Jonny Greenwood opens up about A Moon Shaped Pool in rare interview

The Radiohead guitarist spoke about recording A Moon Shaped Pool, their rejected Bond theme and more in a rare interview for BBC 6 Music

As Pitchfork report Radiohead’s guitarist Jonny Greenwood has expanded on a number of Radiohead-related topics in a new interview for BBC 6 Music. The guitarist sat down with 6 Music’s Matt Everitt to discuss A Moon Shaped Pool, the band’s rejected Bond theme and the band’s gruelling tour-rehearsal schedule. Check out some highlights from the interview below before its broadcast on 6 Music this Sunday at 1 PM.

On Radiohead’s unused Bond theme:

It wasn’t right for the film what we did. So we thought ‘Great! Then it’s ours. So we can finish it how will it’s meant to be and we can release it.’ So that side of it was really positive you know. But I guess there’s lots of people interested in who does it, there’s a lot riding on it and the song we did was just too dark or whatever, so that’s fine. Which means we get to have it back and it’s ours and we got to put it out. We’re really, really proud of it. Why be like attached to an old fashioned idea of what a James Bond thing was and it being a big deal? It’s like it’s sort of stupid to get worked up about really.

On the band’s tour-rehearsal schedule:

So we started with 120. It’s crazy. I mean, it’s just every song we’ve done. And then we gave up and realized that was stupid and got it down to about 60 or 70, and we played twenty four songs a night. So there’s a lot to choose from.

On Radiohead’s studio process:

It’s by turns really exciting – and there’s usually Thom [Yorke] in the middle of it getting very excited and motivating everyone and getting worked up about how well it’s going – and then there’s periods when nothing’s happening and it’s just not working and it’s frustrating. But it’s like that for everyone with work. … We recorded “No Surprises” and then worried about it. And then we recorded it again because it didn’t sound very good. And then we recorded it again. And then went back to the very first recording and released it. So that’s what you hear. So it’s tortuous in that way. It’s not like you’re sitting looking for a kick drum sound for two weeks, it’s more effort than that. More hitting brick walls over and over again.

On recording with the London Contemporary Orchestra for A Moon Shaped Pool:

There’s songs like “Burn The Witch” which, very rarely for us, we managed to get strings on near the beginning. We left it unfinished on purpose and left lots of room for the strings and we never do that usually. Usually the strings are the icing on top. And this time it was there from the start to be more of a feature for what strings can do. At the end of “Daydreaming” I got the cellos to all tune their bottom strings down about a fifth. But then still try to play the music. So you can hear them struggling to stay in tune and you have the low growl sound. That’s the kind of music they play anyway, and just all felt really effortless and exciting. You want to use strings in a way that isn’t just pastiche and that can be hard to avoid. That was fun, trying to square that circle.