Monday, August 30, 2010





















Sunday, August 29, 2010






















Sunday, August 15, 2010

Interview with Thom Yorke by Kurt Loder (MTV) | 2000-10

For all the spooky cool and spacy mysteriousness surrounding Radiohead and the recording of its new album, Kid A, the Oxford, England, band has been a fairly well-known commodity in the States since the release of its first LP, 1993's Pablo Honey.

Even though the band has all but disavowed "Creep," the single from Pablo Honey that helped introduce the band on this side of the Atlantic, the "accidental" riff that punctuated the track - courtesy of guitarist Jonny Greenwood's test to see if his amp was on - has proven to be emblematic of the band's approach to recording.

Radiohead's anthemic, big-rock stage culminated in 1995's The Bends, which then led to its cerebral - and commercially successful - breakthrough LP, OK Computer, some two years later. The group opted for a relatively cloistered approach to cutting the follow-up, Kid A, which generated the kind of pre-release buzz and fanfare not afforded British guitar bands these days - especially ones that have jettisoned their guitars in favor of even more challenging, synth-based, and FX-layered material.

Luckily for us, Radiohead has delivered the goods on Kid A, even if we aren't quite sure exactly what those goods are all about. The week after the album's release, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke sat down with MTV News' Kurt Loder to discuss and decipher the disc, which Yorke said was riddled with references to genetic engineering, pyramids and the Mayan calendar, and the next stage in human development.

Oh yeah, this you've got to read to believe.

MTV News' Kurt Loder: Kid A seems to be an album made by people who are totally oblivious to what's going on in popular music right now. It sounds like the band lost interest in the whole pop-song format.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke: Well, I guess we did lose interest in it, really. I think, basically, you do something for a while and then suddenly it just doesn't float your boat anymore. It just didn't excite me. At the same time I find it quite weird that people say [Kid A] is not melodic. To me, the melodies are still there. It's still the same thing for me. The melodies are just going to a different place, but it's still a melody. If it ain't melody, then it's noise, and it's not noise.

Loder: Do you feel that people should sit down and just listen to Kid A all at once? Is that why there are no official singles planned, so you can just take the album as an entity and experience it as a whole?

Yorke: To be honest, I don't quite know why we don't have singles. I was definitely at the meeting. I was definitely there, I remember, but I probably went to the loo or had a cup of coffee or went off somewhere. There is good reason for that, but I'm not quite sure what it is.

Loder: Drifting back, what was the state of the band at the end of the OK Computer tour? Did you feel you were on the verge of having to do something new?

Yorke: To be honest, it just sort of went wrong.

Loder: In what way?

Yorke: It just went wrong. I'm not quite sure exactly. Personally speaking, I felt like [that] cliche you have in '70s films. I can't remember one in particular, but [it was when] you would have a character and they walk into a room full of mirrors, about a hundred mirrors, but they're all reflecting in on each other, so you get about five thousand of you. [Then there's another] guy standing there with a gun, waiting for the real one, trying to work out which is the real one.

Loder: I think that's The Lady From Shanghai.

Yorke: OK. That's what was going on for me personally, so there was just a lot of sorting out to do, really.

Loder: Was everybody in the band getting along well?

Yorke: Yeah. I think we worked together for so long that we needed to go away and rebuild something else. It was like being in the army. Go take some time off.

Loder: Why have you decided not to mount a full-scale tour to support Kid A? Or are you thinking of touring?

Yorke: I think what we want to do is break the cycle of [where] a band goes on tour for nine months, turns into monsters, then has to sort themselves out and piece together the bits in order to make another [album]. Or the thing about making records in order to go on tour and all that sort of stuff.

Even though I enjoy playing live, I actually enjoy writing and recording more, 'cause that’s the stuff that will end up lasting, you know. That's kind of the real reason. The only way that I can personally deal with touring is to think of it as, well, you have a set amount of time and you go off and you give it your all. Then, before you get wasted and tired and can't cope anymore, you stop.

Loder: In the studio, what part has Nigel Godrich, the producer on both [i]Kid A[/i] and OK Computer, played in the recording of the albums?

