Main Index >> Media Index >> Kid A Media | UK Media | 2001 Interviews

[recording starts here]

Robert Sandall: "Well, we're delighted this week on 'Mixing It' to welcome Jonny Greenwood and Colin Greenwood from Radiohead to talk about their recent album Kid A and also some of the inspirational pieces of music which gave rise to it. But first I'd like to ask you both - since it's now two or three months since the album came out - how do you think it's been received, and did it all go according to plan?"

Jonny: "It seems to have been received with a series of kicking, actually, in the press, to our amusement. Not amusement, but sort of... (sighs) I don't know, Colin should probably answer that."

Colin: "Why? Erm, I think..." (laughs)

all: (laughter)

Colin: "Sorry, but erm, no I didn't mean 'why should I bother to answer that question', but er, I think we didn't give it... people enough time to listen to it as a record when it first came out, and I also think that - to be honest - it's the nature of the times that we're currently in. The guitar music that is successful now is kind of... all this sort of average standard, and the demographic that Radio 1... you know, I heard the controller of Radio 1 saying that the demographic is, I think, 14 or 15 to 25, so erm, you know... I think we were kind of excluded by a lot of things, a chance for us to... for the music to be heard, and I think, you know, it was the right thing for us to do, to take a side step at a time when other artists had been releasing records over the past two months - of considerable stature - to see their records drop out of the, you know, out of the ten, twenties and thirties, like two weeks later."

Robert: "I must say that I thought the reception was very interesting, because (to Colin), amplifying your point, I think there has been a tremendous 'dumbing down' in what is called 'rock music' over the last five years, really since Britpop, and the thing that has struck me about all of the reviews and a lot of the comments about this record is that everyone's banging on about how incredibly difficult it was, and yet, it was an album - for the most part - of songs, recognisable Radiohead songs. Radiohead songs perhaps without the guitars, but it was spoken of as if it was like Metal Machine Music, by Lou Reed, just noise, and you know, it was... that to me was very illustrative of the kind of... the diminished, really, sort of ambition of most rock music nowadays."

Colin: "Yeah, and people who write about it... But then also, you know, the other thing is that a lot of people who were writing about us... they really like us, and people who really like you can be as dangerous as people who really hate you, because you can confound or disappoint their expectations that... oh, I think a lot of writers had expected us to come back and sort of save a certain kind of music genre from the pallid, erm... versions that had been put out a year later to much greater commercial success, they expected us to come back with a sort of combination of OK Computer and The Bends and sort of definitively stamp on all these sort of young six string whippersnappers, and the fact that we sort of didn't do that, you know... and we sort of didn't... I think it's caused a lot of people to have to sort of... you know, they've got their guitars out, and they've had to put them back into the wardrobe."

Mark Russell: "I think we should hear some."

Robert: "Yeah."

Mark: "Lets hear the track 'National Anthem'."

['The National Anthem' plays]

Mark: "That was 'National Anthem' by Radiohead from Kid A. Now, there's a very unusual brass arrangement on that. Did you do that, Jonny?"

Jonny: "It started with Thom saying this track should really sound like... by the end it should turn into a Charlie Mingus track. And Thom has these ideas quite often, and sometimes they're best ignored, and sometimes they're genius and he's completely right. And we pretty much just got a brass section into the room, and I scored out the rough tune, and Thom and I stood in front of them conducting, sort of... I say 'conducting', it wasn't Simon Rattle, it was more just jumping up and down when we wanted it to be louder and faster and calming them down at certain points, you know. I'm sure it looked ridiculous, but it sounded... it sounds on tape pretty good, I think."

Mark: "It's a very 'spiky' sound. Is that what you wanted?"

Jonny: "It is, yeah. We wanted them to play around with the rhythms of what was happening, and do crossbeats, and be taking it in turns to take solos, really. A bit like Charlie Mingus, the organised chaos of that, the fact that it's not random. There's a structure going on, but it's very loose around the edges, it's quite..."

Mark: "And the soloing seems to get more intense towards the end of the track. Were you trying to sort of build up the noise quota?"

Jonny: "Yeah, well, the very last high note is actually done on the lowest instrument, so... which gives some idea of the sweat and the red faces going on in that room, it was just... it was intense."

