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Chris Martin: ