014. On Radiohead and Loneliness

At this point in the process of making this documentary, I think I've spoken with upwards of 50 fans - whether it be formal, sit-down interviews, on the fly talks in line or at festivals, Skype calls. The most fascinating and comforting thing about this entire experience has been that, it doesn't matter where you are from, what language you speak, what type of family you come from - the lot of us are universally bonded by this one thing.

But often, people ask me, are there any commonalities between Radiohead fans? Are there any common traits that you seem to find across the board? Is there something deeper, and more ingrained in personality than just purely being struck by this music?

Anxiety, absolutely. But to be honest, also feelings of loneliness. This is NOT everyone, and I am in no way imposing a stereotype of a Radiohead fan, because the truth is that this band is so far reaching, it is impossible to do so. That is what I love so much about them and why I feel like making a documentary centered on fans is warranted - but as I've realized this trend, I think it has also caused for me to reflect on myself.

Growing up, I did feel alone. My family was always different. My mom was a Peruvian immigrant and I lived in a town of white people. I, myself, am white, so this added to a confusion, identity crisis I've struggled with throughout my life. I could never fit into a box. As kids, we were never allowed us to go over friends' houses like my peers could (something I've heard from other Latinx friends as well). I grew up with two of my Peruvian cousins living in my house, one of which I considered like a sibling - the topic of my first short film, Invisible Sister. A person who had a great hand in shaping my personality in my formative years, partially responsible for my lifelong passion about music - and someone who is no longer in my life.

I don't often think of my past, my childhood. I'm a "move forward" type of person and it often unearths past painful feelings - but in reflecting on my upbringing - I never felt like I fit. Aside from cultural differences that already had me feeling further from kids at school - other personal, family issues left me feeling alone, withdrawn - seeking solace in music as a means to survive; as something to relate to, something that understood how I felt - because no one around me seemed to. When you're a pre-teen, ages 11-13, it's a hard enough part of your life figuring out who you are and where you belong in this world - but when you add crippling tensions at home to the list, turbulence, and feeling as though you were being forced to grow up much quicker than everyone around you - there were times I felt desperately lost and depressed. Music is what got me through this, and I think why I forge such deep personal connections with it - why I get so passionate about it and can feel it in my soul. I'm almost nothing without it and it will never not be a huge part of who I am.

Now as an adult - of course I have grown out of this to some extent. My family has grown and dispersed. I can tell my parents that I love them. I have great friends. I could occasionally and selectively classify myself as an extrovert. I have an amazing job. I am working on my ultimate passion project. I'm where I should be, and life is good - even with being super busy and constantly anxious. But somewhere inside of me, I think still lingers that lonely, goth pre-teen. That person who still feels like I don't quite belong anywhere - who is empathetic to that sentiment in others. A person that, even surrounded by loads of wonderful people every day, people who care about me - still feels alone.

Even though Radiohead wasn't on my radar or my source of solace growing up - even though I discovered that joy later in life - I think my past is still a huge part of why I connect so much with them, reflecting on it. Today, in an age where interpersonal connections aren't always necessary, and that we are all plugged in constantly - it's easy to hide behind an Instagram-able facade of happiness. It's easy to pretend like you're okay, easy to suppress how you truly feel, compare yourself to others, push people away and hide. But I think one of the most impactful things about these shows (when people aren't filming them on their phones), is that you're living a real, raw and honest human experience. Those are too rare now. They shouldn't be. 


  Photo by Nina Corcoran; Geysir, Iceland

Photo by Nina Corcoran; Geysir, Iceland

011. 2016 Tour Reflections

Written October 10, 2016 by Jamie Rogers

To all the fans who we’ve met – who have shared their love of this band with such bold enthusiasm; who sat in line with us for hours; who sprinted to the front of shows and festivals; and who opened up their hearts and personal anecdotes to our film – our sincerest and deepest thanks. I began this year with the goal of following my favorite band to as many tour dates as possible, and now, back in Los Angeles with this journey behind me – I sit here having made countless friends, with hours of interviews and footage, and ready to continue to create a film that captures Radiohead fan culture in as thoughtful and whole way as I possibly can. This band means so much more to so many people than I think any one individual can realize, and I am so proud to have the privilege of sharing this passion with you all.

