Following the surprise thank you gig by Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Massive Attack's 3D & Tim Goldsworthy of UNKLE for Occupy London, Massive Attack's Robert '3D' Del Naja and Radiohead's Thom Yorke talked about why they support Occupy and why they did the gig.
3D: In one respect, I think I always imagined the, the sort of like any change coming from something romantic like, um, you know rioting in, you know, in Bristol that happened in the 80s and I always thought it was something of a romantic notion but actually when it happened this year it was far from it, it was pretty sad and scary, really. And I saw it wasn't really a solution to changing anything and I think a movement like this, when it is non-violent, it's people applying pressure in all the right places, for all the right reasons, I think, it's not a place to argue, it's a place to offer support really because I really want things to change, but I don't want to see it happen in a way which is sad, burning things down, you know. I think this is a way to apply pressure, um... Anyone can get involved, it's not exclusive, you know.
Thom Yorke: I mean, to me the starting point in my head was that film Inside Job. 'Cause basically I didn't understand... I don't understand how this stuff works. I don't understand how the City works, and then to have a film basically explain to you that there's a very good reason why you don't understand it. They've made it so you don't understand it, so they can carry on and you feel that you're powerless. Bank are, basically, took the money that was supposed to be safe, that was supposed to keep us safe and, and robbed it, and then said, oh, well, it was an act of God. It wasn't us. It was just, that was the way it was. And everybody on the street knows it's not the case. It's not an act of God, it was deliberate. There's people that are responsible and they're not being held to account. Because it's in the banking system, because it's in this, uh, great cathedral of glass and steel, um, we're not allowed to say anything about it. The system is as it is, and so every western politician is there saying, we've got to mop up. You know, you've got to dig deep, you've got to dig deep because we've got to mop up'. And even, like, normal middle class people are going, hang on, how does this work?. Um, I feel sad that, like, with this thing...that the way the media will put it across is like, you know, the Occupy movement, oh troublemaking, blah blah blah. And I think it's interesting, like, that there is so much sympathy for it, you know...and it's obvious why. But people can't put it together in their heads, you know. I mean, because like, it's the banking system, it's like the law of God, it's like beyond us, we're not allowed to think about it, you know. I swear to God, that most politicians don't understand the banking system at all anyway, They're told they've got to mop up, they just mop up.
3D: It's organised crime on a, on a global scale. It's...in any other situation it would not be protected by the law, but in this case the bank...the law have their politics and banking are the same thing, you know what I mean. Most politicians come from an economic background. The whole thing is so interlinked and intertwined. You look at America and the moment and they can't even sort out this issue of resolving how to, sort of like, lessen their debt because they're trying...some parts of the American, sort of like, Congress are trying to back a few people, to protect the wealth of a very few. And it's just, I mean that, on any level is just ridiculous and sad and the fact that the rest of the world is being held to ransom at that level is just ridiculous, it's crazy.
Thom Yorke: You don't need to be an anarchist, you don't need to be someone who smashes the state to have sympathy with that viewpoint, you know. I think that that's what I find... If I was like, the pres...the prime minister of this country right now, I would be, well, I wouldn't be the... I wouldn't go to the right school but, anyway. You know, I would be wondering how I'm going to keep this anger at bay, because this anger's going to get worse. How am I going to keep in power? And I swear, they're siding with the wrong people. You cannot keep the system going in this motion. It won't work.
3D: It's a very crazy and confusing thing because, like you said, there's no real sides to this. It's about all of us saying, what the hell's going on? What's happened to a system, you know, a democratic, capitalist system, which is something that we've all come to realise is that works. But it hasn't been used properly, it hasn't been regulated, and people say, well that's human nature. But it's not really, it's not just about human beings being greedy, it's about the system, the law, not protecting the right people. And not siding with the right people. And it's the time when, as you're pointing out, you know, right now, we're having, you know, marginalising the sort of, you know, activists and citizens of the country. You should actually listen, and sort of stand by them and say, okay, what can we do to protect this country and the people in it. As opposed to sort of like, trying to protect a few – the banks. The banks only work if we bank with them. You know, it only works... If we don't operate within the system then the law... And I think, this is a law-abiding protest, it's a protest of pressure, it's about actually about putting, keeping a pressure on the situation that won't get better if we all stand back and eventually...it blows up, there's a riot for sort of like three months. A lot of the people lose their businesses, kids end up in jail, that's no solution to anything. Do you know what I mean, right now, this is a better solution.
Thom Yorke: And how else would you do it? Do you know what I mean? How else would you...how would you...how else now, right now, in 2011, would you register your protest? What, would you go and talk to your MP?
3D: I think all of us have...all of us have, you know, a sort of responsibility to look at how it all works, as much as we can find out and how...as difficult as it is, as we were talking about, to sift through it and work out what you can do as an individual. And any, any solution that can sort of help, you know, create a wave of change that's going to be one to do. And I think everyone right now is looking at different options and sometimes, you know, it has to hurt you in the pocket to get people to do things. All of us are that way, we are all self-involved with our lives, our families and stuff, and our friends and our situations. And it takes a bit of a crisis to get people to move. And we've had a big crisis, a series of crises really and now people are thinking about how to make a change, how to...where to spend their money, where to save their money. And this whole idea of keeping the consumer bubble going by having to spend money at Christmas is crazy. People don't need to spend their money. I know the economy's in trouble but it's not...the solution isn't to keep spending money. It's not about creating a bigger debt. It's a crazy way of looking at it.
Thom Yorke: That's it. It's perpetuating the motion in the same direction, which is just...it's not...it's going to end...it's just going to keep making it worse. But, what you're saying with banks, banks... It's like, to me banks can't have it both ways. They can't have the luxury of being protected as part of our country's infrastructure and then take the capital of that, and do what the fuck they like with it. You can't do that, right, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot have that luxury. You can't say, oh you need free capital... And I think, if like, if the British government, for example, is not prepared to really, like, um, make amends to the British people for this, by, um, penalising the banks the way they should, then I think we should do it ourselves.
3D: I think that everyone in the Occupy movement knows exactly what to do and what they're doing is brilliant. And it's up to us to, sort of, stand back and applaud them and drink, and raise a glass to them for what they're doing anyway. Because, you know, I think they're leading the way. And, you know, whatever we can do as other citizens or as musicians or whatever, is just, kind of like, helps support it. And you know, my hand is raised to them really, to be honest.
Thom Yorke: My Christmas message to Occupy would be that, I mean... To be honest, there's two things. The first thing is like... To me it's really inspiring to actually see, when it kicked off in New York, how it kicked off, how it happened really naturally, how it happened non-aggressively, cleverly... You know, I've always been sympathetic with that passive protest; peaceful protest is great. The police tried to move them on, they came back, moved them on, they came back, it got bigger, it got bigger, it got bigger, it got bigger, it got bigger, it got bigger. It's like, why do you think that is? It's because it means something. It's because this generation actually has to do this. We have no choice because there's no...you know...and I'm...yeah...absolutely... Like you were saying, we're just really proud that our fellow human beings have got their shit together. It's great.
3D: Yeah, absolutely man. It's like one of these [raises hand as if to toast] to everyone in the Occupy movement. I mean that's actually a wanker sign...
Thom Yorke: No, it's the Queen... [raises hand with pinky out as if drinking tea]