The band made it's debut at the Jericho's Tavern in their hometown, Oxford a few years later, in 1987. They named themselves On A Friday. Their first demo was made in 1991. A classmate of Thom and Colin, John Butcher brought the tape to Courtyard Studios. The studio was run by two former musicians Bryce Edge and Chris Hufford. Chris Hufford: "The demo had some good tunes but it was all obviously ripped off mercilessly." He might have ignored it were it not for the 15th track. "It was a weird looped-up dance thing which was very different. I asked if they had anything else. After about six months John Butcher brought in a another tape with Stop Whispering and What's that you say on it. These were great songs. Now they had an identity.
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Another tape later, the Manic Hedgehog Demo (named after an Oxford record shop) brought the band to another gig in the Jericho Tavern. In the meantime they've already been on the cover of "Curfew", a magazine based in Oxford. Things went fast. On A Friday were booked for gigs frequently. Various record labels got interested and finally EMI signed the band.
On our return to the UK, we played several European festivals, culminating in two headline appearances at Galway, Ireland, and T in the Park, Glasgow. During this time, we set up our mobile recording studio back at Canned Applause, overseen by Nigel Godrich.
Nigel had engineered the Rak Studio sessions of The Bends, and co-produced with us a number of b-sides, notably "Talkshow Host" as well as the song "Lucky". This song was recorded in September 1995 for the Help album, a compilation released a week after its recording to raise funds and awareness for the charity 'Warchild' in Bosnia.
By July 1996, Canned Applause was set up for recording. It was the first time we had attempted to cut album tracks outside of a conventional studio environment.
Despite the experimental and unconventional setting, four songs from Canned Applause found their way onto the album. The songs were "Subterranean Homesick Alien", "Electioneering", "The Tourist" and "No Surprises". This last song was, in fact, the first take from the first day of the Canned Applause sessions.
In August 1996, we returned to America to tour with Alanis Morrisette, and again used it as an opportunity to play in new material.
Back home again in September, we moved our recording equipment from Canned Applause, and relocated to St Catherine's Court. Set in a secluded valley just outside Bath, it was the perfect environment to escape from any outside influences. We made much use of the various different rooms and atmospheres throughout the house, and our isolation from the outside world encouraged time to run at a different pace, making working hours more flexible and spontaneous.
Again, the set-up was unorthodox: we played in the ballroom, with Nigel Godrich recording us in the library. Thom sung "Exit Music (for a film)" in the chilly stone entrance hall; "Let Down" was recorded live at 3.00 AM in the ballroom. This was to be the first of two month-long sessions at St Catherine's, the second one starting in November, after spending October at home rehearsing.
By Christmas we had almost completed fourteen songs. They were finished and mixed in London during January and February 1997. The two songs left off the album, "Polyethelene" and "A Reminder", have appeared as b-sides to our first UK single release, "Paranoid Android"
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