The interview was pre-recorded. It was taped on november 19th, when Thom and Ed were at the Broadcasting House to talk live on air to Steve Lamacq. This is a transcript from an audio recording of the radio broadcast.
Zane: "...and this is an interview that requires some level of respect and thought.
Ed: Laughs. Not too much, please.
Zane: So we said, that would be definitely inappropriate... Ed O'Brien, Thom Yorke, from Radiohead, thanks for, for joining us in the studio, and welcome back to Radio One, how are ya?
Thom: Yeah, all right. We're on, are we?
Zane: We are..
Thom: Ok, good.
Zane: I'm always recording, Thom, always recording, as you know...
Thom: Oh really?
Zane: It's funny, I was talking to somebody, Um, earlier on today about this interview and how I was really looking forward to it, because it's been quite some time since i've had a proper sit-down, sort of in-depth chat with any members of the band, and, Um, and the person said, "Are you? It's going to be a tricky one though 'cause you can't just come out and ask Radiohead what their favorite Cheese is." And I said, "Well why not?" We'll start with "What's your favorite cheese?"
Thom: Do you still eat cheese, Ed?
Ed: Um, I have a sprinkling of parmesan occasionally on a bit of pasta but that's it!
Zane: Oh, COME ON!
Ed: But I don't, I hate cheese!
Zane: Well you look well for it, for what it's worth, but...
Ed: I don't LIKE cheese, I don't. It's like, it's just...no, don't go there, man! But I love the cheese industry. I would never do anything against the cheese industry...
Zane: Well it's good of you to be unbiased about it,
Zane: cause it's a shame that you can't enjoy the simple pleasure that is cheese. Thom, are you a "cheese man"?
Thom: I have to, I'm a vegetarian so I live on Cheese.
Zane: You do! And your favorite cheese is?
Zane: Gorgonzola 's a good sharp...
Thom: Like nice, you know, the drippy ones...
Thom: that drip out of the packet?
Ed: No, man.
Zane: You're a "cheddar man", you can get on with a little mature cheddar?
Thom: Actually, yeah, I mean, cheddar with everything.
Zane: Cheddar! I mean, people who say that cheddar isn't their favorite cheese are really pushing the boat out, I think. Because it's so adaptable.
Thom: But only if it's, you know, extra mature.
Zane: It's GOT to be extra mature, Mild I just think is a waste of time.
Thom: Yeah, well, the kids have Mild, and I just can't do it.
Zane: Laughing. That's true, that's true. Mild for the kids and extra mature for the mature.
Thom: Yeah. It's just lUmpy yellow.
Zane: Yeah. Well, it's not really cheese. You know, it's like saying, I don't know, "Cheese slices" are your favorite cheese.
Thom: I think this is going well! What do you think?
Zane: "This is probably the finest interview I've done in the last three years!"
Zane: Ok. Let's get down to business. Radiohead fans "pulling their hair out" as we speak. "Is he going to spend the next thirty minutes talking about Cheese?" The album In Rainbows, absolutely Superb, and thanks for, for coming through again with another great record, from a fan's point of view. I really appreciate the music, so thank you very much...
Thom: Thanks very much Zane!
Zane: Thanks again! You sort of folzaned the release of this record... and we'll get to the methods, as I'm sure you're expecting, at some point...but, you folzaned it with, you know, no Shows, that I'm aware of, no specific promo outside doing the stuff you wanted to do like the webcast the other day... It must be quite...sort of...strange to have distance for the first time following the release of a record and not feel like you're under some kind of scheduled plan!
Thom: But also as you say, extremely strange, I mean the day the down...when people were downloading it. I'm not sure, but I think I sat at home, and did nothing.
Thom: And that was it!
Ed: That's been the question today: "What were you doing on the 10th of October?"
Thom: Not a god darn thing!
Ed: NO Idea. Completely normal.
Thom: Yeah, and then sort of...we had a meeting a few days later and everyone was going "Woohoo" and I just felt like I didn't understand what...you know, our job was done by that point, and it was, you know, sometimes like the worst thing is that you get to the end of making this thing that, you know, hopefully you're proud of, but yet, just at that moment, you should be enjoying the fact that you've worked your nuts off for ages... you then have to sort of jUmp into this other...
Thom: Pan. Fire. Cheese. And...to not have that, you get the Actual sense of release, like "This is going out, and then, you know, press Return, and it's gone.
Thom: That's it!
Zane: Well, I was thinking... no sort of traditional "charts", no crowds to celebrate it, nobody patting you on the back personally, a few reviews further down the line. It's such a personal celebration, isn't it, you know, in a way!
Zane: To get the record out that way. It's such a personal thing.
Thom: Personal comes up a lot at the moment, actually! People say it 's a very personal record as well! So, you know, if you get to this stage and you're still going, there's a load of baggage that's it's difficult to get past when people ...you know, you say the name Radiohead, and you're going to get Thirty percent, at least, not that I'm doing a Murray chart or anything, but you know, they're gonna roll their eyes and Naff off.
Thom: So it's nice to sort of just try and dispense with that as much as possible and just go directly to the people who want to know about it first, and just to walk past all that stuff...it feels really nice.
Zane: Mhm! Well, you know, you say that. Yet in between the time of release and now you've become, probably, the most talked-about band in the world again. I thought those days were behind you.
Thom: Darn it!
Zane: But unfortunately, here you are all over again, ironically! Ten years after almost to the day when it happened before.
Zane: But never mind, you can't help being brilliant, ultimately.
Zane: I wanted to point out that without a great album, all this talk about, you know, "Unique release strategies" ...
Thom: It would be completely guff wouldn't it!
