Thom Yorke on Depression (What was said?)

In this guide, we will talk about Thom Yorke on Depression and his fight against it. 

Thomas Edward Yorke, famously known as Thom Yorke of Radiohead is an English musician. He is a member of the rock band Radiohead and is the main vocalist and songwriter for the band. He rose to success along with his band for the song “Creep” which was released in 1993 and was a part of their debut album Pablo Honey. 

Thom Yorke on Depression

In 2003 during an interview for the French Musique Plus channel, Thom Yorke talked about his struggle with depression and how he finds it offensive when people say his music is depressing. 

To quote Thom Yorke from the interview, 

“One of the things I find most offensive about what people say about our music when they say: It’s depressing. The reason I find it offensive is… That to me implies that to suffer from depression is like being… Subnormal… It’s a stigma, which it shouldn’t be because there is an awful lot of people who suffer from depression…

…I happen to make music sometimes when I’m in that frame of mind cause I suffer from it [depression]. Actually, sometimes it’s not suffering. It’s a bonus. I really have a problem with people who dismiss our music on the grounds that it’s depressing… Because a lot of creative power is from that feeling.”

In his interview, Thom Yorke on depression clearly stated that he suffered from it, like many people in the world, and does not see it as suffering rather than a bonus that has helped him be creative and create the kind of music that he does. 

He also talked about the silence that revolves around the topic of depression and that it should be discussed openly and be accepted as it is, rather than as a stigma. 

Thom Yorke mental status during Depression

With the release of OK Computer in 1997, it became one of the most important records during that time which led to Radiohead playing their biggest gig in front of 40,000 people in Dublin. But with its success, Yorke fell prey to thoughts of loathing and self-doubt. 

Songs like “How to disappear completely” by Radiohead showcased the mental status of Thom Yorke during depression, especially the lines “I’m not here” and “This isn’t happening.”

Thom talked about how during the promotional period of OK Computer he experienced acid flashbacks, where he would be talking to someone one moment and the other he would feel like he was falling through the earth. This went on for months and he felt really weird because of it.  He stated that he felt like a complete mess when OK Computer finished and felt like he was really, really ill.

Thom felt like for 10 years he was not able to connect with anything and was becoming completely unhinged. And the reason for that was the fact that he was just going a certain way for a very long time and was not able to stop or assess what he had done. 

Thom Yorke dealing with Depression

By 1998 he was suffering from writer’s block and was close to collapse. It was then the band decided that something needed to be done and changes needed to be made. They had to change the way they wrote, recorded, and promoted their music. 

Yorke explained that the rehearsals started going terribly as after a while he felt like he was just hearing a sound and he felt like he was not able to respond to it the way he had been able to in the past. He felt like the ground was being pulled out from under him and he was just falling through space. He called the time period a nightmare. 

To beat that feeling, Thom Yorke brought about a change in approach to their music, which made the rest of the band members skeptical of it. 

After three years from OK Computer, the band released their song called Kid A. There was a lot of turmoil that had started to brew between the band members and Thom. Even their producer started to have doubts. Yorke talked about how his producer did not understand why a change was required when they had a good thing going on. He did not understand why Yorke wanted to do something else. But at the same time, he trusted Thom to do what he felt right. 

Thom Yorke at this point stated that he was not trying to prove anything. He just knew that their current approach was not working for him and that they had to do something different. 

Slowly the band was able to catch onto the new approach, even though the starting process was difficult. Once they were up and going, they were able to record one good song after the other and it was then difficult for the band to stop. 

Thom Yorke overcoming Depression

Along with how the music was constructed Yorke had begun working on his lyrics too. His listener claimed that they could sense Yorke’s existential angst in the songs and fear as constituting one of the main themes in his songs.

He addressed this in one of his interviews where he stated that the fear of dying is a 30 thing, where you feel like you are not immortal. He talked about his fear of dying and that he would at times go off for a walk around his house and felt totally like nothing. 