Robert: "Charlie Mingus - as a musician - obviously is tremendously diverse, extraordinarily prolific arranger and performer. Which bit of Mingus were you aiming for here?"

Jonny: "I suppose like the Blues and Roots era. Erm, it's funny, I always find it very comforting to find that a whole style of music, that I'd always been contemptuous of - like big band music - without knowing any, and just sort of never thought much of. And then someone played me Charlie Mingus, and I just thought 'that's just fantastic, that's amazing'. And so suddenly it opens up all this other music that you'd previously, you know, been contemptuous of, so that happens a lot to us."

Robert: "So if you had to play a piece of Mingus, what would it be?"

Jonny: "Probably the opening track off Blues and Roots."

[Plays Track]

Robert: "'Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting' by Charlie Mingus from his album Blues And Roots. This is probably an obvious question, Jonny, but you - obviously - on every other Radiohead album have played lots of guitars. On this album you play very very little. Was that a conscious choice, or did it just evolve out of the way the songs were sounding?"

Jonny: "I think all of us - by turns - find the instruments we're using frustrating and exciting, and very easy to work with, and then very frustrating, whether it's a sampler, or a guitar, or anything. And these things tend to be most exciting and creative when you first come across them, in a way, when you first start using them. But there is something about the guitar, that does keep me coming back to it. There's more guitar on this record than people realise, in a way, it's just more hidden than it previously was, I think."

Mark: "That's what I thought. When I read about the album before I heard it, I imagined there'd be no guitar, but I was surprised by how much there was."

Jonny: "Yeah. And there's songs like 'Treefingers', which is just one guitar, but people just assume that it isn't."

Mark: "And so presumably you're using the guitar through lots of effects processors, or to trigger samples, so that actually, what is triggered by a guitar doesn't necessarily sound like a guitar."

Jonny: "Yeah. That's pretty much how it happened. Ed just played lots and lots of guitar loops, and was just creating wonderful texture, and Thom turned it into a structure, rather than something aimless, that was all."

Mark: "That's the song called 'Treefingers'?"

Jonny: "That's right."

Mark: "It's quite Eno-ish, isn't it, in a way?"

Jonny: "Yeah, it is, it's very... yeah, exactly... It'll break... it's quite speaker-breaking as well. It has frequencies in it which can disturb the neighbours, while still being very kind of slow and ambient, having no rhythm in it."

[Plays 'Treefingers']

Robert: "'Treefingers' from Radiohead's latest album Kid A."

Mark: "I wanted to ask you also about the vocal treatments, 'cause maybe this comes back to what you were saying about being bored with the limitations of your instrument, or trying to find new sounds. So I was really struck by the way sometimes the vocals are very disguised, I mean, particularly on 'Kid A', there's almost a Stephen Hawking sound to the vocal. Is that something you were deliberately trying to do?"

Colin: "With regards to Thom... I think, I suppose, he's obviously... he's someone who's very into the fine voice that he has, and at the same time, you know, he's always looking for new ways to try and express different personae, and a way of doing that is by treating the voice, you know, and the... I don't know which track..."

Jonny: "'Kid A'."

Mark: "'Kid A' was the one which struck me..."

Colin: "Oh yeah."

Mark: "It does all sorts of things."

Colin: "Well, that was a vocoder whose notes... he sang through a vocoder, and the notes were triggered by the Ondes Martenot that (to Jonny) you were playing at the same time as he was singing, wasn't it?"

Jonny: "Yeah, that's right."

Colin: "That was pretty mad."

Robert: "Was there a lot of trial and error in the making of this Kid A record?"

Jonny: "No, I don't think it was quite that random. There's not a lot of things we threw away or discounted. Is there? Colin, what do you think? There isn't loads and loads of tapes of versions or of music that we didn't like... I think we... some of it was quite slow, quite laborious."

Robert: "Why?"

Colin: "Because I think as much... what was going on in the studio was conditioned by what was happening outside, really, so I think, you know, we sort of released a record when we decided we'd finally had enough of doing a record, or we sort of wanted to go outside again really, rather than... and the reason why it took so long is, because we were all so - at the time - quite damaged by the experience that we'd gone through with touring and promoting the last album."

