In the new February issue of Dazed & Confused, 14 of this generation’s most innovative producers were enrolled in a one-off ‘digital seminar’ with Radiohead/supergroup Atoms for Peace frontmanThom Yorke to ask him their most burning questions. Here is just a sampler:
THE GASLAMP KILLER: Which band or producer has been your biggest influence to date?
Thom Yorke: I would still say old Richard D James. He burns a heavy shadow. I used to have this big hang-up when I used to DJ at college, and the most exciting thing that used to happen was when a new Warp record came out. That’s what I used to DJ, and the soundsystem would come alive. Aphex opened up another world that didn’t involve my fucking electric guitar, and I was just so jealous of that whole crew. They were off on their own planet. I hated all the music that was around Radiohead at the time, it was completely fucking meaningless. I hated the Britpop thing and what was happening in America, but Aphex was totally beautiful, and he’s kind of my age too. He’s a massive influence.
FLYING LOTUS: I’ve always been curious, what inspired ‘Pyramid Song’?
Thom Yorke: You’re obsessed! We were in Copenhagen, we just started recording the first session after OK Computer, and we were all deeply dysfunctional, especially me. And there was an exhibition, they had a whole Egyptian section where they went on about religious beliefs and stuff, and they had these figures in these little boats ready to go wherever it is they were going to go. We were having a really shitty session, but we got in the morning afterwards, sat down, played these chords and I just said, ‘That’s nice,’ made a note of it and then wrote words, and it was very quick. We recorded the drumming a few months later, and it sounded like something from a Charlie Mingus record. It was just one of those weird things of, when you make a record, eventually you get to a flow and that was just part of the flow. We were going through this bad period where nothing was going right and this was a big breakthrough. But I never expected it to be such a popular single. When we play it live people go nuts for it, and we’re like, ‘Really?’