Radiohead's Thom Yorke on Going Solo

Yorke reflects on resisting reverb, record contracts and plain dumb luck

DAVID FRICKEPosted Jun 01, 2006 3:02 PM

Does that also go for the band's future releases?

I don't know. We haven't talked about it yet. There are a great many things we haven't talked about.

My big problem with corporate structure is this bizarre sense of loyalty you're supposed to feel -- towards what is basically a virus. It grows or dies, like any virus. And you use it for your own selfish ends. Jonny had a big problem with the fact that we didn't have any obligation -- a release date or anything. He found it difficult to work in a vacuum. Which is one of the reasons why we chose to go out on tour: "This is something we can work toward." It's human nature. Personally, I don't have that. But I can see why, if you're a group of people, you need it.

Has the band talked much about the way you want to release music in the future? There were rumors about a series of EPs.

I'm into the idea of singles and EPs. Jonny and I were never convinced about that whole thing with Kid A; "We don't release singles. This is an album, and that's it." What gets me down is the emphasis on the LP. It's one of our strengths. You can create a more exciting picture with lots of different things that you put together. But I want something that gets you on the dance floor. I always have. But we never do that.

So how do you account for the fact that, on your own, you made an album anyway?

There you go -- bloody-minded [laughs]. As it went on, this group of songs fit together quite well. It was Nigel who started it: "What if you opened with this song, then put this one and that one . . .?" Suddenly, we had the first four songs of an album.

How would you describe the status of the next Radiohead album?

We have roughs of things. We have maybe half of something so far. There's another six tunes we haven't started playing live yet. There's one called "Videotape" that's really cool. It's got lots of cyclical melodies. It's one of the first things we had. We were smashing our heads against the wall, trying to figure out what to do with it. Sometimes that drives me crazy.

What have you learned about yourself -- as a songwriter -- from making The Eraser?

I got a lot more confidence. I go through phases where I have absolutely no faith in anything I've done at all. But I was actually talking about what I was doing again. I'd ring up a friend, say "Listen to this," and play him the bass riff on "And It Rained All Night." It was things like that, little pockets of excitement that I'd missed for so long.

I was also surprised and reassured by how cool the rest of the guys were with this. When I said I was going to do it, they were like, "Yeah, please." I was a little worried when I gave them copies of it. If they hated it, that wouldn't be great. And I was worried that it would freak them out. But it didn't, which was great.

I had fun doing it as well. That is mostly what I have learned - this is fun. [Laughs] I'm very, very lucky.