Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is a man of few interviews, rarely giving the press access to his innermost musings and creating an air of mystery often missing from modern artists in this social network-driven era.
So actor Alec Baldwin scored quite the media coup when he landed Yorke for an extensive and wide-ranging interview for his WNYC podcast, Here’s The Thing, admitting he “wasn’t sure what to expect” from the press-shy singer.
“I kind of need to explain what I’m doing a bit with the Atoms for Peace thing, just a little bit because it’s something different,” Yorke told Baldwin in regards to his current side project that also features Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, “and some vague effort to explain myself, occasionally I think, is morally acceptable.”
Yorke went on to break down how the Atoms For Peace project resulted from The Eraser, Yorke’s solo debut which was released in 2006.
“You’re not struggling around in the dark for a way into a piece of music,” he said about translating those songs for the band to perform live. “You’re figuring out how to strip it down to its raw essentials, especially if something’s been written on a computer and then you have to humanly learn how to play it.”
The freewheeling and in-depth interview touched on Yorke’s childhood, the formation of Radiohead at the age of 16 and even fatherhood, mentioning how his son doesn’t “get on with the school system at all,” much like Yorke himself at that age. Yorke also talks about his singing influences, discussing how he honed his vocal craft by watching R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe and Bjork, who he calls “my favorite singer.”
The debut album from Atoms For Peace, Amok, was released this past February, with the band scheduling a brief U.S. tour that includes stops at both weekends of this year’s Coachella music festival in Indio, CA.