Ed: Laughs, It'd be so guff
Zane: I mean, you're not the first band to try and do something unorthodox, "outside of the infrastructure" but to be fair, most of those albums are wack. So, in a sense, for you guys to come back with this album, it's important that we talk about the album first and Foremost, and the making of the record, you know? Cause that's what's important! Um, After Hail to the Thief, how soon did you start to contemplate making a record, after you finished the touring? I think we last met, it was a Christmastime down at Maida Vale.
Thom: That was when I was really sick, as well.
Zane: Well, you played great for us and we appreciated the effort ... but I knew that that was it after that. I knew you had some time.
Thom: Yeah yeah, it ended, it just...everything ground to a halt anyway. I went off and "did my own thing" and...
Zane: "How dare you?"
Thom: Well, no, it was all right.
Ed: Yeah, No, it was great.
Thom: Thank you!
Ed: We... some of us bred. I did some breeding,
Thom: Oh! I did some breeding. With my wife.
Ed: With my wife.
Thom: I think most of us bred.
Ed: We all bred, in fact. Quite offensively.
Zane: Isn't it nice that Mother nature and in fact God if you believe in higher powers were able to work within Radiohead's schedule?
Zane: "Sure, have a kid!"
Thom: Only just, actually, only just. It got a bit sticky at points.
Thom: Sorry, I shouldn't...
Zane and Ed: laughing.
Zane: Ex-actly! I was about to follow that in with something, but I think I'll let that one pass. So: You went away, and "made babies",
Zane: And then you decided to make a record, or did the decision kind of make it for itself, you know? Was it something that you all got together and talked about, or... I'm just trying to start a "time line"...
Thom: I don't know, man. It was sort of a weird time, really - 'cos everyone was off doing their own thing, and getting back together and stuff...you know: We're gettin' on now, Zane. Trails off.
Zane: So what's the catalyst, what's the spark, which brings it, which makes it easier, what makes a record a reality?
Thom: As long as you, you just got to have got Somewhere. You just have to feel like ... And at the end of all that, we went and we did some shows in London, we did the Hammersmith and we did a few shows around the place playing the songs that we were hoping to record, lalala, just to get...just to get the blood going again. You know?
Zane: Well, you've done this before as well, I know that you did this before the Bends?
Thom: Yeah, we've done it a lot, I'm kind of...
Ed: But the difference with The Bends was, when we did it, we had to sort of force these songs in, and we couldn't sort of indulge, couldn't play like eight or nine new songs a night, we had, we could do two or three before we lost the, you know, the audience's interest.
Thom: -- Before we lost em.
Ed: Yeah. Whereas, we went out last year to a very Partisan audience,
Ed: You know, and it wasn't necessarily the best critical mirror. You know -- 'cause it was "Hey! It's all good." And they're clapping and it's all sorta..."These songs are terrific! They're brilliant! Go into the studio..."
Thom: "Even if he *is* playing drums!"
Ed: "Go into the studio!" and it's like, "Right! We are terrific. We can record these. Nigel will do this in..."
Thom: By the way, now I'm a drUmmer
Zane: That one where he got up on his own and just mimicked a Hi-hat, I loved that one! That was amazing, god!
Thom: No, it wasn't that good actually...
Ed: And it was...it was interesting, cos, we got into the studio, and it wasn't all that good when we got in and did what we had been doing live that everyone had been going "Yeah! It's great! These songs are brilliant!" It was... it made us quite insecure about the whole thing, I think. Where I thought... this whole thing about like "Yeah, these are really good songs, we'll just do it quickly, we'll do it like we did it live, man, we'll just cut it," and it just didn't work.
Zane: Business as usual then?
Thom: Yes but... yeah, absolutely. As usual, everybody else is totally pUmped up, and we're not.
Zane: Quite frankly, I have to say at this point, it's amazing we get anything out of them at all!
Thom: It's amazing. I...
Ed: That's true...
Thom: It's amazing we get out of bed.
Zane: But then you take a look at the "back catalogue" and we're spoiled. And the new album In Rainbows is something else. We're gonna play a song right now that feels appropriate, just to pause for a second and play some music, 'cause that's really the most important thing, so we're gonna play track nUmber 2 from In Rainbows, called Bodysnatchers. On Radio 1.
Zane: Check it out. Bodysnatchers, first piece of music that we're gonna play tonight from the album In Rainbows, and... Thom Yorke and Ed O'Brien: Good to see ya,
Thom: Good evening.
Zane: Back on "the promo trail"
Zane: I for one am stoked about that.
Thom: Stoked!! I haven't heard that word since we were last on the promo trail!
Thom and Ed: Laughing.
Zane: Take a look at my shoes, Thom, I'm still desperately holding onto "skater dad" right now with the vans, you know? I should know better.
Thom: Yeah. Well we all should zane, but it's all right.
Ed: Yeah, we're all doing that.
Zane: Laughs. Ok, I'll take a "stoked" for the team then. Um, so... Ed, you told us at one point when you were going through this process about considering the record, and I'm not sure where we were, when we went to Bodysnatchers, but you were considering working with Mark "Spike" Stent, who people listening to this won't really know, and some might not care who he is, but he's not... not Nigel Godrich.
Zane: To a lot of people was the point. So how did that work out? Did you get recordings done with him? Did you go into the studio?
Ed: We...We got some recordings done, but we kind of needed to go back out on the road, we thought, we still hadn't sorted out a lot of our stuff, our internal stuff as well.
Thom: We hadn't sorted out. Yeah. We hadn't got it together.
Ed: We hadn't gotten it together.
Zane: Were you forcing it, do you think? Were you forcing yourselves to try and make a record that... do you know what i mean? Why couldn't you give yourselves the space? Were you hungry to create and it just wasn't flowing; was that the problem? Was the intention there?
Thom: I don't Know, man. I don't know what was going on. I mean...Spike was, he was really...I mean: he was a brave bloke walking into that scenario. Frankly, anybody would be.
