XFM WILL BE EXCLUSIVELY BROADCASTING AND WEBCASTING RADIOHEAD’S SOLD-OUT OXFORD HOMECOMING ON JULY 7. TOTALLY WIRED AND TUNED IN TO THE MODERN CONDITION, THE SOUL SONIC INSISTENCE OF RADIOHEAD IS ONCE AGAIN READY TO RIP THROUGH YOUR SKULL
Radiohead, five lads from Oxford, you remember, command a peerless level of respect and global significance. That’s why Xfm is proud to announce its forthcoming Radiohead Remix special. What is most remarkable about this band’s stature is that it’s built not on pop glamour and tabloid shenanigans, but a musical adventurism unparalleled in a mainstream rock band, and a maverick gutsiness in every aspect of their operation. While everyone was hopelessly casting around for ‘the new Radiohead’ in the lesser likes of Coldplay and Muse after OK Computer’s soaring guitar anthems and strange melancholy turned it into the most hailed album of the 90s, Radiohead themselves became ‘the new Radiohead’ with last year’s Kid A album – a bombshell that brought leftfield ambient-tronica and jazz to No. 1 in the US and UK charts. Some crazy-assed shit, whichever way you look at it.
With the release of Kid A’s sister album, Amnesiac, and a one off gig in their hometown on July 7 featuring support from Beck, Sigur Ros and British jazz legend Humphrey Lyttleton, who guests on Amnesiac, X-Ray presents exclusive highlights from Xfm’s Zane Lowe speaking with Thom Yorke and Colin Greenwood in a rare broadcast interview...
Do you feel a sense of liberation now that Amnesiac has been released and it closes a chapter where you seemed to be quite traumatised after the OK Computer experience?
Thom Yorke: “Yeah definitely. The problem with it was that it wasn’t a particularly creative period of time, it was quite a long struggle. It feels much more creative now, it was a transition as much as anything, both records. Or maybe we were always doing that and we just didn’t know. It’s certainly a relief to have it all over with. We burst various bubbles and now people can just take it or leave it and leave us to just get on with it, which is what we needed, otherwise we were going to go mad.”
Given that Amnesiac is taken from the same sessions that Kid A came from, some people will think that Amnesiac is a B-side/ rarities record. Is it?
Thom: “I don’t think it’s a B-sides record. The point is, this is a three year period of creativity and to chuck out one album at the end is absolutely ridiculous. We did a lot of work and the only reason we had to make the bloody records is that we were going mad and we had to finish, we had to stop and look at what we’d got. And we had 25-30 tracks we were proud of and didn’t know what to do with, and hence the struggle to form something with it.”
You give the impression that you’re a band that can do whatever you want to do. Is that how it is?
Colin: “Lots of things we’ve done, getting the tent and stuff, people think is a madcap idea, but at the time we couldn’t think of anything else to do to carry on playing. It was like there weren’t any options, rather than having lots of wacky options.”
Thom: “A lot of the time it’s us sitting in a room saying, we’re not going to do this, and we’re not going to do this, so what the hell are we going to do? We spend an awful lot of time doing that.”
It’s quite an achievement to have brought the sound of Charles Mingus to the top of the charts. Apparently his song Freedom is important to you?
Thom: “Every track on both records was me trying to drag out the feeling from that song. The Mingus thing for me, when I first heard Mingus I didn’t think it was jazz at all. Jonny (Greenwood) is the jazz freak in the band and I like some of the stuff but most of it leaves me a little bit cold. Mingus to me was much more about blues and gospel. It was this album called The Town Hall Concert and I sat there and I saw pictures and images in my head and it really freaked me out because I’d never had that before and it changed the way I thought about music forever. Mingus does things with the notes he adds to a melody and stuff that makes things incredibly tense and upsetting, somehow you’re hearing the things you’ve been waiting to hear your whole life, like when I first heard Joy Division, that sense of incredible tension and so much stuff going on behind the music. Here’s a person who just lives for his music and that’s it. The song Freedom, when I hear it sounds like something for the people who row Roman ships, the ones where they beat the drums. That’s the kind of music I wanted to make.”
Radiohead’s South Park gig will also be webcast on xfm.co.uk for 5pm, followed by a Radiohead vs Remix special