Austin City Limits felt like some type of surrealist dream. Fans we’d met in New York, Chicago, Montreal, Los Angeles, and beyond, all gathered together at the front rail of the stage – exchanging stories, sharing food and water, and waiting patiently for the last show of the tour. It felt like a weirdly final goodbye, as we introduced friends to friends and gathered our strength for Austin’s incessant heat – but I find comfort in the fact that a tour announcement for next year is just a matter of time. And seeing the band play one last time, and standing there with some of my nearest and dearest friends was something I’ll never forget.

In terms of tour highlights – Los Angeles Night 2 at the Shrine Auditorium remains my favorite show of all. The crowd energy was about the same as we encountered at any other American headlining shows – but their playing “Like Spinning Plates” and “Lucky” were so incredibly important to me. “Lucky” is a song I lean on in difficult times; and I will absolutely never forget when Thom walked away from the piano after playing “Pyramid Song” – and then abruptly walked back. I looked around at the strangers seated next to me and behind me, and we were all filled with shock and anticipation. And then he played the piano riff of “Like Spinning Plates” – and the inner peace and awe of that moment was indescribable.

But in terms of general crowd energy, overall setlists, passion and excitement – Mexico City was mind-blowing. You think you’ve felt love for a band – you think the love that you feel could potentially be the strongest – and then you are placed in a room where every single person around you is belting the lyrics. Every single person is experiencing a cathartic euphoria. You can hear it in their voices, feel it in their movements, and see it on their faces if you take a moment to look away. It was something so special. I recommend to all Radiohead fans to add that city to their “tour bucket list” immediately – which I know many of you have.

In closing – I hope that next year’s tour is bigger and covers more ground than this year. Mexico left me craving more of a dual show and culture driven experience, and the opportunity to go to the U.K., France and Japan, as well as maybe Italy, I think would be truly incredible, and has become our new goal. Deepest thanks to all the fans who have followed along with us and continue to follow; who have said hi after recognizing our Instagram; and who have greeted us with openness and love. Until next year!

010. Identikit: Radiohead in Mexico

I just want to start this post by saying how much of an immense privilege it was for me to go see Radiohead in Mexico. The crowds both nights were indisputably the most overtly passionate of any shows I’ve ever been to: singing all the lyrics at the top of their lungs (whether the words were right or not); dancing to each song with individual intensity; and cheering so fiercely that a third encore on the second night was non-negotiable. These are just some of the things that made our stop an absolute highlight. Despite being aggressive and violent at times (I have the battle scars to prove it) – Mexico City’s Radiohead fans have this distinctive, infectious energy. I felt more at home and in awe of this band’s power than ever.

But there was one thing about this stop that was of paramount importance (and anxiety) for me. I am half Peruvian, half white American. My mom is the first generation of her family in the United States, having emigrated from Peru on her own. I have always been proud of that – of being made whole by two very different cultures – both of which are admirable and fascinating in their own way. But admittedly, I’ve always felt like I’ve had an identity crisis. I did not grow up speaking Spanish, or being really immersed in Peruvian culture, so I’ve always felt disconnected with that side of myself. I enjoyed, and was proud of my family’s trips to Peru every couple of years – but I never felt like I really fit in there. I always felt like an outsider due to my lack of fluency, which translated into general shyness around my family.

However, being in Mexico with these fans, I immediately felt at home. We started day one of interviews with a translator, but my crew and I quickly realized that I could perform these on my own. I understood, spoke, learned, shared enthusiasm  – and found that I really knew much more of the language than I’d originally thought. It was a really enlightening and personally fulfilling time for me. We met some of the most passionate and interesting fans in this city, who shared stories of loss, love, inspiration and enjoyment. I’m so proud that I got to speak to them about this one on one, with no walls or barriers. I’ll never forget all of the gracious and lovely people I met throughout each day. This has to be my most notable Radiohead life experience to date.

