Nic Harcourt: "We're talking with Jonny and Colin Greenwood, Radiohead. Welcome to Morning Becomes Eclectic."
Jonny: "Thank you."
Nic: "Let's talk about the record, Kid A, just came out in America, and there's a lot of stuff about the record in the press, a lot of interviews that I've read have all pretty much been the same and they've all focused on the same things, I'd like to perhaps go in a little bit of a different direction and you know, perhaps talk a little bit more about the experimentation that is on this record, and how you guys came to the record in this way, can you tell us a little bit about what happened when you first decided the time was right to go back into the studio and do another record?"
Jonny: "I'm not sure what was that different from the last time. It was the same combination of bringing in our favourite records and trying to emulate parts of them and sound like, you know, other kinds of music that we like and admire. We're very bad at setting, you know, manifestos about what we're going to do, and what we're going to change, just... we drift along really, don't we?"
Colin: "Yeah. And it always amazes me that we manage to do these records, and then play them live, and conduct some kind of tour around the music, because there's no kind of blueprint for the next two and a half years of our life when we go in and make a record of where we want to go for that period in the future, but erm, but much of it is also to do with like, the last record was about all the things that we, you know, the negative experiences that we had with the last album and the touring and the promotional side to it, and you know, and that as much informed what we didn't want to do, and what we wanted to do with the new record as much as the different sounds we were listening to."
Nic: "I read somewhere that Ed O'Brien said if you'd had to make another record like OK Computer, you probably just wouldn't have made another record."
Colin: "And if we had made that record, and it had had the same reviews as OK Computer had when it came out, then we'd probably have ground to a halt and split up as well, so that's true."
Nic: "The new record... I guess it breaks a little bit from that traditional acoustic electric framework, in so much as there's a lot more experimentation, challenges our preconceptions of what a rock group would play, what kind of a record a rock group would make."
Jonny: "Yeah. It's strange to be classed as a guitar band when guitars are just one of the things that we play and that we use. I mean like, I really love playing glockenspiel and stuff on stage, you know, that's really fun, that's as much fun as playing guitar for me, so..."
Colin: "It's a very embarrassing instrument to bring on stage."
Jonny: "Very embarrassing to....of course."
Colin: "And you don't actually bring it out yourself, do you?"
Jonny: "No, that's true."
Colin: "You're quite happy to..."
Jonny: "To play the thing."
Colin: "And to walk out with a guitar, Keith Richards style, strapped around your back, but you're not happy carrying the glockenspiel out there."
Nic: "I've actually seen you with some weird and wonderful things up there on stage, but not actually a glockenspiel yet."
Nic: "Is it true to say that perhaps in the process of making this record you discovered that you didn't all have to play the instruments that you traditionally would play, or are expected to play?"
Jonny: "Yeah, I mean, you hear stories about bands that just, you know, will go and record a drumkit, and then the guitar player will play a guitar part, and the bass player will go and play a bass part, and none of us are that attached to our roles, I don't think."
Colin: "It's like a closed shop, isn't it? It's like union practices are critical when you come to New York and do some of the, you know, TV shows and some guy's being paid five hundred dollars to move a ride cymbal and stuff and you know, and it's like you find yourself like falling into the same patterns as well, so that's true, and we're big Talking Heads fans, and the way that I think they sort of approached instruments, I think..."
Jonny: "Yeah, exactly, and on stuff like Remain In Light, you know, who's playing what, and it doesn't really matter, it all sounds just as amazing."
Nic: "Can you remember which song from the new album first crystalised as a song, or maybe when you were sequencing the record, which song you first knew was going to be on the record in a particular place?"
Jonny: "I think the song 'Everything In Its Right Place' was important because, unlike with OK Computer, our last record, we were happy to leave parts of it empty, and I think in the past we've been too scared to leave sounds exposed or to have too much space around them, and we've been guilty of layering on top of what's a very good song or a very good sound, and hiding it, camouflaging it, in case it's not good enough, and 'Everything In Its Right Place' was one of the first songs that we actually realised is great, even though it's so sparse, so that was a very important song, and it also dictated how we sequenced the record, because we knew it had to be the first song, and everything just followed after it."
