Radiohead found the perfect way to troll the trollers. One week after 18 hours of previously unheard material from the sessions for the band’s landmark 1997 album OK Computer leaked online — reportedly containing demos, alternate takes and early live recordings — Radiohead hit back at the hackers on Tuesday (June 11) by offering up the 18 hours of material in their entirety on Bandcamp to benefit charity.
“We got hacked last week – someone stole Thom’s minidisc archive from around the time of OK Computer, and reportedly demanded $150,000 on threat of releasing it,” guitarist Jonny Greenwood wrote in a statement. ” So instead of complaining – much – or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion. Just for the next 18 days. So for £18 you can find out if we should have paid that ransom. Never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computer reissue) it’s only tangentially interesting. And very, very long. Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn’t it though?”
The 18 minidiscs will be available for around $22.88, with all proceeds going to Extinction Rebellion, described by the band as a “socio-political movement which uses nonviolent resistance to protest against climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.”
The discs range in length from 17 minutes to one hour and 13 minutes and in a message accompanying the release, singer Thom Yorke wrote: “we’ve been hacked my archived mini discs from 1995-1998(?) it’s not v interesting there’s a lot of it… as it’s out there it may as well be out there until we all get bored and move on.”
Fans commenting on the Bandcamp release praised the band for releasing the material. “A positive way to turn something around for the best possible outcome,” wrote one, with another saying, “Rarely is the artist’s process presented in such an unfiltered, uncompromising way — especially at this strata of musicianship. Polished mixes are juxtaposed against tracks recorded in bathrooms; landmark tracks against distorted noise. A unique and delightful insight into a band in the middle of writing their masterwork.”