Ed O'Brien had to learn how to "steer the collective" for his debut solo album after years of playing the "supportive" role in Radiohead.

The 51-year-old musician releases his debut solo album, 'Earth', on April 17, and he has admitted it took him a while to realise he needed to take control over the project after years of being a participant in the 'Creep' group and not the leader like frontman Thom Yorke.

Ed told npr.org: "It's completely different because my role in Radiohead is essentially a supportive role.

"Musically I am supporting the song, I'm supporting Tom's lyrics or Tom's song, I'm supporting the greater thing that is Radiohead.

"And that has been my default setting for years - that's all I've known.

"So the big thing for me ... and it took me a while to realise it, was, 'What do I feel?'

"I know it sounds stupid, but I realised I was the only one who knew when the song was right.

"Even with Flood (producer), and Flood would always say this, he would say, 'You've got to take control of this.'
"But only I could realise the potential or the sound in my head.

"It's not my natural instinct to go in and go, 'This isn't right, that's not right.'

"I like an environment whereby it's a team, I love a collective.

"What I had to find was that collective but me saying, 'No that's not right or yes that is great or I think we should do it like this.'

"I had to learn how to steer the collective."

Ed's collective for 'Earth' is made of producers Flood and Catherine Marks, and musicians drummer Omar Hakim, Invisible members Nathan East and Dave Okumu, folk singer Laura Marling, Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood.