Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien is getting his own signature guitar as part of a collaboration with Fender, and in a new interview with Esquire, he discusses his custom Sustainer Stratocaster. When Radiohead were making their 2000 album Kid A, O’Brien had the band’s gear guy attach a sustainer to his Clapton Stratocaster so he could use it to make synth tones and textures, but he needed to switch to another instrument to play actual guitar parts, while his new guitar can do both. “It’s great that you can go with a flick of a switch you can go from this great Strat to something more experimental,” he says. “I can be a lot more in the moment. If you’re changing guitars every song your hands are adjusting. It’s a constant thing. It allows me to play in a different way.”
O’Brien has also been working on a solo album inspired by a trip to Brazil for at last a year now, and in the same interview, he gives an update on his progress. “I go back into the studio next week. We’ve only done three or four weeks and I’m very excited about it,” he explains. “I’m working with the producer Flood, Catherine Marks. I’ve just had an amazing three week recording period with Omar Hakim and Nathan East and Dave Okumu. We’ve tracked some stuff and we have some backing tracks and I’m going back into the studio with Flood and Catherine to finish those tracks up and will start some new stuff in the new year…So the idea is to have it finished by this summer to have it all mixed and mastered. Then we have to find a label for it. So we’re looking at the back end of next year or early 2019.”
Watch O’Brien demo his new signature guitar, which he used to record A Moon Shaped Pool and has been touring with, below.