Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood Discusses Guitar Music

Famous band's guitarist touches the main subject on this website.

Ultimate Guitar

Radiohead guitarist and film composer Jonny Greenwood is keeping busy in 2014 with a variety of projects and appearances. As Consequence of Sound notes, he's releasing a split LP with the National's Bryce Dessner, scoring Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of "Inherent Vice," and even popping up at Nashville's much-anticipated Big Ears Festival.

This weekend, however, he'll be performing alongside London Contemporary Orchestra soloists at the city's Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. In anticipation of the surreal occasion, he spoke with NME, in which he offered up this nearly sage-like advice on the concept of guitar music. It pretty much reads like his mantra.

The advice showed up when the interview touched the topic of new Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks album, which was called "all the guitar music I need this year" by Greenwood himself, and the old-fahioned guitar sound.

"Guitar bands forming now are often playing the instruments of their grandparent's generation - and often in the same style," he kicked off. "The Beatles didn't pick up banjos when they started, after all … but then, violins are even older. So I can't decide. I guess, looked at in the right way, things like 808 drum machines are now very old, but still ubiquitous.

"So maybe it's better to think of all these things as being as current - or as retro - as anything else. I enjoy there being lots of technology to play with, however old it is."

Needless to say, he's at a good place mentally these days.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    There Will Be Blood. Enough said
    There Will Be Blood is one of the best movie trio combined. Main Cast Daniel Day-Lewis Directed by: Paul Anderson Music by Johnny Greenwood . There's nothing else you could ask more..
    Even being a huge guitarist I'm generally with him on the idea that the electronic realm has been more open towards new sonic territory than guitar music has been. Not that there aren't new things in guitar music, just as an overall of what I've seen.
    Jonny Greenwood is one of the most underrated guitarists playing music today. It's not because he plays the most notes the fastest but because he finds original and memorable ways to use the guitar as an instrument. Imitating the past accurately can be impressive (or boring) but we need more musicians willing to sacrifice posing as their favorite rock star from generations ago for real innovation. I just wish the interview was longer...
    Radiohead needs to start its new era and bring back the pre-In Rainbows sound if they end the hiatus. We don't need yet another continuation of The Eraser under a different name, like TKoL and Amok.
    I think that's possible since Thom's been doing the Atoms for Peace thing. He did The Eraser before In Rainbows and IR wound up being more guitar based and stripped back, so there's a chance it could happen again. I love their electronic side but Thom's been overdoing it with the drum loops and such(TKOL).
    Also until this day the movie still remains unachievable for the rest of the movie world.