[recording starts here]
(talking heads' RADIO HEAD plays loudly)
Steve: "EH, it's the Talking Heads on 6 Music. Of course: Radio Head, there. Steve Lamacq, 6 Music, Welcome to the program. If you are just joining us, Radiohead At the Beeb today. It's a bit of rock and roll history in the making. And,
Thom: "...or something
Steve: "... laughing a bit, Thom, and Ed... We hope, our fingers crossed, that it's rock and roll history! We're making this up. Uh: Welcome to the studio, welcome back to the studio. How are you?
Thom: "All right Steve, how are you?
Steve: "Yeah, yeah very good,
Thom: "Pretty chuffed my train turned up, eh? Otherwise there wouldn't have been much history!
Steve: "Well we'd still have... See? We'd still have Ed!
Thom: "Oh! That's true, yeah!!
Ed: "That wouldn't be history though...
Thom: "No offense, mate!
Steve: "Well, it would be quiet!
Ed: "It would be quiet.
Steve: "Well, when was the last time you did an interview on your own and at a radio station?
Steve: "It's got to be weeks!
Ed: "It's got...it has, it's got to be, exactly: It's weeks.
Steve: "Laughing. So, uh, that last time you were here, it doesn't seem that long ago! Last time you were here you were talking about In Rainbows, and then, what happens next? Cozzie goes and puts his foot in it saying you're about to, um, go into the studio and record a new record!
Steve: "Have you seen that?
Thom: "No, he makes this stuff up, you know!
Steve: "No, have you seen the Pitchfork interview?
Steve: "(to Thom) Have you?
Thom: "Me? I told him, I said "Be careful with Pitchfork", but did he listen?
Steve: "Puts the cat amongst the pigeons, really has! Have you got... have you got time booked, later in the year? To make another record?
Thom: "Oh, yeah!
Ed: "Have we?
Thom: "Yeah, oh yeah.
Ed: " "There will be words later"
Thom: "Yes, no, yes...
Ed: "(affected voice) "Colin?"
Steve: "So there is some, possibly.
Thom: "Possibly, yes!
Steve: "Possibly, a, a gap in the schedule where..
Thom: "A little hole, there will be a gap. Call and remind me to fall through it.
Ed: "We're going to do some recording...
Ed: "We'll do some recording but it's... we've got to tour first, so.
Steve: "Yeah. So, um, also mentioned was working with Nigel Godrich, and this was the interesting thing, being, just coming back onto the process of recording, which I've always found interesting. And, Colin says, that one of the great things about Nigel is that he's great with psychology in the studio; that's he's very supportive but he's also very objective at the same time. Is that...
Thom: "Yeah. Well someone's got to be objective!
Steve: "Well what do you need in a studio? Do you need reassurance, do you need "subtly directing"?
Thom: "Uh: Um: It mostly..for me personally, mostly the trick is to stop me tearing something up before it's finished.
Thom: "You know, apparently it was... as you were saying the other day there's this point like at, roughly about six-thirty...
Ed: "Laughing...Before supper!
Thom: "We...everybody knows whether it's going well or not depending on whether I wanted to tear it to shreds and kick the place down...roughly around six-thirty! And if I do, then things are going quite well!
Thom and Ed: laughing
Steve: "So that's the crucial point in the day!
Thom: "Well, apparently!
Steve: "What time do you start?
Thom: "Well, it varies.
Ed: "One. Twelve, one. Twelve o'clock.
Steve: "Right...and so by six-thirty, that's the...I mean, what, if it's going badly do you just say, "Let's call it a day, lads, let's go home, let's all eat,"
Thom: "Yeah. Nowadays I get kicked out!
Steve: "I'll be...have you been through a point where you just, you sort of lose your way, or are you very sensitive in the studio, do you each take criticism very well, or do you think, do you just sort of, do you mope around, do you sulk? Maybe sulk isn't the right...
Ed: "No, no one sulks...
Ed: "I mean, that would be, that's, it's, you know: I think people are; I think you really notice; Nigel's brilliant because he's, we really noticed when he wasn't there, when we tried to do it without him.
Ed: "And, for a start: we couldn't finish anything.
Ed: "Nigel's brilliant at finishing off tracks. He's great at starting them!
Thom and Ed laughing:
Thom: "Hang on a minute...
Ed: "And, he is, he's supportive but he, you know, he'll also say, well, he'll be hard when he has to be hard.
Ed: "I guess that's the key: but nobody really, no one really sulks. You know, everybody gets insecure,
Ed: "At times, but it's just, and hopefully those emotions that you go through are the emotions that you sort of capture in the music, as well!