Ed: And he had great energy. I mean he came in with amazing energy and sort of, like, you know, but: It was just: We...again, he s...what he did was he held a mirror up to us. And we just, weren't happening at the time. And whether it was, who knows what it was, but it was: maybe it was that we weren't communicating properly: who knows? But we needed to, it was then at that stage you said, "I think we should go out on the road."
Zane: That seems to be your solution for everything Thom, doesn't it?
Thom: Yea, that's not good, is it...
Zane: "I tell you what, just pack up your equipment..."
Thom: But it worked.
Ed: To some extent it worked.
Thom: Yeah, and I don't intend to do that next time.
Ed: No? All right...
Thom: Well, I think it's actually like momentUm, it's about: you get it going again and it sort of, now since In Rainbows has come out, and since the sort of feeling that is sort of of Good will, and stuff that's going around, it feels much more as though that it was about being positive about what you're up to, and everybody, if you're still hUman about what you do, you're gonna go through periods where you're not that positive about it or like, you just can see it for what it is: and maybe it ain't that great, and maybe you need to rebuild. So, you knock it down and you rebuild. And that's what you do.
Thom: I mean: If you aren't doing that, then you're stuffed anyway.
Zane: Yeah, well exactly. When you're in a "comfort zone", which isn't...
Thom: "Comfort zone", now there's a phrase that came up a lot.
Zane: Yeah, I bet! As in "take ourselves out of the comfort zone"
Thom: Yeah! "Faster!"
Thom: Let's move out of the comfort zone, approximately 10 dbb b b b bpm,
Zane: Basically 15 beats per minute faster, 5 db higher, and let's change this up completely, Um: What songs survived the move out of the comfort zone from the early sessions: What, you know, is In Rainbows loyal to the original vision of it anyway, or is a lot of it, apart from "Nude" obviously, which is, done ...
Thom: I don't think we had gotten to any sort of vision of it by that point anyway.
Ed: I mean, a lot of the songs. I mean, Bodysnatchers we did, when we'd done a... House of Cards we did, when we did a version of that self producing that.. You know? A lot of the stuff was, they're the same songs, apart from say probably "Reckoner",
Ed: They're the same songs re-recorded... many times.
Zane: (Laughs) I was gonna say, you know, Nude obviously pops up on the record, and that song's been around for some time, I mean, everyone seems to be focusing on that, because I think, partly, and I'm putting maybe assUmptions in people's peripheral here, but it comes from a precious session from a time when OK Computer was happening, and people seemed to have this vibe about that song, of like "You know, it comes from Ten years ago!" I think that's why people are putting a lot of weight on this one as opposed to some of the other ones that have been played live nUmerous times.
Ed: Yeah, and it was on Meeting People is Easy also...a live version of it.
Zane: Yeah, exactly.
Thom: But it never really made it. I was always uncomfortable with the way I would sing it, we never had a bass line, and then suddenly we had a bass line that I was really into, and it had, you know, this... But most of all it was one of those songs, where suddenly the lyrics really made sense. So... And they hadn't done so since I'd written them. So, it just had its time, you know?
Zane: Exactly. Why shouldn't songs be allowed to grow and develop over time?
Zane: I completely agree. Are there a lot? Is there sort of a vast amount of songs, is there box set or a series of them at least in any which way?
Thom: There's always gonna be a sea of this stuff. You know?
Zane: Are you precious about it being heard?
Thom: I'd like to get it all done, you know? But everything, you have to get things to a certain point, you know, it's just: part of me thinks it would be really good to sort of hand them over to other people and say "Go on, you have a go with it!"
Ed: Well that's what people are...
Thom: Well, in a brave new world...
Zane: Yeah. You mean like, take the parts and just hand them over to some respectable people and... you know... That's a cool idea!
Ed: Well that's a very traditional thing, that's like what the Beatles were doing with like handing songs to the Stones in the early days, or somebody writing for somebody else.
Thom: But now you've got the sort of whole thing of like...cos on...I'd done, on the Eraser, we just sent a bunch of things, not many of them have been put out yet, but every track on that's been remixed, and it's mental to hear people just basically strip everything off except the vocal and maybe one other musical part and just do their thing. Like this one, this Burial one, he's done, that's just ...it's Nuts.
Zane: I think it's great that you're open enough to let people do that! I mean, a lot of musicians I think are so precious about their art, they freak out about that kind of stuff, you know what I mean? They get a bit...
Thom: Really? Darn.
Zane: Yeah, yeah...
Thom: I think it's brilliant...
Zane: Plus, I mean if, if rUmor is to be believed it might be the closest that people get to collaborating with you, in the future, I mean if you are in effect planning on not necessarily going out there and literally collaborating with people.
Thom: I don't know! Maybe we would. I mean, you never know, it's just about confidence. Honestly, like the way things have gone into the it sort of coming out in a different way, all that stuff, it sort of, it feels like blowing out all the cobwebs, and there's no preciousness about it and stuff, and, and it feels, you know: I don't feel I'm in any way answerable to the Radiohead thing anymore!
Thom: Which is wicked!
Ed: It's really interesting the way that the framework, you know, like this business framework that everything is sort of hangs... you realise that everything sort of hangs from that, and how actually, it actually, you know, stops you from, it stops you from creating, it can do, and it can become this real chore, and once that's gone: then you've got something else that everything hangs from. It's just... it's liberating, you know: there's a really good buzz about what we're doing at the moment!
Zane: Yeah, there certainly is...
Thom: For us...
Zane: Yes, that's the most important thing, but for fans too. If I can talk about it, 'cause you mentioned it, The Eraser, for a second. Was that a part of it, do you think? Getting...going out there and doing a record on your own to a certain extent of feeling like it was life, not to say that you want that life, but there is a life outside of Radiohead if you choose to be?
