Jonny Greenwood Talks Radiohead Live Sets, Rejected James Bond Theme, More In BBC Interview

Jonny Greenwood sat down for an interview with Matt Everitt for BBC Radio 6 that will air this upcoming Sunday (6/19), but the BBC has shared some highlights from their conversation beforehand. In the talk, Greenwood discusses the rehearsal process and song selection for the band’s current A Moon Shaped Pool tour:

So we started with one hundred twenty [to rehearse]. It’s crazy. I mean, it’s just every song we’ve done. And then we gave up and realized that was stupid and got it down to about 60 or 70, and we played twenty four songs a night. So there’s a lot to choose from. […] It drives our crew crazy as you might imagine because they don’t know what to do with the lights. But that’s okay. We’ve always been like that. We’ve always decided the setlist just before we play.

He also talked about their rejected James Bond theme song, “Spectre,” which was released last year on Christmas Day:

It wasn’t right for the film what we did. So we thought ‘Great! Then it’s ours. So we can finish it how will it’s meant to be and we can release it.’ So that side of it was really positive you know. But I guess there’s lots of people interested in who does it, there’s a lot riding on it and the song we did was just too dark or whatever, so that’s fine. Which means we get to have it back and it’s ours and we got to put it out. We’re really, really proud of it. Why be like attached to an old fashioned idea of what a James Bond thing was and it being a big deal? It’s like it’s sort of stupid to get worked up about really.

And the contributions of the London Contemporary Orchestra to the arrangements on A Moon Shaped Pool:

Well there’s songs like ‘Burn The Witch’ which, very rarely for us, we managed to get strings on near the beginning. We left it unfinished on purpose and left lots of room for the strings and we never do that usually. Usually the strings are the icing on top. And this time it was there from the start to be more of a feature for what strings can do. At the end of ‘Daydreaming’ I got the cellos to all tune their bottom strings down about a fifth. But then still try to play the music. So it’s you can hear them struggling to stay in tune and you have the low growl sound. That’s the kind of music they play anyway, and just all felt really effortless and exciting. You want to use strings in a way that isn’t just pastiche and that can be hard to avoid. That was fun, trying to square that circle.

The full interview airs this Sunday (6/19).