Nic: "So maybe we'll take a listen to it."
Nic: "'Everything In Its Right Place' on Morning Becomes Eclectic."
[Plays 'Everything In Its Right Place']
Nic: "So once again we're talking with Jonny and Colin Greenwood of Radiohead. And you know, I guess we've all been impacted by electronic music and DJ culture in recent years, in England especially, but also here in the States in the last couple of years, and Kid A as an album seems to have taken elements of electronic music and fused or blended them with more traditional rock music. We were talking a little earlier on about when you went into the studio there was no manifesto, but was there some sense that there was going to be an introduction of other music that you'd been listening to? You eluded to the fact that you had been listening to some other music..."
Nic: "....and wanted to bring that to the sessions."
Jonny: "Partly, it's a realisation that there are only a handful of good rock records, in a way, and the same way there's only a handful of..."
Colin: "There's a handful of good any records."
Colin: "I mean that's the realisation."
Jonny: "And we're equally passionate about all of them, you know, from you know, big band stuff like Charlie Mingus to, you know, electronica and whatever, it's....when it's good it's just, you know, it's breathtaking, and sounding like a rock band would just mean... we were only really listening to music like that when the Pixies were around, and since then it's just been..."
Colin: "But you're a big Led Zep and Floyd fan as well Jonny, aren't you?"
Jonny: "(laughs) "The" Zep, and "The" Floyd."
Colin: "There's the occasional Zep jam in the studio with Nigel, the producer."
Jonny: "Actually our producer is more of a Zep fan."
Colin: "He's more of a rock producer."
Jonny: "Yeah, he like to run out and play guitar solos when no-one's looking."
Colin: "But then he also did 'Everything In Its Right Place' with Thom on the computer, using it it in a really cool way."
Nic: "Well let's talk about Nigel a little bit, Nigel Godrich, who produced OK Computer and Kid A. How much did he bring to the sessions, in how he helped guide you, perhaps, or... the producer's role obviously varies on the producer and on the band, but I would imagine that he's somebody who really brings something to the table."
Jonny: "He is, yeah, he's vitally important. I mean his mixture of energy and you know, sense of taste and enthusiasm, and also the fact that he does everything himself, you know, from setting up microphones to discussing song structures and he feels like part of the band when we're working, definitely, you know, we're all the same age, we're all together, we're all kind of doing this thing for the first time together, you know, working in isolation, and it's just... it's a great way to work."
Colin: "He didn't think much of 'Everything In Its Right Place' when he heard it, he didn't think it was going to be any good, but then Thom was banging it out on an upright piano, you know, and then he and Thom like stayed up late one night in this big country house we rented out in England and did it on a proper keyboard and then Nigel like used a scrubbing tool in Protools to like scratch the soundwaves, and made all these mad sounds that no-one had done before and it was like, it was amazing, you know. He was very good for us as... when everything ground to a halt, Nigel would get us all into the library in the studio that we were in, wherever we were, and make us carry on."
Nic: "Well, there were times, I believe when you were making the record then, that perhaps you did want to go away for a while, and not carry on for a while. Was there any particular song that you were working on that might have gotten you to a point where you were like 'where do we go from here?', was there any particular moment as you were in the studio, because I know you recorded in a couple of different places, right?"
Colin: "Yeah, we recorded in Paris and Copenhagen and Gloucestershire and Oxford."
Nic: "And then you finished in your own studio?"
Colin: "You know, the stressful side of recording at... a lot if it was about what was going to happen, you know. The big fear is, it's easy to go and record, but it's very difficult to envisage what's going to be released, and end up in the CD case in a record shop and so that's really the problem. There's no problem with all hanging out and eating beautiful food every day, and making music and working on computers and playing guitars, and... but it's a big problem thinking about editing and compiling and presenting."
