The latest edition of NME featuring an update on Coldplay's LP5 has been on the shelves for about a week now, and in case you haven't read the full article yet (or can't get hold of the magazine) below is the full transcription.
Deep inside Coldplay's North London studio, The Bakery, Chris Martin sits surrounded by lists, or what he calls "obsessive compulsive disorder displayed, in the written form: the singer's job, I think." On desktops, on walls, on whiteboards, on bits of paper... everywhere you look is a list - a potential tracklisting, Brian Eno's 10 commandments - that has to do with Coldplay's forthcoming, as-yet-untitled (more lists) fifth album.
Firm details are scarce at present: the pool of songs has now been narrowed down from dozens and dozens, although Chris confirms that there is still "a lot of narrowing to do... which is better than trying to thicken. We were with Brian Eno for a long period just messing around. Now we're with Marcus (Dravs) trying to turn that into something cohesive and under seven hours long. The worst mistake we could make, when we're the Marmite-y of bands, would be to make a super-long thing..."
Dravs was brought in because of Arcade Fire. "When we were thinking about making the last record, I was talking to Win (Butler)," Chris says. "We'd just met with Brian Eno and he'd said, " We also need another person, because I like to do the sort of sowing of the seeds, the more abstract stuff, but we also need a woodchopper guy who's gonna organise everything.' Win said, 'You should try this Guy Marcus, he's crazy but he's really good."
Is he crazy? "No, he's wonderful, and he's extremely talented, but he's brutal: 'This is terrible', or 'This is great'. He's extreme. And he's been making such great work with everybody else. He cracks the whip a lot. One of the dangers of getting a bit successful is that no-one pushes you quite so hard. But we don't have that problem at the moment."
Plenty of ideas and concepts have been jettisoned, including one that came from drummer Will Champion, involving him standing up playing a bass drum and an acoustic guitar. "We started working on that idea for about three weeks," smiles bassist Guy Berryman, "then we all broke for Christmas, and we came back having seen the same TV show, with Mumford & Sons on it. And it was like, 'Oooooooooh no. That's got to go.'"
A couple of the songs from that period - including the Christmas Lights single - survived. There were loads that emerged from the soundchecks. Now there is a final 12... but all without titles. "We have a song called 'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall'," says Chris. "That's my favourite title, although I'm not sure which song it goes with. There's been about 12 different ones. It's like playing Snap. The original 'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall' was branded 'terrible' by the rhythm section, and so had to be dismissed. So even before we release anything to the world, it's been slagged off!"
Chris is more sure of the lyrical direction: "I found that with 'Viva La Vida...', the song I enjoyed writing from someone else's perspective to actually get out what I was feeling, I've got one song from a girl's perspective called 'Princess Of China' which is very female. I wonder what that says about me?"
Coldplay's return is set for spring, in time for a slew of festival headline slots (including their third Pyramid Stage top slot at Glastonbury, if rumours are to be believed). Chris recognises that the band cannot get much bigger in terms of audiences, saying that the aim with this album is "to sing to individual people in their bedrooms as much as a lot of people". He's aware that many will hate his band's new record whatever, but doesn't care anymore. "We still don't believe we've delivered our masterpiece, so we're still trying to do it. As long as we feel like that and we're hungry... that's all that matters."
Recorded: Coldplay's London home studio
Producer: Brian Eno/Marcus Dravs
Released: No date yet, expected spring
[20/01/2011] Chris Martin performing at Gary Barlow 40th birthday gig: