Before Coldplay's final festival performance of the summer at Rock In Rio, Chris and Jonny did a round of interviews which were recorded for radio. During one presented by TheMusicPimp, they talked about working with Rihanna, their 'transition to pop' as the interviewer put it, as well as Brian Eno, spraying walls, and more on the concept of Mylo Xyloto. You can listen to and download the full audio interview at the multimedia forum via SoundCloud now. Below is the article as transcripted. Most of the boring bits like the ID introductions have been taken out. [thanks jeremyy]
Chris referred to the album as "Mylo". "We really believe in the album as a format, because it's so hard to get people to listen to whole albums now. But we thought, 'who cares', Let's just try and make a really complete album, which has a journey from the start to the finish. If you want to find a story through it you can, and if you don't, then you don't have to. It's like a half-concept album."
When asked about what the journey was about for this album, Chris said: "Every album is like a diary entry really, as much as you try and disguise it with characters and themes and concepts, it's really just about how you're feeling about the world. I would say this one [Mylo Xyloto] has a bit more optimism than before [Viva la Vida] and more of an idea of togetherness, tackling the issues in life with the people you love. That's kind of the theme." Jonny added: "[On this record] we were more free to try anything, more free to try and express feelings of happiness."
Chris said: "We have nothing to lose now, we're really an old band. So we thought fuck it, let's just try anything we like. That reflects in the way we play [the songs], one of the important things for a band to do as they carry on is really rely upon the chemistry of everybody and not just rely upon the singer or just the guitarist. Everybody has to make their contribution."
"Mylo Xyloto can be anything you want it to be. When you look at graffiti artists, nobody uses their real name, using a new name to express their real feelings. So we came up with that name as an alter-ego for the band. It doesn't really make any sense, I know."
"There's two ideas for characters on the record which is a boy and a girl in a big urban environment, which is scary and oppressive. It's two souls trying to meet and get through life together. It's a very simple idea. Maybe because we spend so much time travelling from city to city, there can be a loneliness about travelling, so maybe there's bits of that coming through."
Regaring similarities on the Latin American influence of Viva la Vida: "Always in the middle of recording now, we try and put a tour of Latin America in. We've done it twice before on the last two records, half way through recording coming to Brazil and Argentina, Mexico etc." Jonny added: "This album completely changed direction because of that [last] tour. We were going very acoustic and quite small at first and then that tour changed our mind about what we wanted to do."
When asked how the audiences are responding to the new songs at the festivals, Chris commented: "We don't have a favourite song [from this era]. We thing they are all awesome and all terrible. Most of the audience leave. I don't know, it's hard for me to tell. When you're on stage you can't really tell what anyone is thinking. It's hard to know whether people are happy or angry! But as long as they're there you can't be doing too much wrong." Jonny adds: "We once played a gig in Barcelona where we thought everyone was having an amazing time; they were shouting at us and cheering. And then at the end of the concert the promoter came up to us and said that you need to apologise - half of the speakers weren't working and nobody could hear what you were doing! Everyone was shouting, 'We can't hear, we can't hear!'"
"[brian Eno] He's a mystery man. If you know Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter, in both of those books there is a wizard who in both stories appear and do some magic, and then disappear. And then appear again, do something crazy and disappear again. That's just how Brian Eno is, when you're working with him. You don't really know what he's talking about, but he just makes magic and leaves you to try and make sense of it. Like a professor or a teacher. He makes it very fun in the studio - he brings a lot of freshness and excitement. When we first met him to work with him we were feeling a little depressed about what we do and where we're going as a group. Brian just removed all of those worries and made us enjoy just playing in a circle together. He plays in the circle also with his keyboards, and starts in a very simple level. That's his favourite thing to do - just play and play."
Inspiration for Us Against The World came from a friend of Chris going through a difficult time with drugs. He said: "It's a song about friendship and trying to help somebody through something." On working with Rihanna, Chris told them: "That was terrible. She's awful. No, this was the kind of thing we learnt from Brian Eno, in that if you love someone's work.. we would never have asked Rihanna to work on an album with us because it's like two different worlds, but this song arrived one day from wherever songs come from, and I thought 'That would sound really great if Rihanna sang it. But I didn't think it was possible. But then we were talking about it as a band as we were working on the track for a while, and I was singing both the boy part and the girl part, and it just didn't sound good enough, when I was trying to sing like Rihanna. So eventually we lost our fear and met her in Las Vegas at a New Year's show and asked her in the same way you'd ask a girl to dance when you're 17. I was nervous. She said, 'Okay,' and that's how it happened, and we're very grateful."
I don't know why. Part of us thinks that everyday someone will tap you on the shoulder and say 'Okay, the joke is over, we fooled you for all those years when you thought you were a famous band.' Because no-one really believes that they're great. We try our hardest to make things that we think people will respond to, and things that are honest about human emotions, that's probably why we have a lot of people who hate what we do, because sometimes what we're singing about doesn't resonate with what they're thinking. But we made a decision in 1999 to never try and be cool ahead of trying to be honest. Which means we've never been the coolest band in the world but we do sing like how we truly think. We're not pretending. It's hard, because it's very easy to attack that kind of music as well, so sometimes it's tempting to really bury your emotions and make clever music."
When Chris and Jonny were asked about their 'transition to pop', they responded: "We're just making what we want to make. We were making what we wanted to make back in 1999, and we're doing the same thing now. Yellow is probably our most pop song, and that's on our first record. Maybe. We don't want to keep making the same record, so some people like one record, some people like another record. It's a bummer if someone doesn't like where you've gone but we're just trying to follow what we like. Our first priority is to make something that sounds cool. We don't worry about what genre it fits into."
On their 'beautiful relationship with art', as the interviewer put it, Chris said: "Especially now with the internet, visuals and music are so permanently connected and we also just disovered making paintings and spraycans and just expressing ourselves a bit with colours and paints, as well as with music. We're not very good artists, but we get a good release when you've been recording and you just go and spray a wall or paint over a great picture (as we did on our last album). So they're all wrapped up in the same 'creative day.'"
New photos of Coldplay @ Rock In Rio festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (1st October 2011):
More photos available via Rock In Rio @ Flickr now.