Radiohead drummer Phil Selway has somewhat tempered talk of new music from the band in 2023. Speaking in his role as an ambassador for Independent Venue Week, Selway was inevitably prompted for an update on the group's plans.
Earlier in January, he had insisted, "As far as I know, we’re still a band... We're going to get together at the start of the year."
Now, it seems, that get-together has taken place, but yielded no firm plans to make new music. “The short answer to that is: ‘to be confirmed’", said Selway when quizzed by NME.
“We have got together and we’re talking about future plans, but in the immediate future we’ve all got other projects which we’d all like to see through properly. There’s a collective desire to make music in some form or other amongst the five of us."
Thom Yorke and Johhny Greenwood are currently working with trio The Smile, Ed O’Brien is reportedly working on a follow-up to his 2020 Earth album and Colin Greenwood has recently been on live bass duties with Nick Cave.
But, says Selway, "We all really value that musical relationship, and that’s been there for 38 years. It remains really important to us.”
“It’s just about finding that scenario when a group of musicians are all of a mind and firing on all cylinders. That is my dream scenario – to be in that spot. That’s my only aspiration.”
Back in ambassador mode, Selway cast his mind back to 1987 and Radiohead's first gig at a 'proper' venue, Oxford's Jericho Tavern. The band were called On A Friday at that stage, and Selway remembered: "We were opening up for somebody. I think they were called Subways Of Jazoo?
"I just remember the excitement of being in this venue where established bands had played. Playing on that stage is an affirmation that legitimises what you do. It felt like the real deal.”
On the Jericho Tavern itself, Selway enthused, “It was a well-run venue with expertise. Coming into it wet behind the ears, you knew you were in good hands. It felt like a safe place to be as a band, but really exciting. This is where it happens, and that feeling has never gone away from me when walking into a venue.
"You feel very connected to all of the bands that played there before you and all of the audiences that have enjoyed those shows.
“Just having that consistency of playing night after night is really where you forge your identity as a band. That immediacy and proximity to the people who come to see you and to be able to talk to the audience after the show gives you some really valuable feedback.
"These businesses grew out of a love of music, and that’s a really healthy environment to learn your chops in. It establishes the right values in what you should do.”
Now in its 10th year, Independent Venue Week 2023 runs until February 5. More than 300 small UK venues will participate, hosting hundred of gigs to celebrate the country's independent venues and the dedication of the owners and staff who keep them alive. Selway himself is playing at five different small venues throughout this weel.
For more info and to find a gig near you, head to independentvenueweek.com