Thom: Well, that was: but that was so much of a "solo thing with Nigel", I wasn't really, except for obviously the remix thing, but, in making it, it was totally a one-man band thing, it was kind of dull actually! I mean, it was, it was fun to do but it was really quick: but it was deeply unsatisfying 'cos you weren't really sharing most of the process. But then, you go on back with the band, it was like "My god, there's all these other people I have to work with now!"
Ed: We've got "opinions".
Thom: "They say WHAT THEY THINK?!? Oh, no!" Laughing.
Zane: So, Um, a hell of a record, man! The Eraser! And if it's ok with you guys seeing as how we got you down here, it would be rude not to play something off it, I think, so we'll uh...
Thom and Ed: Laughing
Zane: Oh, why not? Why not, is that all right Ed? My show: No Lowe, no show, THE ERASER.
Ed: Ok, just go for it, all right?? Laughs.
Zane: Thom Yorke! Thank you for The Eraser!
Thom: Thank you!
Zane: Great record! Ed O'Brien! Let's focus on Radiohead, you know, I could see you bristling there when we were talking about that, it was amazing! You know? Incredible how he was getting really wound up, you know, shoulders looking hunched,
Zane: It was uncomfortable. Um: In Rainbows...
Zane: The idea of the way you released it which of course everyone knows about now, with the "Pay as you please", putting it up online relatively quickly, from what I can gather, after you made the decision, as well, like: OK, we're going to do this, and then it was like, Well, we can pretty much do this whenever we want, we don't have to wait!
Zane: Um, when did that idea actually: When did you start to contemplate, not necessarily come up with that idea, but contemplate how you were going to distribute your record?
Thom: I'm tr...
Ed: I reckon it was about April or May.
Thom: Was it?
Ed: Yeah...when we had a...the management came down to the studio.
Zane: You'd broken the back of the album by this point?
Ed: ...Yah. We were still...
Ed: We were about seventy percent done, weren't we?
Thom: Oh God, that was the eight or nine weeks straight without stopping. Wasn't it.
Ed: Yeah, and that was, we were sort of mixing and finishing tracks...
Zane: You were on a roll though, on a roll...
Ed: We were in London on Primrose Hill...
Thom: Oh, there, yeah.
Ed: And it was: And they came down with the idea, and mooted the idea, and we were like: It just instinctively felt right.
Ed: Um, and. But we had to finish it, which is Always ...it's always an interesting... time.
Zane: Laughs. If you could see Ed O'Brien right now, listeners, there'd be a wry smile crawling across his face.
Ed: Well it's just, you know
Thom: Whereas I am adopting the "Blank face approach"
Ed: Laughing. It's: But it... We had to put everything on hold and we knew that we had sort of had a rough day, so we sort of: We broke for the summer. We had our summer holidays, which was great! We had about six weeks off for the summer. And we sort of...
Thom: Which was nice!
Ed: Which was nice... And we reconvened at the beginning of September and said...
Zane: Fresh start. Here we go!
Ed: Tally ho! Yeah.
Zane: Right on! What an idea. God, I remember the first time that I was told that, well, I read the report like everybody else, that this was how you were going to do it. Not to sound like someone who doesn't have much of a life, but, I...it was an instant...I instantly thought A. What a Brilliant thing for a band to be able to do and to feel that free. and, B. You know, This will go down! This decision will go down, This will be remembered.
Ed: Well, it's just that sense of fun as well, though, I remember about three days before we announced it, at the end of the summer, there was one of those like Culture guides or music guides about the release of albums.
Thom: Oh that was brilliant!
Ed: And there it was like: "The Radiohead album is probably going to be expected in March", they had all these albums in there, and I thought: In Two days time,
Thom: In Two days time, you are going to get a Nasty Letter.
Ed: Now of course you had no idea how it was going to be percieved, but you knew that we'd figure on those peoples' radars, you know?
Zane: Oh yeah, definitely... Well, I think a lot of people now are working out new ways of finding and discovering music, and whether it's, you know, they're not just serially going to record stores,
Thom: Especially people who listen to your show, man, they're totally down with that stuff!
Zane: They definitely understand and they're definitely aware, it was a talking point, what was...amazed me, was, after the album had come out, it was a talking point for weeks. It wasn't like it came and went and everyone heard the album. People on message boards were still asking questions about it. "How much did you pay" "What do you think" Da da da da da, dada. And it really has: You're the first band to have gotten it right.
Thom: But. But at the same time, you know, we're still gonna put out a normal one, too!
Zane: Well, this is what I was gonna ask this question at some point, this seems like as good a time as any, having heard that, what is considered, you know, a percieved success, and you've pointed out, irrespective of sales or money or any of that kind of stuff, just the good will that's coming to the band makes the decision to release it this way a success.
Zane: Based around the album. What are the benefits of going back into the infrastructure??
Ed: Well, I'd say... I'll tell you exactly: Last week:
Zane: No disrespect to XL, who I love by the way.
Ed: Yeah. Last week I went into ROUGH TRADE East: That is what a record store is about! It's absolutely brilliant. You realise that; all that's going on: this isn't an "anti retail" thing, all it: all that we're doing is doing something different. And we, it's important for us to be in outlets like that one. That is really important. That's the stuff that, you know, that's what, those great record shops will stay, and we should never forget that stuff, 'cause
Zane: Well, that's the Meeting place.
Zane: That's where people meet and form bands!
Ed: And the, you know: the education that you get going into those record stores: their recommendations, you know, the people who work there.
Thom: As opposed to the "People who bought this record Also Bought this record"
Ed: Cracking up
Zane: Laughs. What are you alluding to, Thomas?
Thom: I can't possibly say!
Zane: Oh. Software...
