Colin: "Well, I think this record is even less easy listening than the previous record, The Bends. I mean when The Bends came out, a lot of people said there were no singles on it, and I think with this one, I think it's even more the case of that, but I think, you know... we don't really think of music in terms of singles, although we think of each song in isolation, we don't... you know, there's nothing like conceptual or progressive about the music, it's every... every piece of music, every song we do, we try and treat differently, production wise. I mean, this is the first album we produced ourselves as well, so it's a very... yeah, it's a dense record, you know. I can... I mean we always try really hard to combat the “skip” culture of the CD format by trying to make people sit down and listen to this in one sitting, but I think this is less like that compared to The Bends, if you see what I mean, I think. But I think that, you know... I'm quite happy if people just want to dive into this record and extract stuff from it, because I think emotionally, each like piece of music is very intense, so I think people will get a lot from it
Interviewer: "What is your mood like when you're in the process of recording?
Colin: "Erm... well, it varies. I mean, collectively I suppose it's one of... (sighs) that's a good question... (laughs) of neurosis, erm... of uncertainty, of excitement, of boredom, of lots of things, you know. I mean it depends... I mean, you know, you can do your best recording and you don't realise it until you hear it being played back, so just our mood... on this record it was quite stressful because we were constantly aware of the fact that we were producing the album ourselves so... my agenda, my personal agenda on this record was that I wanted to try and enjoy as much of the recording process as possible. It's very important, because the last record had been quite difficult
Interviewer: "In what way?
Colin: "Erm... in that we'd been recording in London, which we didn't find at the time agreeable, and that we were going through sort of growing pains as a group, because it was our first like big album to do, so I really wanted to try and enjoy as much of the experience as possible. And some of it was enjoyable, and some of it wasn't, and I think it's always going to be like that, so a combination of moods and things, really
Interviewer: "Now this album definitely arrived with high expectations
Interviewer: "Not really just so much commercially it seems, but...
Colin: "A critical thing
Interviewer: "Yeah. How does that feel?
Colin: "Well, it's you know, it's very flattering that we've got like five stars in Q magazine in England, and ten out of ten in the NME, and stuff like that, but the important thing is that we recorded the album in isolation. We recorded it in this old country house in this deserted valley in the middle of England, in the countryside, and we recorded thirty percent of it in this run down apple farm that we rehearse in... and in fact we rehearsed and arranged most of The Bends in as well, just outside Oxford, so you know, we spend a lot of our time, or we try to spend a lot of our time like outside of that kind of... that kind of attention and coverage, so... Obviously it's nice to get good reviews, but we were kind of in a fortunate position, because when we started, we had a big single called Creep on Pablo Honey, and then critically we were ignored or attacked because people thought we were a one hit band, and we didn't really have anything to follow up Creep on Pablo Honey, so that was... which is fair enough, but then you know, I would also say that was a record we recorded in two and a half weeks, so, you know and it had a much longer shelf life that it really deserved, because of the success of Creep, and then we didn't expect it to, so you know, we expected to record The Bends quite shortly afterwards, you know, but it was a year and a half later (laughs) over... you know, it was two and a half years later , so...
Interviewer: "I read that Q magazine article...
Colin: "Yeah, that's like quite an old piece now, the press kit, that's like a preview piece
Interviewer: "Yeah, I guess it is. I'm just... I was really fascinated by what you guys went through after the success of Creep, because I'll be very honest, I really didn't... I wasn't aware of what was going on with the band. Was that a difficult time for you, I mean you're traveling around, and you're successful
Colin: "Yeah, but on the back of one song
Colin: "Yeah, it was very difficult, because it was like a pop hit, especially in America, because it was such a big hit in America, and I think it took us a long time to sort of get our heads together about it, so it was a difficult time, it was very difficult, yeah, but we came through it, and we survived it as a group, and you know, I think the main reason why we survived the experience of like having a big success of one single and then like having people sort of fall away from us after that was that we'd been together as a group and played music together since we were like fourteen years old when we were all at school together, so I think the fact that we had that history behind us was very important. When we signed to EMI in the winter of 1991, we thought that at the time the most important thing was the fact that we were like signed to a major record company with a contract as professional musicians, and that the friendship thing which we'd had before then as a group, and the reasons we were playing music together would be like a secondary thing, but the longer we do this, and the more we meet people whose music we love and admire, like U2 and REM or loads of people, you know, we realise who are groups of people who have known each other a long time, we realise now that the friendship thing is like really important, is the more important thing to keep you going, and successful and happy and sane, rather than the career, so called professionalism thing
Interviewer: "Do you get a sense that you guys are very accepting of each other?
