Adam Buxton, the DJ/comedian who was involved on the production of Radiohead’s webcast yesterday, has let us in on some of the background information of ‘Thumbs Down’.
Adam Buxton, who is a fan of the band, revealed the upcoming webcast on his BBC 6Music radio show last week. On his site he writes: “Anyway, there I am sat in Radiohead’s kitchen thinking “I’m in Radiohead’s kitchen!” and all around me are bits and pieces that I recognise or am curious about, but I’ve go to focus on the matter at hand, which is: what are we going to shoot in the next 30 hours or so that we can play in to supplement the live elements in the webcast? Nigel, Stanley and the band have already got a good few items in the bag but they need more. Thom looks at Garth. “What have you got?” he says.”
The performance of ‘Faust Arp’ was recorded at Wittenham Clumps, a hill overlooking Didcot powerstation that was a hang out for the band in their younger days.: “The sun is almost down as we scramble up the hill and after some brief, breathless discussion over whether the wind is going to ruin the sound and whether Jonny and Thom should sit or stand, we start filming. They perform the song, one of my favourites from In Rainbows, three times. The third one is the best and the wind even holds off for a gap in Thom’s vocal before blustering into the mics.”
The video for “Jigsaw falling into place” was recorded with helmet cams: “When I found out we were doing the Radiohead webcast I got to work making 5 new ‘units’ for the band. A bike helmet is ideal for mounting the camera because you can strap it on tight enough for it not to wobble too much, but it has the downside of making you look like a bit of a prat so I was concerned that a band like Radiohead might be uncomfortable with that. If they were they didn’t show it and when Garth and I had hooked up all 5 helmets in the band’s main studio and checked they were all recording, we got everyone in, strapped the helmets on and ran through the song a couple of times. That was it. After supper Garth and I loaded everything onto a laptop and it looked great. We stayed up til 2.30am chopping the footage from the 5 cameras together and when we were finished it looked pretty good.”
The idea with ’15 Step’ edited in a part from the movie ‘Seven’ with Thom’s head in a box ‘was too tempting to pass up’, Adam said: “Garth found a box and went off to pitch to Yorkles. A few minutes later I found Thom sat on the sofa in the main studio with Garth facing him on a chair with the box between them. It looked like a doctor’s surgery where the patient has just been told he’s going to have to have his leg amputated. Thom took a deep breath and said “come on then, let’s do it.” Once his head was in the box Thom said “hang on, this is familiar. It’s No Surprises all over again!” We gave him a little slap and stuffed some packing foam in his mouth to show him who was boss and he was fine after that. ”
“In the end the last 20 minutes of the thing went out with no audio thanks to a problem with the satellite link, but as far as I could tell there was still an amazing amount of wonderful stuff in those three hours, including about 5 live performances from the band in addition to pre recorded pieces that I would certainly have been delighted with had I been watching at home. At one point I even found myself doing a scrappy link with Thom, which may have made for some pretty awkward viewing but was certainly one of my prouder presenting moments! What other band would work so hard to do something like that for their fans though? Maybe Jimmy The Hoover and Living In A Box in their heyday but very few since.”