Thom Yorke And Friends On Making Music As Atoms For Peace

by Bob Boilen

Thom Yorke of Atoms For Peace. Not pictured from the band: Nigel Godrich, Flea, Mauro Refosco and Joey Waronker.
Thom Yorke of Atoms For Peace. Not pictured from the band: Nigel Godrich, Flea, Mauro Refosco and Joey Waronker. (Eliot Lee Hazel)
  1. Listen Listen: Thom Yorke on 'Amok'

    Jan 29, 2013

Read A Transcript Of The Interview

The musicians who make up Atoms For Peace are an unusual bunch on the face of it, but when you hear their music, it all makes sense. The rhythm is so intense, and the way it mixes/clashes with all the electronic sounds is pretty thrilling.

Thom Yorke pulled the group together to support his 2006 solo album The Eraser. It includes Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco (he's played with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well) and then drummer Joey Waronker, who has played with R.E.M., Elliott Smith and Beck.

Now Atoms For Peace has its own record, called Amok, coming out at the end of February. This past summer, Yorke, Godrich and Waronker were in New York City. While they were there, we spoke to them from our studios in Washington, D.C., and now you can listen to that rather casual conversation about many matters, from how the group makes its music to why shy people are attracted to DJing.


Read A Transcript Of The Interview

Editor's Note: The conversation here starts as we're getting sound levels for the guests in New York, and they notice some cameras in our New York bureau.

Nigel Godrich: I don't think we'll be on the webcam. I think, for whoever's watching.
Thom Yorke: That's not fair; they get to watch and we don't. 

Nigel: Yeah, it's very kind of Big Brother. 

Bob Boilen: Speaking of Big Brother...
Nigel: There you are. Hi, man.
Bob: How is everybody?

Thom: We can't see you, can we?
Bob: No...
Nigel: We can't hear ourselves, either.
Bob: Okay, we'll get there.
Thom: It feels like you're in my head.
Bob: I am in your head... you've been in my head all day and night, and last night...
Thom: Oh, I'm sorry.
Bob: So is Joey there?
Joey Waronker: Yes.
Bob: Nigel?
Nigel: Yes
.
Bob: Great
.
Thom: Um, I'd ask Nigel loads of complex stuff, because he just got out of bed.
Bob: Good. So how long are you in New York for?
Nigel: Oh, the weekend.
Bob: Excellent, so have you seen any music yet?
Thom: Uh, no, we're going to DJ tonight; we're DJing at MoMa PS 1.
Bob: When you do a DJ set, are you trying to get people to dance? Are you trying to fill their ears with great texture? What's going on there?
Nigel: I'd say get them to dance
.
Thom: Yeah.
Nigel: That's the way I look at it, anyway.
Bob: What would you put on first?

Thom: Oh, that's a tough question.. If I could see you, I'd tell you. I've got to know what you look like.
Bob: I'm just a guy. I don't have any hair. I play with too many electronics and I don't have any hair... there's a connection, by the way
.
Thom: We don't really know how we started doing [DJing]. We just started doing it for a laugh, really. I mean, I got back into it really so I didn't have to talk to anyone.
Nigel: Yeah, it's great, really. You do actually have a role at the party, and they'll let you in
.
Thom: I can feel like I belong, but I don't have to connect.
Bob: You know, I think that's the plight of so many musicians or people who DJ, is that they want to find someplace to fit in. They want a role, but they're shy people or reserved.
Thom: There is also the issue of walking into a party and the music is so s--
.
Nigel: Actually, that's what happened. I felt like I started DJing because my friend is sort of a promoter in L.A., and he just is always doing parties. He said, "Oh, do you fancy having a go," and I thought, "Well, sure, I'll have a go." But it's almost like when people come around to your house and you get to choose what's put on the stereo. It's like kind of, it feels... nice.
Thom: There's nothing more satisfying than filling the room with the right thing at the right time, though, I think.
Bob: That's true of live music, too. When you're not going out to clubs maybe enough or bands and stuff this time, when you go see a group, I'll start with Nigel, just so people know whose voice is who here. Nigel, when you go and hear live music, what do you hope to hear? What would excite you? What would make you go home and say, "Wow"?
Nigel: That's a tricky question, isn't it?
Bob: Oh, they get harder.

