Oracle round-up: Atlas, sacking Will, musicians in the dark and more…

More questions answered by The Oracle… (circa. 4700! questions now answered – submit yours now!)

September 12, 2013 – submitted by Delivia, Indonesia
Q. What will you choose your family or your dream?
The Oracle replies:
I assume we’re talking family in the sense of Mum, Dad, siblings. Obviously if you’re a parent, you have to consider your children but your dream may provide them with the best life opportunities so it would be a compromise but if possible, never a sacrifice. Personally, I have to say – as selfish as this sounds – dream. I think the main thing is to live the life you choose but always with consideration for others – family, friends, everyone.

September 12, 2013 – submitted by Karen , Mexico
Q. Hi Oracle! Do you know if Chris read The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to write Atlas? I think this song really reflects Katniss’ feelings over the book.
The Oracle replies:
Well, as I mentioned t’other day, this isn’t a case of a previously available song being selected for the film, it’s a brand new track written specifically for Catching Fire. With that in mind, I’m not sure how Chris (or anyone) could ever write a track for a book to film adaptation without reading it. What I’m saying is, knowing him as I do, I don’t need to ask him to know that the answer is yes.

September 12, 2013 – submitted by Carlos,
Q. Hola querida Oracle. Is it ridiculousness to move to London with nothing and try to have a music career over there? I choose London because I believe my music would be more appreciated over there.
Where do you think is better to start a music career, London or L.A.?
The Oracle replies:
I actually think the best place to start a music career is in your home town city. Performing on your local circuit is very important. I think once you have started to build a fan base you can progress. Get yourself known for where you’re from has certain appeal. Think Arctic Monkeys, R.E.M, Oasis and countless others who started at the roots before they branched out – like my botanical analogy? For me, the step of a huge move to London or L.A should only be once you’ve established yourself and have a great sense of your identity based on the place you’re from. It’s a huge part of the writing experience – write about what you know. I can only speak of London as I live there but it’s is very expensive and incredibly tough to break into music from nothing. Here’s what I’d be asking myself: Where would I play? Why would anyone book me to play? Who would come and see me? Why? How would they hear about me? Who would play my music? Or write about it? Or buy it? How would I fund my move? My living expenses? My music? I know there are many artists/bands who get their big break from their careers starting at college/university so if that’s an option it could work. To move solely for the purpose of your music is a massive risk and a huge financial commitment. I’m all for taking a leap into the great unknown but as you can start sharing your music online these days it makes sense to wait a while – it may well be that Germany or Japan appreciate your music more.

September 11, 2013 – submitted by Jayymes, Australia
Q. Hey Oracle! I was at the concert in Sydney 17 November and Chris said something about ‘showing your Beyonce fingers’ when Princess of China was playing? I don’t know, probs heard it wrong haha.
The Oracle replies:
Sounds like you sort of heard right actually, though I think he said “give me your Beyonce hands” rather than fingers. Unless it was the hand flicking she did in her Single Ladies video I don’t know what the move is. FYI: He didn’t mention Beyonce’s hands at he 2nd Sydney show the following night.

September 11, 2013 – submitted by Kaylie, United States of America
Q. Did Chris have to learn to ride a unicycle for the Paradise video?
The Oracle replies:
No, he already knew how to ride one.

September 11, 2013 – submitted by Walker, United States of America
Q. Dear Oracle, If you were sitting in a theater that had all of its lights off and you heard two people playing piano and one them happened to be Chris Martin, would you be able to decipher between the two?
The Oracle replies:
I’d like to think yes. If they were both playing the same thing and I knew that one of them was Chris that is! I think it’s easier to decipher guitarists and sometimes drummers. Jonny certainly has a very distinctive sound and style. Outside of the band I reckon I’d easily be able to spot Prince on guitar, Flea (from Red Hot Chili Peppers) on bass & even Phil Collins on drums.

September 10, 2013 – submitted by Forrest , United States of America
Q. When Chris plays older songs (Shiver/Scientist/See You Soon/etc.) does he try to emotionally put himself where he was when he wrote the song? And if not, how does he sing with so much passion and sincerity during every performance? Thank you Oracle!
The Oracle replies:
Funnily enough, the songs you mention aren’t actually that personal – emotionally speaking – to Chris these days. The Scientist certainly isn’t autobiographical in the first place. I’m quite sure that Fix You will always be a song that’s easy to evoke the emotion rather than be in the original one. I’d wager that certain melodies and lyrics would be hard to sing any other way. There are many people who have the same raw emotion and find it difficult to sing certain songs- Amy Winehouse was visibly affected by some of her tracks from Back to Black.

