Jonny Greenwood says Radiohead side-project The Smile's debut album is "just about finished"

Jonny Greenwood
(Image credit: Jim Bennett/FilmMagic)

The Smile – the guitar-driven side project of Radiohead members Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke – have “just about finished” their debut album, according to Greenwood.

In a new interview with NME, the guitarist says that the band – which also features Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner – are “sitting in front of a pile of music, working out what will make the record”.

“We're thinking of how much to include, whether it's really finished or if there are a few guitars that need fixing,” he explains. “I'd hope it'll come out soon, but I'm the wrong person to ask.”

He also says that as the band was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic, writing in lockdown has been “very stop-start”, but that the process has been a “happy way to make music”.

The “most impatient member of everybody in Radiohead”, Greenwood explains that he'd rather records he releases be “90 percent a good, but come out twice as often”.

“I've always felt that, the closer to the finish, the smaller the changes are that anyone would notice,” he continues. “I'd have said The Smile could have come out a few months ago, but it wouldn't be as good. I'm always impatient to get on and do more.”

Jonny Greenwood, Thom Yorke and Tom Skinner debuted The Smile at Glastonbury's Live at Worthy Farm streaming event earlier this year, announcing the band's existence only hours before the performance.

On the songs the band played during their set, Greenwood explains: “We've recorded everything we played at Glastonbury, but I don't know if it'll be on the album. We've got to go through everything in the pile. I'm very relieved that everything for Spencer [the forthcoming Princess Diana biopic for which Jonny Greenwood is composing the score] finishes this week, because next week we can get into The Smile and make sure that's in a healthy state.”

Greenwood says that although the band's debut album is on its way, he has “no idea” whether they'll tour it.

“It's undiscussed and undecided,” he continues. “But it feels like we now have to start engaging with the outside world, having worked on this stuff alone. That's the test, when people finally hear it. I'm looking forward to that, as what the outside world makes of you is more than half the reason for doing it. I've never understood the idea of music for its own sake.”

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.