Coldplay are on their grind. They’ve been giving the mainstream media an all out assault and they’ve even gotten positive Pitchfork play…which is weird. Ryan Dombal had a nice chat with Chris Martin and during the interview Chris explained some of the work flow process with Producer Brian Eno.
Chris Martin: …So we were like, “Fuck it, we’ll make a record that really reflects what we listen to, and it doesn’t matter what category it comes from.” And that was part of Brian Eno’s philosophy: You have to ignore all the noise around you and just have as much fun as possible when you’re in that room for the 300 days of the year when no one is watching. It’s not about who sold the most records as much as it’s about who’s enjoying their Thursday. He helped us to enjoy being in a band rather than just feeling under pressure to keep share prices up.
So Brian wrote to us right after the last album came out and said, “You need to get back in the studio because we can go further.” Which was a nice way of saying, “You can do better.” Brian doesn’t work with many people, so if he wants to work with you, you want to do it.
Pitchfork: What was your experience like working with Eno on this album?
CM: First and foremost, we do anything he says. [laughs] That goes a long way with him. So I’m secretly using him as much as he thinks he’s using us, you see– by letting him do whatever he wants, we’re actually gaining.
He’s very mercurial– he’ll come in for a few days and then disappear. On the last album, I would come to him and be like, “Here’s the song and here’s all 28 bits to it.” But this time, Eno said to me, “You need to fuck off for a bit, and then the end result will be much more about the chemistry of the band than the ramblings of a dictator.”
He worked with everyone in the band one-on-one– except for me– just to make new sounds and get their confidence up. [Guitarist] Jonny [Buckland] is a naturally shy person, but after spending time with Brian, he was much more prepared to take the lead role once we started putting songs together, which was great news for me. [laughs]
Around our third record, X&Y, we all got a bit musically shy and probably made an error in terms of going for size over interestingness. That album sold well and had a lot of songs we really liked, but in terms of playing together as a band, we were relying too much on Pro Tools and using it as more of an examiner instead of as an instrument. A lot of people making records around 2004 were editing too lightly, even something like [R.E.M.’s] Around the Sun is guilty of that.
But when Brian came in, he was like, “You all need to sing together.” His favorite thing to do is sing a cappella, so we really clicked by singing old gospel songs in the mornings before we’d start work. We were just so happy to have a teacher, someone to remind us of the joy of everything. He’s so inquisitive and he’s not afraid of failure, which is major thing if you’re an established artist. He doesn’t give a shit if he plays something ridiculous for two hours, because maybe after two hours and three minutes, one nugget of coolness comes out– and we’re very willing to play and play until that happens.
On this album, the song with Rihanna, “Princess of China”, started out acoustic, with no drums and all the boys just playing in a circle. And then little noises start coming out that gave the song its identity. Everything on this record went through that process. (More @Pitchfork)