Yesterday, we got to check out some great questions from Flying Lotus and the Gaslamp Killer directed at Radiohead/Atoms for Peace’s Thom Yorke. His replies were both educational and entertaining, and the same goes for these latest queries from Machinedrum and Lapalux. They ask Yorke about developing music skills and listening to other music, respectively, and it makes me wish they had the time to pose more questions.
You can read the Q&A below. [via]
MACHINEDRUM: It’s cool you don’t know how to read music traditionally. I can’t read music either so I found this exciting and encouraging. Do you think it’s important to teach ear training when developing music skills?
Thom Yorke: Apparently you can get into Julliard’s music school in New York not being able to read music now. You will have to pick it up but it’s not a prerequisite. So much great music would never have happened without it, but nowadays it’s not as necessary as it ever used to be. When we work with orchestras they can be quite inflexible in understanding rhythms.
The rhythm side of it is very strange for classically trained musicians to understand – ideas like swing emphasis – but when you work with jazz musicians or someone like Flea they get it. They can all read music but that’s not where they started, they all started by ear. For me, writing down music is unnecessary. Your work is intricate, dense and very complicated, so to me you’re treating the laptop like a score anyway.
LAPALUX: Do you think listening to other music while you’re creating music is an inspiration or a hindrance?
Thom Yorke: I think you have to listen to music that’s so far away from what you’re doing that it almost cleanses you. When we were doing OK Computer we listened to a really extreme Coltrane track, the one that apparently sent Syd Barrett mad after he had done acid. It’s so intense, just 20 minutes of freeform jazz – it’s like taking a shower, there’s so many notes. It’s like, ‘Okay, I’m ready now.’ I was beaten to a pulp after listening to it. Anything coherent after that sounds wonderful. (laughs)