Colin: "Well we have to be, you have to be very patient. That's very well... good observation, I mean we're very patient with... we never go into the studio unless we've worked out what we're going to play, and like all the parts and stuff, we hardly ever do... hardly ever. We have to be very patient with each other because technically, you know it varies between person to person on like their abilities on their instruments, it's not like... we're not a group of like session players who can play every single style perfectly. But it's good to have limitations you know, it's good to have boundaries, it's very important in creativity to have limits, because it gives you something to frame what you're doing if it's going well, or it gives you something to rail against, or try and like overcome, and struggle against if things aren't going well, so both... they're both... so it's very important, you know, so yeah, you're very... again it's a very good point. And it means also you'll try things unorthodoxly and differently from conventional approaches, because you don't know what the conventional approach is, or style or technique is, so yeah, so we have to be... everyone is very patient with each other
Interviewer: "What about this kind of block 8 relationship with progressive rock?
Colin: "Well, this is something that's been like tagged on to us, I mean, you know, about the new record more than anything. I think the record was (yawns)... excuse me, you'll have to forgive me, I was sort of... a friend called me at five thirty in the morning (laughs) from England, thinking it was... you know, got the time wrong, so I'm sorry (laughs), I had my sleep interrupted
Interviewer: "Yeah, I know how grueling these things are anyway
Colin: "Yeah, thank you. Ok, right so the progressive thing. Ok, well like the interesting comment that I like to make is that you know how important it is to master an album, how to master a record. This record was mastered by a gentleman called Chris Blair who masters like loads of people in England like Morrissey, Oasis, he's one of the most important people for the job. He's like the Bob Ludwig or Harry Weinberger for the UK, and he mastered The Bends. Like with The Bends as well, we edited a lot of stuff, and sped things up and changed a lot of stuff at the last moment, and I asked him on like the second day of mastering at Abbey Road with OK Computer, what was the big differences between the two records, sonically for him, and he said to me that he'd been working at Abbey Road now for like nearly twenty years, over twenty years, and like OK Computer reminded him a lot of records that were recorded in Abbey Road, or brought to him to be mastered at the time in the seventies in that these were albums that were recorded by a band with an engineer as opposed to like a producer, and had a kind of more open sort of spacious sound, less compressed like with The Bends, and more delicate sounding, and more extreme at the same time, less just one sort of sonic level, and that was what he was going to try and bring out, that kind of return to that kind of seventies sound on the record, and I thought that was really interesting
Interviewer: "Wow, that's very interesting
Colin: "Yeah, that it reminded him of that kind of thing, you know, the time when people like the Floyd and loads of people were recording in Abbey Road in the seventies, mid seventies. So, progressive rock, you know... I mean you know, my brother, Jonny is kind of like the person who's like got all the Genesis and the Floyd collections and stuff, and he has this thing about, he's always trying to find (yawns) some good progressive rock music, and he never does really find it. He says it's all generally terrible, you know, I mean some of the Floyd you could say is progressive rock, but not all of it, obviously, so it's not really, you know... it's nothing really to do with us
Interviewer: "How did your sound develop, I mean if I was to listen to you guys back in your early...