Yorke: He's brilliant. He's the voice of reason a lot of the time. When things just get really out of hand, he's sitting there going, "No, that doesn't work." Also, he's just really good at knowing when something's sparking off properly. He has the ability to take some not-so-good sounds and turn them into really amazing sounds. The way of sort of piecing things together, which stops it from being just a mess. I don't know. I'm not quite sure how it works, you know. He also bosses us around, which is good. He makes us have meetings every day at midday.

Loder: Is there an example of his handiwork you can point out on the new album?

Yorke: On "Everything In Its Right Place," [the vocal sampling] was actually Nigel's thing. You know, you discover these techniques as you go along, bits and pieces. It's amazing how you can take really weird, unformed things and make them coherent. That's the thing that really keeps me interested in music, really. You can just take chaos and refine it down into something that's really, really exciting.

Loder: Who has the final say in the studio? Who says, "This track is done, let's move on to the next thing?"

Yorke: Well, it's usually me or Nigel, I guess. It's usually the case of, "I don't want to hear this anymore, blah." That's what normally happens.

Loder: Considering all the effects you employ on the records, what is the studio setting like? Do you have a lot of old equipment lying around?

Yorke: Our studio is just a mess of broken furniture and lids. We really need a woman's touch in the studio, actually. It's really quite a man's den. It's disgusting.

Loder: Is "Morning Bell" about a breakup or a divorce?

Yorke: Not really, no. That [one's] actually quite weird. When we came off of OK Computer, I bought this house, this empty house, and it had a ghost in it.

Loder: Pardon?

Yorke: It had a ghost in it.

Loder: What sort of ghost?

Yorke: Well, quite friendly, but a ghost.

Loder: How did you know it was there?

Yorke: You just knew. You didn't say it, but you knew. So I filled up a whole MiniDisc of stuff, of songs and half-formed ramblings or whatever. Then there was a lightning strike and it wiped it all [out]. I was really upset, 'cause there was some really good stuff on it. But that was the general vibe of the house at the time, so I didn't think any of it.

Then I forgot it, and six months later, I was in an airplane coming back from Japan or something and I didn't sleep at all. I hadn't slept for ages and ages. Suddenly, I was lying there, and I'd forgotten all the stuff from the MiniDisc, and "Morning Bell" just came back to me, exactly as I had written it, with all the words and everything. It sounds like it's about a breakup, but it's really not. It's about being in this house. So there you go. You know, things are never that direct with me, unfortunately.

Loder: Do you still have the house? Do you still have the ghost?

Yorke: No, he's gone now. He was trapped in the plaster, and we got rid of the plaster.

Loder: Like a carpentry exorcism sort of thing?

Yorke: I hate to say it, but yeah. And I really didn't want to do it, but it kind of sorted things out for me a bit in my head.

Loder: On "The National Anthem," there's a horn section that comes in and does a sort of free jazz, Ornette Coleman thing. Was it hard to find these guys? Or do you just kinda go, "Blow over the top of this?"

Yorke: The running joke when we were in the studios was, "Just blow." Just blow, just blow, just blow.

Loder: Did they know what you meant? Clearly they got it.

Yorke: Apparently that's what jazz people say. So they did, yeah. The reference point was this tonal concept by [Charles] Mingus. I think most horn players are Mingus freaks. I think we're going to go see Mingus' Big Band tonight, actually.

Loder: What is Kid A, by the way? What does that refer to?

Yorke: It was nonsense, but then it also wasn't as well. I don't know why it meant so much to us, because it's just a phrase like any other. But for me, it was born out of an unhealthy obsession with a higher form of... well, I'll tell you. The next stage in human development.

Loder: What would the next stage of human development be?

Yorke: I'm not sure whether it's like a genetic thing or [has to] do with artificial intelligence. But all along the way, while we're making the record and recording, all the time we were away, I just kept meeting people that were talking about it. Talking about the fact that maybe human beings are defunct and maybe human beings eventually sow the seeds of the next higher form of life. They're not quite sure on how to deal with it yet, but they have already started doing it.

And I'm reading this really wacko book about stars and pyramids as well.

Loder: What is it called?

Yorke: God, what's it called? I can't remember what it's bloody called. Where's my bag?

Loder: About stars and the pyramids?

Yorke: Yeah. Where's my knapsack?

Loder: Just show us everything in your knapsack. That would be good.