And then, as I stood at the rail and watched the band before me each night – I couldn’t help but feel so incredibly grateful that I have something like this in my life. Something that I feel so strongly about, that my dedication is boundless; that my fervor transcends language; and that I have the assurance that anywhere I go, no matter what language is spoken, I will still feel just as strongly, as will everyone surrounding me. No matter what country you are in, people will still queue, sprint, and experience, with the same awe in their eyes no matter their background. The world feels so much smaller knowing that. I feel whole.

  Photo by Nina Corcoran

Photo by Nina Corcoran

009. Wide Open

Since following Radiohead on tour, I will admit, I feel like a different person. After experiencing my boldest Radiohead high yet, I found myself with a changed outlook on how I spend each day of my life. I'm fortunate enough that I have a creatively enriching project to pour lots of my energy into (this film!), but I've found myself just trying to engage with my surroundings more: try more new things, expel fears, and just general self-improvement and reflection.

But I think the most personally progressive new part of my life that's resulted from my Radiohead tour is my new love of running.

My entire life I've been unathletic. Athleticism was just never an interest of mine. I was always more inclined to spend my time writing, going to shows, watching films, etc. In more recent years I've started doing things like yoga and going to the gym - but I've struggled to make this a consistent and daily part of my routine. Whether it be sleep or work - there was always some excuse not to follow through.

And then Lollapalooza happened. I was caught off guard by "the sprint" that occurs from the gates of a festival to the main stage when Radiohead is slated to play. If you can't run all the way through, and fast, there's no way you're going to get the front rail spot you so desperately desire. I realized that in order to make the most of each live Radiohead experience - I needed to start training for it.

When I returned to Los Angeles after my tour - I had the motivation I needed to wake up at 6:45AM every morning and run before work on my own. I'd never been able to achieve this prior - but the Radiohead motivation gave me purpose. I recruited the help of my neighbor who was a record-breaking sprinter in high school, and I quickly realized I was stronger than I'd thought, and that my lifelong hate of running was much more due to a lack of trying.

Now over a month after my first leg of my tour, I run 6 days a week without fail (take 1 rest day because our bodies need it). I found I can run a mile - even two miles - straight through despite my doubts, and I get faster every day.

If you're a fan who wants to start training, or just a fellow unathletic person who wants to get started with running, and is starting from scratch, some tips:

1. Stretch 

When I first started running on my own without guidance, this was what I left out, and I found myself feeling stiff and not being able to go the distance. Make sure to stretch as thoroughly as possible before running - arms, legs, abs, etc. It makes a monumental difference.

2. Take time to figure out your breathing

I think not knowing how to breathe properly when running is one of the most often discouraging things when you're starting. I breathe deeply and solely through my nose when running - but everyone is different, so find your groove and focus on that for at least a week before you decide this isn't for you.

3. Find the right soundtrack

I discovered the song "Wide Open" by the Chemical Brothers a few weeks ago, tested it as a running soundtrack - and now it's my absolute go-to running song. I start every morning with it, and it helps me diffuse my thoughts and not overthink my motions. Paired with "Giant" by Banks & Steelz, I feel like I've finally found music that pushes me to go all the way. For me - this is hugely important. I always will tell myself "go until the end of this song," "run to the beat of this song," "you can do this," and it helps me through moments when I really feel like I can't.

4. Run the mile straight through even if you feel like you can't

The biggest thing my neighbor/trainer helped me with was getting over the mental block that I can't run straight through a mile, or even two miles - that I needed to work up to it for some reason. I was pleasantly shocked and wrong about it. Just try it, and push yourself harder than you might think possible. It's the most liberating feeling to prove yourself and your body wrong.

5. Eat a snack and hydrate beforehand

I start every morning drinking a bottle of water and eating half a piece of toast with peanut butter on it. I give my body a bit of time to digest this before I go running - but it's helped me achieve the internal balance of being able to go for it without feeling like I'm malnourished or dehydrated.


007. The Radiohead High

I am an anxious perfectionist. This quality helps me excel at my job, in managing my time, in being an overly efficient member of society, in being able to strategically secure tickets to six sold out headlining Radiohead shows in one week.

With that said, the entire time I followed Radiohead on tour, I found myself craving perfection even more anxiously than before. I wanted to attain and retain that spiritual connection I'd achieved at past shows, and faced disappointment in myself when I didn't. Making excuses. Planning to be better for next time. Maybe eat more or less; drink more or less; try for one more or less bathroom break; sit down through one more or less band.

What I learned in the end was that it's about openness. Why was it so easy for me to connect as a teenager? In 2008? In 2012? Why could I feel the connection so immediately then, and now— after three, four shows— I was still not reaching that peak despite hearing some of my most beloved songs?

I've grown up.

I've learned to move on, to build walls, to be strong, to work hard and continue to pursue a path upwards without looking back. But with that, I've grown to live more on the surface and to be more suppressed. To selectively let people in. To not be so trusting so quickly. To be cynical.

One of the most disarming things about the experience I had following Radiohead on tour was doing so with someone who started out as a complete stranger (my cinematographer), who was really in the thick of it all with me. I always tell friends that seeing Radiohead with me is like experiencing me in my ultimate form: euphoric, blissful, and free. The vast majority of my closest friends haven't experienced this with me, and for a total stranger to do so, it added an entirely new layer to the journey that I hadn't anticipated. I felt myself becoming more open, vulnerable, trusting, in a very rare way. Truthfully, it was scary and added another level of intensity to the trip for me.

With each show and each flight, I felt myself opening up, though not quite reaching that height. Then we got to San Francisco: Outside Lands.

This was our fifth city in two weeks. I was exhausted, and while I had gotten the perfect spot— front and center in front of Thom Yorke— I found myself overcome with a crippling fear that I'd have to go to the bathroom. I didn't feel like myself. I wasn't being social. I wasn't drinking water. I was suffering to keep that spot in a masochistic way. I felt my abdomen torturing me. I felt my immune system catching up with the pain I'd put it through. I felt all this weight on my brain. Above all else, I was extremely disappointed that I felt so imperfect.

Radiohead came on the stage just before sunset. The sun was still out. Up until then, they'd always only come on after nightfall. I'd never seen them in broad daylight before. After watching bands all day, for once it felt like they were really there. As usual, they opened with "Burn the Witch."

Then, also as usual, they played "Daydreaming." But this time it was different. I looked at Thom, he looked at me, and I really felt the song. I took all the thoughts jumbled in my brain— doubts, loathing, negativity, worry— and I pushed them away onto the stage mentally... and they left. All the weight of my brain and my body was pushed off of me. I started crying. For that moment, that song, I felt complete freedom. I felt infinite.

We spend so much time as people in this world thinking about every single minute detail: our mistakes, our achievements, how we can improve. For a singular moment there, all thoughts left me. For that time, I was floating. I really felt like just one piece of this infinite universe. Nothing mattered. I felt at peace. I felt complete.

That's when I realized that I had been cracked open. I describe it to others as "emotional nudity." A lifetime of focusing on growing stronger— of moving on and leaving negativity behind, of following my determination and my lust for excellence— was gone. It's still gone. I feel exposed. I feel like I'm now still coming to terms with this underbelly of insecurity and truth that I didn't realize existed. Now, weeks later, I'm still reeling from that moment of unleashing. I still don't feel like myself, or perhaps I feel more like myself than I have in a long time. Regardless, I feel so open and free.

My wish to each of you is that you can find something like this, something that can sweep you away and capture your emotions this deeply. Allow yourself the openness and honesty. You won't regret it.


  Photo by Jamie Rogers; Outside Lands 2016

Photo by Jamie Rogers; Outside Lands 2016

006. 10 Shows Later

It's been a while.

Since I last posted, I saw Radiohead seven times in two weeks. Five cities; two countries; hundreds of thousands of fans; weeks of painstakingly planning + strategizing; days of contemplation; hours without using the bathroom; minutes of passionate + joyous excitement; and appetite-crippling anxiety + anticipation every second of the way.

This is what I've learned.

1. Radiohead belongs to the individual, and their shows are only to be experienced in a deeply personal way.

During a Radiohead show, my goal is focus. I want to feel each note, each lyric, each light flashing before my eyes. I want to achieve perfection without distraction. But in experiencing Radiohead with a cinematographer at my side ⎯ I, for the first time, had the privilege of studying the crowd.

