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Radiohead's Ed O'Brien Remembers Blowing Kanye's Mind With This Comment on Religion

Ed O'Brien of Radiohead performs at Primavera Sound
Adela Loconte/WireImage

Ed O'Brien of Radiohead performs at Primavera Sound on June 3, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.

Kanye West is so interesting that even stories of random encounters with him can be fascinating little windows into his humanity. What’s he really like, away from the paparazzi and Kanye-approved version us commoners get? Well, for Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, he was pretty apathetic, until he hit 'Ye with a topic that really piqued his interest. 

Anyone who’s been paying attention since “Jesus Walks” knows ‘Ye is fascinated by the topic of God, particularly how themes of Christianity fit into his life. He opened his latest album proclaiming a “God dream,” famously annointed himself a God on Yeezus and in his tormented 808s era lamented Jesus pieces not brining him peace. So when O’Brien told him that most British musicians don’t believe in God, Kanye finally took interest in an otherwise tumbleweed-worthy conversation.

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Check out O’Brien’s story from a recent episode of the Ninja Tune podcast, via Pitchfork. The Kanye/O’Brien meeting happened approximately four years ago at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro:

He wasn’t really interested in me at all. Not at all. I sat there for like three hours, and I tried everything. I said, “What are you writing with?” and stuff like that. And he goes, “[mumbles].” He’s not interested. His wife’s even less interested in me. Some mutual friend put us together for the evening.

The one thing that I did, kind of… I said to him, “If you ask pretty much any British musician whether they ‘believed in God,’ I’d tell you that 99% of them would say, ‘Don’t be stupid, of course not.’ And it blew his mind. He was like, “You cannot be serious, man!” He was John McEnroe for a moment there.

O’Brien went on to explain that his upbringing in the “very material” city of Oxford, England, and the scientific culture of Oxford University kept religion at a distance until an “extraordinary spiritual experience” shook up his beliefs.

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O’Brien was being interviewed for the Ninja Tune podcast by the Invisible’s Dave Okumu, whose band released a new album on the Ninja Tune label earlier this month. Check out the whole conversation here (the Kanye part begins around the 11:50 mark).


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