Thom: ..."NO I didn't!" Laughs
Zane: Do you download. Do you use the internet the same way that your audience do?
Thom: Yeah. Yeah. I like Bleep actually. That's my favorite; Bleep.com. They're really good; but they also do that: But at least they're listing records you might be interested in.
Zane: Right! Ok. So it's intelligent software.
Ed: And I'll do the late-night guilty pleasure on I tunes.
Zane: Easy. Oh, on itunes, right... We're not going to get sticky again are we?
Ed: No, no, no, no.
Zane: Just joking.
Thom: OHMBAH. Oa oa.
Zane: Yeah, the late night guilty pleasure, Ed, please clarify?
Ed: Yeah well you know, when you've had a few or whatever, and someone says:
Zane: Clarify, Ed, clarify.
Ed: Well YOU KNOW. When you're either drunk, or you've, whatever, and someone says, "I haven't heard", you're talking about music, and you haven't heard like, I don't know, like a track like, I don't know. "I know what it is you're thinking of Paul Thomas Anderson, Magnolia" And you're going like "What was that?? What was that...what was that Supertramp song, you know? and it's like... like that stuff is valid.
Zane: So you'll log on, you look at what people have bought...
Thom: You log on and then you download. What you're saying is... let me get this straight. What you're saying is, you get, like, busy,
Ed: I get busy...
Thom: downloading Supertramp?
Ed: Yeah baby. There's nothing like a bit of old retro seventies stuff, I haven't heard enough of it.
Zane: Aw! I think i'd have prefered that you had gotten "sticky" to be honest with you.
Thom: Let's see you go together.
Zane: I know one band that you have downloaded, or bought, or supported, 'cause you want us to play a song, we asked you guys to choose a band and a song, and, hot off the Webcast, you've chosen the Kings of Leon record.
Ed: Oh man! Just...
Zane: Now, I love this album! I think it's one of my favorite albums of the year!
Ed: I agree! And I didn't sort of get the album until...I mean I loved the first two records, and it wasn't until I saw them live, at Hammersmith, I had a, kind of one of those religious nights, it was a Friday night, the whole place was in party mood. And you just...and they are just, they're just amazing! I just think they're just a great, great band, and amazing songs that they play: and they've got that "Other Thing" going on. I love to see a band that progresses...and they totally progress.
Zane: Yeah! They evolved brilliantly, you know? I think that they will be a band that in time, if they can continue to make records as great as they've made, and do their own thing and not necessarily play the straight line, they will end up, dare I say, in the same company as yourselves. And bands like Pearl jam who I have great respect for as well. 'cause Pearl Jam do exactly what they want to do and they continue to make great records. And they have the back catalogue to back it up. And I think Kings of Leon are one of the bands that other bands kind of envy!
Ed: Yeah, I agree with you, I saw Pearl Jam last year, blew my mind, the first time I'd seen them live.
Zane: Oh man! The fire in their belly, it's still there...
Ed: They are so great.
Zane: Incredible! Anyway, we're gonna play "My Party" for Ed and then we're gonna come back and continue to talk to Thom and Ed. Right now, from Radiohead:
(kings of leon my party)
Zane: Thom Yorke!
Zane: How's the tea?
Thom: Yes, I'm done that now,
Zane: BBC'S FINEST
Thom: I think my teeth are going to fall out.
Zane: And Ed, thanks for the Kings of Leon choice. And we're gonna play something that, uh, you want to hear a little bit later on, Thom ...
Thom: Oh! Cool.
Zane: ... that's not anywhere near as entertaining, listeners. Eh? Just kidding. Let's talk a little bit more about In Rainbows and the environment in which you guys recorded it in, just to backtrack for a second. Is it important? Do you treat, you talked about you had been going on nine weeks straight. Do you treat the recording of a record almost like clocking in? Do you treat it quite clinically to get the job done? Or is environment, and vibe, for lack of a better term, important for the process?
Thom: It's really important initially, because, because of exactly what you're saying about the clocking in, clocking out thing. You've got to get away from that. You've got to find yourself in a place that's unfamiliar and you've got to respond to that somehow. Whether that's when you're going out on tour, whether that's when you're going into a studio you don't know, or. You know, the downside obviously, of like having our own studio and stuff, there are a lot of sort of Upsides: the one downside is that it's like, it is like a clock in/clock out thing. So you've got to start of the processes, proceedings without that. And, but we went to the other extreme, OH My God yes we did.
Zane: Go on.
Thom: We had this...dilapidated
Zane: Is this Tottenham House?
Thom: Yeah. A mansion place out in the middle of nowhere that, it was run-down to the point where it was probably dangerous.
Zane: Who found it?
Thom: You know? When we were using those film... If you're ever really bored and want to get off on a Friday night, you could, you can like go onto these "Film location" things and put in all these like...you know, search for like old houses from film locations, and the places that come up! And I think we found one of them through that, it was crazy.
Zane: That's your idea of a big night in, huh?
Thom: Not really, no.
Zane: Laughs. Tottenham house, that's the, well, if it's as bad as you say it is, you're talking about getting yourselves out of the comfort zone, that's about as out of the comfort zone as you can!
Thom: Yeah, it was pretty Uncomfortable. I got really ill, as well.
Zane: Did you?
Ed: Not psychologically.
Zane: Proper to-the-bones kind of ill...
Thom: Yeah, like, couldn't swallow. All sorts of fun.
Ed: Yeah. We had no heating in the place, it was kind of, it was turning into winter.
Zane: Oh man, this was by choice?
Thom and Ed: ...Yes.
Zane: I tell you. That's what success gets you... Can you hear it on the record? Can you hear Tottenham house all over the album?
Thom: Yeah, you can hear it! 'cause it's in the reverb!