Nic: "And what happens at the end of that process, and what you do with..."
Colin: "Yeah, especially as the previous time that you've done it with OK Computer, and you end up becoming thoroughly disillusioned, disenchanted, and sort of tired out and burnt out by the whole process and feel that you're on this fast track to playing the Continental Airlines arena outside New York, only this time you won't be opening for Alanis Morrisette, you'll be doing it yourself, but you'll be throwing all the same moves, you know."
Colin: "So, you know, it's a bit like, we all went to the same school, which is a boy's school just outside Oxford, and you know, there would be like their sort of elections to become prefects, and it's a bit of a feeling like - hang on a second, we all left school and then we went to college and we were in a band because we wanted to do it because of the things we didn't like about school, and we're ending up sort of going on to the way of being like prefects in the sixth form in the version of our... of what we do, you know, and it's like that's not right, so you know a lot of this two year period was trying to sort of put the brakes on that."
Nic: "Is that a particularly English thing, do you think?"
Colin: "It's a Protestant middle-class thing, I think, yes."
Nic: "I mean for me, growing up in England as well, I mean it sounds like a particularly British way of growing up, first of all..."
Colin: "Yes, yes."
Nic: "And secondly then reacting to that."
Colin: "Completely, yeah, and reacting against it, I mean, punk rock, yeah, completely."
Nic: "I'm wondering if the song 'The National Anthem' has anything to do with that way of looking at the world from that British perspective."
Jonny: "It was basically written around a very old song, a bassline from about... (to Colin) ten years ago?"
Colin: "Thom demoed the song on the four-track when we were all at school when we were about sixteen or seventeen."
Nic: "Oh my gosh."
Colin: "So... around like a Boss Doctor Rhythm drum machine and a sort of guitar fuzz bassline. And then we were finishing the touring on OK Computer in the winter of '97 and we had to record some b-sides for the last single releases of OK Computer, and everyone jumped in the bus to go to London to do... and I didn't go, 'cause I was like (laughs)... for various reasons, and they cut 'National Anthem' and decided it was too good to use as a b-side for OK Computer singles, so it sat on a shelf for another two years, and then Jonny added all this amazing stuff with the Ondes Martenot and found sounds on radio stations, including the orchestra at the end, which is where the 'National Anthem' title comes from, because it sounds like... so it wasn't originally called 'National Anthem', it was called 'Everyone'."
Nic: "Seems a good opportunity for me to play the song. It's 'The National Anthem' on Morning Becomes Eclectic by Radiohead."
[Plays 'The National Anthem']
Nic: "I'm Nic Harcourt, and once again we're talking with Jonny and Colin Greenwood from Radiohead. It seems that there's been a big difference between American and British reactions to the record."
Nic: "I can't believe that you take that much notice of what the press says, but you obviously must hear about it, and in England of course they're always ready to take a look at a band at a certain point in their career and say 'oh well, what are they showing us now?', and that, I believe, has been the general reaction in England, but in America, and this has actually surprised me, that the expectations here, well perhaps expectation's not the right word, but the anticipation of this record has been accompanied by an open mind, the press here seems to have really... they want to embrace this record, and I don't know if you're aware of that, but they definitely... America seems ready for this record."
Colin: "Mmmm. I think that's... I think you're right, yes."
Jonny: "The reaction in the UK has been strangely conservative in a way, complaints about, you know, lack of melody, and you know, really quite surreal, they've reviewed it like a... you know, like a Travis record or something like, er, in that they want it to sound..."
Nic: "They want a Travis record."
Jonny: "In a way, yeah, in a way, it's quite bizarre, you know."
Nic: "And there's nothing wrong with a Travis record."
Jonny: "Which would be fine..."