Unlike most other bands, during a Radiohead show, we each stand alone. If you waited all day to be in one of the front rows, you know what I mean. Every single person around you is having their own moment and experience. No one is talking, looking at their friends for approval, even acknowledging each other. For two hours, we all experience this bliss and excitement for ourselves. We sing all the lyrics with our hearts; marvel when our favorite songs are played; and dance with little regard for our surroundings. There's not much you can compare it to, which leads me to my next point...

2. No one is the biggest Radiohead fan.

I've spoken to fans who have been to 50+ shows; who have gone to extreme (even criminal) lengths to land the perfect spot; who have hundreds of pieces of memorabilia; who know every song and b-side by heart.

But never can you say that you are a bigger fan than someone else.

What I've come to realize is that there is no way to quantify someone's passion and connection for Radiohead. One of the reasons why this band holds so much resonance with so many, is because we each attach our own personal meaning to their songs. Our own memories and nuances; times of happiness and pain ⎯ these are the reasons why hearing their music impacts so many of us so deeply. Because of this, I feel that no matter how many shows you've been to, or material things you own, you can never say that you feel a stronger connection to the band than the person beside you. We each hold a unique relationship to Radiohead and their music, which is ours alone. That's what makes the live moments so special.

3. The Radiohead high is very real, and all fans describe an eerily similar sensation. 

When I first saw Radiohead in 2008, I experienced what I describe as a spiritual connection ⎯ now what I call a "Radiohead high."

In following Radiohead for seven dates, I found myself chasing that feeling. I would anxiously and meticulously ensure I had just enough food and beverage to feel perfect. That I had gone to the bathroom just before the show (if I had that privilege), or had selectively drank water only in times of need if I was at a festival. I was so consumed and concerned with achieving this perfection, and for good reason.

I plan to write a lengthier post just about the feeling itself ⎯ but what I will say is that the words "spiritual," "religious," "connected," "out of body," "weightless," and "free," were used frequently by an incredibly diverse group of people in describing the live Radiohead experience ⎯ none of which knew each other. The fact that so many of us describe the same sensation is eerie, but also intriguing and reassuring. For many of us ⎯ this feeling is the peak of our fandom and love for this band. This is something I want to capture as wholly as possible in this film.

4. Start running.

If you want to be in the front for a Radiohead show ever ⎯ better start training for it. I wish I'd known this before I went on tour! Running is the only way to get a front spot at a music festival. Use Radiohead as a great excuse for exercise! I know I am.


  Photo by Jamie Rogers, Osheaga 2016

Photo by Jamie Rogers, Osheaga 2016

005. Jigsaw Falling Into Place: How I Learned to Love Radiohead

Stevie Dunbar
23 years old

Social Media Manager for Where I End And You Begin

Finding new music is always an exciting feeling, but nothing quite compares to the thrill of finding new music as a high-schooler. You’re fresh, getting ready to really interact with the outside world for the first time, and feeling and thinking about new things that are both exciting and scary. There’s a reason why a lot of older people stick to the music they listened to in high school: it was warm and inviting when the entire world seemed foreign and blurred.

However, I have to admit it: I listened to OK Computer for the first time in tenth grade (2007ish?) and not only did I not like it, I hated it. Looking back, it just went completely over my head which was then filled with the straightforward rock of bands like Oasis and The Strokes (two bands I still love to this day). The creepy paranoia of OK Computer was at odds with the feel good euphoria of albums like Definitely Maybe and Is This It and, other than the brutish punch of “Electioneering” and obvious balladry of “Karma Police”, I initially rejected the album. The then recently released In Rainbows was met with a similar reaction.

It wasn’t until I sat down with Kid A did I fully understand Radiohead. Looking back, Kid A (along with Primal Scream’s stonking behemoth that came out in the same year, XTRMNTR) was my first real look into jazz, electronic, and experimental music. “Everything in its Right Place” was immediately captivating. OK Computer can be bleak, but the stark emptiness of that lone electric piano giving way to Thom’s warped voices instantly transported me to another world. OK Computer was an extension of the music I already listened to whereas Kid A was a glimpse into another universe. It was the first instance when I realized that being subtle could be just as emotionally powerful and overwhelming as a Phil Spector symphony or an Oasis wall of guitars.