September 10, 2013 – submitted by Patrick, United States of America
Q. Dear Oracle, I have a question about two of Coldplay’s album covers. For A Rush of Blood, I either see the cover with the band and title written sideways or I see it without any writing at all. For Mylo Xyloto, sometimes it is shown with MX on a plain gray background or I see the one with the colorful background with Mylo Xyloto written out. Wouldn’t it be better marketing to have one, universal cover for an album, such as with Parachutes or X&Y? Thanks for your time! Patrick
The Oracle replies:
As far as I know, there is only 1 official sleeve per album. Sometimes there may be a slight difference for limited editions, tour editions etc. The Mylo album did have a choice of 2 covers from the 1 booklet. You could pick which image you wanted on show by reversing it.

September 10, 2013 – submitted by Lynnaya , Bulgaria
Q. Via twitter: Do Coldplay like all their songs?
The Oracle replies:
There are some songs that the band no longer like but did at the time of writing or recording. To give you an example, Chris thinks Ode to Deodorant is “shit” and half of the band don’t like to perform Speed of Sound. As a whole, they’re not entirely happy with X&Y in retrospect but I’m sure we all go phases of like/dislike.

September 9, 2013 – submitted by Salete, Brazil
Q. Dear Oracle: The new song Atlas (beautiful and perfect) is based on Greek mythology? Coldplay is using Greek mythology as inspiration for the next album? PS: I love this idea.
The Oracle replies:
Atlas is a standalone track written for The Hunger Games’ 2nd cinematic installment soundtrack and its lyrics relate to that. Without giving too much away, the title Atlas relates to the weight of the world the main character carries – that’s the only Greek mythology link. The song was inspired by the book/film and written specifically for Catching Fire. Being a one off, it’s not an indication of album 6 – not that I’d discuss that yet of course…

September 9, 2013 – submitted by Sophia, Brazil
Q. Asked via twitter: @sofiaiwaszewicz Can they recognize a Coldplay fan by distance without them even showing it?
The Oracle replies:
I noticed you tweeted that you flooded Coldplay with questions and said you knew you had no hope of an answer. SURPRISE! You can’t tell who is a Coldplay fan just by looking unless they are wearing a band t-shirt or customized clothes. Obviously if they are at a gig they’re easier to spot. That said, there are fans that the band recognize by sight. Myself, staff and crew also spot people who we have seen before at various gigs, TV show tapings etc. Some we know by name.

September 9, 2013 – submitted by Sydney, United States of America
Q. Darling Oracle, please help me! I have a friend that I would give the world for. He is going through a tough time in his life with school, parents, and family. I promised him that I would always be there for him no matter what would happen to him, but just recently he moved to Tennessee, and the only way I can contact him is through hand-written letters (I don’t have a phone…)! My question to you is, how can I possibly be his shoulder to cry on if I live across the country with almost no means of contact with him? I love this kid, and I don’t want anything to happen to him! Please help!
The Oracle replies:
If your friend hasn’t got the Internet at home he could always use computers at his local library where you could chat online or at least send emails. If he has it at home, you could chat online face to face with your preferred video calling application. There are still public pay-phones so you could call him from one of those – get a phone card to keep an eye on your call budget. Do write him letters too as I am sure they will brighten his day and after all, this is how people used to communicate in the days before telephones and the world wide web. Maybe you include a photo every now and then. Letter writing is a dying art so it would be nice to keep it alive and has a personal touch you can’t quite recreate online. Hopefully he’ll make new friends too and will have their support as well as yours.

September 5, 2013 – submitted by Helen, Australia
Q. Dear Oracle, Do you think Coldplay would still be where they are now (in terms of success and “making it” as a band) if they kept the name Starfish?
The Oracle replies:
I’d certainly hope so! It really shouldn’t matter what a band is called and plenty bands with terrible names have been successful. People do see past a name especially when the band are backing it up with amazing songs. Plenty of folk think Oasis a bad band name but who cares? Of course I feel a hypocrite because I hate(d) the name Starfish but I have no doubt that upon hearing Bigger Stronger any feelings of negativity over it would have evaporated.

September 5, 2013 – submitted by Daliah, United States of America
Q. Does Coldplay have certain lessons or morals or a background to all of their songs?
The Oracle replies:
No songs are preaching in any way so rather than lessons, I’d rather go with messages. Many of the songs reflect real life & feelings that people can relate to but of course there are powerful lyrics in some tracks that are very definitely saying something worth listening to – How You See The World No. 2 springs to mind immediately.

September 5, 2013 – submitted by Jonah, United States of America
Q. Dear Oracle, Why is the band always rushed to and plane or hotel after every concert? Any reason in particular or just because they like being out before the crowd is?
The Oracle replies:
Can you imagine the traffic with 60-80,000 people all leaving a stadium at the same time? There are also time restrictions of some flights where take off must be before midnight or the plane will be grounded. It just makes perfect sense to leave before the crowds. I remember once flying over the venue a good half hour after leaving (that was because the airport was very close – it’s not usually that fast) and still the streets were blocked with cars and people. It takes quite a long time to empty a stadium.