Thom: "I think that there's a point where you've got to be healthy. There has to healthy questioning of what you're doing, but, a tendency for us as a band, and me particularly is the questioning, you know, saturates everything, and so you end up in this sort of... sort of stasis like a permanent cloud of doubt...about everything that's going on!
Steve: "Well you're, it's...
Thom: "And: Nigel is able to sort of, you know, kick through that, otherwise it like wouldn't happen. Like, I was listening to the MGMT album,
Thom: "The other day. There ain't no doubt going on there!
Steve: "Did you like it?
Thom: "It's ultra-confident...yeah, I think it's brilliant!
Steve: "It's a great record.
Thom: "It's an amazing record...
Steve: "So, is there something in your character where you're always like this? When you in university, did you never finish an essay? Did you get halfway to the end and then think...
Steve: "Well, any of you, really!
Thom: "Well, it's a nasty habit you accrue over time.
Thom: "...with the luxury of not having a real job!
Steve: "Have you ever hit a deadline?
Ed: "Yeah, we used to! And we did it, on this record! We did it on this record, we set ourselves a deadline...the end of June, no, beginning of June, everything has to be finished.
Thom: "Deadlines are extremely important, yes, kids!
Steve: "OK. It's the big day today, then: Radiohead at the Beeb: Is this your first proper gig, I guess, in a while, no, it's not a proper gig...well, it is a proper gig but it's just in our Radio Theatre, since playing in East London. What was East London like?
Thom: "That was mental...
Steve: "Wasn't it!
Thom: "It was mental...
Steve: "The pictures are amazing, there's a brilliant picture of you in Spin.
Thom: "Nigel did...cause he's, his other thing he likes to do, you should have him really, why...we don't need to be here, do we!
Thom: "He likes fiddling around with little cameras and stuff, and so we did this webcast thing...in front of the show, with this tiny little system! And, I can't remember how many people watched. it was something absolutely nuts
Steve: "How many people watched... Twelve? Thirteen?
Thom: "No!! Forty-thousand people logged on and watched that little tiny gig in Ninety-Three Ft. east or whatever it was called!! And it looks really great on Youtube, because it's sort of like, you know, "sketchy" as anything and, but it was just...we had a really good time that day, I was going to say, the crew didn't!
Thom: "Poor guys, they had to move...
Steve: "You had to move the venue, didn't you!
Steve: "That was the thing,
Ed: "The police shut us down, man!"
Thom: "They shut us down, man!"
Steve: "Lucky you didn't try and do it on the roof, or something!
Steve: "Um, so how difficult was it deciding for the next batch of dates what you're going to play, and did you have to go and rehearse some of the older material? and, Had you forgotten any of it?
Ed: "Oh yes. We've just spent four weeks rehearsing. And we had like a... there was a list of about, it started off a list of Eighty songs. We did an initial cull down to fifty-five.
Steve: "Fifty-five songs?
Ed: "Yeah, that we have to pick from...
Thom: "It's more like sixty, actually!
Ed: "Yeah, it's more like sixty...
Thom: "I've secretly added yet another five, and he doesn't know.
Ed: "He has this tendency on any blackboard or a list of songs to add...another five on!
Thom: "I'm finished, of course.
Ed: "And by night we're scrubbing them, we're taking them away!
Steve: "What do you do? Sneak back in with a cloth?
Ed: "When we were making Kid A...
Thom: "Well, actually it's whoever gets in earliest, basically!
Ed: "It all started on Kid A, when we were making Kid A, Thom would... we had this, we had our blackboard which we had for years, there were like sixty song titles on there. I mean, you know...
Thom: "And most of them, like, they'd got no idea what they are!
Ed: "No idea! It would be like some sixteen-second doodle!
Thom: "Probably something like a sequence on my little "pocket calculator thing!
Steve: "So there's a possible, what, sixty songs:
Steve: "So you're rehearsing around about sixty songs at the moment, and: Who is the most forgetful?
Thom: "I think that's kind of all of us at the moment!
Thom: "To be honest! It's quite...it's kind of funny watching Jonny and Ed frantically run around trying to, like, figure out where all there pedals are supposed to like, plug in, and all that sort of stuff!
Thom: "I just have to remember the words! It's quite cool, actually.
Ed: "It's all "sounds", you know, we've got to reclaim all that. And it's not like we've got like banks of computerized gear there. (Affected voice) "Hey, we've got that sound for uh, for Talk Show Host, I'll just put that into the..." It's more like, "How the bloody hell did I do that?" or, "How did..." and it's fun! You know, it's kind of quite Heath Robinson. It's sort of...
Ed: "It's sort of like the..yeah.
