Photo by Nina Corcoran
Radiohead have kept a jam-packed schedule since releasing their stellar Moon Shaped Pool last month, one marked my unpredictable setlists, regular Instagram vignettes inspired by their tracks, and even a worldwide record store event. Still, the band’s members have managed to carve out their own downtime: Thom Yorke opted to play an acoustic set at a garden party in Oxford over the weekend, while Jonny Greenwood recently appeared on the podcast of friend and comedian Adam Buxton.
During their hour-long chat, Greenwood talked about bands that he admired (Pixies and Pavement), Curb Your Enthusiasm, and his ability to play different instruments (he’s always ready to return to his harmonica duties, too). He also discussed Radiohead’s new album and their ever-changing setlists as of late. “We tend to find that some songs suddenly don’t sound very good to our ears, and then we just leave them off for a while. Like, ‘No Surprises,’ we didn’t play for three or four years, just ’cause we tried it in rehearsal didn’t really feel it. But now it’s back in again. It’s got a swagger in it now.”
Elsewhere, Buxton and Greenwood chatted about Radiohead’s inspirations and how they factor into their recording sessions. “I’m conscious on this record that we’ve been occasionally skirting round the edge of something that could be terrible, which is kind of fun. It’s not jazz piano, exactly, but there’s elements of that. Because we like records by people like Alice Coltrane, we’ve got the gall to go, let’s try and make it sound a little bit like that. And we’ve always been like that. The songs on OK Computer, in our swollen heads, were trying to be Miles Davis, frankly. Even though no one plays the trumpet. You have big ambition and you get as far as you can with it.”
He added that they listened to a lot of Davis’ double album Bitches Brew (“It’s all about that record, yeah”), and Remain in Light by Talking Heads. “We met [Talking Heads’ guitarist/keyboardist] Jerry Harrison not long after and the revelation from him was that all that stuff was played, it wasn’t loops at all,” Greenwood said. “It’s played the same exact thing for five minutes, which is really interesting. And that’s why it’s not exhausting to listen to because you’re not hearing the same piece of music over and over again. You’re hearing it slightly different every time. There’s a lesson there.”
Listen/download the full interview below.