Prior to the release of their latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead erased their internet presence: Their website went blank, they erased tweets and Instagram posts, and more. In a new interview, artist and longtime collaborator Stanley Donwood has revealed that he and the band were surprised at the frenzied reaction to the erasure. “Honestly, we did not expect people to go quite so crazy,” he told Creative Review. He continued:
I thought the reaction was weird: “Radiohead erases itself from the internet.” What a strange thing to say, cause you can’t. But the reaction was great, it was fantastic, it was really exciting. It was like being some sort of evil Bond villain or something, in some lair, pressing buttons. Actually more like the Mike Myers’ version of an evil Bond villain. It was creatively brilliant fun.
Donwood added that the act was “a practical solution to what seemed to be a complicated problem. Quite a simple solution: just stop everything for a bit.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he discussed making the artwork for A Moon Shaped Pool. He said that he and Thom Yorke “started messing around with what [they] could do with the weather and paint, and what happens with large quantities of paint and wind.” He’d leave canvases outside, and after they had a painted product with which they were happy, they’d photograph the pieces and edit them on Photoshop to be used for the album. He and Yorke would then take turns editing:
To sum up crudely, when we’re working together, I do something, then he fucks it up, then I fuck up what he’s done… and we keep doing that until we’re happy with the result. It’s a competition to see who “wins” the painting, which one of us takes possession of it in an artistic way.
Earlier today, Radiohead were announced as headliners for the 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. See the full lineup here. Revisit Pitchfork’s feature “Internet Explorers: The Curious Case of Radiohead’s Online Fandom.” Check out where Radiohead placed on Pitchfork’s Best Music Videos, Best Songs, and Best Albums of 2016 lists.
Watch Radiohead’s “Burn the Witch” video: