It’s not often you catch Thom Yorke dropping nuggets of wisdom on late-night talk shows.
But that’s exactly what he did on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert recently when the pair discussed the dismal state of world politics, our Black Mirror-style existence, and the importance of dreaming.
In the interview, which you can watch in part above, Colbert asks Yorke, ‘For decades, you’ve been writing music that is uneasy and anxious in regards to society, our government, technology, the general direction of our world… how does it feel to be right?’
‘I guess I wasn’t thinking about the future,’ replied Yorke. ‘I guess I was looking at what was happening at the time. It just seemed to get more obvious; it’s more overt now. I felt like everything I was talking about was there; when we wrote the album Hail to the Thief—that seemed pretty bad, that period of time when Bush Jr. got in. And now we’re here.’
Colbert and Yorke then went on to discuss the British royal family, Brexit and the similarities between the right wing political groups now at the helm in the UK and America.
‘We’re in a position now where the prime minister has lied to the queen; that’s apparently not so cool, but no one’s done anything about it,’ Yorke says about Brexit. He then goes on to say of Britain’s leaders, ‘We’re tied to these guys. They’re tying us up and they’re going to take us off the cliff with them, and as they do it, they’re saying they’re the will of the people. It’s kind of disturbing. We live in strange times… it’s not my fault.’
During the interview, Colbert and Yorke also delve further into Yorke’s recent solo project, Anima, and how the album flowed from his dystopic view of technology, and his current fascination with dreaming.
‘I like the idea, principally, that we all have our own little animas, we all have our little black mirrors—our phones—and we send our little animas out to communicate, and everyone gets it wrong and it comes back. And to me, it’s sort of an expression of some sort of weird dream state we currently find ourselves in, whereas reality seems to be moving in a different direction.’
Check out the interview above, then go and watch the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed short film Anima, scored by Yorke and available now on Netflix.