September 4, 2013 – submitted by Andreea via twitter, United Kingdom
Q. Did the band members ever make a major wrong decision w/ the potential to ruin their future& hopes? How did they cope w/ it?
The Oracle replies:
The first bad decision was to call themselves Starfish but they rectified that of course. I jest of course. Or do I? There was one huge bad decision that Chris made a very, very long time ago. To be fair, he was under a lot of pressure and it was a panic decision. It has been reported so I’m not speaking out of turn but Chris booted Will out of the band temporarily. Thankfully it didn’t last long and he begged him to return which luckily for all of us, he did. Yay!

September 4, 2013 – submitted by Travis, United States of America
Q. Oracle, what do you think would be the opening song of a hypothetical musical that consisted of only coldplay music? What song do you think would close the show?
The Oracle replies:
Ooh I like this! IF ever anyone ever did write a Coldplay musical hopefully it would be a long-standing one like We Will Rock You rather than the ironically titled Viva Forever. Personally I spent about 2 seconds thinking of my response to this question as it seemed like a no-brainer. That is to say there are only 2 contenders in my eyes (ears?). Opener – Politik, Closer – Everything’s Not Lost. Maybe I should go and write it…

September 3, 2013 – submitted by Greg, United States of America
Q. The band played Glastonbury in 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2011 to kickstart that campaigns for the albums released in those years. This beckons (yes, I use this word because of the song AROBTTH, used incorrectly?) the question of why Viva was left out. There was a festival that year, and it would’ve been a banger of a show. Was it simply because they weren’t invited, or did they choose to not go?
The Oracle replies:
Although the band played Glastonbury the years you mention, it’s not quite as you say. They certainly didn’t play because they had albums due out but it made sense to play when they did have new music coming. Their first appearance was in 1999 (first band on the Sunday on the John Peel Stage / new bands tent). The following year they were invited to play the Second Stage and yes, it was good timing with the release of their debut album, Parachutes (July). Their first headline in 2002 was initially an invite for Saturday but they were keen to close the first night. Coldplay felt very strongly about not headlining too soon. In fact, Michael & Emily Eavis persuaded the band to take the top spot as they were rather reluctant. 2002 was an interesting year because AROBTTH was behind schedule. Its release was originally pencilled in for June but due to its delay, the Glastonbury set was songs from Parachutes and new material that hardly anyone knew. There was a mini UK warm-up tour before the festival but the performance went down brilliantly considering AROBTTH wasn’t released until the end of August. Of course MX hadn’t been released when they played the storming set in 2011 – voted the top Glastonbury moment by BBC Radio listeners – but they had a larger catalogue by then. There was only the 2005 appearance that the album (X&Y) was released before the festival. As you say, 2008 was the year Viva was released and there was no show at Glasto (I’m a poet & I didn’t know it) but the band were also conscious they didn’t want to appear every year. They LOVE Glastonbury festival but obviously had to say “no” a couple of times.

September 3, 2013 – submitted by Salete , Brazil
Q. Dear Oracle: The twitter @OracleColdplay is official or fake??
The Oracle replies:
It’s official. Feel free to ask a question there and if it’s chosen, I will answer it here and tweet a link. Give it a try… I won’t be replying to questions on twitter though – only here on this very website. #Exciting.

September 2, 2013 – submitted by Forrest , United States of America
Q. I know that each member has their own warm-up routine before shows, but what about warm-down routines? It must take a while to come down from playing in front of tens of thousands of people. Thanks so much Oracle!
The Oracle replies:
There isn’t time for a cool down because the band rush from the stage into a car with its engine running and are whisked off to either a plane or a hotel. That’s the routine therefore all they can really do is sit. It does take a while to come down after the adrenalin high of a show so depending on where they are there may be a late supper, a drink or two, an aftershow party, chit-chat, a phone call home or possibly all of the above.

September 2, 2013 – submitted by Zach, United States of America
Q. Hey! I’m a huge fan of Coldplay (of course ;>) but I’m also a huge fan of the rock band Foo Fighters. In a recent interview, the Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl was asked about Coldplay. He answered, “It’s not that we hate them, we just love to make fun of them. If it hurts their feelings, well, sorry.” So does Coldplay have an opinion on Foo Fighters? It’d be so cool if they did!
The Oracle replies:
I can promise you that not only are Coldplay fans of Foo Fighters, they are friends. Dave Grohl is one of the nicest men in music – fact! The fun poking is all in jest and there are no hurt feelings.

Recent Coldplaying tweets you might be interested in: