It may not come as a surprise to Radiohead buffs that Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood are die-hard Kraftwerk fans. Their passion for both electronic music and krautrock is widely documented and can be heard in the band’s experimental and diverse sound.
What you may not have guessed is that the Radiohead guitarists actually sat down with the German pioneers over dinner on tour and “dissected” their 1981 album Computer World, in what they’ve described as the “ultimate geek out.”
Speaking with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes’ in a recent episode of the comedy podcast SmartLess, Thom went into great detail about their love for the record. “We can pretty much list what every instrument was and how they did it,” he claimed. “They came on tour with us once to South America and we had a very long prolonged dinner with them where we basically dissected the whole record and asked which instrument and what was used on every single piece. It was the ultimate geek out.”
Jonny opened up further. “We literally study Computer World in terms of playing it to each other and discussing what is going on, and why it’s so good,” he told the podcast hosts.
Later in the episode, Thom and Jonny discussed the use of their tracks Decks Dark and The Daily Mail in Bateman’s Netflix drama Ozark, and told the story behind the 9-minute remix of Creep released last year.
Jonny also discussed his obsession with unusual musical instruments. “My adolescent fantasy was constantly driving past a music shop and wishing I could go inside and buy an instrument.” he admitted. “It was about buying any instrument – it wasn’t about collecting just guitars, or keyboards, or something. Imagine if I could go in and buy a clarinet or an accordion, wouldn’t that be amazing?”
“That’s how my life has panned out now, I do collect these kinds of things.” he continued. “To me it’s all technology, but some of it is older. A piano is older technology than a Moog, but it’s still somebody’s idea, and it’s a way of making music.”
Thom and Jonny’s new project, The Smile, sees them collaborating with Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner and longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. Earlier this month, they shared a new track, Skrting on the Surface.