Thom Yorke: Radiohead Not Planning to Release Any Albums for Awhile

by Jonathan on August 7, 2009

Thom Yorke

In a lengthy interview in the latest issue of The Believer magazine, Thom Yorke has revealed that we’ll probably be waiting quite a long time for the next proper Radiohead album. We’re more likely to get some EPs or singles or one-off musical releases (perhaps like “Harry Patch [In Memory Of]”?) in the near future.

“None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again. Not straight off,” Yorke said. “I mean, it’s just become a real drag. It worked with In Rainbows because we had a real fixed idea about where we were going. But we’ve all said that we can’t possibly dive into that again. It’ll kill us.”

He clarified that Radiohead doesn’t inherently hate the concept of the full-length. He said, “I mean, obviously, there’s still something great about the album. It’s just, for us, right now, we need to get away from it a bit.” Later, he added, “In Rainbows was a particular aesthetic and I can’t bear the idea of doing that again. Not that it’s not good, I just can’t… bear… that.”

One kind of Radiohead-related music that might materialize? Orchestral works. As Yorke told The Believer, “Jonny [Greenwood] and I have talked about sitting down and writing songs for orchestra and orchestrating it fully and just doing it like that and then doing a live take of it and that’s it – finished. We’ve always wanted to do it, but we’ve never done it because, I think the reason is, we’re always taking songs that haven’t been written for that, and then trying to adapt them. That’s one possible EP because, with things like that, you think, Do you want to do a whole record like that? Or do you just want to get stuck into it for a bit and see how it feels?”

The entire interview is well worth reading, with Yorke celebrating the death of the CD and the downfall of the music industry as we know it, reflecting on the difficulty of environmentally-friendly touring and music releasing, and musing on the state of Radiohead in general. There’s also this wonderful exchange:

The Believer: Do you feel like there’s any definitive sound that you’ve been solidifying over your career?

Thom Yorke: I fucking hope not.

(source: Pitchfork)

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  • AndrewJ

    Reading this got me in a down mood. But now that i think about it, im glad that they’re doing what they feel is right. Also i want them to take their time for the next album or ep or whatever.

  • kl

    If we have to wait another 3-4 years for a new lp, then at least give us the friggin Bonnaroo dvd in the meantime.

  • jberg

    good, let them take their time. even though it was a good album, i want the next lp to be better than in rainbows. it took them 4 years to release it, and it seemed like they rushed thru the recording process. one minute you hear their doing some recordings, the next minute they are releasing the album in 10 days. let them write the songs and rattle around in their heads for a bit. then they can record/release another album in a few years.

  • Leonidas

    Come to australia!!! ๐Ÿ™

  • Tricia

    I’m a little sad now, but I guess waiting longer makes it more worth-while.

  • Cher

    Take your time, gentlemen.

    Just… if ans when they do release, I would like to see them live, at least one more time. I’m willing to travel wherever. Too bad I wasn’t swift enough to get tickets for their shows later this months. *sigh*

  • a

    They said the same thing after Hail to the Thief.

    As far as an orchestral EP…I would be in heaven if they did that.

  • Natalie

    I agree they always say things like this however this still depressed me I don’t mind waiting 2 or 3 years but 4 or 5 or more is seriously pushing it :/

  • damn idc if it even takes 5 years for a new album all i know that it will be fucking badass.

  • max

    I like the idea of an orchestral EP, feels like the right step – regarding Thom an Jonny. But what about Ed, Phil and Colin?

  • h_e_n_r_y

    Their orchestral recordings will probably be similar to the Harry Patch song


  • a

    h_e_n_r_y: Lots of us like Harry Patch.

    max: The others will form a group called “Ed O’brien and The Phil Colin’s.”

  • j

    So sad….

    But it is better that they do it when they’re ready and not feel like they are pushed into it.

  • Sam_weS

    How I wish Radiohead would come to Australia again.

    I realise it isn’t green etc to come out here… but if you do I promise we’ll all be really good and walk to work for a year..

    and if you don’t… I’ll burn fossil fuels and puppy dogs until you do!

    your move radiohead.

  • rick

    They said their biggest regret was taking so long between records, after they Hail to the Thief. Seems like it is happening again. It will be worth it, but I really wish they would do a lp version of ‘Big Boots’. I don’t see it ever happening though. A shame, since it is some of their best lyrics and one of my favorite progressions on guitar by them.

    I honestly thought Thom sang far too falsetto in Harry Patch, even with his singing style being what it is, but the strings were absolutely amazing. I could certainly take an orchestra-based ep. It isn’t as if they haven’t done it before, but they haven’t devoted themselves entirely to that of yet.

  • Yuriy

    this is sooooooooooooooo sad……………((((( but this is their choice…

  • Daniel

    I strongly dislike Thom Yorke. I have recently (today) started to grow to dislike him.
    Many things he has been doon for the last two years has been irking me, but this just takes the cake and throws it out the window.

    I still stand besides Ed, Cos, Phil and Jonny. But Thom, you are a bastard.

    Thom is an egotistical, hypocritical, snobby poser

  • Daniel

    haha, I wrote “doon” I meant done but I dislike typing almost as much as I dislike Thom

  • Tara

    I kind of agree with Daniel.
    Thom seems to get a kick out of making long suffering fans suffer even more.
    I have a love/hate relationship with this band, which makes it harder to leave them strangely enough.

  • @Tara why would you want to leave Radiohead! Their music is so damned good. The greatest artists always seem to have quirks like this. I think thats what makes them so great.

  • a

    True artists don’t do their work to make fans happy. If they did, then they wouldn’t produce quality work. They do it to satisfy their innate emotional need to create. That’s not selfish.

  • sarah

    No Thom Yorke, no Radiohead. Finish. It is impossible to love Radiohead and hate Thom, he is the brain and heart of the band, just accept the obvious truth.

    And part of his appeal is because he is so damned great at making terrorism with the fans between albums. You can feel the bastard just gets a kick out of it! haha!

  • I strongly dislike you now, Daniel.

  • Perfectzr0

    I’m disappointed at the idea of waiting for a new record for an extended period of time….but what can we do? Just wait I suppose…I still love the things they create..and I’ll be there for the next LP or EP release regardless <3

  • Clive

    Jesus, bands these days are so incredibly lazy. I was recently talking to my uncle who is a massive Smiths fan (like myself), and i was trying to explain to him that for a long while that’s how i felt about Radiohead: that obsessional thing of following one band more than any other because you believe they’re better than anything else around.

    Then we talked about how during the time he was at University between ’83-’87 HIS all-time favourite band released The Smiths, Hatful Of Hollow, Meat Is Murder, The Queen Is Dead & Strangeways Here We Come, along with a bunch of iconic singles backed with terriffic B-Sides & about another 8 iconic singles that weren’t even released on said albums.

    Imagine being that age now and being made to feel lucky with having even ONE fucking album released during that time. Sorry guys but like it or not, when it comes to their release schedule Radiohead are an absolute joke. It’s the one trapping of the Giant Band Syndrome they’ve become really terrible at falling into. And I wish they would either fix it or split up.

  • Joe

    what more do you want? let these guys take a break and listen to something else. i don’t understand how people expect them to shit out an album every year. i can wait 5 years without a problem. if they produced album after album every year or two it would be crap.

  • cellardoor

    I think at some point fans get a little presumptuous. It’s the artist’s call when or if they make their next piece of art. We are lucky to be able to receive it, plain and simple. Once bands start determining their next move based on their fans’ desires, they are no longer artists – they are marketers. Not what we want if we want a transcendent experience. Bands don’t owe us anything much beyond thanking us for appreciating their music and putting bread on their table. We are not in a business relationship with them, however. Therefore, we don’t dictate when they produce, and they don’t answer to our demands (well, beyond an encore or two). It will come when it comes … in the meantime, I hope they give us a little tour. Because I will plan to be non-green and fly to their closest gig if it’s not in my hometown.

