Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood Talks New Album, A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood recently sat down with NPR for a wide-ranging chat about the band’s latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool. In essence, the conversation became a mini-clinic on Radiohead’s approach to making records.
“I guess it feels like every record we make, we finish and have a collective thought that we didn’t quite mean to do it like that, and that the next one will be different and then we’ll get it right,” he says. “It’s kind of like rewriting the same letter and getting each draft slightly wrong. So it’s a good motivational force — it keeps us going.”
Greenwood elaborated further, explaining that Radiohead’s creative restlessness helps propel the band forward, as they move from project to project.
“On our last record [2011’s The King of Limbs], we ditched our instruments … wrote our own software and used computers,” he says. “This record was sort of a reaction to that. We went to the other extreme, and started using magnetic tape again, and set ourselves limits, and worked within the eight tracks or sixteen tracks we were allowed to use. It was far more restrictive than last time. [That’s] quite a creative way to work. When you don’t have an ‘undo’ button on a recording machine, it adds creative tension to what you’re doing.”
Greenwood added that the idea of self-imposed restrictions, as a creative philosophy, even extends to his guitar gear. “I try to remember that lots of these very basic things — supposedly basic things — are quite overlooked,” he explains. “It’s funny. The idea of a delay [effects pedal] is such a powerful thing. You can do so many creative things with just that one idea. It can be distracting to collect all these other effects and pedals. Again, it comes back to the idea of limitations. You do far more creative things when you force yourself to be limited. I’ve got just one delay pedal. That’s all you need.”
You can listen to the interview in its entirety at the NPR website: