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Thom Yorke: ‘Videotape, best thing we ever created’

Thom Yorke was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Thom talked about the physical release of ‘In Rainbows’, his favourite song from the album and the upcoming tour.

Thom explains why Radiohead needed to release ‘In Rainbows’  on a conventional CD: “Because 80% of people still buy physical records. So we’d be stark raving mad to not address that. We didn’t want it to be a big announcement like ‘Everything’s over. Except the internet. The internet’s the future.’ Cause that’s rubbish. It’s really important to have an artefact as well, as they call it, an object.”

Melodies do seem to be right up front again. Was that a conscience decision?
Thom: “There was a conscience decision to focus on the voice. And I guess from the that it became melodic by necessity really.” (…) “They were the best songs we had at the time. So obviously they were the ones we chose to  record.” [laughs]

Nude stretches back 10 years?

Thom: “Yeah, that was 97. I remember that was written when the whole ‘OK Computer’ thing kicked off. It never really had a place, till now.”

Do you have a favourite song from the record?

Thom: “Videotape. I wanted to put it first, but somebody pointed out it if we did that people would turn the record straight off. [laughs] I like it because it very much happened despite me. And the others took reigns on it. Turned it to the stripped down thing. Personally speaking, I think this is the best thing we ever created, cause it has this inexpressible substance thing going on, behind what’s the specifics of the song. So I’m really really proud of that.

You’re famous for your environmental work and then people would say: ‘Big band on a big tour. How do you square that?’

Thom: “Not very easily. We had one of those carbon footprints things done. There’s a few things we can change. The really mad thing about it is… I guess it’s obvious, but it’s the massive people travelling to one place. That’s the really big impact overall. Us moving around has an impact and we can reduce the flying of equipment and we can put it on a ship. Can we go round by ship? ‘Yes, technically speaking if we were in the freight containers. And when we’re prepared to be on the sea for two weeks, that would be more ecologically sound. But if you’d like to go on the Queen Mary, for example. That’s actually worse cause they’re so heavy.’
So I think the idea so far… we got as far as: we’re playing municipal centres and cities and so on, that have public transport systems. So there’s at least an option for people travelling other than singularly in a car.”

Listen to the interview on the Today website.

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  • Thanks. I’m still not ready to listen to Videotape or Arpeggi/Weird Fishes, so this type-written thing was useful.

  • Thom’s explanation of how Videotape came to be is exactly why Radiohead is the best band in existence right now. The other members of the band, the ones who should have everything to gain by putting as much of their musicianship into the song as they can – banging drums, noodling guitars, elaborate bass – are the ones who insisted that the song be as stripped down as possible to make it better. That kind of selflessness is very rarely seen in music or in art in general. Despite what version of the song you like better, the live version that is a bit more full, or the bare-bones recorded version, you must have incredible amounts of respect for EVERY member of this band who put the song before their own egos. Kudos to you, Radiohead.

  • Videotape hasn’t hit me yet so I can’t agree with Thom. It’s an amazing album though.

  • yeah videotape is a slow burner

  • I 2nd that

  • Anyone else think the Scotch Mist versions of In Rainbows sound way better than the studio version? Just curious…

  • i think radiohead live is always better than studio versions…

    in rainbows is perfect, videotape is perfect….

    the studio versions are still good though, i think the live versions just feel more personal, like u are hearing what is really going on..

  • When I first listned to the album, I could tell Videotape was the best track because I hated it.

  • I hate saying it now, but Videotape has been and remains my favorite song. The way I could tell? It was one of the few live songs I really loved. I always have trouble adjusting to new Radiohead songs live… I just can’t hear most of what they’re trying to do until I hear it in the studio. Yet from the moment I heard Videotape… it just sounds perfect to me. My wife and I both think it’s the highlight of the album.

  • Thom’s version from “In The Basement” is the best version I’ve heard.

    But his best song really has to be Reckoner, it was made purely on the fly and it sounds so refined.

  • i wish they let the songs out more in the end. like just when bodysnatchers gets moving at the very end they just end it. same with reckoner. and i agree, the scotch mist version does sound better that the studio mp3s.

  • The live version was so much better. But seriously, what was the fucking point of releasing the physical cd without any new tracks?

  • Videotape is my least listened to song on the album. I like the rest.

  • Videotape sounds more like something
    from Thom’s Eraser album (which I love).
    In Rainbows is amazing but like 99% of
    their music it takes time for it to grow
    on me and blossum into something beautiful.

  • I like that Thom always makes it clear which song on the album he believes is “the best thing they’ve ever done” – and it shows that he really does believe, along with the rest of the band, it would seem, that Radiohead keeps on and *will* keep on growing.

    Pre-OKC – Lucky
    OK Computer – [not sure here actually]
    Kid A – How to Disappear Completely
    Amnesiac – Pyramid Song
    Hail to the Thief – There There
    In Rainbows – Videotape

  • agreed. videotape was always my favorite from the new songs they premiered in 06.

  • “The really mad thing about it is… I guess it’s obvious, but it’s the massive people travelling to one place.”
    Have a concert that will be in a major city and then broadcast it live via the internet or cable/satelite to the rest who can’t make it to the concert without spewing out tons of CO2 and traveling by themselves. HELLO… Live feed from a concert.

  • […] of Nude – InRainbows to celebrate:From the same album, here is my fav .. Reckoner : It happens that Thom is more of a Videotape type, so, here’s to […]

  • I would absolutely love all of In Rainbows but I just can’t get over how Videotape just pitters out in the end, rather than have a driving drum and a build-up like in, say, Cymbol Rush. But, I guess the way they finally did it fit the album better. I also didn’t mind the old version of Reckoner, wonder where it went…

  • as far as live streaming of the concert goes, a lot of that is precluded by venues not allowing those sorts of things. and we all saw what happened when they ventured to non-standard venues (bull run anyone?)

  • Cities with public transport? Does that mean they aren’t coming to LA???!


  • Faaaaarkinelll, ‘Videotape’ is up there with ‘Stairway To Heaven’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘A Day In The Life’, hands down, all bets are in, a corker, the bee’s knees, the labrador’s lychees, the nurse’s nipples. Outstanding. Slow burner, agreed, but man, it’s a visceral melancholy that swims up inside of you and swirls to a poignant end. Sublime gentle bliss.

  • […] track immediately sttod out from the album for me. Hanuting, gorgeous, melodic and beatiful. Thom Yorke thinks Videotape is the best thing they’ve ever done. I’d tend to […]

  • […] Entrevista a Thom (At Ease) […]

  • I completely agree with you on that one!

  • […] o którym powiedział: “Personally speaking, I think this is the best thing we ever created […]“. Dobre na pogrzeb, choć nieco zbyt ckliwe jak na gusta rasowych chomików. Te wolą coś […]

  • […] Yorke was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme back in 2008. Thom talked about the physical release of ‘In […]

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