Colin: "Everyone wants a Travis record, five times platinum, or whatever, I think it's great. I think the press that we've had in the UK, I thought was entirely predictable, because I think a lot of what the journalists were writing about about was very much where our heads were at about eighteen months ago when we started this recording project, you know. It was like a fear of trying different things and also sort of clinging on to old things and expectations of continuing the guitar thing from The Bends and OK Computer, and once you become like recognised and better known, you also become expected to do certain things. So I found the press entirely predictable in England, the fact that people were going 'I don't under... what is this, what's going on?' because it wasn't like these journalists had spent eighteen months with us in the studio going through the process, they had like forty-eight hours to listen to the record, and if I was them I'd probably have to give the same kind of verdict as well, but what you were saying about America, that is interesting."
Nic: "Well, let me just come back on the point on the English thing. I mean do you think perhaps if they'd been really listening to what was going on in The Bends and OK Computer..."
Colin: "That they could see..."
Nic: "That they would have had a different reaction, because it seems to me, a logical progression for Radiohead to make this kind of a record, so I don't quite understand why they're surprised, and I'm wondering if that surprises you."
Colin: "But, erm, I think it's because, if you become... if you're a successful band, then you become perceived as successful, and you're perceived as having all the trappings of success, which is the... I suppose the three nights sold out in Wembley Arena, and the video with the latest video director who does the latest drinks adverts, (DJ laughs) and you know, and you've got like the tie-ins with the hottest new independent movie director, who's got, you know, whatever, but erm..."
Nic: "The whole cross-promotional angle..."
Colin: "Yeah, exactly, and if you're not doing that but you're at the point in your career where you can do that, then a lot of questions are asked within the media as to why you're not doing it, and it can be seen as being perverse and bloody-minded and cack-handed, you know, we've had some very bad reviews off people who think that we're trying to rip off like people like Aphex Twin or Warp records artists, and completely missing the point about what we're doing, which is... we're just like playing each other our records, and carrying on songwriting."
Nic: "Right. Let's talk about the American reaction."
Colin: "Mmm. Well we've been joking about like doing this interview, and a couple of other ones, about sort of leaning back in the chair and saying 'well, you know, we've always...'"
Jonny: "Oh, that tiresome... yeah those, it's the big cliché isn't it, when the band, you know, it starts by doing an interview and saying 'well, Americans are so open-minded and we've always loved it here', and before you know it they're kind of living next to one of the Sex Pistols in L.A., (DJ laughs) and you know what I mean, and it's like playing in the Viper Room and being ex-pats, which we, you know, we don't really want to happen, but we were surprised, I mean to be honest, I was very surprised, because I remember like, just like journalism in America, from music journalism response to our record three years ago just seemed really kind of, a bit like the English one now, you know it's been a real reversal, it was kind of... it was quite..."
Colin: "It was really good for OK Computer as well."
Jonny: "It was good, yeah, but it was... it wasn't... they seem so much more open-minded now, it's weird."
Colin: "But I think the important thing is that we've been touring in this country since 1993, and we've always come and played here, and we obviously enjoy the same things that Americans enjoy in this country, you know, like obviously like bookshops and record shops and like the community, and like little towns and stuff, and you know, playing the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia and stuff like that, but, erm, and I think that's really important, so I don't think it's just a case of... I think if people over here feel that you have got some sort of history, and you back it up and you're not like one hit, like a lot of English groups come over, and they might have like a top five hit, and then like fizzle out and stuff, and we've been coming here for like nearly eight years, so... and continue to plan to do so."
Nic: "So you think there's perhaps a recognition that the band is committed to..."
Colin: "...being part of this country's culture, yeah, completely."
Jonny: "Yeah, like a lot of British bands do kind of resent being here, spending time here, and don't... kind of, but we thrive on it, traveling anywhere, that's why we're we recording in, you know, Denmark and France and wherever, it's..."
Colin: "And we've drawn so much of this country's musical culture for our own music."
Jonny: "Yeah, exactly."
Nic: "Let's come back and perhaps talk a little bit about some of that musical culture, but first of all I'd like to play another song, and we talked about maybe listening to 'Idioteque'."
Nic: "Can you tell us a little bit about this song before we play it?"
