“It’s like a child playing with LEGO”: Thom Yorke reveals what it’s like creating in Radiohead in new interview

Thom Yorke spoke to Zane Lowe ahead of his next solo album release.

Thom Yorke has opened up about what its like creating in Radiohead in a revealing new interview with Zane Lowe which you can listen to below.

In the interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1, Yorke also opened up about his upcoming new solo album – ‘ANIMA’ – and the politics and philosophy behind the album’s concept.On discussing creating with Radiohead, Yorke said: “When I’m rooting around ideas and stuff, I don’t really…it’s like a child playing with LEGO.

“I used to, at least, play a bunch of chords, mumble over the top, send them round to the guys and then they’d find things in them and say, ‘That’s good, that’s good, can we work on that?’ Only at that point do I feel I have their permission to connect with it in a different way. Then I can like pick up the mic if someone else has got the music around it, in its most basic form.”

You can watch a clip of the interview below or access the full interview here.


Yorke went on to discuss how creating in Radiohead is a “safe space” and one where they try to remain as experimental as possible. Yorke explained: “All I have done with my compatriots in my band and in myself, is try and create enough of a space of safety around what we’re doing creatively, to carry on feeling free to experiment and be wherever we want to be.

“…Aware all the time that it’s fundamentally a business, and you have to play games and you have to make compromises and all this stuff.”

Radiohead, 1997

Yorke revealed how performing three nights at Madison Square Garden on the last Radiohead tour was one of his “favourite musical experiences.” Yorke explained: “We did 75% to 80% of each set was different every night, which was just amazing because every night I’m going through memories and we’re sort of connecting with songs in a different way.

“We were all really enjoying it because we could all hear each other, we were all open to how each other was playing and there was this sort of joy, sort of celebration to it, which I really didn’t expect.”

Talking about his past performances, Yorke reflected on how important the emotional connection with an audience has grown for him and Radiohead over the years.

Yorke said: “When Radiohead first started making records, I discovered, maybe around ‘The Bends’, that the bit I didn’t want to show – the vulnerable bit, the bit that would be on stage and be in these situations and just have to deal with it but didn’t want to, the bit that wanted to sing about my own feelings, but was scared – that was the bit that mattered.

“And you could put up a million defences and different things, but that’s what mattered and that’s what people connected with.”

Yorke opened up about the writer’s block he suffered with after ‘OK Computer.’ Earlier this month, Radiohead responded to being “hacked” after having 18 hours of previously unheard material from the making of ‘OK Computer’ leaked and held to ransom by releasing themselves, for a limited time.

Speaking about the period of writer’s block, Yorke said: “The biggest one was after OK Computer. I’d gone through a period of playing the same songs for years and finding myself in increasingly large venues and not feeling mentally able to fill them for everybody. So, in fact just shrinking mentally and physically.”

Nigel Godrich

Yorke also revealed that he and Nigel Godrich had been “rooting” through the archives for the upcoming 20th anniversaries of ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’, suggesting that a special release is on the way.

“I’m down with that shit. Weirdly down with that shit,” Yorke said of working with Godrich. “‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’ 20 years coming up. Me, Stanley and Nigel as well, we’ve all been rooting through stuff because that’s what we do.”

Yorke’s solo album, ‘ANIMA’ is released on June 28.