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Thom Yorke Makes Fun of Muse and Sam Smith, Praises Billie Eilish in New Interview

INDIO, CA - APRIL 21: Musician Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs on the Coachella Stage during day 1 of the 2017 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Weekend 2) at the Empire Polo Club on April 21, 2017 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

Fresh off the release of his new solo album ANIMA late last month, Thom Yorke is the subject of a new profile in UK’s Sunday Times. In the interview, the Radiohead singer and songwriter discusses the album, the accompanying short film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, and how he deals with his own anxiety, among other things. (Running, yoga, and reading are helpful, as you might have also heard from people who aren’t Thom Yorke.) In a couple revealing moments, Yorke also made some light jibes at two other scions of British  popular music with whom he has a tangential connection: Muse and Sam Smith.

Yorke does not like streaming services, and once called Spotify “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse.” (His music is now available there.) When asked by writer Jonathan Dean if he ever discovers music via stream services, Yorke answered curtly, giving a simple account of an annoying issue he’s run into. “No. If you like this, you’ll like this, and then it gives me… MUSE,” he explained. (Yorke and Radiohead have expressed distaste or ambivalence when asked about Muse in the past. Here’s one alleged Yorke quote from a backstage interview in 2001: “I draw the line at Muse, because they openly slag us off, as well as openly rip us off. And that’s like, ‘How fucking dare you?’”)

Sam Smith wrote a song for the 2015 James Bond film Spectre that was accepted over a submission from Radiohead, which they later released as a single. When asked about the rejected Radiohead theme at the 2016 Golden Globes, Smith was apparently unsure of who Yorke was. “Thom Yorke?…I haven’t listened to it personally because I did the Spectre theme song,” Smith said. In the Times interview, Yorke also had trouble remembering Smith’s name while recounting attending a Billie Eillish concert with his daughter and being annoyed by Smith’s presence in the audience. Here’s Thom:

“We sat down and what’s-his-name — the guy who did the Bond film we didn’t do?” That would be Sam Smith, who sang the theme for Spectre when a Radiohead song was rejected. “That’s it. He stands behind us, and I’m sitting with my daughter, her friends and my girlfriend, when suddenly everyone goes, ‘Saaam!’” Yorke squeals his name. “I’m, like, ‘Aaaargh!’'”

Yorke likes Billie Eilish, though. “‘She’s doing her own thing. Nobody’s telling her what to do.'” Read the full Times profile here.

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