Music by VICE

Thom Yorke Had a Chat with Benedict Cumberbatch About Monks and Nikola Tesla

Two extremely English names, one odd interview.

by Phil Witmer
Nov 2 2017, 8:12pm

Thom Yorke is a weird dude. It's endearing most of the time! We can all relate to his fears of car crashes and global warming, as well as his habit of crying when he hears his band's music. While he normally has a more grounded interviewer to play off of in conversation, his fellow spectral Englishman Benedict Cumberbatch also seems to be pretty eccentric. You put the two of them in a room together, and you get this new, quite out-there feature from Interview magazine.

It's Yorke asking the questions, so we don't get too much insight into the musician here other than an anecdote about how the "ambition" he had at 19 years-old became "debilitating" later on. Much of Thumberbatch's time together (yes, this is what they are called now) is dedicated to a wide swath of topics concerning Cumberbatch's life, including how he lived as a monk in Darjeeling as a teenager ("You were 19 and signing yourself up to sit on a cushion for how many hours a day?" asks Yorke.).

The two also spend a while discussing the achievements of Nikola Tesla and his beef with George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison. "We'd be living on a different planet if Tesla had won this," says York, who has definitely watched The Prestige and was mesmerized by David Bowie's performance as the mad Serbian inventor. This interview is basically peak "well-educated college boys having a lovely laugh over tea," so it's fun in a weird, esoteric sense. Read the full Thumberbatch meeting here.

This is the second time Phil has referenced 'The Prestige' this week. He's on Twitter.

Thom Yorke
Benedict Cumberbatch