  • OLewis

    Wow, this was a bit of a shock :\ So long as they make another album though, I don’t mind. I mean considering how great their albums are, the time between each album is sure to be worth it, whether it’s a year or five years. They put their hearts and souls into every record, which is what makes them my favourite band. I mean I only got into their stuff when in rainbows came out (I had a back log of about 200 songs: twas awesome!), so I don’t know how hard it’s gonna be to wait for another album. What I do know is, as I’ve been discovering all their EPs over the past years, that each song is a little piece of gold. Pieces of gold in a trail to the hoard of treasure which is one of their albums. However long it takes for them to start work on a new album, I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

  • Seppo

    They should release both a new album and an EP and a few non-album singles this year. Really, all good bands were prolific in their heyday and Radiohead should have no problem putting out albums and EPs at the same time. I have never understood Thom’s whining about the album form anyway: he keeps saying they can’t bring themselves to do albums but the only difference between an album and an EP is the length, there’s no difference in how you make the music but you just put more music into an album. If doing interviews and promotion for albums is the problem then they should just skip that part. As for them taking their time… long wait between albums very rarely produces good results: if you look at U2 and so many other bands (including Radiohead as In Rainbows was such a disappointment), you can see that the longer time there is between albums, the worse the new album is. The best days of every band were when they were young and released albums fast every year or every other year; I fear the glory days of Radiohead are over and soon we’ll wait 5 years for a new album which then will turn out to be some lazy, predictable record รก la U2 this year.

  • cellardoor

    Seppo – Wow, In Rainbows was a disappointment? Have you listened to “Nude”, “Reckoner,” “Jigsaw Falling Into Place,” and/or “Videotape” – closely, or at all?!

  • Seppo

    cellardoor – In Rainbows has a few good songs but as a whole I thought the album is flat, whiny and powerless. The songs have simply none of the energy the songs on OK Computer have; in comparison the band sounds tired and bored on In Rainbows. I also felt that Rainbows is such a “safe” album by RH standards: I was expecting Radiohead to take their music to a new level with IR, but when listening to it I thought well, this is just the same old, same old… except that these songs could have been B-sides on the singles of OK Computer. I expected more than a couple of good songs from the album they had 4 years to make, and hopefully they can regain their strength for the next record…

  • stopwhispering

    “In Rainbows the same old,same old”…”safe”? The music on the bonus was what I was expecting, it would have been safe (but good). It’s cool if you don’t like an album,but please be somewhere in the same universe when describing it.

    As far a Thom’s interview that was several eons ago in Yorke time. And for god sakes he’s always yanking people’s chains in these interviews anyway. Hell with the music coming out I wouldn’t be surprised in seeing an album before the end of the year.

  • Seppo

    In Rainbows sounds just half-hearted and unexciting. I was expecting them to do something truly new and radical and blow my mind, but for the most part the album is just Radiohead doing what they always do. I fear that they have by now found their signature sound in such a way that every new album is just going to be the “usual fare” – that doesn’t mean that the music is particularly bad, it just means that we have to look for other bands to keep our music fresh and mysterious. But I really hope that’s not the case.

  • mmmbop

    Secco, I think the problem is not with In Rainbows, but your personal expectations of what the band should do. You are only setting yourself up for disappointment when you expect them to sound a particular way, and they go in a different direction.

  • Itypetoomuch

    I think you are expecting the incorrect things from Radiohead, Seppo, that every album you hear will be a radical album- until we end up with Thom singing ancient Yiddish nursery rhymes. They don’t different things on their albums simply to be different, it is who they are. Avant Garde is not always the best way to go. Sometimes less is more. It is better to like something for what it is than to dislike something for what it is not, and all that jazz. I thought In Rainbows was their best album so far, but I think that about all their new albums. The only songs I didn’t think were great were Bodysnatchers (until he sings, ‘have the lights gone out for you’) and House of Cards, though I know plenty of people that love both of those songs. It is all opinion.

    A tangent: To me, people who say OK Computer was their best album, at this point, just seem overly nostalgic or unwilling to change their perception on music. It was a great album, don’t get me wrong, but not their best anymore. I can name as many songs off OK Computer that I don’t like as I can from in Rainbows; The Tourist and Electioneering, given there are thirteen songs on OK Computer. Electioneering I dislike most of all their songs, excluding Pablo Honey. Fitter Happier doesn’t count because it isn’t really a song, but it is a good interlude. It was just an album that hit at the right time for the world to understand them, and it was turning point for the band.

  • Itypetoomuch

    don’t do* in my above post. thank you

  • frank

    the part that gets me is how thom said he’s tired of ‘creative hoo-ha’. i like how music is ‘creative hoo-ha’, and creativity is something negative.

    there’s a good nigel godrich interview from awhile back that i really enjoy where he’s practically bashing thom, it’s great.

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