Radiohead left egos behind for A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood
Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood (Image credit: Getty)

Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood says the band think of themselves as “arrangers” when writing music.

Describing the songwriting process for their ninth studio album A Moon Shaped Pool, the guitarist says the band focused on developing a song idea which singer Thom Yorke would play on piano – though it was often difficult to top his version.

He tells NPR: “We think of ourselves as arrangers of these songs. Thom will write half a song and we’ll develop it, then the big pressure is, ‘How do you put this song across and not ruin it?’

“Part of the problem is, Thom will sit at the piano and play a song like Pyramid Song and we’re going to record it and how do we not make it worse, how do we make it better than him just playing it by himself, which is already usually quite great.

“But there’s no individual interest in what we play on the record, it’s about servicing the song. It’s not really about, ‘Can I do my guitar part now? We’re arrangers, really.’”

Greenwood previously said that Radiohead tried to use “very old and very new technology” on the latest record to fuel their creativity. A Moon Shaped Pool was recently shortlisted for the 2016 Mercury Prize alongside David Bowie’s Blackstar.

The band have a number of shows scheduled over the coming months, including an appearance at Lollapalooza in Germany.

Radiohead tour dates 2016

Aug 08: Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium, CA
Aug 20-21: Summersonic, Japan
Sep 11: Berlin Lollapalooza, Germany
Oct 03: Mexico City Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico
Oct 04: Mexico City Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico
Oct 07: Austin City Limits Music Festival, TX

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Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.