Coldplay probably can't get any bigger, so instead they're trying to get better.
In a chat with The Jakarta Post before their Singapore concert, Will Champion, who plays drums for the band, said, "Our goal is trying to improve in our next project. You can't judge *the success of* an album by the number of awards and sales. So what we do is we make better concerts, better videos."
Champion, who prefers to describe himself as a being in a band rather than as a drummer, told the Post that when planning their fourth album, Viva La Vida, the band sat together in their London headquarters, called The Bakery, to "try to do something that no one has ever done before". He admitted that the challenge to stay original gets harder and harder with changes in the way people listen to music.
"After our third album, everything got really big and it was out of our control," he said. "So for the fourth album, we wanted to gain more control over it. We're trying to feel like a new band again, like we were 10 years ago when we just started. We did everything on our own, doing our own demo, our own flyers."
Champion said he was pleased that the four band members kept their hand in to create an integrated look and feel for the production of Viva La Vida, which included designing their album sleeves, photographs, video clips and the band's cavalry-style costumes which they wear for every show, photo shoot and public appearance.
As for their cool new outfits, Champion proudly said, "You like it, yeah? There's no label to it. We designed them ourselves and got our friends who know what they're doing to make them." The band is determined to wear them in Singapore despite the heat. "Anything for style?" the Post asked. "Exactly," Champion answered firmly with a smile.
One of their latest, and most interesting, music videos, "Life In Technicolor ii", had Coldplay represented by puppets. "We're not actors, so when we can make good videos without showing the band, that's great," Champion said. "I think some of our best videos are the ones without us in it." He delightfully added, "We deliberately made Guy's *the bassist* puppet the ugliest because he's the most handsome member of the band."
For the first time in the band's touring history, Champion sang, performing "Death Will Never Conquer". So how does he like singing? "It's scary really. I prefer to stay behind my drums." And did the band's frontman offer some singing tips? Will shook his head and laughed, "No, nothing from Chris."
He wasn't quite so clear on why Coldplay have never made it to Jakarta, even though they've performed in Singapore three times. "I don't know, you know," he answered after a thoughtful pause. "There are so many places that we want to go but we're not able to do so until now. Otherwise we would never stop touring. But sometimes it is a matter of our production, too. It's difficult to squeeze our production into smaller buildings. So we'd rather wait until we get the right venue rather than doing it for the sake of doing a concert."
As Champion said, "The music never stops." So when Jakarta can accommodate Coldplay's mega-production requirements and, more importantly, ensure their safety, then we'll have a greater chance of seeing them here.
Coldplay's Viva La Vida - Prospekt's March edition, a deluxe package consisting of the Viva La Vida album and the Prospekt's March EP, is available at music stores now.
Recent pictures from Coldplay's Singapore concert: