Coldplay ‘noodling’ their way towards LP6 – Jo Whiley interview

Backstage at Wednesday’s Brit Awards after picking up the prize for ‘Best British Live Act’, BBC Radio 2’s Jo Whiley caught up with Will Champion and Jonny Buckland, who spoke briefly about plans for what would be Coldplay’s sixth studio record. Asked about new material, Jonny hinted that there is a theoretical album in the works. Will went on to say: “Me and Jonny have been going into the studio just noodling; we go in and noodle for an hour and then go get a cup of tea or coffee! But no… there’s rumblings [of a new album].”

When Jo Whiley proposed that Coldplay’s next project could be more stripped-back and acoustic, as was the early plan for LP5, Will replied: “Yeah, that might be nice, actually. There’s only so far you can go without becoming pompous and a bit overblown, so we’ll tread that line very carefully. Reset. Recalibrate.”

Will Champion earlier commented that the band’s latest sessions were sounding ‘absolutely dreadful’, adding: “[It’s] garbage, abstract, avant-garde nonsense. So you shall never hear of it, even if we released it you’d never hear it.”

The Oracle also this week gave an indication of what’s currently happening, saying: “[Coldplay] are busy behind the scenes. They’re not in the full steam ahead mode just yet, but plans are being made and steps are being taken.”

On the Brit Award success, Will said: “It is just brilliant to win this (Best British Live Act) one because we did put an awful lot of effort in and it’s an amazing thing that so many people take the trouble to buy tickets and queue up, and every night is filled with people who are so willing to have a great evening. That for us was such a wonderful thing to be part of. We’re so happy to win it.”

Listen to the Jo Whiley interview with Will and Jonny at the Brit Awards 2013:

Over the last few weeks we have been inundated with comments on what you want the next album (and era) to contain. You can read the full discussion on LP6 (all 93 pages of it, and counting) at the Releases forum now. Read on and bring a little Coldplay Karma into your day…

Latest Coldplayer comments on the LP6 era:

“It’s absolutely dreadful. Garbage, abstract, avant-garde nonsense.” In other words, something that radiohead would make. I’m eager. [thanks guda4siempre]

Seems like there are some things happening behind the scenes. specially what Whiley said about her knowing that there are things to come. anyway, it seems like it will be a while until we get to know any official details about LP6. they don’t seem keen to give anything away, at least for now. maybe they don’t have anything concrete yet. anyway, i’m sure chris must have a bunch of songs that he has written already. he seems like the kind of guy who can work something up alone before bringing it to the others. [thanks gai]

I think LP6 should be radically different then MX era. I think it has to. How many people would be satisfied with MX 2.0? Coldplay got away with sort of making A rush 2.0 with X&Y, but even then, Coldplay had changed their entire live act into more of show rather than a ‘watch the band jam’ sort of thing they had going from 1999-2002. IMO, they need to increase the setlist to a reasonable 28-30 songs. They have a great number of hits on five albums (hopefully even more with LP6) and soon we will begin losing classics or entire albums are going to be forgotten like X&Y and Parachutes. But back on LP6, they need to remind the music world that they aren’t just a top 40 band and they are still the Viva/A Rush Band. Remember, Viva La Vida (the song) went number one and it was hardly mainstream. And MX, an album more suited for the top 40, didn’t have a song that made it to number one. So it shows you that the people are willing to buy good music. Now Coldplay just has to realize that and lose the synthesizers (To a point) and the electric beats and we are all good. [thanks Kingzilla]

The band really followed some interesting creative paths with VLVDAAHF that could have evolved further, but American pop, love it or hate it, hasn’t exactly added to that evolution, imo. I like large chunks of MX, but I don’t think it was a step forward musically. I hope they explore More diverse musical styles than just what’s on top of the US pop charts. I realize Rihanna, Jay-Z and that crowd are Chris’ friends, but I have great friends who make (IMO) crap music that has no influence on my creativity. Less ‘Hollywood’ and more homegrown sounds would make me VERY happy. (No offense to those who love these musicians, it’s just my opinion.) [thanks TracieMorgan]

Sometimes though I wish they’d do another simple piano song… Maybe another powerful ballad like The Scientist. I thought Wedding Bells was defs going to be on MX but I suppose they’re trying to move away from what they used to sound like. Not sure where the next album is going, but I wouldn’t mind them building on what they started with MX. I love how MX was an acoustic-electric fusion. The only other album I can think of with the same kind of balance is “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming” by M83. A collaboration between Coldplay and M83 would be a dream come true for me. [thanks DieProspekt]

I’ll obviously love anything that they decide to do. But, Coldplay are kind of the only band I love that aren’t punk, grunge or nu-metal or rock. So, I’d love it if they went a bit more rock, but kept the simple ballads, like Yellow. Y’know I’m not asking them to be Green Day mark 2.0 with a new version of American Idiot or whatever, but just that Coldplay would do something with more cool guitar chords and riffs, like in Violet Hill. Anyone else agree? [thanks Til_Kingdom_Come]

I’d prefer Coldplay to go down the road of cultured English folk music/tales. They can channel it pretty well as Cemeteries of London showed. There’s a rich vein of cultured music stretching way back to the middle ages within their own country to become inspired by. Not Rihanna, Jay Z or shit like that. [thanks howyousawtheworld]

Personally, I think The core ideas the boys are using haven’t changed at all. Sure their using more production in their songs, but that doesn’t mean a overly produced song is less of a song than say a song with only guitars, drums, base and vocals in it. They both still have emotion and energy in them. Dare I say MX is more “Energized” than Rush Of Blood? I would, imo. But in all seriousness, I don’t get why people degrade a song just because it has a lot of layers in it. It just gives the song a more “Filled” feeling, you know. That’s my two cents for the day. [thanks TecHniCoLoR_MX]

There are simply too many layers in MX songs. Especially Charlie Brown, Major Minus, and DLIBYH. Not a single song off MX sounds better in the studio version than live. MX just simply has a shorter shelf life than VLV or AROBTTH because of this. A song can sound great if there is a lot of complexity in little subtleties. Viva la Vida is an excellent example of that. But Charlie Brown, for example, just has a lot of unnecessary noise and production. I think Coldplay need to take Hurts Like Heaven and use it as a model for their new material. It is hands down the best song off MX because it’s very diversified and fresh– it is not repetitive at all, which is what I think sets it apart from fan favorites like Charlie Brown or DLIBYH or ETIAW etc. I honestly don’t know what to expect from LP6, but Coldplay, if you are returning to a previous sound, don’t do MX. But, at the same time, Coldplay are smart. I’m sure I’ll enjoy anything they put out. [thanks aschall]

I don’t see why we have to label an album as something. MX wasn’t just a pop album, it encompassed the old Coldplay acoustic sound, the Viva-fied wordless singalongs, the electronics of X&Y and a new direction. A couple of the riffs reminded me of A Rush of Blood songs, it wasn’t just a package of “We are Coldplay we are working with Rihanna now and wearing fluorescent clothes and we have lights and synths and guitars are gay”. They’ll do the same thing on the next album; they’ll incorporate bits of Coldplay that we love, bits that we didn’t think we’d see again, and influences that they haven’t shown us before. I find it slightly narrowminded that people want to box Coldplay up into “rock”, “pop”, “acoustic”, “good” or “bad”. If you want to box them, the word you’re looking for is “evolution”. LP6 will be as diverse as LP5. [thanks mrkjhnwht]

I have been very comprehensive with their experimentations and all, but I’m honestly done with the color splashes and with the fluorescent shoe laces. I did my best as a fan to follow and enjoy them throught MX, but give me love, give us a kiss or I’m going to close my doors to them until they find their “Let it be” state of mind. That’s my thoughts for LP6. [thanks Teco]

Well, I’m afraid the Oracle has brought us the unfortunate news that it will be a while before we hear anything at all about the new album or what it will sound like (at least, we won’t see it on Coldplay.com for a while). Hopefully, though, we’ll get some news via word-of-mouth from the band outside of the website. Some people need to go over to the studio in the coming months and see if there’s anything going on! Not to be persistent or overtly nosey or anything. Just to see if anyone’s around and, perhaps, if anyone’s available to talk! But make it a relatively brisk walk by the studio. Make it nonchalant and inconspicuous. If you happen to be/live in England, that is! Or just scrap that idea and wait and wait and wait until we have something new! *sigh* [thanks Rainy Day]

I like the idea of having a song with only Chris and his piano alone, but I think i’d like it even more if it were sort of a hidden song after a grand song. Similar with what they did with Everything’s Not Lost! I would also love another song that have rapidly delivered lyrics, listening to Anichrist Television Blues right now actually aha. I really hope they explore the more artful side of themselves, music similar to Viva and Arcade Fire. I use to really want an acoustic record, but lately, been dying for them to simply make whatever record they would want, an album filled with acoustic, heartfelt or stadium songs, whatever the case may be. [thanks ColdplayBlop]

My own wishlist, inspired by aschall’s one, sorry for copying you, but … I love the idea : – I want LP6 to have a Story, like Mylo Xyloto, because … I think it’s just epic. They could use the idea they scrapped during the recording of Mylo Xyloto and make a cartoon’s soundtrack; – I want to hear the voices of Guy and Jonny on LP6, because we have already heard Chris and Will singing abilities; – I want LP6 to sound like a Mix of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends and Mylo Xyloto, half Art Rock, half Electro Rock. – But i also want LP6 to have more pianos and acoustic guitars … Maybe a song with Will or Chris alone singing while playing guitar or piano. – I want Coldplay to make a symphony and include it to LP6’s tracklist … I know, 42 can be considered as a symphony … But, it’s too short, i want more ! – I want to hear Chris singing a song in French or Japanese … Sorry, it’s my patriot and otaku sides – But, i still think that a song with lyrics in two different languages is an interesting idea for LP6 … Maybe another duet ? – And … I want some hidden tracks, like the ones in Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends ! It was totally epic. [thanks KimPine]