Jonny: "Yeah, erm, the starting point for that was trying to build a drum machine out of very old style synthesizers, kind of using the same things that, you know, I suppose the Roland technicians would have had in 1978 or whatever, to decide how to make something sound like a snare drum out of white noise and how to create the sound of a bass drum, a kick drum out of filters, and so it was, it was like... we basically built a drum machine, and I played a record on top, at random, and had a radio playing, and was just trying to generate all this chaos over this drum pattern. And then Thom cut it into sections, and ended up having a sample of the record I was playing, which is this compilation of electronic composers. They had some competition in 1972 to see who was writing the best modern electric music in a classical style, and it's been a very interesting process, because we had to track down... I wanted to track down the composer to tell him we'd done it, and ask permission and stuff, and at that point he'd been, you know, eighteen, nineteen, and was in college, and no-one knew where he... what he was doing today, and it turns out he's a professor at Princeton, professor of music, and so..."
Nic: "Oh my gosh, and he's probably like fifty years old, and..."
Jonny: "He's great, and he came last night. We've been like corresponding, and he came and saw the show, and was very excited and was, you know, describing the songs in a very interesting way, you know, it was really nice to meet him."
Jonny: "So, and he really likes what we do..."
Colin: "And he offered you, and said that if you want to come for interview to finish your music studies..."
Jonny: "Princeton's the place."
Colin: "Yeah (laughs)."
Jonny: "He's great, so..."
Nic: "Well, let's listen to the song, it's 'Idioteque' from Radiohead on Morning Becomes Eclectic."
Nic: "So once again, I'm Nic Harcourt, and we're taking with Jonny and Colin Greenwood of the band Radiohead. Maybe we could talk a little bit about the internet, which has grown and mutated since OK Computer, and this time around seems to have been a key component in letting the fans know what's been going on in the recording process, and prior to the album's release there were trickles of information coming out on the web, audio snippets, video blips that teased and excited people. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and what you were trying to do with that, making that available to Radiohead fans."
Jonny: "I don't know, it sounds very facile to say, but it's just great, I think, having direct contact with that many people without having to go through journalists, and you know... present company excepted, radio stations as well, you know..."
Nic: "(laughs) Thank you."
Jonny: "...and that, you know, obviously it's exciting, and also I mean personally, I find it... I enjoy the fact that it's all still quite primitive, and you know, relatively slow, and low quality, and you know, we've done a few web broadcasts, and I love the... you know, the nature of it, and it's going to be a shame when it becomes like TV. It's nice that it's still like kind of pirate TV and pirate radio even, so... and it's something we can run ourselves, unlike a real radio station or a real TV..."
Nic: "Well, you know, the fanbase is clearly net savvy, and was rewarded when you made the whole album available for listening, it was streamed on the web a couple of weeks before it was released, and you know, interestingly enough I was one of the chosen few who were allowed to hear the record in advance up at the Captitol Records headquarters in Hollywood."
Colin: "Did you go along to that playback that they had?"
Nic: "I think they had a couple of playbacks. I actually was lucky in so much as I actually went with just our web guy..."
Nic: "...because we put the blip, you know, the link through to the website up on the KCRW website, so I took our web guy so that he could get a sense of what it was all about."
Nic: "So it was just us, and so I was saying I was one of the chosen few who were allowed to listen, and fortunately not in that big listening thing..."
Nic: "..but nevertheless, we were in this great big room, and there was four of us sitting around this huge table, and they're playing the record. It was fun to be invited to listen to it, you know, regardless of how it felt to me at the time, I sort of had to think about it later on, really, because it was a weird environment to be sitting there with somebody from the record label, 'well, this is the record, what do you think?', you know."
Colin: "Exactly. I mean, the one negative aspect of it for us with the internet and releasing the record has been giving music journalists the chance to listen to the record. Like, ideally, we would give everyone the record like a month before it was released for them to hear it, but because of Napster and... you know, if we gave everyone a CD copy, then obviously the album would be up on the internet the next day."