Nigel: Really? This is an easy one?

Bob: You won't believe this.
Nigel: I've got to warm up. What do I hope to hear? I mean I hope to be surprised. I hope to see something I'm not expecting, actually, so I go and without any preconceptions, hopefully, hopefully leave with a seeing something that I haven't seen before. I mean, that's the thing that I respond to most of all these days, is just some originality, because it's such a sort of... it's a hard thing to do, I think. Depending on what the show is, if it is somebody I don't know. If it's a band that I do know, then I just want to hear the hits, man. (laughter) 

Thom: That was English sarcasm.
Nigel: Yeah, but I don't know. I mean, I think it's wrong to walk into any situation with preconceptions or expectations. So, especially music is really a really hard one, because it's so intangible. But I would hope to be carried away in a way that I couldn't explain to you in words.

Bob: Are there any bands where that may have happened to you? For any of you, I guess. 

Nigel: I mean, honestly, I saw the Chili Peppers in Paris like a month ago, and it was an amazing gig.

Thom: You remember that Gilles Peterson thing we went to?

Bob: What's Gilles doing?

Thom: He puts together every year a few bands...
Nigel: It was like an awards thing for his show.

Thom: And there were some amazing bands that night.
Bob: And for people who don't know, Gilles Peterson is a DJ that's very influential back home for you guys.
Nigel: Yes, he is. He's really important to a lot of the music I listen to, because he crosses a lot of different areas. Jazz, Afrobeat, and he's a frightening expert on both of those, and like a lot of the current stuff, as well.
Thom: He's sort of like a contemporary — in a way, he's kind of a John Peel for the sort of modern generation. I would say, you know, he has that sort of ability to just...
Nigel: He's much more dance-orientated, but it's more appropriate to this kind of generation, this sort of mode of music that we're in now.
Bob: You mentioned the Afrobeat stuff and music you hear from Gilles Peterson. The opening cut for the new [Atoms For Peace] record, can I play that for a bit? I just want to talk about the guitar, maybe we'll break some of this music down. I'm going to play it, leaving your mics open, but let's give it a bit to breathe, and then I'll pull it down and we'll talk over it for a little bit, is that okay?
Nigel: Yeah.

Bob: Oh sorry... timing is everything. Alright, hit it.

[They listen to a snippet from "Before Your Very Eyes," from the new Atoms For Peace album Amok.

]

Bob:
So let's start with the guitar. We'll come back and play a little bit more, but was that the beginning of the tune? I'm just thinking that maybe that's where the tune started, but who's playing it? It feels very South African to me.
Nigel: No, it was not the beginning of the tune core. It was the beginning of the tune. 

Thom: We did this thing when we were out on tour for a couple of weeks.

Bob: What year are we talking? Two thousand...

Thom: Oh, 10, apparently, and we had an absolute blast from doing it and there was loads of energy to it, so we went into the studio at the end with not a lot. Kind of nothing at all, and the only thing we had to go on was like a few basic little laptop bits...
Joey: That Mauro had come up with.

Bob: And Mauro Refosco, is that how you say his name? Percussionist... go on.

Joey: Yeah, so we just had these little ideas that Thom had come up with, and we had been on tour, getting used to playing with each other and developing a chemistry, and then we were able to do that in the studio and translate what we were doing live to some new material.
Bob: And let's talk. It's really hard to go back and imagine like this blossom at this point where this thing became this thing, right? So somewhere, something started. Is it possible it all just sort of just... you said there's something on the laptop. Was it a synth line? Was it a rhythm? Was it a...
Nigel: Well, no, it was a basic sketch for a rhythm, and then Joey and Mauro do this freaky thing which I've never seen before but apparently people do. Joey's even got — you've got your own language right, you write down the rhythms, right? 

Joey: Pretty much, yeah.
Nigel: Complete gobbledy-gook to me. So they'd sit there and they'd just score this stuff out on this laptop thing, and they kind of went in and played it, and as soon as it sort of comes to life. Then [bassist] Flea and I basically respond to that, because that's like what Joey's saying about sort of building up this sort of way that we connect to each other musically, and so it was that. It was pursuing that idea, and there was this little glimmer of a piano thing in it; Flea picks up on that on the bass line, and then I responded to that, and this all basically happens, we're not thinking about this. We basically went into the studio; it was the old jazz idea of the whole Miles Davis thing, of just free-form, and when things pass by we'll pick up on them and it'll work, and basically we did an intensive three-day thing where we could generate a lot of material that we could go away and listen to. Thom had a few things sort of just floating around on his laptop rhythms that he made, and it was just go, go, go. So, for example, this song, the bit that you hear, the riff might have been happening five minutes of a half an hour — if that, exactly — because it's a very small piece. It gets distilled down into something taken away I think, you know. Thommy, he listens to stuff in his car and to my melodies, and we periodically get together every few weeks.
Thom: It was bonkers, to be honest. The really wild thing about it was how much material we generate in three days. There's still a ton of it. I'm literally — I'm still going, because it was literally playing every day all day.

Nigel: Every day all day.
Bob: I assume then you listen, somebody pulls out as Nigel's, your title it's listed "production and programming." Sounds so sterile, but you are in some ways, I would think you are the miner who's like digging through. 

Nigel: I guess that is my contribution, is I hear things as they go past. So does Thom, but... 

Thom: See, Nigel picks up on them immediately. I will listen to the same thing 10 times, and then I'll start seeing stuff. It's like Nigel is really fast, and he doesn't allow me to go back, so he'll choose a bit. "This bit's good, this bit's good and this bit's good" and like, "Oh, yeah, but what about this... ehhh."
Bob: And then do you, Nigel, then play this for the band, and then you all work on that part again, or...?
Nigel: Well, yeah, there wasn't time to do that at the time. But the faster you can work, the better it generally is. Our brains are only able to make like one layer of decisions, so you try and make these choices very early on. And you end up with a pile of choices of lots of different things, and then what would happen is because everybody's in L.A. and Thom and I are in England, we just got together and sort of listened back to what we had, and sort of just distill it down into a shorter version that he takes away, goes and thinks about melodies, and get together again, and then we came back to L.A. And were working at Joey's place for a bit doing the same thing, sort of instrumentally, by going back to parts — you know, rhythmic parts and musical parts and doing the same sort of thing. Refining them, you know, because they've developed. But it was really fun hanging out at Joey's house and all these rhythms just coming out of the speakers all the time. It was like, so much was just there a lot of the time, so when he says Miles Davis, I'm assuming that very famously they made a record that, all like this, it was just jams, and the art was in the editing; putting things together in a silent way and that thing — it always brings to people like us as a reference, because it is such a freeing method. It's a way of getting musicians to bring out the best in people, to just have no kind of limitations, or to not be pinned down. It's very fun and it's very productive.
Thom: But also, if you're going about something where so much of what the Atoms For Peace thing is like the revelation of like Joey and Mauro translating these electronic beats into this new thing that we didn't have, and how musically the followers then respond to that and like, "Okay, how do we carry on with this?" So it's so much about the rhythm side of things anyway. So to me, I wanted, like, don't ask me for songs. I don't need that s--. I can hear it, and you walk into rehearsal or in soundcheck one morning, and like Flea started up a bassline and Joey is doing this thing on the kick, and s--, man, it's there, ready to go. And it was just really different for me. I never had that before.
Bob: That's awesome. Can I play another cut?

They listen to a snippet from the song "Dropped."