Once I was won over, I remember re-watching their Reading 2009 performance non-stop particularly the adrenaline filled rush of “Idioteque”. For some reason, Ed’s shaker playing still impresses me more than almost anything else in that video. Another Youtube favorite was any performance of “Go To Sleep” mostly because of Jonny’s absolutely insane, MAX-MSP computer driven guitar solo at the end. At the time, it was the most baffling fusion of guitar and technological wizardry I had ever seen and it really opened the doors to loving bands like Sonic Youth and their weird, fucked up guitar noises.

Four years after, I was able to experience “Idioteque” live for the first time in Newark. Though the band “messed up” my favorite song, the humanity they displayed throughout was delightful to witness. Thom stormed off stage, with Jonny sheepishly following. Thom eventually came back and led a “Jonny, Jonny” chant. It was a touching moment of friendship that ended with Jonny redeeming himself by closing “Go To Sleep” (first time since 2004 apparently!) with an exceptionally chaotic guitar solo. My two favorite songs marked by two gloriously human performances.

While I won’t be able to see Radiohead on their current tour, I am so delighted to help Jamie out with her project. From the first day we met, her passion for Radiohead (music in general, really) and film was and continues to be inspiring. And hey! I'm still holding out hope for a 2017 tour... with Fake Plastic Trees as a tour staple.

  Photo by Nina Corcoran

Photo by Nina Corcoran

004. My Impetus

When I first secured 7 Radiohead tickets in one week, I was frenzied with excitement, relief and an insane amount of adrenaline. "I've never seen you so happy," was a line thrown around by co-workers, close friends and family members ⎯ and I can't say I disagree. When you've dreamed of something for years and finally found it within your reach, it's an incredible feeling. With a full heart and rushed brain, I went through my weekend feeling on top of the world. As I shared with others the insane stories and lengths I'd gone to in order to secure these tickets, one idea kept coming up: "You need to document this."

But how? Some recommended a vlog; some recommended a journal; and a handful thought of my skills in the documentary film industry, and the immense passion and dedication I hold in my work day to day ⎯ and recommended I made a documentary film. At first I was hesitant ⎯ in no way did I want to taint this amazing experience I'd saved up money for and put so much time and emotional stake into ⎯ but then I thought of all the people who love this band and weren't able to get tickets, as well as the Radiohead community at large who shared my enthusiasm. 

I posted on the /r/Radiohead sub-reddit, to see if anyone else had secured as many tickets as I had. One person had. This person was Yang, a Chinese PhD student studying in Copenhagen, who bought all these tickets because he knew Radiohead would never come to China. He told me that he'd seen Radiohead once, with nosebleed seats in London. While he had initially passed off their music, his love was reignited later on and he became infatuated. This was his chance.

His story struck such a chord with me. I knew there were so many others like us ⎯ putting life on hold in pursuit of that incredible feeling you can only get at a Radiohead concert. Displaying the full power music has to unite us, two people from two totally different worlds, sharing one joint passion. It was infectious and inspiring.

Fast forward to now: a week from tomorrow I will be flying to New York for my first round of shows and interviews with a savvy cinematographer at my side every step of the way. We're ready to give this band and fandom the homage it deserves and has never had. We want to display the full extent of the impact it's had on so many of us.

Unfortunately Yang is not able to make Radiohead's show on August 4th. However, hehas entrusted our team with finding a suitable home for the General Admission ticket he secured! See the video below and our contest page for more details on that. Thanks to everyone for their support as we take on this mammoth endeavor.


003. A Moon Shaped Pool, Two Months Later

Jordan Khajavipour
28 years old
Citizen Insane via Tumblr

Radiohead fan sinceAmnesiac

For Radiohead fans, the release of a new album is more than a set of new songs⎯it signifies the arrival of a new era. Two months have passed since the band
erased their web presence and tweeted perhaps the most lackadaisical album announcement in their decade-spanning history (Paul Thomas Anderson directed video aside). In just nine words, we learned to soon-to-be-titled A Moon Shaped Pool would be released to the world. At the time, it was infuriating. The time leading up to May 1st was a testament to just how strong and alive the Radiohead community has continued to be since The King of Limbs, despite Thom Yorke’s recent assumption. After enduring months of cryptic clues, tour announcements, and fan theories, I witnessed a frenzy of speculation-fueled posts and reactions at an entirely new level of fandom, prompting every online Radiohead community into a constant limbo of both excitement and anxiety. Now that the initial excitement has settled, I’m able to reflect on what this journey has been like so far, and what is still to come.