Nic: "Well, I was going to ask you about that because, you know, I got to hear it - as I say - a month or so before it came out, and I believe that most journalists and industry people heard it through selected listenings or there was even a little like mp3..."
Colin: "Yes, that's right, Sony memory stick. You remember like throughout the seventies, the pen holders that you used to get..."
Nic: "Round your neck."
Colin: "With a leather thong round your neck. It's exactly the same as that."
Colin: "And these little flexi headphones."
Colin: "It's just amazing."
Nic: "But the bottom line was that the label went to great lengths to control the release of the music to the reviewers and radio, and then about ten days before it hit stores and the radio stations got their first track, somebody posted the whole album up on Napster anyway."
Colin: "We'd had these ridiculous meetings when we were finishing the record about how to control the release of the music, you know, and there's no way you can do it, you know."
Nic: "Well, what about Napster? It didn't seem to impact your early sales on the record negatively, in fact I think it's quite a plausible argument to make that Radiohead's exposure on Napster with bootleg recordings from European shows showing up months ago might actually have helped prepare fans to go and buy the record."
Colin: "Exactly, I think you're right, you know, and we've always said that as well. When we did our first live webcast in our studio, we had like six little TV cameras, again you go and buy it in your local digital hardware store, and then we had like a little PC server, and everyone sat around the fireplace and played one of the new songs live out - 'Knives Out', on the next record - and it would be... and then I sat in the control room with Nigel, watching it and it was like seeing the first shots of the moon landing or something, in the sense of like you were doing something that was being beamed out to like America and like Australia and South Africa, and it was just done via a little computer on a wooden desk in a little vi... outside Oxford, you know, and the excitement of that. None of us could go to sleep that night - the sense of outreach to people directly to their bedrooms and front rooms."
Jonny: "And it was even funnier than that, because we just set up originally to just play a few records, and then while the camera was pointing, we thought we should really set up and play a song, but we didn't want to let people know we were going to do that, you know, we didn't even announce the DJ set, so we were all crawling around on the floor holding microphones..."
Jonny: "...trying to set them up with no-one seeing..."
Colin: "The spontaneity of it..."
Jonny: "...and getting it all ready..."
Colin: "...you know, you lose that so much..."
Jonny: "...and that was what was good about it, and there was only seven hundred people watching, I think."
Colin: "Yeah, because of the servers cost so much money, yeah."
Colin: "But, you know, and like we were talking to people on the bulletin board and there was this kid in San Diego, who put his number up on the bulletin board, so Thom gave him a call..."
Nic: "Oh great, great."
Colin: "...just to see how he was doing and just to see what he thought of the song or whatever, and the guy was just so bored and unimpressed, and like wasn't surprised, you know, that Thom was calling him, it wasn't like a Radiohead fan 'my God, is this such and such, am I really talking...', it's like 'oh, yeah, hi', you know, because of the technology, because of the sort of the transparency of this medium."
Nic: "Well, and I guess there's a certain intimacy that came along with that particular event anyway, so it didn't seem that unreasonable that..."
Nic: "....you should be having a conversation with the singer in the band."
Colin: "Exactly, because it's yet to become ecluded by, you know, advertising breaks between what's going on, or other people like becoming involved, you know, another layer of people like presenters and such like."
Jonny: "Producers, make-up, lighting."
Nic: "Well, I don't want to focus too much time on it, but let me just ask a little bit about Napster and the debate, and the issues that it raises for artists in the industry. We talked about the fact that it certainly didn't seem to impact Radiohead at this point negatively, because the band has an established fanbase, there's a big buzz, people want to buy the records, but one would imagine there's a lot of grey areas in the Napster debate."
Nic: "Established bands can clearly benefit from it, new artists, perhaps some of them can benefit from it, but one would also think that new artists with record deals might actually be hurt by it, I mean do you have any strong feelings either way?"
