Atoms for Peace steps 'into the unknown'
Put Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich, drummer Joey Waronker, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and percussionist Mauro Refosco into a studio for three days, and you know the sound coming out of that session is going to be otherworldly.
The musicians seem to have created exactly that as the band, Atoms for Peace, is edging closer to the release of its debut album, "AMOK," early next year.
The move toward an album was an organic one, Yorke explains in an interview in Rolling Stone. The Radiohead singer-songwriter initially booked studio time for the group -- which was banded together to perform live songs from his 2006 album, "The Eraser" -- because of how great they sounded during rehearsal for the string of eight concerts held in 2010.
They went into their recording session with nothing, Yorke says, and ended up coming out "with a f*****g mountain."
Yorke and Godrich then edited that mountain, combining it with other laptop and studio work they'd done until it turned into a nine-track album.
Yorke and Godrich agree that their intent on "AMOK" was to "step into the unknown," as Godrich put it.
"One of the things we were most excited about," Yorke added, "was ending up with a record where you weren't quite sure where the human starts and the machine ends."
The method to creating that kind of ambiguity was its own "form of madness," Yorke recalled. "We'd go in at midday and pretty much work through to 10. We were playing all the time. It was bonkers. We'd stop to change beat. Joey and Mauro would scribe the beat out, using whatever weird notation they have, and then go off on it for another hour."
Yorke's role in the process was more of a conductor, he said, as he and Godrich would pipe up with approval or disapproval of the sound's direction.
"It was about trying to get interesting grooves," Yorke said. "When we first hung out, we were at Flea's house. We got wasted, played pool and listened to Fela Kuti all night. It was that idea of trance-ing out. But there are still songs here."
Although he's tempted not to, Yorke couldn't help but remark that he "really want(s) to say, 'This is the beginning of something.' " Besides, "this was after three days in that studio. God help us if we'd had a week."
Will Atoms for Peace head out on tour again after "AMOK" drops?
"I hope so," Yorke said. "We all want to."
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