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NME Festival blog: Watch Thom Yorke discuss his new album, politics and Radiohead


Thom spoke to Zane Lowe.

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has opened up about the creative process, inspirations and meaning behind his new solo album, ‘ANIMA’.

In a new interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1, Yorke also discussed the political and philosophical ideas that inform his latest album – which is released on June 28 – as well as his work on the Suspiria soundtrack.

Speaking about ‘ANIMA’, Yorke revealed that the album was relatively quick to make thanks to the concept of “anti-music” behind the album. “We’ve had most of this stuff for ages, and the joke was, it was really quick to do. We set up as we do the live shows for most of it…and knocked it out.

“It was really fun. It was quick and easy and we knew where we were going because we lived with it for so long. The therapy of ‘I don’t want to write a bunch of songs. I want to just make noise’ was great and I found myself immersing myself in old musique concrète and all this anti-music and it was great. I loved it.”

You can watch a clip from the interview below, or watch the full interview here.

Yorke also revealed more about the ideas behind the album’s title: “I think the reason it ended up being called ‘ANIMA’ was partly because I’m obsessed with this whole dream thing, and it comes from this concept that [Carl] Jung had. But, also, we have started to emulate what our devices say about us and emulate the way we behave from that.

“The reason we can watch Boris Johnson lie through his teeth, promise something that we know will never happen is: we don’t have to connect with it directly because it’s a little avatar. It’s this little guy with a stupid haircut waving a flag…..“That’s all right, that’s funny”. And the consequences are not real. The consequences of everything we do are not real. We can remain anonymous. We send our avatar out to hurl abuse and poison and then trot back anonymous.”

Thom Yorke

On the back of this, Yorke addressed the current state of politics, saying that “fundamental structural change was needed.”

Yorke continued: “People have come to terms with the idea, [that] the only way that things change is fundamental structural change. And the only way that can happen when you have a bunch of clowns, is to be angry.

“But right now we have this performance going on: we have a Punch and Judy show in America, another one in Britain that apparently is what goes for politics these days. And when it breaks, the likes of Ocasio-Cortez will walk in and go, “Right. Shall we get started?” That’s what I think.”

Yorke also discussed what the challenges of writing the score to the Luca Guadagnino-directed Suspiria film. “It was a difficult record,” Yorke revealed. “Luca, the director…pushed me into a place I would’ve never gone and made me do a bunch of stuff that I would’ve never dreamed of doing. That was great. Such a cool feeling.

“The central dance piece in the middle of the film, I smashed my head against the wall for months on that. So, I got this breakthrough and then it was just…I knew what I was looking for, but I just couldn’t find it. I didn’t have any choice, I had to see this through.”

A scene from ‘Suspiria’ (2018)

When discussing his work-life balance and ambition, Yorke said his only ambition was to “carry on doing good shit” and to find catharsis in creativity.

“[I’m] not ambitious. Ambitious to carry on doing good shit, that’s all really. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. That’s all I need.”

He continued: “I just find myself very, very busy which I really like…The balance for me is just still enjoying it, which I do…probably enjoying it more than if you’d talked to me 20, 15 years ago. But I hope it’s still as interesting as the stuff I was doing then. That’s really all I care about.

“A life balance to me is about rest, staying outside of things as much as possible. When I was a kid, the way I saw, the way I dealt, the way I processed things that happened to me was through work, through music, through writing and whatever. That was the way I could see. I see it with my kids. They’re both like that, too. I’m so happy, in a way – Thank you that is still able to happen, because it means I’m still alive.”

‘ANIMA’ is released on June 28.





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