The Believer

Excellent recap of what’s been going on lately in Radioheadland from Spinner about the whole “Radiohead is not making any more albums” hysteria:

Is the world over-reacting about the possible “no albums” future of Radiohead?

Media reports have barked, blared and bleated this week that the band is turning its back on albums after an interview with frontman Thom Yorke in the Believer magazine hit the internet.

“None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again,” Yorke told the magazine. “Not straight off … 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.”

Yorke then spoke of his desire to release an orchestral EP, using multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood’s increasingly impressive talents as an arranger.

Playing at the 7 Worlds Collide show at London’s Dingwalls on Tuesday, drummer Phil Selway showed an impressive voice as he sang two songs ‘The Ties That Bind Us’ and ‘The Witching Hour’.

He and guitarist O’Brien spent a month in New Zealand in December and January helping with the Neil Finn-helmed album ‘The Sun Came Out’.

RadioheadSelway later told Spinner he will record his debut solo album in Radiohead’s studio in September.

Radiohead are currently rehearsing for their appearances at Reading and Leeds festivals later this month, the latest in a string of live dates since the digital-then-physical release of seventh studio album ‘In Rainbows’ at the end of 2007.

It seems that amid the revelations the band want to do more single-song releases or EPs — like the recent ‘Harry Patch (In Memory Of)’ — Yorke’s proviso “not straight off” has been glossed over.

The torturous recording of ‘OK Computer’ (1997) and the subsequent touring put Yorke in a less than sanguine mood, but after a three-year gap the band responded with not one album but two (‘Kid A’, ‘Amnesiac’) with a little over a year.

At the 7 Worlds Collide show, as Neil Finn rounded off the various band members recording achievements, guitarist Ed O’Brien offered a shaky hand single for “maybe” when Finn mentioned Radiohead might be working on a new record. That’s not a no, but a maybe.

Interviewed on the UK’s BBC Breakfast TV news on Wednesday, Selway left the question regards “no new albums” unanswered.

Maybe Radiohead need to attend to some personal projects before they reconvene to make another album, with all the effort that requires. It would be churlish not to let them.

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Thom Yorke

Stereogum has more from the intereview Thom gave The Believer last month. In it, Thom talks about his dislike of CDs and a new “plan” to distribute future music which unfortunately, he’s very vague on:

THE BELIEVER:…This isn’t the end of Radiohead album art as we know it?

TY: No, we’ve actually got a good plan, but I can’t tell you what it is, because someone will rip it off. But we’ve got this great idea for putting things out.

THE BELIEVER: In a digital realm?

TY: In a physical realm and a digital realm. But, yeah.. no, I can’t tell you what it is. [Laughs] Sorry to be so vague about everything.

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THE BELIEVER: Do you think [the In Rainbows pay-what-you-want method] worked?

TY: Oh, yeah. It worked on two or three different levels. The first level is just sort of getting a point across that we wanted to get across about music being valuable. It also worked as a way of using the Internet to promote your record, without having to use iTunes or Google or whatever. You rely on the fact that you know a lot of people want to hear it. You don’t want to have to go to the radio first and go through all that bullshit about what’s the first single. You don’t want to have to go to the press. That was my thing, like, I am not giving it to the press two months early so they can tear it to shreds and destroy it for people before they’ve even heard it. And it worked on that level. And it also worked financially.

BELIEVER: Do you think this method would work for other bands who aren’t as known as Radiohead?

TY: With the press, we’re in a lucky position where we don’t really have to rely on a reviewer’s opinion, so why would we let that get in the way? If people want to play it for themselves, why don’t we just give it to them to listen to? I just don’t want to have to read about it first.

BELIEVER: And that style of release definitely promotes the album as a work of art, rather than a bunch of singles floating around the Internet.

TY: Oh, that’s interesting. I appreciate that. Unfortunately, a lot of people got the album in the wrong order.

BELIEVER: What about the idea of an album as a musical form? You think that the format is still worthwhile amid iPod shuffling?

TY: I’m not very interested in the album at the moment.

BELIEVER: I’ve heard you talk a lot about singles and EPs. Is that what you’ve been moving toward?

TY: I’ve got this running joke: Mr. Tanaka runs this magazine in Japan. He always says to me, “EPs next time?” And I say yes and go off on one, and he says, “Bullshit.” [Laughs] But I think really, this time, it could work. It’s part of the physical-release plan I was talking about earlier. None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again. Not straight off. 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 … 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?

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THE BELIEVER: In some ways, the way Internet singles work is close to the way things used to be with the music industry in the ’50s, before full-lengths were the thing, and radio singles were what defined artists.

THOM YORKE: Right, and if you forget about the money issue for just a minute, if it’s possible to do that — because these are people’s livelihoods we’re talking about — and you look at it in terms of the most amazing broadcasting network ever built, then it’s completely different. In some ways, that’s the best way of looking at it. I mean, I don’t spend my fucking life downloading free MP3s, because I hate the websites. No one seems to know what they’re talking about. I’d much rather go to sites like Boomkat, where people know what they’re talking about.

BLVR: Boomkat is great.

TY: It’s brilliant. To me, that’s a business model. It’s like when I used to go to music shops in Oxford. You’re looking at this and you’re looking at that and there’s a whole line of other things going down the side saying, “You’ll probably like this,” and “You might like this.”

BLVR: I love those stores where everything’s hand-selected and the clerks write little descriptions about the music.

TY: Yeah, and you can listen to it all. I mean, Boomkat is very specific with the type of stuff they flog there, but I can’t see why that wouldn’t work for all music.

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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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