'Laughing Boys' Coldplay article in Q Magazine (September 2011)
Forum discussion: http://www.coldplaying.com/forum/showthread.php?t=78262
They're skating close to deadlne, but Coldplay are confident that album number 5 will tickle you...
It's one week before Coldplay perform their headline spot at Glastonbury and in their North London studio hideaway all is not calm. They should by now have done and dusted their imminent fifth album, due this autumn. Except they haven't. The title is among an undecided "shortlist of three", the tracklisting "isn't quite there" and they're still mixing and overdubbing extra bits as they think of them. It is, in fact, exactly the same nail biting scenario Q encountered in 2008 when visiting during the 11th hour stages of what became Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends.
"Yes, typical Coldplay fashion," laughs drummer Will Champion. "We're leaving it to the last minute. We'll keep going until it literally has to leave to get mastered and pressed. They'll have to wrestle it out of our hands."
Album five didn't start "in earnest", says Champion, until last March only to be scrapped and started afresh three months later. Early pledges by Martin that this record would be "acoustic" and 'subdued" fell by the wayside. "We're prone to saying things before we write an album that prove to be totally wrong," the drummer explains. "There came a point last summer when we realised we had different types of songs in various styles, so rather than make an album that's all stripped down we decided to throw everything into the one basket. It's true we scrapped stuff, but a lot of those songs became antecedents of what you'll hear on the finished album. It's all part of our musical evolutionary process."
While still based in The Bakery, their "secret" studio down a back alley in Hampstead, for this record they expanded their operations to a new rehearsal space over the road nicknamed The Beehive. "It's like an old village hall," describes Champion, "a big space where we can play together. Often when you're making an album you can become alienated from each other in a studio environment. The Beehive was a deliberate move to get us playing together so we could get a feel of how the songs would sound as a live band as we were recording, instead of waiting until the record was done and then going out on the road. Thursday nights were our Beehive nights. We'd be in there playing, almost like a gig. It was, literally, a hive of activity. We were all worker bees."
Recording between The Beehive and The Bakery, the album preserves the winning formula of Viva La Vida's production team including Markus Dravs, the group's regular soundmen Dan Green and Rik Simpson, and studio Midas Brian Eno. "For this album Brian's more of a collaborative writer than producer. He was with us more in the early stages when the songs were being created, though his influence is everywhere. He's omnipresent, even when he's not in the building he leaves his aura around for inspiration. Brian is great sewer of seeds whereas Markus is the farmer. He has amazing powers of concentration, way beyond ours."
June's preview single, Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, offered the first taste of what Champion promises to be a "vibrant" album, swinging its hips to salsa rhythm cribbed from Peter Allen's 1976 hit I Go To Rio via a dance remix first heard by Martin in the Mexican film Biutiful. Other confirmed songs include the U2-alike Major Minus, the acoustic ballad Us Against The World, Hurts Like Heaven (a likely single thumping to the echoes of Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark), the dubby Princess of China and instant classic Charlie Brown. "That was singled out very early on as a dead cert," agrees Champion. "At one point there was a lyric that alluded to Charlie Brown, the Peanuts character, but it's just a name, really."
Martin's previous comments about finding inspiration in the anti-Nazi resistance movement White Rose have indeed left an imprint. "There are a handful of songs on the album about trying to express yourself in a bleak world," confirms Champion. "A lot of Chris's lyrics refer to people standing up for themselves, even though they're being oppressed."
It should also please Adam Ant to learn that Coldplay have ditched Viva La Vida's "French revolution look" he insisted they'd stolen from him in favour of an '80s New York graffiti gang image, albeit one which this time round might raise a few eyebrows among the surviving members of The Clash. "Erm it does look a bit Clash, doesn't it?" blushes Champion. "When I saw the press shots the first thing I noticed was how much Chris looked like Joe Strummer."
Album Title: TBC
Recorded at: The Bakery and The Beehive, London
Producers: Coldplay, Rik Simpson, Markus Dravs, Brian Eno, Dan Green
Release Date: Autumn 2011
Featuring: Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, Charlie Brown
[TRANSCRIPT - thanks mimixxx]