Colin: "I think new artists are going to get hurt the most out of it because of the difficulty of collecting royalties or making revenue, not just that, but also if you are signed to a record label, you know, the difficulty of getting a record label to, you know, conduct the same kind of deal that we got in 1991/92, which was all about five or six records and long term investment, because I think the whole industry just doesn't know what's going to happen in the long term, but I think at the same time, there's a lot of... it's freed a lot of people up, you know, we were talking earlier about artists who can like distribute and publicise their music over the internet and sell it like, you know, acting as mail order, you know, for all the excitement about this internet technology, I think the most successful thing it does is it acts as a very old fashioned system of like telegrams and mail order and like with Sears Roebuck catalogue in the forties, you know, you can send off for something and then get it back, you know it's obviously what companies like Amazon are using the internet for."
Jonny: "Yeah, but the only trouble is, that you've got to remember that our first few tours, and our first couple of records were funded by, you know, Queen having sold albums in, you know, the late eighties, or whatever, so I don't know..."
Nic: "You mean because..."
Colin: "Because of the record companies..."
Nic: "The record label had money."
Colin: "...being able to sell back catalogue."
Jonny: "And we couldn't have toured in America, for example, they were subsidising that, and we wouldn't have been able to, you know, use studios and things, so that's all kind of weird."
Colin: "It is strange, because you get the feeling... the great fear is that you feel that the actual....the physicality of what you do is disappearing, you know, you felt it when music went from twelve inch vinyl to CD, you know, and the record companies made an absolute fortune in the eighties when they went to CD, but by doing so, they let the horse out of the stable, you know, because they instantly made the digital format, and you can't go backwards from that, and they made so much money by selling everyone The Doors again..."
Nic: "By remastering, re-releasing it..."
Colin: "Yeah, all that bull."
Nic: "...and selling it for twice the amount of money."
Colin: "Exactly, so you know, it's their own fault, but..."
Nic: "Do you see Radiohead's future embracing the technology more as the technology advances and do you see a time when maybe Radiohead will distribute its music through the internet?"
Jonny: "I don't know, one concern is that as soon as bands start doing that, they just... it's like setting up your own label, you end up spending all your time in business meetings, I would expect, so..."
Nic: "So it doesn't sound like an attractive idea?"
Colin: "I think it sounds like a brilliant idea, I think it's what's going to happen, I think, you know, if you look at the major labels at the moment, they're all... there are loads of rumours flying around how they're desperately running around trying to sell off the whole pressing and manufacturing side to their businesses, you know, because that's not going... in the future that's all going to go, you know, the business now, the money is to be made is into the systems that the music's being played on, so people like Sony, I think, sort of the rumours that people, you know, big record companies are trying to get rid of the record company side of their... and concentrate on the dinky little device you can hang round your neck like a seventies pen holder."
Colin: "And listen to music you get off your computer or whatever, so..."
Nic: "Let's talk a little bit about touring. You did a fairly substantial European jaunt this year, played new songs before the record was released, there's just a couple of dates here in the States, this side of the end of the year, anyway."
Nic: "But I believe we can expect to see a fuller tour, possibly a month or so of dates next April or May, and it's two questions in one really, I also believe that we're going to hear another record around the same time?"
Jonny: "Part of the process of recording this record meant that it took us so long to get our heads together and to get into a position where we were enjoying ourselves that it was quite hard to stop and we seemed to just record song after song, and had far too many for one record, and have to do something with them. We're still not sure how we're going to release them, or what order we're going to put them in, or how long the record's going to be, but we certainly had too much for one record."
Nic: "So you didn't want to do a double album, because..."
Jonny: "We thought about it, but there's a sort of... I don't know."
Nic: "Double albums don't work."
Jonny: "I don't think so."
Jonny: "There's an arrogance in them, there's a sort of..."
Jonny: "You know, bands get to a stage where they think their music is worth, you know, three hours of your time, and it's not really..."
Nic: "But clearly the songs are important..."
Nic: "..and you feel that they're worthy of another album's worth of material, so..."