Ed: Oh, you can! You're right.. the reverb.
Thom: That was a standing joke when we left, cause we thought like basically we had got nothing at all, and, uh...
Thom: Well, we actually got those out of it. But the joke was, at the time, "Well, we got the nice reverb sound,"
Zane: Yeah, yeah...
Thom: Let's go find another place!
Zane: All part of the process. uh, your ongoing and obviously very good creative relationship with Nigel Godrich, um, you know, you've done well since you've started working with him. He's done well since he's started working with you. That's always the sign of a great collaboration I think! Um, and you ended up coming back around to him again, after trying your hand with somebody else, no disrespect to that person, but this is obviously something that you feel you need even still at this stage of your career. This relationship with him, this collaboration.
Thom: Yeah! It's a second-guessing thing. That's what I find with him, you know, we both, OK, me and him especially, like drive eachother up the wall, but ...
Zane: I just wonder why, you know, at this point, how much you guys have learnt over the course of making records. And you put yourselves, obviously, through the wringer ... why you necessarily need a producer.
Thom: It's because we trust him.
Ed: Oh, it would be so totally different. We did sessions without him also, and it just did not work.
Ed: It Doesn't work.
Zane: What was the shortcoming of...or shortcomings?
Ed: You need some...for a start you need somebody who can be vaguely objective. You know? And when you're playing the music it's really difficult to actually do that.
Ed: You get a sense of it, but you need someone to go "Listen, no, this is really good." and you need somebody to just organize it and to, he brings so much to it. When we did it ourselves it just was not happening.
Thom: Yeah man. laughs. Not happening.
Ed: Not happening.
Zane: Thank goodness you've got someone in your camp, that speaks, that makes sense to you, and someone you can listen to as well!
Zane: Definitely. And you know, since you guys released the record this way, and you talked about, you know, you signed to XL Records now in the United Kingdom, ATO in the United States, so once it, you know, you are going...
Thom: We're licensing it...
Zane: You're going back in the record industry but you're doing it in a bespoke fashion. You're teaming up with people that you like in certain territories and it's not like a worldwide...
Thom: We didn't want to take on that as well. 'cause it would just blow our minds. And, and, I had a good relationship with XL.
Zane: Over the Eraser, yeah! So, you're gonna do that, but, but before you do that, obviously there's been some interesting insinuations going on about what happened about the download and the fact that, you know, that so many people downloaded it and paid X amount for it, and you know, I thought this was interesting,is it too conspiratorial to think that people saying this isn't a success could be: some people trying to...
Thom: Could they be the very same people?
Zane: Could they be fighting back, in a way?
Thom: Hmm! Is that at all possible?
Ed: Who knows? I mean we haven't...
Zane: Has it crossed your mind?
Thom: Well, Um,
Zane: You know?
Thom: It's satisfying to know that it's all a complete crock. And actually, thank you, we've done very very nicely out of it, and screw you the lot of you! But, yes, it's amusing to postulate on who it could possibly be distributing this story.
Zane: That's so funny, though, isn't it, you know? You guys come out and make a decision, to do this thing, and the next thing you know, people are saying "Well, it doesn't work"... "Well how do you know?"
Ed: Well exactly. And, I mean, the whole point of it was... it was an experiment, how do you define whether it works or not? It's just observing a pattern of behavior.
Zane: One thing which you have set yourselves up for as well, I'm sure you've heard as well, is that certain people are being slightly critical...
Thom: Certain people...
Zane: Well, you know, I've spoken to a couple of people who don't get colUmn inches in the paper, who would agree with this, who would say, that, no disrespect to yourselves, but it's not a template that everyone can use.
Ed: Well, no.
Thom: We have been saying that. Well, we didn't say it, but Chris and Bryce you know went out and did this, said the whole point is, yeah, obviously it's not a template, it ain't gonna work for, probably, it was a response to, basically, you're in this situation, right? Where you've done something that you really, really like. Someone suggests to you, "How about we put it on the web and then people go and listen to it?" End of sentence. And you go, "Yeah, all right, that sounds good."
Thom: That's the end of the...you know, and to say, "Oh, a template for a new type of.." is all like froth. It's amusing froth because, as Ed says, it's an experiment, we were like, we were messing with the system given the opportunity "Would you or would you not?" Of course you would.
Ed: Yeah: Everyone would.
Thom: That was basically the end of the thought! The thought then went "FLUFF".
Zane: Uh, the webcast looked fun! Didn't it?
Thom: Uh yeah!
Zane: Now I particularly liked your attempt at TV Presenting with Adam Buxton! That was awesome.
Thom: Thank you very much, I was like...
Zane: "I'm a bit nervous."
Thom: Uh, well, there's no audience whatsoever and you have no idea whether anyone's listening at all, so you assUme they're not!
Zane: Laughing. Yeah well the problem is, it's all over You tube now, it's got a billion people looking at it! So there might not have been any audience on the night...but unfortunately in this modern day, it sticks!
Thom: Yeah, well, nevermind.
Ed: Well, it's like, you just let it go. It's fun!
Zane: No, it's fun! It was...
Thom: In low quality!
Zane: And the music selections were great as well! Obviously lovely to hear you guys play the songs, some of the new songs for the first time, but really cool to hear you get stuck into the record collections...
Thom: Well, we're gonna do another one: I mean, we used to do the webcasts quite...a lot. We've done them in the past and that was actually just an excuse to, you know, mess about, and actually play eachother what we were listening to!
Zane: Yeah, yeah, yeah
Thom: So we're gonna do another one like that, and before, it was really Low-rent, and, you know, like I-chat
Zane: What's this? jeez, what were...Some of the effects you were using were positively horrific!
Ed: Aw! It was state-of-the-art, pal!
Thom: Listen, this was all...
Ed: Nigel bought...