Bob: I want to ask you, you're talking about rhythms and so forth; I want to just ask you about something, because real percussionists who play with electronics is a challenge, and I just want to play this for a minute and talk about it.
Thom: You want to get to the part where it breaks out, don't you?
Bob: Yeah, that but I also just want to listen to that 'd'd'd'd' which is that arpeggiated sound that is on... maybe its a Moog, or maybe its an Arp Odyssey.
Nigel: Yeah, it's not bad, is it?

Bob: Well, my first instrument was an Arp Odyssey, so I'm partial to those in open sounds. But one of the things that always drove the drummer in my band crazy was where I would do something, like, that he could never play along with the pulse of a synth, and it was just like the hardest thing on the planet, and you've all sort of licked that. So I'm wondering two things. I'm wondering, did that pulse from the synth come first and the percussions play on top of it? That's question one.
Thom: It all comes in different directions.
Bob: In this piece, do you remember?
Nigel: Well, I mean...

Bob: And I guess I ask that because it's so hard, and you do it so well, to play real percussion on top of something that's so stilted.

Thom: Should we tell him?
Bob: I knew I'd get there. Come on, tell me.

Nigel: There's times in there where we're blurring it so you can't tell what's electric and what's not, so, I mean, you have to guess. Where's the real percussion come in at?
Bob: Well, I don't know if you're hitting on rubber that's triggering electronics or what's going on here.

Nigel: No, that's just the original beat.

Thom: Programmed.

Bob: You say programmed? Who said that?
Thom: This has been programmed, this bit here. Because we found that a lot of the time that it was better, it was like no matter how tight Joey, because Joey and Marou can play that, no worries, but it was actually the sound would be the reasons. So we choose it because of the sounds
.
Bob: So where do they come in?
Thom: They come in at the end of this tune.

Bob: Ok, you want me to just skip ahead, because I want to hear that
...
Nigel: Now he's in there, that's Joey playing in there. That's Joey.

Bob: Oh, yeah.
Thom: And Mauro's doing this like sweeping-up sound.
Bob: On what? What is he playing?
Nigel: Oh, yeah, there's a break and you hear him... he's like, 'whiiiip, whippp.' He's got this thing that looks a little bit like the inside of a washing machine — here it is. Let's listen. It's a bunch of kitchenware, right?

Joey: Basically, yeah. I think there actually is a name for that thing, like "Rakko Rakko."
Bob: Kitchen sink?
Joey: Yeah, it's a Brazilian instrument, but it's basically it's just a spring.

Nigel: Oh yes, yes, yes, with the horn on the end.

Thom: A spring with a horn on the end. (laughter)
Bob: He plays with Forro in the Dark, I think I know that name. Anywhere else I might know him from? He's not with us today in the studio.

Thom: He played with David Byrne for years and years, he started there and he stayed. But to be fair, like Mauro for example, when we did the initial recording, there's so much stuff that gets sprayed liberally on it all, and you just happened to pick a song where he wasn't on it and Joey wasn't on it for the first part, but actually you know it's kind of all over everywhere. That song, I think it's because that sort of existed for a while, it had a beat and then you correctly pointed out that the arpeggio keyboard was the way into writing a vocal melody. We needed to put some music on it, because all it was a beat.

