How Radiohead's Ed O'Brien Fell In Love With The Bass On His Solo Debut
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
February 19, 2020
Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien's solo debut, Earth (due out April 17), is a long time coming.
Inspired by the sights and sounds of Ed's travels over the past decade, he adds that Earth is also a credit to his numerous collaborators, including bassist Nathan East, drummer Omar Hakim, The Invisibles' Dave Okumu and his Radiohead bandmate Colin Greenwood.
While years went into crafting Earth, Ed considers one of the biggest revelations of the production to be his newfound love of the bass guitar. Ed took the bass parts for the album seriously from the beginning — he tapped East for one of the first sessions and expected Greenwood would handle the rest. But he never thought he would have to play so many of the parts himself or that it would be so exhilarating.
"I didn't realize I enjoyed playing bass so much," Ed remarks. "...The next session I did, [Colin] couldn't make it. 'So okay, I'll have to play bass.' Then I start playing bass, and I was like, 'Oh my god, this is the most fun!'"
Ed says he hadn't given much thought about the bass lines in his song arrangements, beyond getting a professional to record them.
"I had no idea about bass lines. I had top lines and all the guitars and the rhythms worked out, so the last thing I put on was the bass," he explains. "You can change your song with the bass more than any other instrument if you [record bass last]. You can push it rhythmically but also melodically, those changes that you can do [with] just that one bass note can make all the difference. I just love playing bass."
Elsewhere in the chat, Ed talks about the 2012 trip to Brazil that got him started on Earth, he recalls his first meeting with Thom Yorke and his experience at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.
Check out the full Out of the Box interview at the top of this page.
(Thumbnail Photo: Getty Images)
Here's the official music video for "Brasil":