Thom: "The best bit: the best bit was like the beginning of the rehearsal period: it was like: "Okay, we're going to strip down to the bare essential instruments..."
Thom: "We ain't going to take anything peripheral! No extra gear! Blah blah blah blah blah." ....Not!!!
Steve: "You see, if it's slightly different you could always claim that you were reappraising the songs!
Thom: "Well, when we mess up, yeah!
Thom: "That's another "reappraisal", chaps!
Steve: "A reinterpretation?
Steve: "Are you...so you are trying to stick to how the older songs sound? There's no temptation to actually sort of reinvent some of the, some of the material?
Thom: "Yeah, there's bits and bobs...little melodies and things here and there that you know, you sort of change around a little, but generally speaking the big struggle is just to remember how it goes!
Ed: "And having the time to do it as well! You know, you need a lot of time to do that!
Ed: "You've got to remember the new songs, you've got to be able to do the new songs! And, it's not an easy record to play live!
Steve: "I was going to say, what was the hardest one? Is it Jigsaw? What's difficult to...
Ed: "Jigsaw's hard.
Thom: "Yeah! Jigsaw's hard.
Ed: "It's really hard!
Thom: "Uh, Reckoner's...
Ed: "Reckoner's hard!!
Thom: "...sort of hard, in a way. Depends on how you want it to be. Depends how fussy you are, really!
Thom and Ed: "Laughing
Steve: "I tell you what: I'm going to play a record and then we're going to come back with more from Thom and Ed from Radiohead: We're playing this because, I think Thom likes this record! It is the new single from Portishead!
(PORTISHEAD MACHINE GUN)
Steve: "Uh: Portishead, and Machine Gun, their new single. That's true isn't it, you're a fan of that record?
Steve: "You're both fans...
Thom: "I think it's fantastic...
Ed: "Yeah! A brilliant record!
Steve: "And so, I mean, have you heard anything else from the album?
Ed: "The whole album!
Thom: "...I got it!
Ed: "Yeah! I've been playing it for like the last two weeks.
Steve: "And, is it what you expected?
Thom: "It's dark as, man!
Steve: "Is it...
Ed: "But it's so beautiful. So beautiful in parts.
Steve and Thom: "Mhmm.
Ed: "I'd have to say, I have to say I actually think it's my favorite Portishead record!
Thom: "It's definitely their best record.
Thom: "Yeah, there's no doubt about that. My favorite one is a song called "The Rip", and then there's one at the end that sounds exactly like that old seventies band Silver Apples.
Thom: "It's just mental.
Thom: "Absolutely beautiful.
Ed: "The first track is immense, they...there's some kind of, I don't want to you know, spoil it for anyone, but there's a Brazilian thing going on there, and it's just ...ahh, incredible.
Steve: "Right.... So what else are you listening to at the moment? I always ask this because I'm nosy.
Thom: "I've got...Michael Stipe gave me the R.E.M. album last week!
Steve: "Aww! Oh-oh. It's just on cue! Put your headphones on.
Thom: "What? Oh.
Steve: "Put your headphones on...
Steve: "Not, uh, have you got...
Thom: "Oh, that's not mine!
Steve: "Put your own headphones... not your I-pod headphones!
Thom: "Oh, hello!
Steve: "So what do you think of the R.E.M. record?
Thom: "Um! I think it's great! I was really excited! He gave it to me last weekend , and I've listened to it twice in the car, sitting in traffic. The first track is totally amazing. The penultimate track in totally amazing. I mean, there, to me, on first listen there's like three or four that are up there with my favorite, you know, top 20 R.E.M. tunes ever.
Steve: "Wow, that's...
Thom: "And what's really exciting about it is Peter Buck's, you know, got his guitar sound back.
Thom: "It's really biting, nasty.
Steve: "It sounds like Buck's record, doesn't it!
Steve: "The last one sounded like Michael Mills's record, this one sounds like Buck's record.
Thom: "And what's really cool about that is that it sort of blends really well with Michael's voice. You know? Because Michael's voice is really gravelly, and it makes you realize that the two fit together really, really well. And Mike Mills has done his harmonies. And the drumming's great! You know...
Steve: "Excuse me, do you want to know what they thought of your record?
Steve: "They're going to tell you anyway!
Steve: "This is Peter Buck and Michael Stipe, last Monday at the Royal Albert Hall.
Steve: "What I was saying to you earlier on as well, back in 1995, Milton Keynes, on the one day that was the, well there were six bands across the two days: One day you put on a band called "Blur" and on another day supporting you was a little-known band called "Radiohead"!
Steve: "Whatever happened to them?
Michael: "I don't know! They were doing good stuff. I don't know what happened.
Peter: "Yeah, they did this weird thing where they didn't really put out their last record.
Peter: "I don't know if that worked out for them or not.
Steve: "Have you heard In Rainbows? Do you like it?
Michael: "I love it. It's a great record.
Peter: "Yeah, it's a great record. I kind of, you know, being the completist that I am I had to have the whole eighteen-song package. You know? Because some of the stuff was a little messier than the record.
Michael: "You got the vinyl?
Peter: "You know what? I didn't, unfortunately.
Michael: "We got the CD's.
Peter: "I just didn't get around to it. But I, it's just... I downloaded the other eight!
Peter: "But I bought the hard copies.
Steve: "There you go! Peter Buck has got the whole set of songs!
Thom: "That's good, isn't it!
Thom: "That's good though, because we've been rehearsing all the other songs as well!
Thom: "So at least someone will know what they are!
Steve: "I've...So I mean it strikes me though, and a little like R.E.M. have always been very concerned about the bands that they take on tour: very much like yourselves! You've just announced Liars, for North America, and Bat for Lashes!
Thom: "Yeah! I got really into that record! Initially I was sort of... hmmm, maybe... but on the third listen it sort of went "clink" in my head, so I'm really excited. And we've got ... Grizzly Bear as well!
Steve: "Have you!
Thom: "Who are, I just, I mean, it's this sort of, their harmonies and all their sort of effects and stuff they do are fantastic! Um. I think that's it! Is that it? I'm not quite sure what the... yeah. That's about it.
Ed: "We're going to have Modeselektor in Germany...
Thom: "Oh yeah! Modeselektor's going to do Germany! And, I'm a big fan of Liars as well, so I'm really happy about that!
Steve: "What else have you got planned for the rest of the year? Is there anything you're doing outside of the band? Is there anything else that you've got planned? I keep waiting for the, sort of, for the proper solo album! I keep waiting for your solo album! Where are the Kiss-style solo albums?
Steve: "Come on!
Ed: "Yeah...well we're touring up until the beginning of September, and we're going into Japan at the end of September. And then that's it, but I guess that we'll be doing some recording, um...
Thom: "We're trying to figure it out, really. Cause: Jonny's just had... his wife's just had a new baby so he doesn't want to like...
Thom: "...lose the entire year, which is totally fair! So we're just sort of trying to figure out what....we might do stuff in two's and three's, and, you know, I'm not quite sure. We'll need to talk to Nigel otherwise it will never happen anyway!
Steve: "It's gonna be, I was thinking about this: It's going to be a weird year because your landscapes in a year when you're going out and doing touring, and wherever you go, there's elections! ...happening.
Thom: "Oh yeah?
Steve: "It's a real shift! I mean, and then it's, what is it, it's a couple of days before you leave I think is the London mayoral election.
Thom: "Oh god.
Steve: "That's just before you start the American tour I think! And then when you get to America, there's another, there's some more primaries!
Thom: "Isn't the "Florida" primary...or has that happened now?
Ed: "I think that's happened, hasn't it? And there's the whole democratic thing...comes to a head in the summer, doesn't it!
Steve: "Yeah, and then there's ... that's the democratic national convention, which I think is sometime around when you're going to be around there as well! I mean, it's just going to be, I think, that is to say, you're playing out your, it's going to be a year of change and everything!
Steve: "And you're going around. It's a nice backdrop to have. Do you know what I mean?
Thom: "As long as it goes the right way!!
Ed and Steve: Laughing
Steve: "It's an important sort of year. It just feels ... I don't know!
Ed: "Yeah. I mean, it would be amazing if we're over in America and Obama, you know, gets the nomination, because, you really, well, we've really felt as a band that the last kind of couple of times we've gone over there, or three times, but especially in 2000 and 3 and 200 and 6. There's a, amongst our audience, there's such a hostility towards the present regime over there!
Ed: "And it would be really nice to have a bit of hope. You know, if Obama gets it, I think there will be a lot of Optimism over there because... we all know why.
Steve: "It gives us...it's great having a band and a record like yours at the moment. ...to soundtrack this year of potential change. I think it's really interesting...we might be..
Thom: "Well that's very nice...!
Steve: "And it might be quite inspiring as well!
Thom: "Cool.... well, thanks!
Ed: "It will be nice to hear it in the summer, I think a part of the record is quite a summer record, yet we released it in...October. Laughs. Fine in the Southern hemisphere, but...
Steve: "Listen, chaps, thank you very much for coming in and there's going to be live music from Radiohead coming up later in this program, for now though, Thom and Ed, thank you very much!
Thom: "Thanks, man!
Steve: "Thank you!