Jonny: "Yeah, I think that's true."
Nic: "And is the other work a little more song structured than Kid A?"
Jonny: "No, it's not. People have been saying that because of the songs that we're playing live from that new record, the next record."
Nic: "Because you're playing some of the songs live now."
Jonny: "Yeah, and obviously we're going to be playing the more song orientated ones, but it's a similar mixture, I think."
Colin: "The important thing is this blue tent we took across Europe."
Nic: "I wanted to ask you about that, you did the tent tour."
Nic: "The big top tour."
Nic: "Tell us about that."
Jonny: "It's just the only solution we could think of to not be playing in sports halls, and be still dealing with the British climate, you know, a tent is the only answer really, and so we just... we carried this enormous ten thousand people tent around, it takes two days to build, it's one of those, you know, and it really worked as a venue, it sounded much better, and I think people could see better."
Nic: "You can control the sound in an environment like that..."
Nic: "...which you can't in a lot of halls, arenas in particular."
Colin: "Yeah, yeah, exactly."
Nic: "Might that be a part of any tour in the States?"
Colin: "Well, if you were to talk to me personally, I mean it's my dream that we would do something like that in the States, and it would be amazing because we... I think in America... What we were interested in in America was the whole approach of groups like Phish and the Grateful Dead when they started, and stuff like that, being able to like have... you can do that in America if you have a popularity that's outside of the level of corporate sponsorship and the post show radio tie-in hospitality tent and the major beer commercial, you know, tent stuff, and... but you can... because America's so big you can do that, you know and like having local artists play and conduct a sort of small version of a festival, so we're looking into that at the moment."
Nic: "It seems that Radiohead's a band that wants to challenge itself, wants to challenge the audience with the records and with the way that you present the stuff live, so hopefully we'll see you here next year. Let's finish up with one more song, we're going to play one more song, which is 'Motion Picture Soundtrack'. Can you just give me a quick intro into the track?"
Jonny: "Yeah, again, very old song, more than ten years old as a musical idea. It's played on a very old harmonium pedal organ on top of which we put some double basses and harp to try and sound like Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane's wife, who played lots of sitar-based kind of, you know, ground-based, repetitive, Indian-influenced jazz..."
Nic: "Let me ask you a quick question, where does that stuff come from, where do those influences for you come from, I mean clearly you've heard the records, but what makes you want to bring those sounds, those samples, that sensibility to this music?"
Colin: "Touring America, I mean friends, relationships like our sister's... our brother in law, he's got a huge like record... but I mean like record shops in America, going to all these little clubs and stuff. I mean it’s harder and harder to do now."
Nic: "So you go record shopping when you're in a little town somewhere..."
Nic: "...and pick up that stuff."
Colin: "Yeah, I mean, you know it's amazing. I like 'Motion Picture Soundtrack' 'cause this journalist said it's like the Wizard of Oz, it's at the end of this mad record with all these mad sounds, Steve Lemaq from Radio 1, he said you get the curtains pulled back and there's this bloke like pumping, you can hear the wheezing, grinding of this guy pedaling, playing the keyboard. It's a harmonium from West Virginia from like the 1850's that is actually on our first album, Pablo Honey, on a track called 'Thinking About You', and the studio closed down, and the guy wanted to sell us the equipment, which is sort of like a passing on of this stuff, so I love the idea that it's on like our fourth and first record, and also like the Wizard of Oz, and you see like after all the technology and the Protools and the samplers..."
Jonny: "There's just an old man running it."
Nic: "At the end of the day..."
Colin: "At the end of the day it's just like..."
Nic: "Well that seems like a perfect place to end the interview really and to play 'Motion Picture Soundtrack'. Thank you so much, Jonny and Colin Greenwood, for joining us."
Jonny: "Thanks, Nic."
Nic: "And good luck with the record."
Colin: "Thank you."
Nic: "Hopefully we'll see you back here next year and thanks so much for joining us on Morning Becomes Eclectic."