Nigel: Every single one is different, that's the thing. It's difficult, because the thing that I am most excited about is that there is a band to this, and it's not just Thom with his laptop and [me] putting it together and that's that. There's much more energy and much more..
.
Bob: Well, it's fun; there are people in a room.
Nigel: Yeah, you've got a goal, as well; do you know what I mean? You've got a thing that you're heading towards. And I think I should say, as well, the other thing about that, for example, is even if, for example, it just ends up being, you know, a programmed beat for like a couple of minutes in the song, not because we didn't all play on it at one point, and that didn't inform what happened, it became formed as sort of a result of things. And sometimes you take a step back, because you realize that something is overdone, or you add things that aren't there. And it's really a mixture of the whole thing. Really, we were making a record, you know? And really, we were making a record to play and one that had, you know, when we first started working on the new material, it was after we did the first couple shows and realized we just didn't have enough stuff. We could only do like an hour show, so we went away and sat down and started sort of sketching out things that we could then take to the band, you know? And that's how it happened. We took it back to the band and we started playing these things in the room in rehearsals and stuff, and we did a recording session. But then we ended up having a sort of complete electronic version of something, a complete analog version of something, and the fun bit was, like, working out what works the best, but with the knowledge of knowing that it came from that; from that brainstorming session with everybody together. So whatever we end up with is something that is going to work. That's the really exciting part, the idea of playing it.
Bob: But can you imagine, you're on stage and somebody just starts an idea, and you do what you did in some of these sessions. Could you imagine having something unfold and you had no idea where it was going to go? I mean, you're going to do a concert. You're going to do these songs that came out of these long sessions. Can you imagine as a band doing a piece of music that was just... "Let's see what happens?"

Thom: You talking about jamming? 

Bob: Well... I mean.
..
Thom: There's rules about that s--.
Bob: Well, tell me about those rules, because there are two things that happen as an audience person. You talk right at the top about what you want to see when you go see a band. You want to see a surprise, and even as a player on stage, one of the most amazing things is when something happens that you don't expect to happen. Granted, that can happen in the format of having the song that you know beginning, middle and end where it's going to go. Those surprises can happen, but jamming has such a terrible connotation to it for so many people, right? But there's something amazing when you're an audience and something happens and musicians suddenly start communicating on something they had no idea was going to happen.

Thom: To me, it's like, rhythmically, jamming is great. You know? Jamming when it means some guy with a guitar and a distortion pedal, you know, I'm not down with that.

Bob: All right, but we have other instruments.
Thom: Yes, no, exactly, it's kind of, um...
Nigel: We get to see that we have that experience when we rehearse, you know? There's 10 different ways of doing things, and the joy is like playing it and figuring stuff out.
Thom: Flea is arch jam-meister, like, literally every time we get together, the first hour is like, well, that's what we do. But like, to me, I'm like, maybe sometimes actually stuff I could see it maybe coming out. But to me I'm like, no, you're limbering up. That's truly what you're doing.
Boilen: Just clearing your throat
.
Thom: Just like you being in the gym. Yeah, you're warming up.
Nigel: Also, the amazing thing is like, listening to Mauro trying to play something impossible. Like, he can play him some crackly white noise, and he'll try and play it. And that's when he, to me, he's an amazing percussion player, but he shines at that. And that's the stuff when we talk about going to a gig and being surprised, I mean I feel like originally when we got a band together, it was Thom who had this idea about getting a band together to play The Eraser. You know, an album that was made, like, four years before. But he just sort of said, "I'm just obsessed with this idea about getting like Latin percussion, and getting Joey specifically, you know because...
Thom: I want to play with Joey!

Nigel: No, because Joey and I played together for a long time, and Joe and I met when we were recording [Beck's] Mutations. You know, it was a long time ago and, you know, I just left that whole experience absolutely ranting about him to Thom, for years. He's like the best drummer I've ever worked with, you know? He's just incredible. 

Joey: Aww, thanks so much.

Bob: Can you guys give each other a big hug? 

Nigel: Yeah, we're actually sitting on each others' lap. But anyway, so what happened was when the process of trying to play... it's a genius idea taking something very electronic and playing it acoustically. And what we found was that the sound of them doing that is something I've never heard before. Something that no one has ever tried before. So, you can jam, but in a way more interesting stuff is when you have those... you know, you give Mauro a beat, and then when he's jamming in inverted commas. It's not like a jam, it's not like he's just going off on one. He's just trying to play something, but what he plays is not the thing, it's just something else really, really interesting.