Yorke: It's all right, 'cause you won't use any of this. You'll edit it out. OK, it's got a terrible cover. Just ignore the cover. It's called Heaven's Mirror: Quest For The Lost Civilization, by Graham Hancock and Santha Faiia.

Loder: [Reading cover] It's now a major television series?

Yorke: Yeah. I saw it while we were working, and it slightly freaked me out. It's a book that has this theory that there are a lot of ancient sites around the world that pyramids and temples are built on which correlate exactly with stars in the heavens and correlate with things like the Mayan calendar, which is like more accurate than our calendar and takes the wobble in the earth into account.

A lot of it is about the idea that in all ancient cultures and myths there is a flood, and before the flood there was a higher form of civilization, a higher form of life on Earth that that was wiped out. And in order to tell us that they were here, they left all this stuff. So, within all this, with the symbolism stuff, they indicate that our period is coming to a close and the next period is about to start.

Loder: It'll be like an AI period?

Yorke: Well, I don't know yet. I'm booking my condo on the moon, actually.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

11. life in a glass house

i swallow glass
a dream palace in the sun for stressed out executives
there are spies
pinhole cameras in every room

everybody wants a piece of windowpane
everybody wants a piece of broken glass
everybody wants a shattered piece of the windows/splinters
to show their friends
to take home with them
and watch the light turning into windows

a strange mistake to make
turn the other cheek
the sirens in the sea
swallow glass

with your name on (the side of the can)
never a dull moment
he's in charge (personnel)
freezeframed inert wandering bumping into things

well ofcourse id love to sit and chat
well ofcourse ide love to stay and chew the fat
well ofcourse ide love to stay and chat
but theres someone listening in


10. like spinning plates

spinning plates trick.

spinning plates im spinning plates
juggling plates
juggling plates
spinning plates
spinning plates
spinning plates
spinning plates
im juggling



09. hunting bears

08. dollars & cents

07. amnesiac/morning bell

Thom Yorke on why there is a second version of "Morning Bell":
It sounds like a recurring dream; it felt right.
--Radiohead: The Complete Guide to their Music by Mark Paytress

Sounds like Tales of the Unexpected
--Thom Yorke

it just seemed to come from a completely different place
--Thom Yorke

06. knives out

i want you to know.
you have a beautiful smile.
i want you to know.
he needs his eyes.
i was so angry.
i couldn't let him leave me.
and not come back.
i didnt want to.
is that why you killed him?
won't be long now.
he's cold. freezing.
doesn't need clothes.
i used to have a hole right through me.
i want you to know.
he's not coming back.
i won't forget.
if you'd been a dog.
they would have drowned you at birth.
look into my eyes.
its the only way you'll know i'm telling the truth.
i wont let them touch you.
i won't let them near you.
i won't let you come to any harm.


It's partly the idea of the businessman walking out on his wife and kids and never coming back. It's also the thousand yard stare when you look at someone close to you and you know they're gonna die. It's like a shadow over them, or the way they look straight through you. The shine goes out of their eyes.
--Thom Yorke

05. i might be wrong

03. pulk/pull revolving doors

The technological terror suggested by the abrasive beats is reflected in Yorke's 'fear of freedom' lyric which, though barely dicernible, has a pronounced 'door' motif. This derived, he explained, from a scene in Alice in Wonderland, "where she walks down the corridor and there are lots of different doors. And I was in that corridor, mentally, for six months... Every door I opened, was like, dreading opening it, 'cos I didn't know what was gonna happen next."
--Radiohead: The Complete Guide to their Music by Mark Paytress

04. you and whose army?

"You and Whose Army" is ultimately about someone who's elected into power by people, and who then blatantly betrays them, just like Blair did.
--Thom Yorke? | Radiohead: The Complete Guide to their Music by Mark Paytress

02. pyramid song

Yago: Can you tell me the story behind "Pyramid Song"?

Yorke: That song literally took five minutes to write, but yet it came from all these mad places. [It's] something I never thought I could actually get across in a song and lyrically. [But I] managed it and that was really, really tough. [Physicist] Stephen Hawking talks about the theory that time is another force. It's [a] fourth dimension and [he talks about] the idea that time is completely cyclical, it's always doing this [spins finger]. It's a factor, like gravity. It's something that I found in Buddhism as well. That's what "Pyramid Song" is about, the fact that everything is going in circles.

01. packt like sardines in a crushd tin box