Q: What's it like having a writer's block? How does it work in practice, or doesn't work in practice?--Thom Yorke
Thom: What's it like? (long silence) It's like losing someone you love!
Q: What happened after you came back from the OK-Computer tour?
TY: It was a mess, a pretty bad mess, for quite a while, personally. Because basically I found myself in a place I didn't wanna be, ended up in a place I didn't wanna be and didn't recognize myself, and wasn't really interested in what we were supposed to have done. I didn't have much to hold on to really, in any way! Two years writing block, writing things and throwing them away, I guess that's where Kid A started and the bits and pieces that went with it. The idea was there was no plan at all, we had just lots of ideas, half formed ideas and hoped that some of them would see themselves through.
Q: Did you find the specific reason why you got into the writer's block?
TY: Yeah, I didn't really know...I don't think I knew until finishing Kid A what it was all about or the reason I had such a terrible block. But it was really because I had felt that I totally lost control of any element of my life, of anything I was involved in. And ultimately being so incredibly angry it was inexpressable. When we finished the record I just realised that this was what it was all about.
TY: What I find interesting in taking on programming and editing and sampling is it stops you trying to emote. There's something I find incredibly exciting about just leaving something to run, just listening to it, not actually play at the time, not singing along.
The other thing is that we all are kind of really heavily obsessed by 'Remain in Light', the Talking Heads album and the way they did that and the sort of emotions that go with that record. It kind of not got the same emotional range like any other Talking Heads record. It's like totally out from over there somewhere.
The other thing was the way David Byrne was writing the lyrics for that record. He had notes, no songs. Start a rhythm, here's a riff and it keeps going. What I admire about 'Remain in Light' is that everything is essentially fragments 'cause he's taking things from notebooks. So what I often tried to do with the writer's block thing was just basically have all the things that didn't work and stopped throwing them away, which I was doing before that, and keeping them and cutting them up and throwing them all in a top hat and pulling them out. And that was really cool because what it did was that I managed to preserve whatever emotions were in the original writing of the words but in a way that it's like I'm not trying to emote. It's just part of what's going on, so we're not printing the words on this record because the words are just part of what's going on.
Q: What songs are made that way on this record?
TY: 'Kid A' is, 'National Anthem' is, 'Everything in its right place'. If we have chosen to finish this record and go on then that's what everybody needs to know (still very agitated) you know what I mean? Other than that you're just digging dirt. (somewhat less agitated).