Robert: "What was it about that? It's a regularly heard complaint by people who have achieved the global celebrity as you did. What was it, do you feel you were being damaged as music makers by that? And in what ways, if you were?"

Colin: "I think so. I think that's true, because, I mean one of the big differences, you know, when you're in a band, you know, part of the deal is that it's a collaboration, you're working with other people, which is great, so... but you obviously have to get on with people relatively well, so that, you know, if you've gone through a seven or eight year intensive touring gruelling period, you know, and your relationships are not so strong within the group, then obviously, you know, spending money in a recording studio, it's not very, you know, it doesn't help with the music, and erm, the idea of like spending eighteen months on the road, and then coming back and having to reacquaint ourselves with recording skills, and get into new music, and seek new inspirations... er, and the last thing you want to do is turn on a CD player, let alone turn on a multitrack tape machine, it's just, you know... rubbish."

Mark: "Is that why this record sounds so different to the last one, were you deliberately thinking 'we are going to really stretch ourselves and come up with some new sounds'?"

Jonny: "Yeah, I used to think that was true, but then whenever we start a recording session, it always does feel like the end of the previous one, even if that one was two years ago, it never feels like there's a cut off point. I mean, as a band we're no good at sitting 'round a table, planning our future, planning the next, you know, even the next few days, musically, and saying 'we should try to sound like this', we can't, you know, we're just rubbish at it, it's all a bit aimless."

Colin: "We wrote... we had our sort of manifesto at the beginning of the last three weeks recording..."

Jonny: "Exactly, we tried it."

Colin: "...we just went 'round the table, and Thom had this piece of paper, and each of us wrote down what musically we wanted to get out of the following three weeks, and then it was just like looking back at that sheet of paper at the end of the month... 'oh... no.'" (laughs)

Robert: "What did you put on your sheet of paper?"

Colin: "Erm, it was, oh, just trying to use the live side of Phil's drums. One of the interesting things we did on tour this time was we took some of the songs from Kid A and we put them in a live context, and Jonny and Ed had these things called Kaos Pads which were like really cheap DJ sample loop things, and er, so Jonny would... Thom would play the Rhodes and sing, and Jonny would cut up Thom's voice live, and fire it into the audience. Ed would cut out... cut up Thom's Rhodes keyboard, and create all these amazing, you know, effects in real time for 'Everything In Its Right Place', the first track. And so trying to get some of that into, you know... the sort of constant, you know, idea in the studio, change it live, take what you change back into the studio, it's a sort of hybrid thing."

Mark: "Now, you mentioned earlier on the Ondes Martenot, you mentioned processing Thom's voice through that, but also, I mean, there is the Ondes Martenot on this album, you can hear it, and it's an instrument that's associated with Messiaen, of course. Was he an influence on what you were doing?"

Jonny: "When I was at school, and studying music, I just got very excited as a teenager to hear of this composer who was still alive, and still writing music, and music that was so exciting and fascinating, and mysterious and had all these sounds in. Partly I find it so wonderful because it's often just violins, it's often just standard instruments that are creating these wonderful new textures and sounds. So the Ondes Martenot was something that I just, you know... that was my adolescent dream was to find one. I didn't even know what they looked like, I didn't even... I just knew... I used to read descriptions of them, and one day dreamed of finding one, and did amazingly."

Robert: "Where did you find one?"

Jonny: "The grandson of Mr. Martenot, who invented the original one in like... sorry, it's all getting all very Encyclopaedia Britannica, but in 1928 it was first invented, and the grandson started to make them again, and made a few, and I managed to get hold of one, and it's a wonderful invention, great instrument."

Mark: "So what's your 'desert island' piece of Messiaen, then?"

Jonny: "Probably the first thing I heard, the Turangalîla-Symphony, the first thing that, you know, fascinated me."

[Plays Track]

Robert: "That was an excerpt from the Turangalîla-Symphony by Messiaen."

Mark: "Well, one piece that struck me having the Ondes Martenot, was 'How To Disappear Completely', there's a kind of very high line that moves above the song. Was it Martenot?"

Jonny: "Yeah, I mean that was the string parts were written originally with an Ondes Martenot, just multitracking it, and playing one part at a time, and eventually we did replace it with real strings. But parts of it you can still hear the Martenot."

Mark: "It's quite a strange orchestration, because it seems to sort of like float over the top of the song in a kind of disembodied way."

