Guy Berryman: “It’s just so much fun going on stage” (official Coldplay interview)
Hello Guy. How’s it going?
It’s going really well, thanks. I’m in Budapest right now, which is uncharted territory for me. It’s very exciting to be in a new country.
Will you have time for a look around?
Well, we’re leaving at 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon to go to Vienna, so I’m going to have the morning to hit some antique shops and some book shops and pick up as much clutter as I possibly can.
Is that your standard plan when you’re on tour?
It is. I bought a gramophone in Prague earlier today, as well as some photograph books by some Czech photographers. I like to try and find things that you can’t get in England.
Do you get home at the end of a long tour with boxes of stuff?
Yes, loads. Lots of books, particularly.
Does the gramophone you bought work?
It does indeed. I need to get some better records for it, though. The one I had it tested with was quite dirty and crackly.
Does it play 78s?
I think so, yeah.
Perhaps you should get on the phone to Parlophone and see if they can press up a special 78 version of Viva La Vida.
Actually, that’s not a bad idea!
So it seems like you’re taking an awful lot of pictures at the moment.
Absolutely. I take pictures everywhere I go, whether it’s on holiday or at home, just of anything that interests me. But I’m definitely planning on taking pictures until the end of this tour and then putting all the best ones together for some sort of publication. Whether that comes out soon or in ten years, I don’t know. We’ll have to see.
Presumably the band are quite relaxed when you’re around with your camera.
Exactly. So I get a lot of candid stuff that other people wouldn’t get.
What sort of camera do you use?
A Leicah M7. It’s a film camera.
Absolutely. You can’t beat it.
Do you wait until you get home to process the films?
Yeah, I generally shoot all the way through the tour, then when we get back I’ll drop all the films at the lab.
Must be quite exciting when you pick up a batch.
It is! It’s like Christmas morning.
Why have you stuck with film and not moved over to digital?
Just because I believe that with digital photography you take too many shit pictures that you put no thought or effort into taking. Plus, everyone takes pictures on digital these days, so it’s hard to take pictures which stand out as being different.
What’s this about you trying to take pictures with your feet?
Well, I haven’t quite managed it yet, but I’m trying to set up some cameras at the front of house which I can trigger remotely. I’m just modifying some infra-red stuff to put onto my foot pedals and take pictures from the back of the room whilst we’re all on stage. I think that’s just a few days away from being completed now.
Do you learn much from the photographers that take pictures of the band?
Not really. I think the best way to learn photography is to just do it. You can read books, but really it’s about practice, and seeing what different results you get from what different settings.
Do you have a favourite photographer?
There’s so many. I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of books on photographers. I take ideas from all of them, not just one person.
Is it something you’d like to do professionally?
To be honest, I’m enjoying being creative without having any pressure. I’m just taking pictures for myself. The idea of having a client and having to do photographs for a specific thing is not something which particularly appeals to me.
We see you guys had your friend Magne from A-ha on stage with you in Oslo. How did you all meet?
We met A-ha in Barcelona quite a few years ago and we’ve stayed in touch with them, particularly Mags. He’s always very hospitable to us when we come and visit Norway.
It looks like his version of Hunting High And Low with Chris went down incredibly well.
Oh, it did. Obviously it’s A-ha’s home crowd, so they were very receptive indeed.
And you formed Apparatjik with Magne to make a song for the Amazon programme. How did that come about?
It was actually the idea of a mutual friend of ours, Martin Terefe, who’s a producer. We wrote and recorded that song in a very small studio in Copenhagen in about three hours, so we were quite surprised to see it being received so well. I haven’t even heard the final version of it. And I’m still not sure how the band name is pronounced!
The other chaps have said this is the best tour Coldplay have done. Would you agree with that?
Yeah, it’s been going really well. Everyone’s been making the most of the cities that we’re in, the crowds have all been amazing and I think we’re playing together as well as we ever have done. It’s been really great. We’re in that phase where it’s just so much fun going on stage because we don’t have to worry about anything other than just enjoying it. You get that muscle memory thing where playing becomes almost a sub-conscious thing. It’s a really lovely feeling.
What sort of bass guitar do you use?
It’s a Fender Precision Bass. I have flirted with others, but you always go back to the one you love.
On past tours, the band have used sound-checks to work on new songs. Is that something you’ve been doing this time?
Not yet, because there’s actually still a few songs that we’ve already recorded which we’re trying to work out how to play. So we haven’t quite got to the stage of working on brand new stuff yet. I think there’s also a danger of trying to write too much when you’re on tour, because you go into the studio with these pre-conceived ideas of how it’s going to sound, which can be quite stifling when you come to being creative in the studio. So I’m hoping we actually avoid that a little bit this time.
We hear from #42’s blogs that you’ve been playing Oasis songs instead.
Yeah, Oasis did make an appearance the other day. AC/DC quite often gets played too. And we muck about with various other things – I might play the drums and Will will play the bass and we’ll play some Stone Roses or something.
Sounds like you’ve been having fun.
Yes, I think it’s fair to say we’re all having a jolly old time.
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