Apart from their actual music, post-EMI Radiohead are in an unique position that allows them to experiment with the notion of music itself. When May 1st arrived, Radiohead did not disappoint us. There’s never been a time where Radiohead fans were just one hour away from a new LP release, and still completely left in the dark about what to expect in terms of art, sound, tracklist, or title. It’s baffling to think I was still calling it "LP9" the morning of May 8th. Shortly after my first listen of A Moon Shaped Pool, I was reminded why Radiohead became more than just a band over the last quarter century. For most Radiohead fans, seeing their name trending on social media elicits unparalleled feelings of joy and curiosity. A Moon Shaped Pool wasn’t just an opportunity to hear new music from artists I’ve admired and enjoyed for nearly two decades; a new album meant new opportunities to connect with like-minded people and experience something that feels like nothing else in this world: seeing the the band live.

Radiohead has an amazing ability to slow down time. Without realizing it, A Moon Shaped Pool's release ushered in a new era that has made the last two months seem like we’ve shifted into an entirely new direction in time. Like In Rainbows and The King of Limbs, the band’s release strategy materialized organically, seeming simultaneously familiar and unique. Watching Periscopes of the first shows in Amsterdam felt just as exciting as hearing AMSP for the first time. Now that the album has been officially released and well-received, I finally feel able to truly reflect on the journey we’ve embarked on as Radiohead fans. I attempted to write a review of the album several times, but, as some have pointed out, a new Radiohead album is not something that can be reviewed upon a few listens. In fact, Thom has even discussed one of the driving forces behind their post-EMI release strategy is to avoid the way critical reception alienates their music. Radiohead’s music demands more, and being able to access the music at the exact same moment that anyone else can, regardless of status or position, is really something quite special.

In a world saturated by social media posts and streaming information, Radiohead were able to sell-out a festival-headlining world tour for an album that was no more than speculation just two weeks before the first tour date. Unlike previous releases, AMSP seemed more meticulously planned. Beginning with their LLC name as the first clue to when we’ll be receiving new music, Radiohead has crafted this project in a way that really made me fall in love with them all over again. I realized this is why AMSP cannot be reviewed quite yet, for me and many fellow-fans. Unlike other artists, Radiohead’s music has an ineffable quality that centers itself with the listener’s life preceding its release. Every album becomes the soundtrack to one’s life over the months and years that follow. This is something I’ve spoken to nearly every Radiohead fan about.

In a few weeks, the band will begin their North American tour. As the cornerstone of Radiohead fandom, the band’s live shows encapsulates the profound effect their music offers to old and new fans across the world. As the journey through AMSP’s era continues, the creators of this blog will begin to capture the rare and unique experience of being a Radiohead fan alongside our documentary Where I End And You Begin.

002. Aneela's Story

Aneela Wallace
42 years old
Admin of You and Thom's Army
Radiohead fan since
OK Computer

There are few things that can rival the euphoria of falling in love, of feeling understood and of feeling a sense of belonging and a connection — but this is what the music of Radiohead does to not only myself, but dare I say, to thousands, if not millions of people around the world.

I'd first been introduced to the sounds of these mystical musicians in between OK Computer and the arrival of Kid A by the keyboard player in my band. I was the lead singer.

Fast forward to my band breaking up, etc., and life happening. My moving, and getting into a circle of friends where no one was into Radiohead (or any secular band) — so their music took a back seat.

Recently — I moved to a new state due to having to help care for a dying relative, for a period of time which has now ended. I recall one day looking into the fading eyes of the person before me who was awake, yet not awake. Who was alive, yet not even there in the room. Out of her mind, absent and yet somehow peaceful. Old yet somehow young in spirit, because of the stories she was reliving in her dream-state, recounting days of her youth.