Colin: "Well, I mean Jonny probably didn't have such a good time, but he scored the strings and played the Martenot live, (to Jonny), didn't you, with the orchestra at St John's..."

Jonny: "I played it very badly, out of tune." (laughs)

Colin: "...St John's Smith Square, at Dorchester Abbey, you know, on the Thames. And it was freezing winter, (to Jonny) was it February? And Nigel, our producer, took his Apple G3 and hard drive in and some microphones, and no tape, and recorded the orchestra and Jonny playing along on the Ondes Martenot."

Robert: "Decisions like that which are obviously fairly radical, are they completely democratically agreed, or is there a certain amount of sort of banging the table and 'no, we're going to do it this way', and you, for example Jonny, insisting that that'd be done? How much do you proceed by consensus, and how much by insistance?"

Jonny: "I don't think any of us are very good at 'table thumping', we seem to just stagger on in the lunacy. I mean, recording the strings was literally a case of setting up in the vestry of this church with one computer and just hoping it was going to work, you know, it wasn't exactly wrapped up in selotape, but it was that sort of feeling, and especially doing strings when you've only got three hours, and you know..."

Mark: "Had you demoed the string parts before, did you know roughly what they were going to sound like?"

Jonny: "No, no idea, and the first play through you're just following the notes, just waiting for the wrong one to suddenly poke out, which, you know, which it did a couple of times, and you know, but that was fine."

Colin: "And they were wonderful, the strings section."

Jonny: "Great orchestra."

Colin: "Yeah, great orchestra, and we wanted to... and what was great about them was that they were sort of the antidote to sort of those ghastly London string sessions when... you know, the people working on the music think it's all rubbish, and they're off to do another rock band, and they play 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' between takes and... John Lubbock, who's the leader of the orchestra at St. John's Smith Square, he was like wonderful, really helpful. And they were all really excited, and they all come back to our studio afterwards and drank loads of wine, and listened back to it, and it was great."

Jonny: "Because we were told by the string players that the slang among string players when they go and do rock sessions, in London, you know, London musicians, is that it's known as 'doing balloons', which I didn't quite understand, and they explained that it's because all rock music is just lots and lots of minims, so it looks like a row of balloons, (laughs) lots of long notes. So, you know, traditionally you turn up and you just say 'Oh God, more balloons, here we go', so it was nice to have the complete opposite of that with this orchestra."

[Plays 'How To Disappear Completely']

Mark: "'How to Disappear' from Kid A by Radiohead, and Colin and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead are our guests tonight in this 'Mixing It' extended special."

Robert: "Let's talk about some of the other influences on the album. I gather Alice Coltrane - a piece by Alice Coltrane - was quite influential on one of the tracks."

Jonny: "Yeah, there's a series of records on the Impulse label that just all seem to feature lots of tambourine shaking and bell shaking and harps, and people like Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Saunders, that was again something that we found only fairly recently. Wonderful textures to the records, and very atmospheric recordings, which is a criticism that some people often make of jazz, that the recordings can sound dry or sound like they're a bit clinical, but her records have a depth to them that we try to emulate."

[Plays Track]

Robert: "'Blue Nile' by Alice Coltrane, from an album I shall attempt to pronounce as Ptah The El-Daoud."

Jonny: (laughs)

Robert: "Has jazz been a recent interest of the band's, or has it always been there?"

Colin: "I'd say it's always been there, really, I mean... especially you, Jonny as well... Thom is... I think everyone, really, yeah. Jerry Mulligan Nightlighs is one of my favourites so..."

Mark: "I mean the track that you were referring to, which maybe refers to Alice Coltrane, is 'Motion Picture Soundtrack', which has tons of harp glissandi all the way through it. What was the idea behind that?"

Jonny: "Well originally it was... Thom recorded the song by himself, just using this old harmonium pedal organ, I suppose influenced by Tom Waits and that kind of singer/songwriter. And I just imagined it having harps and double basses. And so late one night, you know, tried to do a version, trying to disguise the fact that we don't have any real harps, and were cutting up all these samples and trying to make it all fit together, but, er... I just love the sound of harps, and the atmosphere we were trying to get was one of, you know, how the Disney films from the fifties, where the colour fades slightly, and I think there was even er... one of the regular introductions that included the fairy spinning round."

