An interview with Coldplay and Chris Martin
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TRACK BY TRACK - A Rush Of Blood to The HeadThey might not be the most charismatic band in the world. They may be struggling very hard with the press this summer to correct that opinion. What you can't correct though are the facts behind the songs.


With the new album, 'A Rush Of Blood to The Head' set for release, Crud asked Chris Martin and his chums to take us through the tracks on the new album. Here are the results. As plain as the nose on your face.

Chris: Ah, that's a good question. You'd have to ask Phil, he's the, what do we describe him as? He's the Don Filippo, the Godfather, who runs operations who nobody ever sees. He said to me ‘Oh, you should have a song called Politick.' And I said ‘Oh, all right'. It's as simple as that.' Because if he says something you do it, unless it's something naff, , but we liked it because it sounds Eastern.. Russian, sounds (laughter) is it rubbish? But it is meant to be with a K because it sounds, it's all right isn't is, we like it as a song title.

Well we imagine Politick to be your beliefs about something, your own politic, it's kind of in the same way on our last record, we had a song called Yellow which wasn't strictly about the colour yellow. The grammatical validity of that isn't that apparent I admit but...

John: I agree

Chris: But we like it. It was designed as the first song. You know as soon as it arrived we said, that's going to be the first song.

John: Yeah there was never a, that was the only one that we were sure er the others we were pretty sure, but that one we were absolutely sure from start to finish where that was going..

Chris: Because it seemed like a good idea for a band that everyone thinks does Acoustic songs to have a record that starts bash bash bash bash with no grace or beauty whatsoever, It could be done by a bunch of monkeys. If you put a bunch of monkeys in a room ,before they typed Shakespeare they'd have come up with the beginning to Politick. Like bash bash.

Chris: ‘In my Place' is the oldest pivotal song. Just when we were finishing our last record, ‘Parachutes', we were in Liverpool in this little room that had been great on the last record and the record was basically finished so we were all packing up and ready to go. And the album was coming out in about a week. It was a really fine- timing thing, and I was just sat at this organ that my friend lent me, this pump organ, that you have to sit and pedal like that, you know, that was really designed for sea- shanties and drunken sailors but I wasn't either so I was thinking, let's try a sea-shanty, I don't know if I have to do the actions, but these chords just came out and it was at a time when it was just a bit too late on the last record we suddenly discovered things like Jimmy Cliff and all that and even ‘Whiter Shade of Pale'. I'm not saying it's as good as that, I'm saying it's better, no, I'm not, and so that tune we've had pretty much since the end of the last record. But we knew we really liked it and so it's been the lynchpin of this record. Around which everything else has been written.

Guy: When we came to record it in the studio we struggled because there was something just not quite right about it and I wasn't happy about where we'd left it and where we were happy to leave it and we couldn't put our finger on what it was and so it was a really nice day one day, me and Chris were just trying, I was actually just trying to record bass at the time and me and Chris were just sitting down trying to brainstorm it and work out what was wrong and so I started trying to just do a few different bass lines and stuff. Between the two of us we came up with just this kind of groove, which stays on the same note as opposed to change, it's quite technical but it kind of added a bit of bounce to the song and it made it roll along in a much more fluid way. It was a bit mechanical before and it's just interesting how something small like that can really change the whole vibe of a song. It was just nice because from there on it was one of our favourite tracks and it almost didn't get on the record but it's now one of our favourite tracks.

Chris: When me and John went up to Liverpool on the train in November and we were listening to the songs – how many did we have?

John: We had about 8 rough done

Chris: And there was a sort of feeling that it was I reckon we thought it was alright and then I don't know what you were doing, maybe you were doing guitar tracks. I was sitting at the piano, this really old battered piano that was really out of tune. And I'd just heard All Things Must Pass by George Harrison , there's a song called Isn't it a Pity and there's like a circular chord sequence. This is all very anal, but I was thinking I'd really like to have a chord sequence that goes round and round and you don't know where it ends and then this chord sequence just arrived and I thought this is really lovely. And then the whole song just came out and I don't know where from and we recorded it then and there and that was, the piano and vocal is from the day it was written and just that's it that's what made and the best moment of the entire record for me was when after Johnny had heard it. This was about 3 weeks later when we'd come back to this song. I just heard through this wall, l I heard this riff this like and it was what he does at the end and that's my favourite bit of music on the record even thought I probably wouldn't ever listen to it again, probably, but that was a great moment because he you know he's brilliant.

