Thom Yorke on his new solo album inspired by “dystopian anxiety”

"Michael Gove as Prime Minister? Are you fucking kidding me?"

Thom Yorke has discussed his forthcoming solo record, which he says was influenced by dystopia, anxiety, and a “crisis point” in our social system.

Speaking to Crack, the Radiohead frontman  said that the sound of his record reflects “a sense of anxiety,” and fears that we could be heading for a dystopian society.

“The dystopian thing is one part of it, yes, but for me, one of the big, prevailing things was a sense of anxiety,” Yorke explained. “If you suffer from anxiety it manifests itself in unpredictable ways, some people have over-emotional reactions. [For] some people the roots of reality can just get pulled out, you don’t know what’s happening. Then eventually reality comes back.

“For some reason I thought a really good way of expressing anxiety creatively was in a dystopian environment. I had so many visual things going on at this point.”

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke

Elsewhere in the interview, Yorke explained how the chaos of modern politics have influenced the album. “I think we’ve got to this crisis point because we’ve allowed our social system and the way that society functions, the way that it looks at economic borders, travel, politics – we’ve allowed it to drift.”

“It was my generation that did it. ‘Cause we grew up with Thatcher and Blair and just went, ‘Alright, well they’re just a bunch of fucking losers living in a bubble.’ And in doing that, we left the losers in charge. Michael Gove as Prime Minister? Are you fucking kidding me?”

He continued, with an apparent reference to Extinction Rebellion: “That’s why I find it wonderful seeing now, my son is studying politics, and to realise how much [the younger generation] consider it something important, to be lying in the streets and getting involved – thank fuck. Because our generation just gave up. We left losers in charge and assumed they’re gonna do it right.”

As well as his new solo album, which is as-yet untitled and without a release date, Yorke discussed his recent soundtrack to horror remake ‘Suspiria‘, describing himself as “wildly out of my depth… Sometimes I don’t even recognise myself in some of the music I made.

“He also revealed that Radiohead plan to “do something really cool” with material from ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’, with the former reaching its 20th anniversary next year.