Radiohead Were Surprised People Freaked Out When They Erased Their Online Presence

Newly minted Coachella headliners Radiohead caused a massive stir last spring when, in the lead-up to their new album A Moon Shaped Pool, they erased their online presence, reducing their website to a blank screen and deleting all posts on their social media accounts. According to Radiohead’s longtime art supervisor Stanley Donwood, all the hubbub over the hard reset was mystifying for the band. Pitchfork points to a new interview in Creative Review in which Donwood explains that he and the band were surprised people reacted so strongly:

That was another of those ideas that you have down the pub that turned out to be really much more effective than we thought. Honestly, we did not expect people to go quite so crazy. It worked really well; really it was a way of getting rid of all of what had gone before; it was a practical solution to what seemed to be a complicated problem. Quite a simple solution: just stop everything for a bit. 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.

In the interview, Donwood also discusses creating the artwork for A Moon Shaped Pool alongside Thom Yorke, a process that involved letting the wind and rain influence painted canvases and then digitally editing the results.