When you think of the band Coldplay, the phrase living legend comes to mind.
They’re arguably one of the greatest rock bands of all time, ranking right up there with U2 and the Rolling Stones, but for their upcoming album Ghost Stories, which drops May 19, the band is evolving with the changing face of pop music and experimenting with the electronic dance music genre.
The record’s second single, “A Sky Full Of Stars,” features production from Swedish superstar DJ Avicii.
“This song came out in about five minutes, it just came through and the first person we thought of to help us produce it was Tim [Bergling], Avicii,” lead singer Chris Martin revealed while co-hosting on Mornings with Carson Daly. “He was very sweet and we pushed him so hard on it and I’m so grateful that he lent us his backwards baseball cap services.”
“That’s not really something that we could’ve done fifteen years ago,” he said of the song. “But now I just feel like, you’re just free to do anything you like.”
Martin isn’t concerned about how his fans and critics will respond to the band’s new sound.
“I like rock music, but we really like across the board, like you said, “Turn Down For What” is incredible. Tiesto is incredible. I think nowadays you can like everything and not worry about it so much.”
The band is keeping a busy schedule leading up to the album’s release. It all kicks off at 7pm on Sunday with an hour-long special on NBC, which features material from Ghost Stories and some of their biggest hits as well.
“That was a dream come true because we got to go into the soundstage where they made The Wizard Of Oz and we built a theater, like a circular thing with projection all around it. We sort of made an immersive, kind of Disneyland thing, and we could only afford to do it for a few days and so we filmed it and NBC were kind enough to say, ‘Okay, we’ll show that.’”
“I feel like I learned a lot from Usher, so I was learning as well, but it was wonderful to share,” he told Carson. “You know, you realize, ‘God, I’ve been doing this for a while. I can actually say something that might be helpful.’ And it’s great to see that come into fruition.”
With performances at The Ellen Show and UCLA’s Royce Hall next week as well, it goes without saying that Coldplay is in high demand, but Martin downplayed the band’s popularity.
“I don’t mean this to sound self-deprecating; we’ve never been the coolest thing. Because we’ve never been the most fashionable thing, we’ve never been the most unfashionable thing. Well, maybe for a period, but it just feels like we’re able to kind of keep rolling and no one really notices.”
Coldplay’s ability to fly under the radar means there’s not nearly as much pressure to please everyone out there.
“With this one, I feel really proud and I feel like we made exactly what we wanted to make, so, it’s a strange feeling because we’ve only really achieved that once, maybe twice before. So when everyone starts saying what they think about it, it’s a very different experience because to me, we’ve made like a flavor of ice cream and we made it really well and some people might not want that flavor that day. Or some people might not like ice cream, but it doesn’t make me question that we should have made it.”
Ghost Stories offers insight into the ghosts of Martin’s past intermingling with an optimistic future. He spoke of maintaining a balance between honest vulnerability in his music and protecting his loved ones from the intrusion of the overzealous media machine.
“Music, for me, is where you’re like the most free and it’s only after we’ve recorded it that I have to start worrying about, “Oh, how are we going to explain this?” I don’t really need to explain anything. A song means whatever it means to whoever listens to it. I haven’t said and will never say, “This song’s about that. This song’s about that.” But in the moment, it’s coming through so naturally that I don’t question it. And it’s only after the fact that I’m like, “Oh, god,” you know?
Martin’s children Apple and Moses lend their vocals on the closing track, “O.” The father of two is supportive of their interest in the music business.
“Please, go ahead. Whatever they want to do.”
It’s certainly a busy time for Coldplay, but Martin believes the band is at its best when they’re performing for their fans.
“That to me is the ultimate, most wonderful musical experience. It’s beyond anything we could have dreamed of. This whole thing is crazy. I can’t believe we’re allowed to do it…It’s like, “Wow.” I have to step back and say, ‘I could not have asked for a more dreamy job.’ Despite all the weird stuff that comes with it, it’s like, every day I feel so grateful.”
-Sarah Carroll, 97.1 AMP Radio/Los Angeles