Chris: We were just about to hand the record in but it was sounding rubbish, but we thought oh, we have to do it because we wanted to release it then and some of our record company guys came in and basically everyone decided we'd got to put it back, take a bit of pressure off and Phil, our figurehead or fifth member, he said, ‘Listen you should record that song ‘Clocks', because I was just ‘Oh, no, we're going to save this one', which is a real mistake to do I reckon because you know I might be shot tomorrow and so quite rightly he said, ‘Put that song on because it's good' and that was the newest to go on, ‘Clocks'. It goes ‘Ding,dong, ning, nong'. That just arrived. I don't know where that came from but I do know where the good bit came from because I was showing it to Johnny. This is the amazing thing about our band. You play something, you think, that's all right, I like that like this. I'll keep it going, and then to Johnny he'll sort of lollop in in his elephantine, not elephantine, what's the word? gazelle-like way. He does, quite slowly but with incredible grace come in like that. You say, ‘Come on. Listen to this song and you get him in there and if he picks up a guitar then he likes it and it's good, that's a good sign if you're playing something and he picks up a guitar. And then he put on these brilliant chords and then the chorus came out and it all sparked off and then Guy came in and put on his bass line and that sparked off another bit like a big chemical reaction our song- writing process and it's really exciting and that was the last one to happen and that was mega, that was really good fun, you know, because there was no pressure on that song. We thought you don't have to do it but we finished it and we thought no, that's got to go on.

John: The instrument on the start of the track is a Chris: Which track? Daylight? John: Daylight is a 12 string guitar with a slide like George Harrison with lots of strings. Chris: And lots of strings John: And they're all doing the same thing Chris: But what was amazing is – what you can't hear is there's also a drone, because that riff is really hard to play. I don't want to be rude but he struggled to play it for a bit because he had the melody and stuff so there's amazing little noises on it and stuff and when you learned how to play it perfectly it didn't sound as good, so it's a really early version of John playing the riff so we don't really know what's in there.

John: I think we're lucky that we've recorded a lot of stuff straight down as soon as it was written, because I think half the time you spend your life trying to recreate the moment when you first wrote something.

Chris: With Daylight we were all sat in a room and there was the piano track and singing going and we were all just playing over the top of it And we just recorded all that with Mark who does all the computer stuff with us. There were quite a lot of samples in that really well they're not samples but loops in that song. And then Daylight is blatantly nicked off The Cutter. But we shouldn't really have told you that.

Chris: Is that the most personal song on the album? I don't know. When Pete Waterman sent it to us we thought what a great song, what a great track, just put a few sleigh bells on it and we've got a Christmas No1. But Johnny said no let's do it acoustically like an old Johnny Cash song and we can pretend that we wrote it about a girl that we met in America.

John: The royal we?

Chris: (Laughter) which of course is not the true story. Pete Waterman wrote the song about a girl that we met in America. When I say ‘we' I mean ‘I'. (Laughter). But then its got the best licks, that's the only song that's got guitar licks on the end. We all like Johnny Cash and when we were in America a lot of last year and Guy went completely nuts for country music and so we were we started playing Hank Williams cover. Johnny started learning that picking you know and so we really wanted to put something on like that.

Chris: Warning Sign is an old song, and it's the only song that I didn't want on the record, but everyone else did, I got outvoted…the reason I don't like the song Warning Sign is that it makes you feel sorry for the singer, whereas in fact I know it was written at a time when I was being a total knob. And that's the great joy of music is that one can present oneself as a romantic hero, whereas in fact in real life, that was written inn one of my immense periods of being a dickhead. I think Johnny will agree.

John: When was it?

Chris: About …

John: A year and a half..

Chris: Yeah

John: Thought so! (+ laughter)

Chris: The Bunnymen were a big influence on some of the songs, we started getting into them, and we saw a lot of Ian McCulloch in Liverpool. He said to me the reason why the song Whisper's on there is, he said to me ‘Chris, have you got a ¾ song on there?' And I thought Shit no we haven't so quickly wrote Whisper. ‘Gotta have a ¾ song on there' he talks like an MI5 agent you know, telling you where the secret plans are.

John: I think I thought, I think we all thought that it was just a, really it seemed to fit with everything, it seemed to pull everything together . Chris: It's about impulsiveness you know, it's about doing things now and if you Like someone telling them now and it does fit with everything really.

Chris: You know, certain songs when you're recording get much more attention than others because they're much more troublesome or you're much more excited about them because they're new or whatever. And Amsterdam and Green Eyes they've just quietly gone on the record you know and we didn't spend much time on them. That is, that is pretty much live, and it was just done. And we did it very quickly and then left it for more or less 4 months and then came back and mixed it.

John: We did it really quickly

Chris: It took, we did that in about, that was one of the songs that made it from the first session that made it through and it was just really quick, And it's a nice song. It's the only song that I can think of where the verse and chorus were written 1000+ miles apart and the end another 1000 miles. I think the end was written in Iceland. Iceland is the perfect place to write music I reckon.

Will Jenkins for Crud Magazine© 2002



2-4-7-MUSIC.COM 2009

STILL refusing to dumb it down.

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