Colin: "Blue bird... Blue jay."

Jonny: "Was it a blue jay? And the sparks coming off from behind."

Colin: "Yeah."

Jonny: "But the colours were all faded and watery, that was the kind of music as well we were trying to copy."

[Part 1 of recording ends]
[Part 2 of recording starts]

Jonny: [section missing] "We're trying to be Bitches Brew by recording lots of electric pianos and... I mean, obviously none of us play trumpet, and like, jazz guitar very much, so... yeah, so we can't really copy the music that closely, but atmospheres are something we try and copy, and there's parts of In A Silent Way that just have long chords and no definite rhythm to them, and not much movement."

Colin: "Sounds like some of the criticisms of Kid A, doesn't it? (laughs)"

[Plays Track]

Mark: "That was Miles Davies and his band with an extract of 'Shhh, Peaceful' from the album In A Silent Way."

Robert: "You must have noticed the fact that - it almost goes without saying - that the kinds of influences which we've been talking about, which you've acknowledged, are completely unknown to a lot of the people writing about the album. Do you think that matters?"

Jonny: "I don't know, I think... I was trying to explain to someone the other day that, you know, there are only five Pixies albums, and we can't just carry on copying them, and that's, but that's how we started. You know, and there's always gonna... we're always going to have to look for new music, and there isn't really enough guitar music to fill up my, you know, our days. And some of it is still great, you know, the Serge Gainsbourg record we've brought along, that's guitar, bass and drums, and it's wonderful, and it's, you know, one of the best, I think one of the best records."

Colin: "Oh, yeah and the strings as well, that's Melody Nelson, yeah."

Robert: "How did you come across that?"

Colin: "Erm..I came across it through a friend, I think it was at Decoy records in Manchester, which is an excellent record shop, which is... I knew it... a friend of ours at college was working there, he sent me consignments of music. And what's great about it, it was recorded in London, I think, or using London session players, so it's like '60's London session players, and there was this studio, I think CRT, and also the one there's one near, under Marble Arch, and Gainsbourg recorded it with his London players and the strings and the sounds of these sort of blues jams and stuff, but it's a story, I mean, it's a very poetic, it's at times filthy, and romantic and perverse, and desolate, of his infatuation with a woman who's... I think, (to Jonny) how old is she? She's like fourteen winters and fifteen summers or something like that, you know, and she's Bridget, erm, not Bridget, she's Jane Birkin, so but I mean, it's an incredible record and it's that one we played our producer, Nigel Godrich, who became obsessed with it as well, and you know, because of the sounds on it, it's amazing, so it's a wonderful record."

[Plays Track]

Robert: "The late Serge Gainsbourg there with a track from his LP, Melody Nelson."

Mark: "Now you mentioned In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew, and the way that they were recorded was they were live jams, and the records that we now know were pieced together in the editing."

Robert: "Some of the musicians didn't even know Bitches Brew was being recorded."

Jonny: "Really?"

Robert: "Yeah, Chick Corea, who I interviewed, I asked him about the Bitches Brew sessions, and he said they didn't even know... they saw a red light was on, but they had no idea, they thought they were just sort of tuning up."

Mark: "I mean, the original tapes go on for hours, what we know are the albums, which are just very carefully edited by the producer. Was there an editing element in Kid A? How were the songs actually put together?"

Jonny: "I'm not sure we have the ability as a band to play for a great length of time and be inventive, you know, I mean I am concerned that it sounds very smug when we mention all these influences, and we fully realise that we can't do these things and so, just hearing that, hearing the idea of hours and hours of tapes being cut together, I mean that's something we aspire to with bands like Can, the fact that they recorded in a similar way, and Faust even, of playing together the same thing endlessly and endlessly then cutting parts of it out, but that's something we certainly try and do as a drums, bass and guitar idea, so yeah, that does go on, sorry I'm rambling on." (laughs)

Mark: "Now there are a couple of samples on the album which are quite unusual, one by Paul Lansky, where did you find that?"

Robert: "Other than 'Mixing It'."