Zane: It was like something out of a 1975 Paradise garage!
Thom: That's exactly what it is!
Ed: Well Nigel's been buying all this stuff on ebay! He's got all these old 80's kind of like BBC mixing desks and old cameras. We've got a whole stock there.
Zane: No, I did love it.
Thom: Nasty Green-screen type effects.
Zane: I watched this really cool short film called The Maestro the other day which is all about like, you know, the developing dance scene in New York City in the late 60's through to the mid-80's at the Paradise Garage, the Loft, the Gallery: All these places that opened up because, the mayor at the time,funnily enough, as is today, wouldn't let you dance in certain areas and you had to have a cabaret license, and that's how all these clubs started up. It was all shot in, and the way it was shot, was, all these effects, and all this crazy atmosphere, and it was exactly like the stuff you guys were using. You stUmbled across a nice vibe in it!
Thom: Oh man, it's great! Cause our studio is now a TV Studio: we have a TV control room with all these old clunky cameras plugged in, it's wicked! The only trouble is, we've discovered like why people have radios when you do TV! You know? Cause everyone is always walking around with a headset, the reason is, as we discovered on the night, everyone's running around the place going "What's next???" "What's next???" "You're on." "What do you mean we're on?" "Yaah!"
Zane: Tell me about it. Listen, I'm sitting right here...
Ed: Am I on?
Thom: Are you on?
Ed: Yes, you're on.
Thom: Are you on, Zane?
Zane: I am always on, Thom, as you know. And that's because, unfortunately, I do the TV thing as well as the radio thing and I can tell you, that as much as I love doing "gonzo", and that's an easy job to do compared to radio, like you say, it's so much more involved, so many more people you have to talk to. Timings actually matter, and even for something as fun as a webcast... But the good news is you got to play some great records! And, we're gonna play one of the artists I think that you broadcast on the webcast, Chk Chk Chk (!!)
Thom: Oh yeah!!
Zane: ...that you're really into: Bend over Beethoven. So, this is a record Thom wants to hear on Radio 1, right now, and who we to stand in his way? A great band, "!!".
(!!! Bend Over Beethoven)
Zane: "!!"; Thank you Thom Yorke for that! This is called "Bend over Beethoven", you were saying how you're a big fan of the Middle-eight,
Thom: Yes... somewhat extended middle eight!
Zane: Listen, it's been ten years since OK Computer changed your lives and changed the lives of many people. And Um, I know that you know, as a record, there are times I think that the impression was that's it's been an Albatross, something that's been hard for you to get away from, I don't know...
Thom: I don't think that I... I never...No. It was more people started talking to you a bit weird for for a while.
Thom: You know? But if people thought it was a good record, then people thought it was a good record.
Zane: More than that, Thom! In fact it starts our second round of "Masterpiece albums" next year, when we do this, in the first half of 2000 and 8, Um, and if it's all right with you, I don't know if we've checked with anyone, but we're gonna play the whole album in full from front to back with no interruptions on Radio 1!
Thom: How bizarre!
Zane: Yeah. Well, we've done it already with four records, and it's very strange hearing gaps.
Thom: Yeah! Dead air space! Doesn't music normally kick in when you get dead air space?
Zane: Well we take it off, we make a few calls and make sure the emergency track doesn't have to... The last thing...
Thom: Alarm noises.
Zane: we want is to get in between Track 1 and Track 2 and get to Britney spears - baby one more time.
Thom: That might kill the vibe a little!
Zane: A little bit, yeah. Um, when you listened back to that album, when it was finished for the first time, when you were finally done it, and you listened to the master copy, did you feel even a fraction of what people would go on to feel on that record? Did you feel like you had created something really special? Or were you too close?
Thom: Aw, truthfully?
Ed: Yeah, I thought we'd done something really amazing!
Thom: Really? I just wanted to get the fuck out.
Ed: I thought it was just really, you know, I remember thinking it was...just having that gut feeling, thinking:
Ed: "This is really pretty audacious, this is kind of quite bold," but it had all those things of the music and stuff that we were into! It had a depth to it, and it had an emotional resonance, and it was kind of: It's funny, to me that album is totally of that time. To me it's like, that, I know that probably sounds pretty obvious, but where we were, it was very representative, and you know, when also, the other song, the only other band was maybe "Bittersweet symphony". That just, there was just something about, I don't know, I remember it being quite a dark time.
Thom: I just remember that I wanted to get the hell out.
Zane: Why were you...
Thom: ...in every way. I had just had enough. I don't know what it was, but I just went..
Ed: Well we hadn't stopped for...
Thom: We just didn't stop at all, and then we like, Straight-on tour, lalala, and then Meeting people is..
Zane: Straight on tour, yeah, while people were filming you, I was going to say, and the world 's going crazy about this record.
Thom: Yeah and I had a friend of mine last night, I was out on the raz last night and a friend of mine said she saw some footage of whatever of us playing somewhere during that period, and she said "Man, you looked so ill" "And you looked so unhappy, and I haven't seen you like that since," "What the hell was going on?" You know, I don't think about it now, but, she reminded me of it last night, it was like, yeah, I mean, I was saying to the others, "I need to get off. I need to get off the train now."
Zane: There were some genuinely uncomfortable moments in watching that film...
Zane: It was a brave exercise on your behalf and at the same time do you kind of regret it in a way? You know, making that film at that time, now having been reminded? Or do you think it's just part of the process?
Ed: No. It's part of it and Grant who made it, was, he was totally authentic.
Thom: It was his call
Ed: And he, what he was trying to do was docUment about how uncomfortable it was, for the five of us, and he totally knew what was going on.
Ed: And it was, ...
