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Article/interview: Jonny


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Coming at it fresh


After their last album and tour, Brit rockers were ready to try something new



After finishing their Twisted Logic tour behind their 2005 smash album X&Y, British rock band Coldplay sort of took a page from U2 in deciding to branch out sonically for their fourth album.


In fact, the band ended up working with acclaimed producer Brian Eno who produced Bono and company on 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind and their upcoming, as-yet untitled studio album.




Coldplay guitarist Jonny Buckland says Eno's presence definitely had a hand in the band's latest Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.


"He kind of had an influence on the psychology of it if that makes any sense, of how to create an album," Buckland says prior to a Philadelphia show last Friday.


"It's not like he sits there and makes you get the right drum sound. He's much more interested in the broader strokes of production. It's not that he doesn't have ideas about drums sounds, but he's an incredible fountain of ideas."


The group -- Buckland, singer/pianist Chris Martin, drummer Will Champion and bassist Guy Berryman -- began working on the record during a Latin American tour in early 2007. But Buckland says all blueprints used in creating previous albums such as A Rush of Blood to the Head and Parachutes were tossed out the window.


"We wanted to be as economical as possible with the time and the instrumentation and the only things that we really, really liked got on," he says. "So we stripped everything else away but I hope it has a sense of place and well as space. Everything was kind of written with a visual change in mind, like writing a score for a film but without the film. We wanted it to be a story with different colours and moods."


According to Buckland, the band wanted it to be around 45 minutes long, something they wanted to stick to regardless.


"We decided that with X&Y, but (we) listened to some other people and everybody wanted a different song on there," he says. "If you please everybody you end up pleasing less of yourself. So this time we decided we would have this big struggle at the end where we decided which songs would go on it."


Buckland also says he went into Viva La Vida with a clean bill of health. Prior to making X&Y, the guitarist suffered from tendonitis.

"It was actually a bit of a nightmare to record and to tour," he says. "Six months or so before we started this one I had an operation and it completely cured it so I was given a new lease on life really."

Coldplay's current North American tour, which hits Toronto and Montreal this week, is also making waves for its rather interesting staging concept. Unlike most acts which use one end of the arena to perform, the group is playing in various areas of each venue.


"It was to break the barrier between us and the audience and to make people feel as involved as possible," Buckland says. "We've been to quite a lot of different arena shows and to be quite honest I find a lot of them quite boring after a certain amount of time because you want to see something different. So we try and move around and use the space as much as possible and get people who would normally have to sit 100 metres away and include them."




And as for the new material, Coldplay perform a good chunk of the record live. Buckland says he's quite surprised at how well Chinese Sleep Chant fares and Lost! comes off in concert.


"I think it works the best of anything of the new ones really," he says of Lost!. "But you never really know when you get to a live arena and things that you thought were sure things just sound rubbish. But Lost! is something that really has worked."


Viva La Vida also went to the top of the charts both in the U.S. and Britain, something Buckland admits they pay attention to.

"Yeah, every day," he says with a laugh. "I would like to be cool and say no but we do. I think we ignore it when it's not doing as well."



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