Radiohead respond to “hackers” and release 18 hours of previously unheard ‘OK Computer’ material in aid of Extinction Rebellion

What a day for Radiohead fans

Radiohead have 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.

Last week, a wealth of previously unreleased material from the sessions for their seminal 1997 album was controversially shared online. On Reddit, it emerged that fans had come into contact with a bootlegger who had acquired 18 Minidiscs billed as ‘The Entire OK Computer Sessions’ – supposedly including nearly 18 hours of demos, alternate takes, and early live recordings. It is said that frontman Thom Yorke recorded and archived the sessions himself.

It was claimed that the original person in possession of the material was asking for “upwards of $150,000 for the entire set” or “$800 per studio track and $50 per live track.”

Radiohead, 1997

Now, the band have not only broken their silence but self-released all of the material via Bandcamp for the benefit of environmental group Extinction Rebellion.

“We got hacked last week,” said guitarist Jonny Greenwood. “Someone stole Thom’s minidisk archive from around the time of OK Computer, and reportedly demanded $150,000 on threat of releasing it

“So instead of complaining – much – or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion. Just for the next 18 days. So for £18 you can find out if we should have paid that ransom.

He added: “Never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computer reissue) it’s only tangentially interesting. And very, very long. Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn’t it though?”

Extinction Rebellion, who last month took over some of the busiest parts of London for weeks in protest for more action against climate change, then thanked the band for their efforts.

Among the wealth of material are some long sought-after tracks – including a 12-minute version of ‘Paranoid Android’, early studio versions of ‘Exit Music’, ‘I Promise’, ‘True Love Waits’ and even ‘Lift’ (which didn’t make the cut for the album originally because the band feared it was too “anthemic“).

As well as playing down the chances of there ever being a Bohemian Rhapsody-style biopic of Radiohead (while revealing who he’d like to play him in said film), guitarist Jonny Greenwood has said that he is currently devoting all of his attention to the new music he’ll be making for the BBC Proms 2019 – adding that Radiohead were on the backburner due to Thom Yorke’s upcoming “dystopian anxiety” album and the “Brazilian-inspired” debut solo record from guitarist Ed O’Brien. Despite not having heard O’Brien’s solo material, Greenwood added that Yorke’s next solo album “sounds great” and “has some great strings on it”.

Meanwhile,  Yorke recently revealed that the band were planning to “do something really cool” with archive material from ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac‘.