Radiohead drummer Philip Selway opens up on his very first soundtrack
Not just the drummer for stadium proggers Radiohead, Philip Selway has also released a number of solo albums under his own name – and the latest is his very first soundtrack...
Dipping a toe into unknown waters is nothing new to the members of Radiohead, and their drummer Philip Selway’s latest solo album marks another new milestone – his first soundtrack for a film. Directed by Polly Steele and starring Juliet Stevenson, Let Me Go is an adaptation of Helga Schneider’s memoir. It tells the story of Helga’s mother’s decision to abandon her child in order to work as a guard in the Nazi concentration camps of 1940s Germany, and their eventual painful reintroduction to one another. Selway was brought on board by Steele and co-producer Lizzie Pickering, whom he knew from collaborating on a series of benefit concerts. As he explains, tackling the subject matter came with great responsibility…
Let Me Go is a soundtrack you can listen to as a standalone record, even if you haven’t seen the film. Was that deliberate?
That’s what I wanted to do from the outset, and I think that defined part of the way we approached it. I had the Radiohead schedule coming up at particular points in the filming schedule, so it was a case of working with the screenplay and how I responded to that. And I’d seen the rushes as well, so I responded to the cinematography. But it was the ultimate thing in my mind that I wanted to release a soundtrack album that had to work as a record within its own right.
Do you think this release shows that you now have more confidence in yourself as a solo artist?
Definitely. I’ve grown in that respect. I wanted to write for dance and I wanted to write for film. And I got the opportunity to write for dance a couple of years ago with the Rambert dance company, and then this film project came along and it just felt like the right project, the right people to be working with. It felt like an incredibly powerful screenplay. I probably wouldn’t have been in a position, in myself, if you went back about four or five years ago, where I’d have felt able to jump in and say, “Yes, I can do that.”