Colin: "Well, when we started, when we were at school, we had three saxophones. We were a pop band! We were like... the main... because when we started at school... because this is another thing, this is another reason, it's interesting looking back how much it has informed how we behave now, because we started... we always started for our own entertainment, and to stave off boredom. We all went to this school it was this public... a private school, it was boys only and it was not very good, it was creatively very oppressive, and so we started the band to try and escape, like to create our own sort of creative space within this insular, stifling environment, and we would rehearse and play a lot in the music school, and village halls around Abingdon, Oxford, but we wouldn't do any shows. We did like our first concert when we were sixteen years old, and we all wore black and played very loud, because we thought that was what you had to do, so they didn't really change things there. But we never really... you see, we were always quite insular, you know, we never really... it's not like we got together... we got together to play the music for ourselves, it's not like we had this like “we want to go and play in London and be noticed straight away”, and stuff like that. That's always been like a secondary factor to us. We've never done the music as a sort of paving stone way... paving to recognition or fame, you know. And so we've always had that quality of you know, we still live in Oxford, of being like a bit removed, outside from London or from where things are happening or people are reporting from, you know from the age of like fourteen onwards
Interviewer: "That's interesting. I just want to go back to one thing for a second. I've always wanted to know, what is it like to record at Abbey Road?
Colin: "Abbey Road? It's fantastic! I mean it's an institution first and foremost, I mean like fifteen years ago, all the engineers and people had to wear like white lab coats still, you know? Not any more, but like fifteen years ago. It's, you know, I mean we recorded like some of The Bends in studio 2, which is obviously The Beatles' room, and we did some string overdubs, we only did the string overdubs I think on this record in studio 2 this time, and I mean we did a lot more of The Bends in Abbey Road. It's an institution, that's the important thing about Abbey Road is it's like a hospital or a... I don't know... It's great, but it's like, you know... it's not like a farmhouse with a great like kitchen with great food and like a big old space that you can record in, you are in an EMI corporate thing, but the people there are fantastic. I mean, and again, the people there, you can criticise them because they're all like “This is how we've done this thing for like ten, fifteen, twenty-five years, and it's good, so why should we change it?”, you know and there was this while thing about mastering the new Beatles re-issues, like should it be digitally or analogue, should it be DDD or AAD master re-mastered, so there's a lot of people there who are kind of very stuck in their ways, but it's amazing, you know, it's an amazing experience. And it's in like a crappy part of London, it's in St John's Wood, which is really lovely, but really expensive, so it's not like, you know there aren't many cool clubs of bars, but I mean, you know, so there's good things and bad things, but on the whole great
Interviewer: "Yeah, I can imagine going into that tradition
Colin: "Well, you know, like Jonny played Hammond on Fake Plastic Trees on The Bends, and it's the same Hammond that John Lennon played on, you know, on Abbey Road and stuff, and there's a picture of him playing this Hammond, you know. And like they say that you can like... there's this room at the end of Studio2, this little box room where The Beatles used to like do their reefer, and you can still like inhale, and you can still smell the reefer coming from the room, you know?
Interviewer: "How about the... in terms of... I mean, obviously you guys aren't Beatles status...
Colin: "No, no
Interviewer: "But (laughs) Thank God for that, but how are you dealing with fame and with the attention?
Colin: "Well, last... on Monday night we did this gig at Irving Plaza in New York, and it was ridiculous, like U2 was there, and REM and Madonna and Brad Pitt, and people like that. Ridiculous. And yeah, I don't know, it's nice when you meet people who you really admire and you like what they do, and they're really... and it's reassuring to see that like eighty... nine times out of ten they're like decent people, they behave decently, like Oasis, they were really cool, really nice people who just care about music, so, you know... and so that's... again, you see, it's very difficult to respond to that question, because it's not something that we got into doing this for, or even consider, to be honest with you. The good thing about meeting people in music principally, who we admire who are successful, is if we want to do some stuff with them because of like, you know... but it's more sort of dance stuff at the moment, like Massive Attack and some MoWax stuff, like this guy called DJ Shadow, who's from San Francisco, he's going to try doing some remixing of a track called Subterranean Homesick Alien on the album. So, I mean it's not real, and the other thing is as well for a lot of these people, all it is is like, you know, in New York there's a lot of people around and it was like a hot gig to go to and it's like the spotlight, and next week it will be someone else, you know, someone else's thing, so... And ultimately we all go back to like Oxford where like we've lived since... well, I was born in Oxford, so it's like we've lived for a long time, so it doesn't mean anything
Interviewer: "Yeah, I can... that's definitely a balance thing
Colin: "Yeah it's like Athens I suppose, I mean, you know for the REM people, I hope.
