Thom Yorke was interviewed by The Guardian for the release of Atoms For Peace’s AMOK.
On his Atoms For Peace project: “I’m 44 now,” he says, with a short laugh. “And I did start thinking, if I can’t enjoy this now, when am I going to start?”
Thom Yorke also talks about touring with Radiohead: “You know, making a record, going on tour is a huge commitment, particularly the way we do it, a lot of work. And when we first had young kids we were all like, Christ! Do we really want to be doing this the rest of our lives? Much as people still seemed to want us to, there were big knock-on consequences for the ones we love.””
On R.E.M.’S Michael Stipe: “Michael is still my favourite lyricist,” he says. “I loved the way he would take an emotion and then take a step back from it and in doing so make it so much more powerful.”
More like channelling emotion than attempting to articulate it from within?
“Something like that. I always remember one particular wild night, when we toured with REM in 1995, and I would watch him from the side of the stage,” he says. “I would stand there and watch him every night, unless I was too drunk that I couldn’t stand. This one night this extraordinary thing came out of him – I mean he was really out there at the time, utterly bonkers, which he will freely admit now – but it was quite something to watch someone communicate something way deeper than entertainment. It was very exciting to see.”
And politics: “The Blair years I was most angry with,” he says. “Still am. Just the level of hypocrisy. I always feel strongly that line in The Gloaming: ‘You are murderers – we are not the same as you’. We are still the generation who went into an illegal war. And the guy who took us there is giving lectures around the world and sitting in his lovely house with an armed guard. Every time I sing those words, I think of him sitting there. Thinking, what the fuck, how did we let him get away with that?”