Thom: Sorry, Joey, do you remember that time in your studio and I just played that bleepy thing?
Nigel: And you played that beat on top?
Joey: Yeah, it's a element of just, kind of reinterpreting sounds. It's definitely improvisational, and there's something transcendent about, you know, just jamming of course, but yeah, to me that's exciting when there's a little more structure. I mean, I kind of like the best of both worlds personally. And going back to when you see a show, that's when it's really, really exciting. 

Bob: When you go out and do this as a tour, this record, at some point you're going to do that, how much will you leave free? How much does, I don't know, do you have a sequencer running behind you so you're locked into something?
Thom: Never.

Bob: Never.
Nigel: Because people say to us, they say, "Oh, yeah that's cool, man." People think we play to tracks, and it's not, it's because...
Joey: Yeah it's a crazy experience for me as a drummer. You know, I've definitely dabbled with that because, you know, I'm just interested in all the different ways of doing it. But playing with Mauro and all of us, we're all trying to do as much as we can to serve the music and it just ended up sounding kind of enormous.

Thom: Well, to me, it's like going back to what we were just saying before, about the whole jamming thing, and improvisation thing, the whole key to it, for me, really, is the tension you get between the machines and the human response to them. And how these guys, they work very fast. They'll just hear something and they're on it, and Joey especially is. I'm able to just play a bleep with no "one" or "two." The running joke in the band is "where is the 'one'?" But I get that everywhere I go now. But Joey will just spark up on something straight away, and one of the tunes I'm working on, which is not on this record or anything, it just completely stuns me the way he just responded to this little pattern, and made something small, poxy, and laptop-y into something ridiculously enormous, simply in the act of his human response to what it was. As it's formed and we are doing The Eraser thing, this was around the same time I'd started DJ'ing, and discovered that I liked the ideas around the dubstep thing, but it was really annoying me that there was no human element to it at all. And it was also really obvious, the crossover between it and the whole Afro beat rhythms. So, it was all just sort of jamming in my head quite a lot. When we discovered there was this, quite a lot of energy that, when we play together there's this crazy energy and how actually the one thing we all really identified with kinda the Afro beat thing, I thought "Whoa, we're really onto something." We went to Flea's house and played pool all night and listened to Fela Kuti and it was like, this is good. I couldn't ask for anything better than this. It was just really a good jumping off point, it started off with like a laptop album, all made in headphones, confined beats and confined structure, and then suddenly it's become this other thing completely. But yet, it's always kind of informed by that.

Nigel: It's unusual. See, it's panoramic. It just becomes something, like, very colorful.
Bob: And [Fela Kuti's] performance live was like this, monster machine behind him. His rhythm is unbelievable. Once you have that base going on, b-a-s-e or b-a-s-s, once you have that base there, anything could happen on top of it. There was so much freedom for all the other players to do stuff.
Thom: Yeah, except you do those keyboard solos that go on a bit long
.
Bob: It was the 1970s, I couldn't help it. This may be a silly question, but I think about this sometimes when I hear musicians that get together that I never would have imagined getting together. And anybody tackle this who cares to. Is this just sort of happenstance? Did it happen because you desired it to happen? Or do any of you believe in fate? That you all in some way, shape or form were fated to play together?

Thom: Maybe. Each musician kind of came to it in different ways. I mean, obviously Nigel and I knew each other. And actually, we'd hung out a lot, and I'd met you [Joey] playing with R.E.M. right? We rehearsed together with R.E.M.
Joey: Yeah, that's absolutely right. 

Thom: When [former R.E.M. drummer] Bill [Berry] left.

Joey: Yeah.

Thom: That was very surreal.
Joey: Yeah, quite awhile ago.

Thom: Flea was one of the things that got me thinking about doing it properly, was bumping into Flea and him and John were going on about The Eraser. And I was like, "Really?" You remember? Because we had both went to see them and they were like, "How did you do that?" 

Nigel: We're like, "Oh, well. It took us hours." 