Interviewer: "You guys don't really seem to factor in to the kind of competition between like Blur and Oasis...
Colin: "No, but again you see it goes back to like always being outside of London, and outside of... it's very important, because that would be appalling if like the music that we were trying to do was driven by like, you know before... or the onset of recording was driven by a kind of like where it was going to take us competitively against other people, you know, I don't... that's not the plot at all. (laughs) So, you know, we're definitely not a group of people who like... we've seen people play like big theatres, and like stadiums... I was thinking about this, that's why there's this while thing about stadium rock, kind of really terrible stuff by people like Simple Minds and things. What those people were doing in the eighties was that they'd had the stadium thing, and they were trying to like write music... it was like trying to write music for a lifestyle, if you see what I mean. It should like... music should be like a soundtrack. If it's good music, it should be evocative and a soundtrack for your life, but you can't really... you know, you have to be very talented to be able to like write music as you would write a ticket for where you wanted to go, if you see what I mean. You know, it's like “I want to play stadiums, so I shall write stadium rock music that will be really successful and played in stadiums”, and that's what all those bands were trying to do in the eighties, they wanted to do like... write music to fulfill the lifestyle of playing these places, if you see what I mean, rather than writing about, you know... You can't... you can't... that would be appalling. Do you understand what I'm saying?
Colin: "It's a really obvious point, but I mean, it's like...
Interviewer: "No, I don't think it's an obvious point
Colin: "It's like... it's like... what's it like? It's like attempting to sort of... it's like, you know, “I want to go to Hawaii and live there, so I'm going to, you know, do X and X”. It's like wish fulfillment, it's like, you know, “I can do this thing like to play stadiums, so I'm going to write this kind of music”, and it's like... that's not how... that's not what should motivate you. It's not what motivates us
Interviewer: "So what does motivate you guys?
Colin: "Well, the main songwriter is Thom, the singer. He does like most of the songs on acoustic guitar and it's his melodies and lyrics, and then we just take like the... (yawns) bones of the songs and arrange stuff around them and write the parts and arrange it. And Jonny writes some of the music as well, my brother. And one of the things we learned on this record is that you can't write a song on an acoustic guitar and then record it and then take out the acoustic guitar. You can't do that, it doesn't work like that
Interviewer: "How did you discover this?
Colin: "Because the first song is called Airbag, and Thom wanted to try it by cutting some beats up like DJ Shadow, like Uncle, and it was done on acoustic... (yawns)... I'm sorry, my friend woke me up, you'll have to forgive me, it's very rude of me
Interviewer: "(laughs) No, no, it's ok
Colin: "Anyway, so he cut these beats up that Phil played live and put it on to the... it was all really rough, you know, I mean it was all really rough and it's all... they're not in time and everything, but it's great, really exciting, and then he played it with a guide acoustic... a guide like electric and then got rid of it, and it just wasn't as good (laughs). I said to him “we've got to put it back, it's got to be there”, you know, so put it in and it was like great again (laughs). So it's just stuff like that, you know. You can't take something that has like some kind of like organic acoustic base and relatively quickly try and make it into something that's a programmed... piece of programmed music. I mean, you know... I mean it's possible to sort of combine styles and things, and that's the exciting thing, to make something different and new out of like different approaches, but I mean, the whole programming thing as well takes a long time
Interviewer: "Your relationship with your brother...
Interviewer: "You know, what is it... a lot of people wouldn't want to work with a relative of any kind, and you do. What is it like?
Colin: "It's... it's very good. He has a very dry sense of humour, he's a very funny guy, he's very gentle, he's very polite. He has a very English sense of humour, I mean he very much enjoys playing up the Englishman in America. When Americans say, you know, “How are you today sir?”, he says “Well, I'm jolly fine, thank you for asking. And how are your good selves?”, or whatever, which is a bit disorientating. But he, you know, he really enjoys being here. A lot of his favourite music is American, obviously, you know, from the old jazz stuff, he's a big like jazz fan, like Jimmy Smith and stuff like that, through to, you know, loads of stuff obviously. He only ever loses his mellowness when he's ill... his sense of humour when he's ill, and he's very mature for twenty... five this year. Twenty four now, he's twenty four, so... (yawns)
Interviewer: "So how do your parents feel?
Colin: "Well, it's just my mother, and initially she was like “my God, my God!”, you know. I mean she had me down as going to be like an academic or a lawyer, and Jonny was going to be like some kind of musician, but after going to college, and he dropped out of college to be in the band, because he was the youngest person when we were signed and he was just doing his first term at college in Oxford, and he had to drop out, so... He was helped in that by one of his tutors in psychology and music, this guy called Charlie... I don't know if you've read a book... do you know a writer called Hanif Kureishi, called The Buddha of Suburbia, and it's about like... It's about this guy who lives up in suburban London, and anyway, one of the protagonists' friends goes to New York and like is in a punk rock band and hangs out... and anyway, this was Charlie, and he used to live with Iggy Pop, and he was my brother's teacher, and he was like the character in this book, and so when Jonny said “I'm going to be in a rock band”, his teacher goes “Go for it!”, you know (laughs). So that was fine
Interviewer: "Wow! And this other thing. You guys are nice
Colin: "Heh! “Nice”! What a damning word in the wrong hands though. Like a girl's hands, you know. The moment she says a guy is “nice”, you know... (laughs). You're fucked. You're not fucked. Anyway, sorry. “Nice”?! What, polite?
Interviewer: "(laughs) Actually, it's funny. It digresses from my original point, but that's true, isn't it? It's the kiss of death
Colin: "Yeah, that and “cute”. Well, “cute” can be a bit ambiguous, but “cute” can be quite... more in England if someone says you're cute then... Although it's changing, actually. I mean it's more promising now, there's more chance of a relationship if someone just says you're cute, but “cute” used to be like “nice”, it used to be like “forget it”. Anyway...
Interviewer: "Do you get those... ?
Colin: "No! I don't... we don't... well, no because you know, obviously we're not the most sort of glamorous group of guys in the world, and again it's not what we're doing it for. We used to get press in the UK which said like, you know “they look like five ugly misfits in a police identity parade”, and stuff like this, and you know, and this new issue of Select has these terrible pictures of us, and we were all really tired, you know Select music magazine in the UK, and the copy is like “Relax girls, they've all got partners”, or something, you know, which isn't true anyway, but I mean it's like, you know we do look terrible, so, you know... (sighs) but I don't give a fuck about it, we don't really give a fuck about it, I mean its just really just hysterical when you meet like these models who come and see the gig and it's like “hi, yeah, alright, thank you for coming”
Interviewer: "Do you... I mean, do you worry that if people are paying more attention to you that it's because... not because of who you are or even what you do?
Colin: "Well, yeah , but I mean you should never assume that people are paying attention to you because of who you are. If you think that, then you're damned, you're doomed. You should never think that. That's got noting to do with this, you know, that would like... you know. Nobody knows who we are, and I hope they never do, you know, on one level, obviously. You know, I think that's appalling, you know, I would never presume that I know who my like heroes are, like Stipe or Heitzel, or Joy Division or Magazine, soul Al Green, you know, that would be an intrusion on intimacy. And I don't want to, because there's a difference between that and like... if you see what I mean, I would never assume that I know these people's minds, but I like to think I know how I feel about the songs, you know, about the characters in all these people's music, you know... and that's another thing, I don't want to know, I don't want to intrude upon what they're really like, because it would destroy how I see the songs in my head, because my interpretation of the stuff is always going to be different from theirs, because the music they have created has punctuated my life, it's not, you know, the soundtrack to their lives that I'm interested in, it's the soundtrack to my life, their music
Interviewer: "Ok, that's fantastic
Interviewer: "And I think that's ideal, but I guess what I'm... not worried about, but the other... but you can't prevent people from not treating your music in the same way, you can't prevent people, be they, you know, big, small, important, not important, whatever from thinking “Ah, I've heard this music, I know who these guys are”, You can't, so...
