Radiohead are working on new material – and guitarist Jonny Greenwood has spoken for the first time about a rare live appearance next week in London.
As previously reported, new music from members of Radiohead will be played for the first time at the London Ether Festival.
Material penned by Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood will form part of The London Sinfonietta at the London Royal Festival Hall (March 27-28).
Organisers say the events will feature “two evenings of experimentation, collaboration and cross-genre juxtaposition”. New music from Greenwood and Yorke will form part of the show, along with more classical composers and traditional Arabic song.
Speaking in The Guardian newspaper, Greenwood explained the challenges of the shows, and how they will influence the next Radiohead record.
He said: “I feel embarrassed talking about it. I’m so patchy. I’ll be obsessed with a few composers, and know nothing about the rest. I get these enthusiasms which can drive the band crazy, but I just say: ‘Listen, French horns are amazing, we’ve got to find a way of using them. Or I’ll say, ‘It would be great if this song sounded like Penderecki, or Alice Coltrane’.
“And it’s childish because none of us can play jazz like Alice Coltrane, and none of us can write the kind of music that Penderecki does. We’ve only got guitars and a basic knowledge of music, but we reach for these things and miss. That’s what’s cool about it.”
Speaking about working with the Sinfonietta, he added: “They’re a great orchestra because they’re up for radically changing things at the last minute. I cut six minutes out during rehearsals… There’s something about classical musicians – they tend to be totally without ego, and so enthusiastic, but also just so talented.”
However, Greenwood has ruled out working in classical music full-time, saying that his heart remains with Radiohead.
He concluded: “Radiohead is always going to be the centre of what I do. Everything starts with songs, and with Thom, and with the excitement you can get in the band when you hear new music, and you know you’ve got the chance to watch it mutate and change. There’s nothing like that, nothing as exciting. We’re rehearsing at the moment, and again it’s fun. We all want to push forward, and when you have five people who are all like that, you couldn’t ask for a better thing.”