- 08 Apr 20
A teaser of our upcoming Ed O'Brien feature, which will be published in full to coincide with the release of his outstanding solo debut, Earth.
Ahead of the April 17 release of his debut solo album Earth - a superb mix of rock and electronica that's one of the best records we've heard this year - Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien has taken to Zoom for a fascinating in-depth chat with Hot Press, which will be published full in the coming weeks.
But we'd thought we'd give you a taste of the conversation, and first up of course, was our query on how O'Brien's recovery from COVID-19 has been going. He is one of the most high profile musicians to contract the virus to date, and thankfully, O'Brien says he well on the mend, even if he's still feeling a little bit under the weather.
"It's funny, I had a couple of rough weeks - like a really heavy flu," Ed told us. "Then I started to pull out of it and I was feeling great, but it's come back again a bit. I mean, it's not bad at all, but you can just feel it. My wife has actually got it again: she got it five weeks ago and now she has it once more.
"So, we're doing okay. I'm fine, it's not life-threatening. It's so interesting - well, interesting isn't the right word - but it hits people in different ways, in terms of symptoms. I didn't think I had it at first, cos they weren't the official government symptoms. Then I googled it and The New York Times said these are symptoms of Covid-19."
Some of the dystopian feel of what we're experiencing now - with the accompanying apocalyptic tremors - has permeated Radiohead's work throughout the years, most notably OK Computer and Kid A. Are there similar undercurrents to Earth?
"Not really," Ed responded. "I know what you mean about the Radiohead stuff, particularly OK Computer, but Earth is my emotional and musical response to living on this planet right now. It's interesting you talk about apocalyptic tremors - I've felt for a long time, as many people have, that this world is completely out of kilter, and all of the things we accept as the norm as not sustainable. They're not good for the planet and they're not good for us as human beings.
"That's always been the nature of Radiohead - when OK Computer came out, the culture was all about Tony Blair, Britpop and how Britain's finally thrown off the shackles of empire. We apologised to the Irish for our historical abuses: that was an important and amazing thing. For all that Blair did, the apology for Northern Ireland - coming from a family who've come from Ireland, I know how important that was.
"But at the time, OK Computer looked at it and went, this isn't all as it seems. Everyone's going, this is fucking brilliant! I am a very happy person, and joy is an important part of my life, but I've always felt deep down that in my lifetime, something big was going to happen that would change us.
"I love when you talk to indigenous people, because they always talk about this planet as having a soul. I also love Professor James Lovelock's book Gaia, which he wrote at the end of the '60s, wherein he stated that this planet is not something to just be mined and used - it's got a soul."
For the full interview with Ed O'Brien, including his thoughts on current US politics, his Irish roots, and the possibility - however remote! - of a one-off Radiohead/Blur supergroup, stay tuned to hotpress.com.