Colin: (laughs)

Jonny: "The true story behind that is that I built a drum machine, ok, out of old components, something just generating white noise, and something that was kind of opening and closing the white noise. It was sounding quite good, and I had a rhythm going, but I needed some chaos. And so I shamelessly put on some records on the turntable and tuned a radio in and just wanted to fill it up, because it was far too empty. And I gave Thom a recording of this, about half an hour long, and he cut it into pieces, and repeats it, repeats it, in sections."

[Plays 'Idioteque']

Jonny: "There's this melody in it, that's really beautiful, and I couldn't remember how I made it, 'cause I was playing a keyboard as well. And I thought 'yeah, it must just be something, you know, I played'. It's only four notes. And it was only a few days later when we'd finished the song and spent, you know, days on it, that I put the same record back on and these four notes came out just clearly... And so I had to track down Paul Lansky. And the record was interesting, because it was made in 1974, when he was a student, and I wasn't sure what he was doing now, I didn't even know if he was still, you know, a musician or anything. This was a student competition record - who can make the best electronic music in 1974. And then I found out he was at Princeton, and a professor of music. So I wrote to him, and explained what I'd done, you know, a bit embarrassed, and sent him a copy of the recording. And luckily he liked it, or, you know, liked what we'd done with his music."

Colin: "And he came to the show in New York..."

Jonny: "Yeah."

Colin: " well, didn't he? And he said if you wanted to... - 'cause he found out that you hadn't finished your music studies, 'cause we'd stolen you in a rusty white van to do a tour when we started, and you were in your first term at Brookes - so he said if you wanted to continue your studies at Princeton, yeah, he'd give you a favourable interview." (laughs)

Jonny: "So, but that was great, and he sent me some of his music, so I found out more about him, and there's one track called 'Night Traffic', that I think is wonderful. I think you've played it before on this programme."

Mark: "We have, yeah. It's sort of filtered traffic noise, isn't it..."

Jonny: "Yeah."

Mark: " ...that he manages to turn into music somehow."

Jonny: "Exactly."

Plays Track

Mark: "An extract of 'Night Traffic' by the American electronic composer Paul Lansky, and that was chosen by our guests tonight, Colin and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead."

Robert: "Colin, what have you done on this record other than play the bass guitar?"

Colin: "Oh, I've done nothing really (laughs), really I haven't done anything."

Robert: "That's the traditional bass players postulate, you're not allowed to maintain..."

Colin: "Well, not really, I sort of drunkenly played other people's records over the top of what we've recorded and then said 'ooh, it should sound like that then', you know, on the Protools, or whatever."

Jonny: "But that's exactly how we work."

Colin: "Yeah."

Jonny: "I mean that's a perfect example of why it's good."

Colin: "I took his Alice Coltrane record and played it over the top of the song called 'Dollars And Cents', which is on the next record. And Jonny wrote this beautiful string arrangement with the St. John's Smith Square, in a sort of Coltrane style, as a backing for it. But I mean, I don't know, I sort of did... before I did more arrangement things, but that was in the context of us working out stuff live in a room together, and we've kind of done less of this on this record, so it's been... I don't know, it's been quite a sort of different experience for all of us. I mean, I've been sort of trying to get into more of the electronic things, and sampling, and you know, trying to channel what I like about my favourite different types of music. But erm... there are like fourteen year old kids who are like surfing the internet and they're starting off... and their like Robbie Williams is Aphex Twin, so I think, you know, what can I do?"

Robert: "You've brought in some interesting CDs to illustrate some of the thinking that went behind the album."

Colin: "Well, you know, if Thom was here, one of the things that he was very into was the whole Warp records, or aspects of Warp records."

Robert: "Oh yeah, I think we talked about that, yeah."

Colin: "Yeah, and sort of the different sounds, you know like just wanting to... sick of hearing the same sounds, and the same things make the same noises on some of the records, and just trying to find different sounds, and rhythms. And for him, you know, what was coming out of that was the most exciting, the most different, revolutionary, and forward aspect of contemporary music. So erm, I brought a record in by someone from Rotherham, whose name I don't know, but he goes under the name SND, and it's er... locked grooves, and I think it's called 'Travelogue'. And I bought the EP when we were in Cologne, going to various mad record shops, and it's very good, sort of seductive layering of clicks and sub-frequencies."

[Plays Track]

Mark: "SND there with a track called Travelogue."

