As part of Coldplaying's Erasmus boat trip excursion for Coldplay's Christmas Lights video last month, Coldplay roadies Matt McGinn and Miller, along with fifth member Phil Harvey were able to provide some excellent online Q&A to Coldplayers who were on the boat (and some who weren't). Second up to answer our questions, is Coldplay's 'fifth member, Phil Harvey, who talks about LP5 & the recording process, memorable Coldplay moments, song archives... and more! You can discuss the Q&A here at the Coldplay forum. Read on for Phil Harvey's answers... [thanks Debs Wild]
Q. What things you've done, in your opinion, probably had the biggest influence on the band?
A. My first act as manager was to book out Dingwalls (venue in North London) and put on our own show. We made 1500 pounds and used the money to record and manufacture our first CD, the Safety EP. That gave Coldplay a bit of momentum – after that, they were too good not to succeed...
Q. Chris told us they nearly cancelled the Rock am Ring/Rock im Park shows and said it was "a long story". Could you give us a hint? If it's more of a secret that shouldn't be on the Internet, then of course you don't have to react to the question
A. There was an unexpected family issue. Nothing bad. It just gave us a bit of surprise.
Q. What was the most memorable/pleasant/enjoyable moment for you, concerning Coldplay? Phil, Germany
A. The whole of the last South America tour was amazing. The Grammys in 2009 was a big high.. Or supporting U2 at Slane Castle in 2001.
Q. Will LP5's tour be themed, like VLV's military jackets? - Christina
A. Hmmm im not sure if it’ll be ‘themed’… but I hope we succeed in creating a bit of a different world so that it doesn’t feel like just another concert.
Q. There have been lots of different dates quoted for the release of the next album. The most recent is 'late 2011' from the Jan 2011 Q mag article - since this is based on a very recent interview with you guys, are we able to assume that this date is correct?
A. I really woudn’t believe anything that the band say about the new album yet. The songs, title, potential release date change from day to day. I’d be disappointed if we don’t release it by the end of next year though
Q. Chris has previously mentioned that the new album has a different feel to VLV and will be better suited to smaller live venues. Given the popularity of the band this would seem to = a very long tour of small venues or a lot of disappointed people due to small venue capacities! Has a plan for the tour been developed further (obviously we have just seen a number of festival shows announced)?
A. I think what chris meant by that was that he was trying not to think about playing gigs in enormous stadiums – a) because we don’t take it for granted that we can sell tickets for big venues like that b) because it can be artistically restrictive if you start thinking about what will sound good in front of 100,000 people.
Q. Is the song writing / recording process for the new album different to that for VLV?
A. Brian Eno was more involved in the songwriting for this album.
Q. Can we expect to hear any new songs at the upcoming Crisis gigs? - Ian Richardson.
A. We’ll be playing Christmas Lights tonight for sure. You might even see my debut performance onstage – as a violin-playing Elvis… no songs from new album though.
Q. How would you describe each band member using 5 adjectives for each? Doesn't have to be all the positive ones - Milan from Nis,Serbia
A. Jonny – wise, kind, gentle, magical, fragrant; Will – strong, loving, dapper, bearded, witty; Chris – loyal, mercurial, hyper-energised, passionate, agile; Guy – handsome, mysterious, hospitable, busy, buff
Q. Well I was curious if any of the guys keep their own personal tour diary? We get perspectives from Roadie 42, the oracle, and anchorman, but I wanted to know if they ever wrote down their own memories just for themselves not to be shared with the public. Do ya'll do the same? Maybe not necessarily a tour diary but when something momentous happens, do you write it down? – Kimberly
A. Not that I know of…they’re always thinking of the next thing
Q. Who was Prospekt? Always thought it was you, Phil. - Jack Zoldos
A. Now that would be telling…
Q. How’s the work with Upbeat coming along, and are you achieving what you hoped from working with them?
A. Upbeat is a great charity and I’m very proud of the work they do. It’s very small and modest in scale but I think it makes a big difference to the people who use the service (it’s for people with mental illness who want to make music).
Q. "Violet Hill" was apparently named after a road which happens to be very close to Abbey Road. Many Coldplayers (including myself) have now visited the little park there as a kind of Coldplay 'pilgrimage', passing the Abbey Road studios on the way. Is there any significance other than Violet Hill's proximity to Abbey Road, and have any members of the band actually been there for any reason? – Mark Cox
A. I think that's where Chris was when the song came to him
Q. My question is a bit selfish, but I was wondering if you'd be able to give any advice to someone looking to work in the music industry, particularly in the more administrative/managerial side of things, in the coming years. I'm just about to graduate university, and I'm deciding what steps to take next in order to get closer to my dream of working for a band much as you all do, and was wondering if you had any advice. Thanks! - Chelsea Gilchrist
A. I honestly don’t know what to say. I’ve been friends with Chris since we were 13 years old and we always planned to be in a band together. I’ve got no idea how we actually got to where we are today…
Q. When you and the band first started out all those years ago, did you have any indication that they were destined for very, very big things? Was it purely four guys making some music and having a bit of fun, or did you yourself 'feel' that something else really amazing was brewing under the surface at that time?- Kara Thomas
A. I always believed in them. From the very first rehearsal.
Q. What is your most memorable experience working with Coldplay so far? - Deshani
A. That’s tricky… maybe meeting Debs Wild for the first time in 1998. That’s when I had the first glimpse that we might actually get a record deal. It was very very exciting… we owe her everything.
Q. Amsterdam is my favourite ever Coldplay song. It has great personal meaning for me and I wonder why the band never performs it live anymore? I know it is many fans favourite song. Is the rumour true that Chris can’t quite hit the really high notes after the surgery he had on his throat? Or are they just over it and have therefore retired it? Sorry if it’s a silly question, but I have always wondered. – Lucy Bellamy
A. Hahaha I hadn’t heard that about chris’ voice. I think his range is actually better than ever. I reckon there’s a good chance Amsterdam will be in set lists on the next tour.
Q. Are the clothes of the boys in the Christmas lights video going to be used in the next era/tour?
A. No, they were a one off
Q. Will all the latin american fans have to wait 2 years after touring is done ( as in 2007 and 2010) to Coldplay coming back to Latin America in tour? - Juan Manuel Fontes
A. We haven’t made any firm plans for touring yet. But personally speaking… I’d like to get back to Latin America asap
Q. What is the inspiration behind the ‘Christmas Lights’ video and is this theme central to the new album? - Marcus J.D. Lambert
A. We wanted to create a sort of magical theatre. Influences were Terry Gilliam, George Melieres, London
Q. What kinda things do you still have in the Coldplay archives. Like recordings of early unreleased songs and various pieces of band history. And do you think it will ever see the light of day? - mitchel johns
A. There must be dozens of unfinished songs. I remember a lovely song called Famous Old Painters from Viva recording sessions. We finished the mix and I loved it but it still hasn’t seen the light of day.
Q. What would Phil, Miller and Matt each like for christmas? - emily parker
A. I would like loads of snow on the ground at my parents’ farm in Devon (where I’ll be for Christmas)
[thanks to Coldplay's fifth member Phil Harvey for answering our questions!]
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