monday, january 10th - wednesday, january 19th 2000
happy new year and many many thanks to all you lovely cardsenders.
i think we all arrived at the studio with that same dread of starting where we left off.to plough back into the old tracks seemed like a daunting task. nigel suggested a different plan of action to ease us back into it over the next couple of weeks. the idea was to spend this time working in a completely different way; no acoustic instruments ie any guitars,drums or vocals......everything has to be electronically generated. it means that we can't fall back on what we've done before and forces us to work this equipment. it's actually an incredible amount of fun - which is not something we've had in abundance over the last year or in studios in general. we've been working on four 'bits' and because they are fairly abstract it will be interesting to review it in a few weeks. the important thing is that you are constantly learning even if something doesn't necessarily work out. and actually it's something we've been meaning to do for a while. again it's the need to change the methodology in how you actually make the music - only by doing this will we actually produce stuff that sounds any different. and conversely by finding another approach to recording, it enthuses us in the way that we've worked together as a 'live' band. the rehearsals last week were fantastic precisely because we had not picked up those instruments and recorded them.
this week we have cast the experimental net further afield to include material like 'true love waits'
and 'feeling pulled apart by horses'
. the former has been kicking around for about four years now and each time we approached it we seemed to be going down the same old paths.........it actually sounds like the start of something exciting now.
did an interesting band version of 'bombers'
which thom has attached to what i used to call 'the neil young' song...we may play it some time later this evening.
thankyou to everyone who sent in their demos......maybe i was a little naive to assume that a handful of people would send in theirs' or others' offerings......what i realise has happened is that various publications and radio stations have visited this diary and announced that radiohead are embarking on a fucking talent search or something. bastards. it's probably pay-back time for being miserable and contrary on our last round of interviews.....anyway i've started going through it and will listen to it all, eventually. it's actually very interesting as it strikes me from what i've listened to so far that there are alot of really good musicians out there, but what distinguishes the good from the not so good is having taste. ie for instance you could be simply red (apologies for the easy target) and send in a demo and i'm always going to think it's totally shit in spite of its technical 'proficiency'. having said that there's little that sounds like that. but what i'm saying in an around-about way is that it doesn't matter if i don't think something's that good; if you really love what you're doing then that is all that matters........there is absolutely no point in making music that you think will help you to get signed..........second-guessing what people want to hear is a completely fruitless exercise as it is almost completely impossible to predict what people want to hear; by the time people actually get to hear that music it's more than likely that it's old-hat and most importantly you will never stumble upon something that is truly fresh and exciting.
monday, january 24th - tuesday, january 25th 2000
want to try and finish the bulk of what we've started, which may sound obvious but there you go.......so had what seemed like a pretty unfruitful day on 'how to disappear'
.......try and get it away from that band thing with an acoustic guitar, which may have been alright when we were making the bends, but let's face it has been done to death by both us and every tom, dick and harry guitar band. went down a few cul-de-sacs.........all part of the process.
today however has been a quite different affair. still on the same song. jonny found the one chord thing; it's to be played by the strings(to be recorded soon).....in fact jonny has spent much of the last two weeks scoring and arranging strings in his room; which is a huge undertaking as 24 string players are going to be playing precisely what he has scored and these people are professionals....thom has this evening just done a wonderful vocal and the song is beginning to go another way. bad day, good day, good cop, bad cop.
thursday, january 27th - friday, january 28th 2000
'dollars and cents'
is a track that originated out of a 'jam' from copenhagen - it's good but because there was no arrangement, no musical decisions could be made on it.........well now it has an arrangement.....thom did some backing vocals and a bit of guitar, jonny put his string arrangement on, i did a little moog and the song is really going somewhere. will write something more substantial over the w/end.
monday, january 31st 2000
slow day as it often is on mondays. tape machine broke-down in the main room. thom and jonny did some drum programming
.....more work in the other studio on 'dollars and cents'
-- percussion and a guitar. not that interesting but the following might be....michael eavis knows how to throw the grandest and greatest party in the world.....glastonbury is the don of all festivals..........but alas we are not playing this year. there have been a few rumours flying around that we are, so we thought we'd better say something sooner rather than later. it would however be great to play it another year.................
tuesday, february 1st 2000
"shit happens" as keef once famously said. and so it does. well it did today...........it's difficult to say whether we've been here before, possibly not. and of course i m being deliberately vague about the whole thing ......but sometimes you have to be. anyway before one kneejerks and starts saying all manner of things you have to let the proverbial dust settle. sorry but you can only be so open.