In 2000 with the release of Kid A it could be seen that the public was happy with the songs and the re-entry of the band was positively received.  

Recently in his interviews, he has talked about how he relies on yoga, reading, and swimming to cope with his anxiety and depression. He finds music also a great way to deal with them. He uses simple things like running, doing yoga, the physical stuff like swimming to help deal with depression and his anxiety. For him reading a book is also a great stress buster for him. 

Thom Yorke’s current status 

Thom Yorke has been an active activist and works for human, environmental as well as animal rights. For decades he has been writing music about society, government, and technology. He states that he likes exploring dark themes and that if you love music like him, you are always looking for a hit. 

Thom Yorke in his recent interviews talks about his recent journey from an uptight catatonic guy to a guy who is at ease onstage. How he turned from a tortured guy to a guy wearing his hair in a man bun. According to Thom, the reason is that there is no band, so he has started walking around on the stage, where if he wants he can choose to do something that is completely different from what was rehearsed. Or something that is stupid or just simply jumping around. 

The other things that changed in him started around the time of “meeting people is easy” and in the years following that he was angry about the continuous public attention that he got. He felt like it was a revelation when he realized that he did not have to take it so seriously all the time. He felt like if he had not done that his relationships at work would become unhealthy. He stressed the point that if one is choosing to spend time with their family it has to be worth it and by worth it, he meant that you should really be getting something from it. You need to claim it for yourself and have an understanding as to why you love it. 

Thom Yorke talked about how he gradually fell back in love with his work and being onstage. How his touring experiences have changed and that is because now he feels like humility helps him. Thoughts like “I can not believe I get to do this” is what changed his attitude and perception about his work. 

He next talked about how music helped him deal with the tragedies of life and how he was surprised by the effect music can have in helping a person cope up with traumatic emotion. Sometimes situations can become so difficult to handle that you go into some sort of paralysis, but thankfully for Thom, he was able to avoid it. He claims that because he was able to keep working and kept listening to music, he never felt the paralysis creeping into his life.

Thom Yorke talked about his depression in multiple interviews and how it affected his life completely, especially his professional one. But he was able to realize that he needed a new approach and worked towards it. 

In this guide, we talked about Thom Yorke on Depression and his fight against it. 

FAQs: Thom Yorke on Depression

Who is Thom Yorke?

Thomas Edward Yorke, commonly known as Thom Yorke is an English musician. Since 1991 Thom has been the main vocalist and songwriter for the famous rock band Radiohead. They released their first hit song “Creep” in 1993 which appeared on their debut album, Pablo Honey.

Yorke is now also an activist and works for human rights, environmental as well as animal rights. 

Did Thom Yorke suffer from Depression?

During an interview in 2003 for the French Musique Plus channel, Thom Torke talked about how he suffered from depression like so many other individuals. It started with him talking about how offensive he finds it when people label his songs and work as being depressing. He said that it somehow implied that he was “subnormal.”

What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder where the individual reports constant feelings of sadness, loss, or anger, to an extent that it hinders the person’s day-to-day activities. The different symptoms that might be experienced by individuals suffering from depression include irritability, anxiousness, restlessness, feeling empty and hopeless, loss of interest in pleasure activities, tired and fatigued all day, low concentration, and attention span. 

How can one get out of Depression?

To get out of Depression one needs to seek treatment, commonly individuals seek a combination of medical treatment as well as therapy. Medications include antidepressants, antianxiety and antipsychotic medications and are prescribed by a psychiatrist depending upon the level of your depression. Other than that psychotherapy with a therapist or clinical psychologist can be beneficial. 

Do celebrities have Depression?

Yes, celebrities can have depression, and many celebrities have come forward and spoken about their struggle with depression. Some of them are Dwayne Johnson, Katy Perry, Jon Hamm, Lady Gaga, Kristen Bell, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Along with them, many more celebrities have admitted to having depression and how it affected them personally and their professional life. 


Thom Yorke: “I was becoming unhinged… completely unhinged”

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