Thom: We were sort of like, "Wow, they really like it."

Nigel: And it's funny, isn't it? Because Flea is a big fan of electronic music as well. It's funny, you know he's like a massive Aphex Twin fan, and he's really up on all that kind of stuff. And I know that the thing about The Eraser is that album, and you've said this to me before as well, is you're thinking about all the bass lines and all those things that you think are bass lines even if they're not. You need to have that aggressiveness, that sort of attack to really try and be able to.
Thom: And how many bass players do you know [who] like lead lines? Not many. 

Bob: But they're the best ones. They're my favorites anyway.
Thom: With this record as well, there's sort of a link with the whole reggae thing as well. The chord structures or whatever, the filling out of the chords of a tune. Fairly minimal and melodic lines to the bass line and blah blah blah. And again, with the same sort of Afro beat thing where like, the bass lines are the melodic lines a lot of the time even though they might splinter into guitar lines where you're really setting something off and you're setting a trance off. So then you have a link with the dance music thing where again the bass lines are the lead lines and the chords are all like... I'll shut up...
Nigel: No, it makes sense. It's true, I mean it's a line running through it and I think that Flea has those influences in droves as a player. But then he also has that aggression so he can translate the stuff originally from The Eraser and then, it's just, it's kind of interesting because it's kind of the way that you think about when you write bass lines. You write those kinds of parts.
Thom: I'm trying to be flippant.

Nigel Yeah, exactly. You're trying to do an impression of him and he's trying to do an impression of you.
Joey: Hilarious. It's true, though. When I go back and listen to The Eraser, to those lines, it's like, wow. Flea was really the perfect. Like, kind of the only person I can imagine doing it.
Bob: It sounds like this music for all of you in some way, shape or form is doing something for you that music you play, what other projects you might have is just bringing something out of you that doesn't happen than whatever projects you've been in before. Is that fair?
Thom: Yeah, I mean, personally speaking, I'm very conscious of trying to maintain it as, you know, for kicks. So that it doesn't become, like, "Okay chaps, we have a career. We have to do this, this, and this in order to open this door and this door." It's like, nope, we're going to be completely selfish about it, have a really good time, and then, take a break.
Nigel: But also, the other thing is talking about a bunches of musicians getting together and just doing whatever they want for fun, it is that, but it also does have a... something valid happens. I mean, I feel anyway. It's not just, you know, a "super group" in inverted commas. It comes together and something happens that is unusual and special. I really think that. And I really think that's the reason why it's happening. If it's got to be substantial, it wouldn't work. I don't think any of us or the people involved would want to be involved in anything like that.
Thom: The whole "super group" thing is just because there's me and there's Flea and there's blah, blah, blah. I mean that was one of the weird things when we initially started out, like loads of Chili Peppers fans were like "NO! He can't do this! NO!" And I had the same things, like, "How dare he!" What? What's wrong with you people?

Nigel: When people saw it I think they totally understood, you know, and I've never had so many people come up to me and say, "Oh wow, I thought that was the weirdest idea but actually there's something really amazing about it." You know, because of the energy between you two.
Thom: But then it's just a personal thing, it's like hanging out with Joey for years and finally getting to work with him.
Nigel: And you sort of manufacture that opportunity, actually, is what happens. Isn't that great? That we're able to do that?

Bob: Well, I look forward to seeing y'all live.
Nigel: Yeah.
Bob: And hopefully you'll be back to the states for that.
Thom: We will.
Bob: We're going to lose our studio time in about one minute, so otherwise I'd sit for awhile. Anyway, sorry I couldn't be in New York for you to do this in person, I really wanted to.
Thom: Next time we'll meet in person, yeah?
Bob: Yeah.

Thom: Okay.

Bob: Cheers all around.
Nigel:
Thanks a lot.
Thom:
Cheers.

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1 Photo

  • Cover art for the Atoms For Peace album, Amok.
    Cover art for the Atoms For Peace album, Amok.

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