Colin: "No, no. Right, yeah, yeah. But it's not us, obviously, I mean, you know... I don't think, you know, I don't think anyone... I mean, and I think when people have like done interviews or done pieces where like they've been very accurate about things, I mean there's a real angle you can do about us as well, which is quite sort of dyspeptic and critical, and it's completely fair enough, but it's like... it's just very limiting and we've had like a couple of pieces that have been like that, years ago, but... I mean like this kid turned up to the hotel the other day, and he'd driven like twelve hundred miles, and it was like... he was like a big fan, he wanted to get into the show, and we couldn't get him in, because it's like just impossible, and it's like, you know... and he was like really upset about it, and he was like, you know... but like you know, if one of my heroes was playing, I'm not going to hassle them, you know, it's like... I wouldn't really want that much contact, you know, between the... and I've met some of my heroes, and it's a strange thing, you know, because really they have... in the flesh, nothing to do with their music, in a way. Like if I can explain that... of how you like their music, you know, it's completely... that kind of magic, that ingredient, that special like X, it's still secret when you meet them, and that's great, I really think that's great
Interviewer: "So who... I mean, who, tell me about...
Colin: "Well, you know, people like Stipe and Mills and REM people and U2 and Mark Heitzel, Mark Mulcahy, he came to the gig in New York. Do you know a band called Miracle Legion?
Colin: "They're really good first two albums on Rough Trade, really good. People like that. I didn't meet him though. Thom and Thom's brother are really big fans of his, so... Oasis. It's just courtesy, really, you know
Interviewer: "You must, I mean since you guys all knew each other from...
Colin: "Age fourteen or whatever. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen. Thirteen, fourteen
Interviewer: "How do your like... your fellow peers, the people that you knew at the same time. How do they regard you? I mean, do you still keep up?
Colin: "Yeah, vaguely. Well, not really at school so much, because we all split up and went to different colleges and stuff, but there was a very difficult period about two years ago where the novelty of doing this had worn off amongst our friends and ourselves, and it was now like a job, and so it's very difficult psychologically to maintain friendships at a certain point, because you go away for like... up to like two months at a time... two and a half, and come back, and then go away again, and meanwhile your fiends have gone on with with their lives, obviously, and doing their own things in London and Oxford, say,... or wherever, and what happens is, it goes from like “Oh, wow! You've just come back from... Wow! You've just done this for the first time” to like “Oh well, you're doing this, you're doing that”, do you know what I mean? What was magical becomes commonplace, but still removed from their experience and vice-versa, and it's like, you know, you can kind of drift out of touch with people, which is... well, not drift out of touch, but... well, yeah, you do, but people don't hold it against you, and that's kind of bad in a way because it's like, you know “Well, he's going to be doing this, this and this, so I won't write to him”, you know, two months later maybe, or “I won't expect anything from Colin until whenever”, so it's difficult, it's very difficult
Interviewer: "So what made it not feel like a job again?
Colin: "I think sort of reclaiming some ground, really of the reasons that we started doing this, which was doing our own record, really. Obviously the success. At the moment in the UK, it's very exciting, obviously that's good and just feeling a bit of stability and security, you know, so yeah, I think those are the things that are making it sort of interesting again
Interviewer: "Do you... just to look specifically at this album and ask some questions about that. Do you have a favourite song?