Drifting off from the album title — who wants to guess this is the year we start to receive small bits of information on LP6? MX will be two by the end of the year, and aside from the gap between Parachutes and AROBTTH, each album has released every three years. I’d even venture to say we’ll have LP6 no later than Summer 2014. [thanks DundahMifflin]

Idk what else they could do that doesn’t isolate a part of their fan base. I mean, sure, there a little things they could change, but they’ve done so much in five albums. Parachutes they had acoustic music. AROBTTH had hard rock. X&Y had ballads and synth driven rock. Viva had an exotic feeling to it. MX was a more pop album with a touch of rock. What’s next? Jazz? Here’s the thing, I think they can go either three directions from here. Go full on pop. Start smashing the charts, and smashing our hearts. I doubt they do that though. They could go to their roots and do rock/acoustic stuff. Or they mix it up. I truly believe that’s the only way they could surprise us. Some people might disagree, and if so, please tell me a new genre for them to test. I hope they don’t experiment any more. I hope they find out what music they can play the best and make a masterpiece like they did with Viva and AROBTTH. An album to shut up critics for good. Maybe I’m being too opportunistic, but I think other then Arcade Fire, Coldplay is one of the only popular bands left who can make an album that can be considered one of the best albums ever. Let me put it this way. The closest two albums CP has done are Parachtues and AROBTTH. They are both rock, just one is more lighter then the other one. Is it a coincidence that AROBTTH is considered usually the best album with the biggest songs? Not everyone will agree, but the fact that they had been playing and writing that type of music for more than three years makes me believe that you cant pull out a Viva every new album. Sometimes you have to settle and master it. Rant over. [thanks (again) Kingzilla]

I really hope they just move on and improve(don’t want them to go back to things past), but I just think in terms of Bass and Drums I feel like Will and Guy haven’t really used their maximum capabilities. They can do a lot better than they did on Mylo. And I think that’s what people would like. [thanks 42JTR]
The B-Sides from A Rush of Blood to the Head are some of my favorite Coldplay songs, especially I Ran Away. I would love for Coldplay to go back to this sound, but at the same time, I want to see where they go forward. I think that this next album really needs to explore the musical spectrum, as a sort of combination, or rather, culmination of all their previous albums. Chris I believe needs to open his writing up and really attack the songs both emotionally and philosophically (as in lyrical content/message), Guy needs to expand on his attributes as Johnny (or Jonny) has done, and Will, well, his drumming at the end of Every Teardrop is a Waterfall proves that he can do quite a bit of masterful work. [thanks mvpgamer]

I just hope what they do next is balanced. I think MX the album is balanced, but the way it got represented in the singles and live favoured the “happy” songs by a lot. The thing about Politik, to follow that specific example, is that not only is its themery heavy, its musical style is also heavy. Which certain people might argue makes it have less mass appeal compared to a synth heavy track like Paradise which is not only more sing-along-friendly, its more time-relevant stylistically since that’s the kind of stuff “we” like to listen to nowadays. That said, I think Coldplay is certainly smart enough to make something that encompasses both sides of this spectrum, both on the album and song level. In fact, that’s indeed what they’ve been doing on the last two albums – even the happiest of the happy songs have pretty dark undertones in terms of where they come from: Hurts Like Heaven is about oppression, Charlie Brown is about a gang (sort of), ETIAW is about oppression too. A stylistic return to some of the dark stuff would be cool though. We had Major Minus and Moving to Mars as being the most reminiscent of AROBTTH; I’d definitely want more of that. Another thing – as posters above said, MORE BASS. I think every member of the band is coming out of their shell [as they said literally about Jonny] with their instrumentation. Which I hope will mean two things – continuance of their musically engaging material (HLH has SO MANY notes in the guitar solo, which is refreshing compared to Coldplay’s early material), and less use of backing tracks. I think it’s kind of telling that tracks like GPASYUF don’t actually have backing tracks – because the band is working full time to make stuff loud without having to use too much extra junk. Same goes for Everything’s Not Lost, Yellow, Life is For Living, Amsterdam; DAAHF and DLIBYH [well, there’s a couple of backing track things that are subtle on these two]. [thanks MosesTheMarshmallow]

Photos of Will Champion and Jonny Buckland at the Brit Awards 2013 (20th February):