you're out of what people are into, what's going on, what are you thinking. So this year's been quite hard. I mean, we rehearsed, we rehearsed for a bit, and we started doing some recording in about April - 'cause we've got our own studio - and then we went away and did a couple of sessions. And they went really, really well, and it's really good, and we're really excited, and we're working really quickly, and we've got the tunes, and Thom's lyrics are coming along really well. And we get out of the studio and you listen to them and you go: 'It's not good enough'."

Zane: "And everyone's saying that?"

Ed: "Yeah. I mean we all... what happens is we go into the studio and then we have a couple weeks off and, you know, we all leave and we're buzzing. We go 'We're on our way! Yeah! We've got it!' And, you know, we don't... We have a meeting at the end of two weeks to get back together to start work again, and it's like, everybody's got that look in the eye, it's like, it's just not good enough."

Zane: "You don't want to be the guy that's actually got the sparkle in his eye, who's like 'This is the best stuff we've ever done!' (laughs) 'You're out of the band, son!'"

Ed: "Yeah, it's really good, because nobody's saying that. So, we just haven't pushed it far enough. And part of the problem is that we've been having problems making decisions, because we've done... we've been doing the Radiohead far-out school of... what do you call... a radiophonic workshop, but how do you tether that stuff? How do you make that stuff into a cohesive song?"

Zane: "Well, you need something discernable, don't you, at the end of the day."

Ed: "Yeah, you do. And you need somebody to make decisions, because at the end of the day we're in the thick of it and we can't make decisions. And you need somebody to say 'That's really good, that's not so good'. So, we've been talking with Mark "Spike" Stent..."

Zane: "Right."

Ed: "...who's worked with Madonna and Björk."

Zane: "And he's mixed a lot of records everywhere, when you're listening to the radio..."

Ed: "Yeah. And he's made a lot of sense of a lot of stuff, and hopefully in the new year we're going to start... we'll, we'll... in February we'll reconvene with him."

Zane: "Hmm."

Ed: "Cause we've got some great, great songs, make no bones about it, but what we don't want to do is release them in a way that we're kind of not... obviously, we won't release anything that we're not happy with, but any... you know, the whole thing about Radiohead is that we make... each record has a different sound. And that's part of the joy of doing this, it's fun, and it's really hard finding something that's different. But that actually sits well with us, you know? And, and, you know, things like the track that we just heard, I mean, if we could do something like that, that's the kind of... We need to go into doing things like that. And of course we wouldn't go as far, but we need to embrace things like that. And we're trying to."

Zane: "You talked about Spike Stent, and he is a very respected, great producer. But, obviously, he's not Nigel Godrich, and there'll be people listening who will be going 'Woah woah woah...', you know? Not the end of a relationship, but the end of an era?"

Ed: "No, it's not an 'end of an era', it's just... you know, part of what you realise as a band is that you get into, you know... all these records we made with Nigel, we've - apart from maybe Hail to the Thief - we were a little bit in the comfort zone. And what you've got to do is you've got to get out of that. Because, you know, that's why you make records like Kid A after OK Computer, that's why you make OK Computer after The Bends. You've got to do stuff that you're scared of doing, yet you're slightly reticent, apprehensive. And with Nigel, you know, we've been working together for ten years! We need, you know, our relationship... we all love one another too much."

Zane: "A lot of people want to know about one song in particular and - I hate to focus on this, and tie you in, but none of this stands at the end of the day, obviously, but Vince does want to know like anybody else about 'Big ideas', one of the older tracks."

Ed: "Yeah."

Zane: "Is it still in the picture?"

Ed: "Yeah, it is! We've got a board of about 25, 30 songs and it's very, very, very much in there. We've done... That, actually, is the one song that we've done, we've recorded. It's called, it's kind of... it's called 'Nude' now."

Zane: "Ok."

Ed: "It's got a direction that we'd like to follow, but we'd like to say it's got really big bass, and very sparse, very, very sparse... Thom's done an amazing, amazing vocal on it, and it's kind of the area that we want to go in. We just... we need a bit more confidence. I mean, kind of... to be honest with you, we're not very self-confident at the moment. We're kind of... we've had our arses kicked in the studio... going back, when you think something's really good in the studio, you go back and it's not, you kind of... you start doubting what you think is good. That's when it gets to be mind games..."

Zane: "Business as usual then... (laughs)"

Ed: "Yeah, nothing changes! (laughs) That's true, Zane, that's true, man."

Zane: "A lot of people want to know about touring, obviously this wouldn't be an appropriate time to go into detail, 'cause you haven't even got a record yet!"

Ed: "No, but we are gonna tour next year."

Zane: "You are?"

Ed: "Oh yeah, totally!"

Zane: "Alright, good! Then that kind of gets close to answering Martha Carob's question, like everybody else, what's the story?"

Ed: "Well, we're going to... because we're not going to have an album out, hopefully we'll have a couple of tracks to download by about April, May. But we're going to go out in May, and we're going to do some theaters, because part of what we're going to do is play our new material, you know?"

Zane: "Roadtest it..."

Ed: "Yeah, exactly. And stuff might come from it, stuff might not, but it's a good... it's kind of worked before. We did that with a lot of the stuff on OK Computer. And we'd always done it with The Bends, you know, we did a lot of stuff... it's a good way to get your shit together, because you've got to present something that's fairly formed to people, otherwise... (laughs) you're going to lose them!"

Zane: "UK tour May, is that right?"

Ed: "Yeah."

Zane: "It's exclusive?"

Ed: "We'll drop the dates in Europe and UK in May, and then in June we're going to go over to America and do some theaters over there, do the same thing."

Zane: "Mhmm."

Ed: "And hopefully as well, it will be the opportunity to... there'll be a lot of... you know, ten, twelve new songs, but also, what we're going to do - because it's theaters and stuff, it will be the hardcore there - we're going to hopefully do some tracks live from previous records that we wouldn't normally play live, and maybe, you know, you won't get some of the stuff we've trundled out recently."

Zane: "Well, good to see you Ed, thanks for coming in! You've been very generous with information, you know, for the millions of people listening around the world who have been dying to get the information, and who have asked a lot of questions! Have a great Christmas, and a great New Year, and give all of our love to the boys, yeah?"

Ed: "Yeah, a pleasure! And lots of love from us to everyone."

Zane: "Alright, take care, mate. We're going to play the song that you contributed to the latest Help! compilation, which a lot of people want to hear, so, thanks very much man, take care!"

Ed: "Cheers!"

[plays 'I Want None Of This']