Colin: "Not really. I mean, I have like songs that I'm not so keen on, just a couple of things that, you know, I kind of like aren't happy about, but I'd say that eighty percent of it I'm very happy with, very proud of, you know. And for a first effort of like producing it ourselves, I think that's a good strike rate, you know, definitely. But if I was to select songs, I really love The Tourist at the end, and I really like Exit Music (For A Film), and I like Airbag, and I like No Surprises. Our last three songs, No Surprises, Lucky and The Tourist, I think are really wonderful
Interviewer: "What... the Ost (check) video
Colin: "Paranoid Android? You see, I really like that as well, it's just the song Paranoid Android was just... again we all had different approaches to lots of stuff, you see we all come from different directions and like one of the things we were trying to do collectively was... we were into this whole thing about... we'd done it on The Bends, where we like digitally edited a couple of pieces of music together, and done like brutal editing, where you've got like bits of music and you splice it together like The Beatles on like, you know... on... .mmmmm... .Magical Mystery Tour, or whatever, and we really wanted to try that just to see if we could make like musical sense out of disparate elements, you know overall in a piece of music. So that's what we did with Paranoid Android and it was just like supposed to be... I mean it's... it was kind of one of the first we finished in the sessions and we'd listen to it, and we'd just giggle. We felt like sort of irresponsible schoolboys who were doing this like... you know, this thing that was just a bit of fun, you know, there's a lot of humour in it, sort of twisted humour. We'd always giggle at the end of listening to it, because we felt we'd just done this like really naughty thing, you know, because nobody does like a six and a half minute song, you know with all these changes, it's like ridiculous. But then, you know a lot of the dance stuff like DJ Shadow, and stuff like that, that's kind of what he was doing on his debut album, Introducing, he was trying to take like disparate pieces of music and try and put them together in one piece as a sort of collage of things, but in a way that made sense, you know, and so we were really like inspired by that
Interviewer: "Interesting. Do the songs have a meaning for you? You didn't write...
Colin: "No, I didn't write the words or the melodies
Interviewer: "So I mean, do the songs... and you can speak for the other members of the band if you want
Interviewer: "But do you... do you say “This song means... ”
Colin: "(yawns) Well, when Thom... when Thom does a vocal take when we're playing say, and if it's really good, or if he's really happy with it, he says that he knows when something has a meaning for him musically, and the song is good for him because he sees pictures inside his head, like really vivid imagery, which I really like... I really like that. I mean, I think... I do like his lyric writing, I think he's very good, I think he has the right combination of the oblique and the powerful in terms of like imagery, and I think... I like what he's trying to do with this record where he tries to... he was trying to like have lots of different voices, and lots of different angles and different approaches and tried to be less internalised, you know. We had some criticism for the title of this record, OK Computer because it's quite general
Interviewer: "Now, are you guys... I was reading one of the press releases. Are you going to do videos for every one of the songs?
Colin: "It's like... it's like... yeah. It's an ambition rather than like set in stone for the simple reason... two reasons of time and money, because it's so expensive and we can't afford to spend loads of money on videos which we should be spending on music
Interviewer: "Does that...
Colin: "But... sorry
Interviewer: "No, go ahead
Interviewer: "But does that... if it's even an intention then does that mean that you see the songs as being linked in some way, that it is kind of a concept?
Colin: "No, I don't think the songs will be... I mean because of the different media that we're doing these three videos, I mean there's Paranoid Android which was done by a guy called Magnus Carlsson and he's based in Stockholm and it's animation, it's a cartoon, and then we're doing a video for a song called Let Down which is... errr... a stop motion, collage animation, like it's kind of... it's much more basic, but... and I don't have a clue how it will look, it could look really good, it might be a bit strange, done by a group of artists who have just graduated from Royal College last year called Straw Donkey, who have had some really cool animation put up on the new U2 tour, they've got some of their stuff up on the big TV screen, it's just amazing, so... And then Karma Police, which is like Thom in this kind of like nightmare sort of car journey, which was filmed in Norfolk last week by a gentleman called... two weeks ago... three weeks ago... well, about three weeks ago by a guy called John Glazer who directed the Street Spirit video, so there's going to be lots of different things mixed up and mixed and matched
Interviewer: "Now one personal question as long as we're on videos, can you please explain the High And Dry video to me?
Colin: "Which one? Oh, the robbery one
Interviewer: "Yeah, the diner
Colin: "Well, it just like... I mean, you know, retrospectively, I don't think it was one of our best videos, but I mean, you know, I kind of like the spirit that it was done in. I mean it was obviously just like a Pulp Fiction pastiche, and it was this guy's first directorial, serious directing job, but I kind of like it. Yeah, I like it despite the... it's probably the least... err... original of the videos that we've done for The Bends, and the plot is that these two guys... this man and this woman have done a bank job and they're going over to give the money or whatever, the safe deposit thing to the... they meet someone in the diner, and in return they get like paid for the job, but of course they open the thing and it's not their money, it's a bomb and so they get screwed
Interviewer: "Ok, yeah I guess it's pretty much what it seemed, I just didn't know if there was like a linkage to the song
Colin: "And then the guy, the businessman, the thing is like the guy who gets the couple in to the bank, he's the insider, and he's killed as well, so...