In that moment I remembered a song by my other favorite band Depeche Mode called "Blasphemous Rumours." It made me ponder things I didn't want to. I wasn't blaming God or angry for what was happening before my very eyes but these thoughts were like a jigsaw falling into place. Sometimes things like these never really make sense, but they happen for a reason.

I decided also to seek some solace in music that had once filled my heart and mind with hope and beauty. I took down some of my unopened moving boxes and looked around until I found my Kid A. From the opening lines of "Everything In Its Right Place," to the closing line of "I will see you in the next life* from "Motion Picture Soundtrack,” the album gave me comfort like nothing else could.

You can also imagine a steady stream and flood of tears as all throughout listening to Kid A again with this emotional backdrop. I thought of my own mortality and fragility.

After those moments had passed and gone and I was no longer in limbo, I proceeded to seek out and absorb everything Radiohead that I could. Where I had moved to (and still am), there was no one around me that shared my love of the band, and so I did what anyone would. I went on the internet and used my Facebook.

I joined several groups in an attempt to connect with and talk to other people who felt the way I did about this entity that was consuming my soul and calling me to follow them around once more.

My reward was learning that the band were hot and heavy into the creation of a new album and a possible tour to follow. I had come back just at the right time!

I eventually felt the need to create my own group settling on the name "You and Thom's Army," where I, along with all the members collated the latest news on the band while we awaited the arrival of what was called “LP9” — later to be rechristened “AMSP" or A Moon Shaped Pool.

The group is now part of the history of daily speculations and discussions about the album. In Thom's Army we even shared ticket buying triumphs and failures with each other, "high-fiving" some, and sending virtual hugs to others who had failed in the quest and those who don't even have a chance at seeing the band on the limited 2016 tour dates.

I hope to some day meet the band and just see their smiles in person! But for now — I’m excited to connect with Jamie on her super fabulous tour, trekking on Thom Yorke’s birthday to the Austin City Limits Music Festival on October 7. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t “rain down, rain down —no don’t —rain down on me” at the rails!

To join Aneela's group, please click here to join via Facebook!

001. Jamie's Story

August 9, 2008

It was the summer before my junior year of high school. I was 15.

My uncle would buy me a ticket to a concert every summer, and that year he bought us tickets to one day of the All Points West Music Festival in New Jersey, where Radiohead was headlining. I'd heard of Radiohead—no one could avoid "Creep" or "Karma Police"—and respected their music, but I was just a casual fan. That is, until I experienced them live.

The only way I can describe it is like a light switch turned on inside me. I found this missing piece, this part of myself I didn't know I had lost. During that show, I felt peace, almost weightlessness. It was a singular feeling and experience – and I still can't compare it to anything else. I was hooked.

I listened to Radiohead exclusively for two months afterwards—exploring their discography, re-watching videos I took at the show—in an effort to re-live that moment, those feelings. As someone who has been passionate about music all my life, I knew this was the most immediate and robust connection I'd ever felt with a band.

In 2012, when they announced their The King of Limbs tour, I got tickets to two shows: Dallas, TX and Newark, NJ. While in line for the standing room, I overheard a woman say she had seen Radiohead 23 times. That's where my dream began. I knew I wanted to be a diehard fan like her.

Four years later, I've found myself in the lucky and incredibly privileged position of actually being able to live my dream. I started setting money aside once Radiohead announced LP9 (a new album), and by the time they had announced the tour, I had saved over $3,000.

After a week of intense strategy—namely assistance from friends and co-workers—and relentless determination, I sit here today with 10 Radiohead show and festival tickets. I will be seeing my favorite band in the world in three different countries and seven different cities this year. As a fan, I am beyond excited, but I feel the need to share this with the rest of the fan community. I decided I want to use my skills as a filmmaker to channel my passions for documentary and Radiohead. I want to make a film that will chronicle this experience as well as profile other individuals who feel a similar connection with this group.

Where I End And You Begin... will be a documentary love letter to Radiohead and an exploration of music's unspoken power in connecting people from all walks of life into a single community. Let's create something amazing together.

Hope to see you on tour!


Video by Jamie Rogers, 2008