In Australia, an interview with Thom Yorke was published in The Age today. Thom talks about the digital release of ‘In Rainbows’, working with a full band again and releasing songs right after they’re finished.
On the surprising release of ‘In Rainbows’ Thom said: “And it became this really exciting thing, because we had something that was starting to come together but we kept it among ourselves and sort of kept hold of the whole procedure. And then suddenly, boom, there it is. If you want it. It just felt beautifully simple and I don’t think we thought far beyond that, to be honest. I was just excited about doing what I wanted to do, which was have our own leak date: why let some snotty little bugger do it for us?”
After Hail to the Thief (2003), Radiohead had a long hiatus before beginning rehearsals for the new album about two years ago. Yorke released a solo album, The Eraser, in the meantime.
Time was when he described himself as running the band as his own personal fiefdom, creating “a climate of fear, the same way that Stalin did”. The balance is more realistic now, but that doesn’t make it easier.
“If I’m honest, it was hard to get back to the dynamic of working with a band again,” he says now. “If you’re on your own, you make all the decisions. There’s no participation; it may be good and it may not, but it just happens.”
The glory of being part of Radiohead, he goes on to say, is that the combination of views and talents means that things happen that he doesn’t expect, but he still finds it difficult to open up to surprise. “It’s a limitation, but it’s the reverse as well. That’s a lesson I should be … well, someone should be hitting me over the head with a wet fish, constantly.” Every time he drives through the studio gates, he adds later, he wonders why on earth he’s there. But here’s the thing: he can’t imagine living without that uncertainty. “You’ve got to have a reason to carry on, other than just blindly carrying on because that’s what you do,” he says.
They have no idea how the next record will work – if, of course, there is a next record. What In Rainbows has brought home, says Yorke, is that they can post tracks on the web whenever they finish them.
“If we’re hanging round the studio before Christmas and finish something we like, we can put it straight up. That’s nuts! No trying to schedule-it-in or promote-it-now.” They are only promoting-it-now at all because they wanted the album to be available to everybody. In future, muses Yorke, they could post songs on the web as they finish them. Anything could happen; they are their own masters of the digital universe. “Now we have our own little tiny infrastructure,” says Yorke. “It may be little and tiny, but we can do all this shit!”
[read the full interview: ‘Radiohead Rebooted‘]