Thom: I think that the definitive moment for me was like going to my own "after show" in New York and some guy, who was supposed to be the guy at the door, thought it was really clever to actually stand there slagging me off for ten minutes so I couldn't get into my own aftershow... I was just like, this is very strange! I don't understand this. I need to go home and have a rest!
Zane: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Thom: Anyway, could be worse, hey!
Zane: And what a record! And I can't wait to play it in full!
Zane: I cannot wait to play it in full from start to finish. I think it's gonna really be a reminder for people who haven't been reminded in some time, you know, and ...is that cool with you? Can we...
Thom: I think it's amazing that anyone still gives a monkey, so that's great, yeah!
Zane: Brilliant! Let's talk about touring in the future. Now I read somewhere, and this could be wikipedia rUmour or myth, but you're gonna be out on the road in May?
Zane: That's when it starts?
Ed: Hopefully, yeah. We haven't confirmed anything, but the idea is to go out in May, start off in America, come back here in June and July, head back to America, and then we are gonna go to hopefully go to Japan, And, hopefully South America where we've never been before! Well, Argentina and Brasil.
Zane: Big day out 2009!
Thom: I'm sorry, what? Where's that?
Ed: It's in Australia, and New Zealand.
Zane: I'm just saying, it's Christmas holidays... it would be nice to see you. The barbecue is always hot. I'll get the grill on!
Zane: Uh, bigger, bigger venues I heard, as well? What does this mean? Why would someone make a statement to say that you guys are gonna make...play bigger venues?
Ed: No. We're not playing bigger venues. No, I think we like...in America we're visiting the same...a lot of the same places.
Zane: Continental mcdonalds burger king airlines arena?
Thom: "I'm happy with the product endorsement now, I've gone through my No Logo phase and I'm quite happy to accept the cash"
Zane: That's good, because Naomi Klein had a strangehold on you for quite some time!
Thom: Nope, I don't care anymore! Unfortunely...that's not true.
Ed: No, the funny thing about us is that we've severely limited the amount of places we can play because of ...our agent is now well...
Thom: Well-versed in our...
Ed: Well-versed in our ways. So our agent has ruled out whole loads of places for us to play, and it's ..."Could we not play there?" "Nope."
Zane: Well, it's good isn't it.. You've got to stay sane on the road in whatever way you can, and if it means that you know, you feel more comfortable about doing it...Um, you looking forward to touring though? You looking forward to playing the new songs?
Ed: I am...
Zane: Thom? I wasn't looking at you, Ed, but thanks for answering...
Ed: I'm really looking forward to playing. I think Thom will need more persuading at the moment.
Thom: Babbling noise.
Zane: It's not til May! Get hard!
Thom: I'll be all right man, I'll get nice and warm and sticky and it will be fine.
Zane: Yeah, all you need is that internet site to look up those warm and comfy movie locations, to keep you warm at night! I'm looking forward...
Thom: Or Supertramp!
Zane: Or S... ... Well, yeah.
Ed: Well, let's get back there! What was the name of that track? What's that track from Magnolia?
Zane: Well there's so many great ones. Was it "Breakfast in america"?
Thom: It's okay, because this is all going to get edited out when it...
Zane: No, no, this is the gold.
Thom: Is it staying in?
Zane: No, this is the promo, this is what's going on Moyles's show.
Ed: It's the brilliant time in that film when they're in the bar, and this Supertramp song comes on and it's absolutely genius... bit of co-existence in the film.
Zane: Yes...think...think. No, I can't remember.
Thom: Where were we?
Zane: We were talking about touring and the fact that you are unsure.
Thom: Oh yeah, well, no. I'll be fine! It's fine. It's fine. I love it. It's fine.
Zane: Do you have any interest in playing festivals? Or do you feel like you kind of did that last time around?
Zane: No, you're up for it?
Ed: Yeah! Festivals are great 'cause its...
Thom: There's a couple that have come up, yeah.
Ed: Yeah, they're really...if you get the right ones, they're really great because again, it's, you don't have a sound check, you just go for it. And it's..
Zane: Some bands would disagree.
Ed: Yeah, well, what's good about it is that it's like the whole thing is the sUm of all these bands' parts. It's not just... people aren't just coming to see you, and that is a really good thing. It's a really nice thing to feel like, you know, you're just playing your music, people are having a whole experience of the weekend, and you're just supplying a little bit of their experience and hopefully, you know, they take a bit of Joy and Love away from it.
Thom: That's the thing that keeps me going: the idea of doing the gigs actually, is the idea of that, that collective experience... thousands of people in a field like, you know, all wanting the same thing going to the same place with the same mindset, I think, is really important.
Zane: Do you have a favorite song that you love to come on to, throughout the history of the band, that you really like, if the setlist comes up and whoever 's chosen it for the night chooses that one, you think "Right, that's good..."
Thom: You mean to start the set? That changes a lot. The trouble, you know, the thing is that it's easy to like, fall into patterns of sort of like, "Oh, well, they'll like that one at the beginning, and, they'll like that one at the end" and you're constantly trying to mess it up, just to keep yourself ... keep the blood going. 'Cause we're old now.
Zane: Laughing. You guys look fine. And you're in good form! And it's really nice to see you in here and it's been great... we love playing your records, and, I think, when we got In Rainbows, we didn't have any idea what a single was so we just pretty much played everything! So uh, it's great to, it's really great to have you guys!
Thom: Thank you Zane, for having us on, man!
Zane: You seem in really good form as well! And I know there are times when that' s been tough!
Thom: Could be worse.
Zane: Yeah, exactly... that's the phrase that keeps popping up. So uh, we're gonna end this now with a, we were trying to think of one of the songs to play off the record, and I think the one that we've both bended around first was Weird Fishes,
Thom: Oh! Good choice!
Zane: And we're going to end with that one, it's a fantastic tune. And, hopefully we'll see you again soon! Thanks guys.