Radiohead’s drummer Philip Selway has expressed concern about the next generation of bands.
Selway is the ambassador for this year’s Independent Venue Week, which runs from January 30 to February 5.
Speaking in the latest issue of Music Week, Selway said: “What [founder] Sybil Bell and everyone there has achieved over the past decade is incredible, breathing life into a really difficult time of the year in live music. I wholeheartedly support that and the nature of those venues as well, which have given me so much as a musician.”
The grassroots initiative, which is being supported by more than 300 venues for its 10th anniversary, comes at a time when touring acts have faced challenges from both Covid and Brexit, as well as increasing costs.
“You talk to acts starting out now and that support for live work and being able to make a living from that feels like a far cry from when we first started touring,” said Selway. “When you see bands like Animal Collective saying, ‘We just can’t make the books balance,’ and that’s a band like Animal Collective.”
He added: “I don’t envy bands who are starting out at the moment because that support just doesn’t feel as though it’s there in the way that it was, finance isn’t there for it. It’s a worry because that whole process of being able to get out on tour and being able to go to all these incredible independent venues around the country, that really is where you learn your craft.”
I don’t envy bands who are starting out at the moment because that support just doesn’t feel as though it’s there
Emerging acts have been hit particularly hard from the absence of live, although labels are now re-focusing on those opportunities as an area to build an audience.
Alongside an incredible career with Radiohead, including a significant international touring business, Selway is now a solo artist. His third solo album Strange Dance is released on February 24 via Bella Union. It features Quinta, Adrian Utley, Hannah Peel, Valentina Magaletti and Laura Moody, with production from Marta Salogni.
“For all of us, we recognise that there’s a way that Radiohead works and it’s a very effective way, but also for it to work in that way, there isn’t the scope for all the different kinds of projects that we’d like to do,” said Selway. “Doing my solo work has been so important to me over these past few years, it’s allowed me to get a much broader sense of my musicality. Those things are really important because with everything that you learn, like with all of us in the band, we then bring that back into the wider project.”
Subscribers can read our interview with Philip Selway here.
INTERVIEW: Niall Doherty
PHOTO CREDIT: Phil Sharp