Robert: "Now you've also brought in a CD by Magnetic Fields."

Colin: "Yes. One of my sort of problems with the past year or so as well is just the paucity of lyrical content in contemporary music as well, it's just... (sighs) I'm a bit embarrassed, because I met Stephin Merritt after his show and I was... just got off the plane from Tokyo and was really jetlagged and I had three pints of Lager, and you know, so I was totally inarticulate, but his words are wonderful. I mean, they're dry, they're witty, they're sad, you know, it sounds crass, but Cole Porter meets Ian Curtis, you know, it's that wonderful maudlin humour. My favourite is 'Mama was a rodeo, Papa was a rock and roll band', you know, and 'Love was a trucker's hand', and that's a great song."

[Plays Track]

Mark: "'Papa Was A Rodeo' from Magnetic Fields' CD 69 Love Songs, a particular favourite of Colin and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, who are our guests tonight."

Robert: "Do you get involved in writing any of the lyrics for Radiohead?"

Colin: "No. On previous records, we've had sort of copies of the words whilst we've been working them out live, and in our rehearsal room, but on this record, Thom had a long period of sort of difficulty in finding outlets for expression, so it didn't even get to the stage where we had like copies of the words to look at, because he wasn't sure about what he wanted to say with them anyway."

Mark: "What role did your producer, Nigel Godrich play in Kid A?"

Colin: "He played a huge part, obviously, I mean Nigel's gift is his ability to stitch... put sounds together, and create a sound curtain, that's his talent, that's what he's great at, and quickly as well, so he can put something together very quickly, and he works very closely with us and, you know... it's a very different relationship though with this one because with OK Computer, which we did with him in Jane Seymour's house, we'd rehearsed all the songs, and just went and recorded it in her beautiful old Elizabethan ballroom and stuff, and you know, he got all the sounds up and everything. Well, this record there was a lot more to-ing and fro-ing and working in the studio, so the relationship was..."

Mark: "Did you spend hours and hours creating the sounds and then putting them together, is that how it worked?"

Colin: "A couple of times we did that, yeah, erm, but you know, it was a little more fraught really, this one, because there were sort of questionings and self-questionings of all the respective roles going on all the time."

Robert: "We speak about this as if Kid A was all you were recording, but of course, at the same time that you were recording the songs on this album, you were recording the songs on the next album, which I believe you've already finished. So, how did those two parallel projects work? Or maybe they weren't parallel projects?"

Jonny: "I think we just started to enjoy being in the studio, is the short answer, and recorded far too much material for one record and wanted to release it very quickly, that's all, We considered doing a double album, but there's something that made us nervous about that. You know, a lot of bands get to their third or fourth record and think their music's good enough to, you know, hold an hour and a half of your attention, but I'm not sure it's always true. So we kind of shied away from that."

Mark: "And does the stuff on the parallel album sound like Kid A, or is it a different sound?"

Jonny: "It does sound similar, because it was recorded at the same sort of time, and there are some similar sounding songs, I'm sure. I mean, the press has suggested that it's going to be a commercial pop song album." (laughs)

Robert: "Yes, that has been said, hasn't it?"

Jonny: "Yeah, which has got us all, kind of, you know, biting our knuckles, 'oh no, here we go again', but anyway, that's how it is."

Mark: "And you're actually recording the album after that now?"

Jonny: "We're doing yet more recording, yeah. It's funny, it has been a long process to get to the stage where recording becomes enjoyable, regularly enjoyable, and not as stressful as it always was."

Robert: "And you have your own recording studio?"

Jonny: "Yeah, we work in Oxfordshire, quite near our homes, so it's cut off, but that's in a good way, I think."

Robert: "And it's a familiar environment, presumably stuffed with lots of familiar technology?"

Jonny: "Yeah, it is. I mean, it's ironic, because that's how we started as a band, we basically rehearsed in a village hall, and we're sort of back there again, you know, except we're not sixteen anymore." (laughs)

Mark: "And it's probably not a village hall."

Colin: "And we had to go round and see Mr Scott and ask for the key, and get one pound fifty off everybody." (laughs)

Mark: "Well, thank you very much for coming in to talk to us and playing your favourite CDs."

Jonny: "Thank you."

Colin: "Cool."

[recording ends]