Thom worked out a completely new (perhaps Tom-Waits-inspired) arrangement during the Kid A sessions, that made use of a 19th century harmonium pedal organ, which had already been played on the Pablo Honey recording of 'Thinking About You'. The choir and harp samples, that were partly inspired by Alice Coltrane records and are supposed to evoke the atmosphere of old Disney movies, were added by Jonny.
Steve Lamacq: "We're joined for the final part of this part of the programme by all the members of the band, and the thing is, that track, which comes at the end, which is called 'Motion Picture Soundtrack', after everything you've been through, through the album, and you get the impression that... I've got this sussed, (Thom laughs) it's 1984, no it's something else, no, it's the album, no, we're going over here, all of a sudden, everything, all your preconceptions go down the drain, and it suddenly becomes..... the whole album suddenly becomes on reflection... feels like a collection of contemporary film soundtracks, ending with The Wizard Of Oz."
Thom: "It's definitely the... well, if we were going to make a video for it, which of course we're not going to, but if we were, our dream was to actually have you know, the bluebirds... I don't know what..."
Thom: "...Disney film that's from, you know, 'the bluebird's on my shoulder'?"
Steve: "Oh, the kind of Zippedy-doo-dah."
Colin: "Louis Armstrong, 'What A Wonderful World', when he does the beginning of Disney, and he's got the bluebirds and the dancer."
Thom: "Oh, that's it, yeah, yeah."
Steve: "Down, Phil, (everyone laughs), back, just for a second, don't be getting any ideas... Now I had this yellow brick road thing in my mind, almost at the end of that, do you see what I mean, you could take various tracks, although there won't be any videos obviously for this record, but some of them are actually quite filmic in their design and their sound, do you see what I mean?"
Thom: "Maybe. I have to say that really... err..."
Steve: "It hadn't crossed your mind?"
Thom: "No, well, it wasn't the intention by any means, I think the reason that that song... I mean, that song is really, really ancient."
Steve: "Is it?"
Thom: "Yeah, yeah, that's like... that's pre-Creep, that song."
Steve: "Is it?"
Thom: "Yeah, yeah."
Ed: "Well, John Leckie wanted... always he... do you remember when we were making The Bends?"
Thom: "He kept banging on about it the whole time."
Ed: "He kept on going 'That crazy song', he said 'listen lads, can we get that crazy song again?' 'Nah...', you know, whatever, and that was about two, three years before that, wasn't it?"
Ed: "So that was 1994."
Thom: "Yeah, it was, it was before 'Creep'."
Steve: "How many songs have you got lying around in drawers?"
Thom: "Err... quite a lot. I mean, yeah, we always get... you get people at gigs going 'play 'True Love Waits'' or 'play...' - what was it - 'Nude' or... what was it, the other one, 'Big Boots', or 'Man-O-War' or, all these ones... and 'Lift', that's a classic one. (laughs)"
Ed: "Mmmm. (laughs)"
Thom: "Mmmm, yeah, hmmm. Well, you know, you have these songs, and you... from my point of view anyway, you know, you write these songs and the words like really really mean something to you, and then three months down the line, or three years down the line, you no longer understand where it came from, so you can't even begin to work out how to record it, or how to create the atmosphere that's supposed to go with it."
Steve: "How to vocalise it..."
Thom: "Yeah, and 'Motion Picture Soundtrack' was a classic sort of... I did it because everyone was sort of saying 'oh, you know, we should do this', and I was mucking around with it on this pump organ thing, and then that was the extent of my involvement and had absolutely no emotional contact with it at all, you know. And Cozzie and Jonny and Nigel were really like into it, and they thought it was really great, and I was like 'yeah, ok, well I'm going home now', and I came back, you know, twenty-four hours later, and Jonny had basically done all these harps and double basses on it, and it just sounded like, you know... I'd always wanted that song to be this big tragedy, but actually it is supposed to be a homage to Disney, you know, it's basically sort of saying, you know, you've been sold a massive white lie, and there's something essentially missing from your life, but... erm... it's essentially Disney's fault, that's what it's saying. (laughs)"
Steve: "But that must be quite nice, to actually have....to be in a position where even now, you have a shared idea, even though you don't know it."
Thom: "Yeah, that's it."
Steve: "Jonny comes in and does all the things, you pick up an idea and turn it into something else."
Thom: "Yeah, I mean ask him where that came from, because I've got bloody no idea."
Steve: "Yeah, where did the harps come from?"
Jonny: "Err, oh, it's just a mixture of... I mean it's a bit like... it's... for me it's an adolescent dream at the moment because we just have a studio that just has instruments lying around, and that was always my kind of... always what I wanted to be able to do, and so you just have access to so many sounds and colours and instruments, and it's... you can try anything and..."
Jonny Greenwood: "Again, a 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...” [...]
Colin Greenwood: "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 Lamacq 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 our fourth and first record, and also like the Wizard of Oz
, and you see after all the technology and the Protools and the samplers..."
Jonny: "...there's just an old man running it."
Robert Sandall: "I gather Alice Coltrane - a piece by Alice Coltrane - was quite influential on one of the tracks."
Jonny Greenwood: "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. 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 [...] Her records have a depth to them that we try to emulate." [...]
Mark Russell: "The track 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, we 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. 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 1950s, where the colour fades slightly, and I think there was even one of the regular introductions that included the fairy spinning round."
Colin Greenwood: "Blue bird... Blue jay."
Jonny: "Was it a blue jay? And the sparks coming from behind."
Jonny: "But the colours were all faded and watery, that was the kind of music as well we were trying to copy."