wednesday, february 2nd 2000
sore heads all round, but things are being sorted out, i think. while we 'negotiate' nigel has taken the opportunity to set the studio upstairs for mixing. 'you and whose army'
is put up and he starts to mix. sounds good. have to redo my guitar which is fun as it feels a little like playing live. thom continues work on going through and sampling sections from this dat of sounds that we made last night......nothing too strenuous as i think we are tiring a little. it always happens like this. some weeks seem way more productive than others and probably are but the secret is not to get freaked out.....just keep going and it will return. meanwhile jonny 'haydn' greenwood continues to arrange his strings.........
thursday, february 3rd 2000
bits and pieces are added to 'kinetic'
- phil sets up his electric kit triggering samples, it works well and could be the basis of an interesting backing track. most of the day is spent preparing for tomorrow's string day.
friday, february 4th 2000
what an amazing day. fantastic string arrangements by jonny and what players. many many thanks are due to john lubbock(who conducted and organised) and the string players from the orchestra of st. john's, smith square. the whole session was the complete antithesis to the ok computer experience; firstly rather than de-camping to some london studio we used an old abbey near us with the most fantastic acoustics to record in. i think nigel was totally blown away by the whole sound of it. but most importantly john and the players were so enthusiastic about it all.....jonny has certain things that he wants/wanted to try out that aren't your usual string arrangaments. and rather than dismiss his ideas ( which is what happened on the ok computer session) they were open-minded enough to try them. john lubbock even handed over the conducting reins right at the end for jonny to try out an idea of his. there is no way that he would have been allowed to have done that at the abbey road session. brilliant players and people.
we needed this session after what has seemed an incredibly draining week.
monday, february 7th 2000
monday morning and everyone arrives looking completely fucked. got one more week before we take a week off to recharge. nigel wants to mix 'dollars and cents'
now that there are strings on it. he goes upstairs to work on it. downstairs work continues on thom and jonny's drum thing
from last week. late night worries and weird symbiosis going on. go on message board and someone asks us about 'innocents civilian'
. so once we get off the web we decide to put up the master tape of it. can't find it anywhere which is incredibly strange. it's got to turn up.
tuesday, february 8th 2000
nigel got what seems like a good mix of 'dollars and cents'
. more work on t+j's drum thing
. did some playing this afternoon. upstairs at the moment nigel and thom are doing 'something' to kinetic
. still can't find the master tapes to 'innocents civilian'
and beginning to worry. worst case scenarios even being aired ie the u2 case when some of their rehearsal tapes went missing and ended up being sold as bootlegs.cozzie continues editing drums.
wednesday, february 9th 2000
put 'true love waits'
up again....this is a song which has been kicking around for four years or so, in fact we recorded a version of it when we were making the last album and this is something like approach number 561. but it is a great song.....it's simply trying to find a way of doing it which excites us. and we may have found a way, at the very least we've found a new approach ........ basically the track has the same vocal melody but the chords have changed underneath it. so we'll come back to it and see how it sounds. it may of course be utter crap and we have so lost the plot on this song...............please don't let that be the case........
thursday, february 10th 2000
WEBCAST DAY......................these days are a bit like being a child again...just throw it all in and see what comes out. 'amateur hour' got extended to four hours ....and dare i say it but i think we're getting ever so sophisticated........the campfire, the 'nice' logfire, the upside down table football, the zx spectrum programmers. yes tonight all our two hours of preparation came to fruition in this glorious mess of a web broadcast. we had a few more cameras at our disposal and our technical team has expanded from one to two, so things were naturally going to be a step up from the last time. we only wish that a few more of you had been able to witness us getting wasted and making complete and utter fools of ourselves........maybe next time.....the great thing about these evenings for us is that they are the antithesis of how i think we're perceived ie angry, angsty young men....that's fine, but you can't possibly be like that all the time (as we've found out) because you'll be dead by the time you reach your mid-30s which used to be a long way away and is now still quite a way but certainly not unreachable. about the demo thing as well .....i still haven't been able to listen to everything sent............but there is another idea, which is way more exciting, but i'm not going to say what it is as i don't want the idea nicked.
we've got a week off next week and who knows maybe in the next few weeks we may even finish off the recording of the songs we've been working on?.............