Interviewer: "That's right, that's right. And this Magnus Anderson?
Colin: "Magnus Carlsson who did Paranoid Android
Interviewer: "Magnus Carlsson
Colin: "He's got nothing to do with High And Dry
Interviewer: "No, no, exactly, but I'm just thinking of your videos, I find that that one was... that the animation for that was...
Colin: "Oh, for Paranoid Android?
Interviewer: "For Paranoid Android was just amazing
Colin: "Well, it's... the reason that we really like it as well is like the first time we watched it, we thought “Oh, no! This is just like a Robin cartoon”. Robin is kind of like a twisted sort of Swedish Beavis And Butthead, but much... I don't know, I never really got into Beavis And Butthead, but a lot of people really like it, but anyway... Thom really likes it, Beavis And Butthead. But anyway, what was my point? Magnus... animation... yeah, but watching it a few times, it's like it's really well put together, and the imagery of like loads of stuff like the angel and the helicopter and the river... The rain down section is probably the most successful bit, actually, the middle section. It's so well done. It's interesting actually how he drew and realised the video for the song, because Ed and Phil from the band met him when they were doing some press in Sweden. Anyway, he's a very quiet chap, he looks like Robin. He looks like Robin in the video (laughs), and he just got up in the morning and he put on like Paranoid Android like nine in the morning, and he just spent like the next twelve hours just playing it over and over again, not seeing anyone, just writing lots of stuff down that he thought would be cool on this beautiful sunny day in Stockholm with his windows open in his like little flat, just looking out over the city, and just thinking about, you know, just brainstorming himself about what was going on in his head and in the song, and we're all very happy with it and it's like one of my favourite things, really
Interviewer: "Yeah, it's very... particularly with the song, it just... each one kind of casts a different interpretation on the other
Interviewer: "It kind of makes that third thing(check)
Colin: "Yeah, there was this censorship thing in America as well, which completely bemuses and baffles us, because it's like there's this scene where this politician figure is like wearing this leather codpiece and he chops of his arms and legs when he's trying to hack on the lamp-post, and that's fine over here, but for some reason like the mermaids on the original, you can see their breasts, and we had to like get them covered over with like swimming costumes in America, because for some reason like you know, a bit of violence is ok, but any sex, sort of like a women's body is like “no”.
Colin: "And it's like “hang on a minute”. I mean to be honest, to be perfectly frank with you, we could have kind of like understood if they had a problem with some guy chopping his arms and legs off, but I mean, you know, women's breasts, and mermaids as well, it's like... fucked up.
Interviewer: "So back... one final group of questions for you then (check)
Colin: "Yeah, I should get some food, actually. That's what I need
Interviewer: "Then just back to this... the “nice” or “polite” issue...
Interviewer: "In a sense that you guys... I mean, it's something that came up in the Q article, I mean, you're not... you don't fit the kind of wild partying image...
Colin: "Right, yeah
Interviewer: "Not only of stereotypical rockers, but some of your fellow contemporary bands that are living it out pretty wildly
Colin: "Sure, sure
Interviewer: "Is that something that... how, why, do you feel pressured to be more partyers, or... I guess that deals with the same thing...
Colin: "Well, I stayed up till like half five in the morning in New York when we had to get up at eight o'clock to fly to Los Angeles after we played the Plaza, so that was quite rock and roll (laughs). But I mean, you know... but like if you're on tour like seven months out of the year, then you can't really... eight months rather... you can't burn the candle all the time, because your performance suffers, you know. I went to see a band called The Charlatans playing in the UK towards the end of their tour, and they were all really tired and their performance wasn't that great, because they were obviously, you know been... and then I found out later it was because they'd spent a lot of time doing the party thing, which is great and fine, you know
Interviewer: "And do you agree with the assessment that you guys are kind of polite and friendly?
Colin: "Err, I think so. I hope so, yeah... you know, yeah. I mean, I'm sorry if it's really boring, but, you know...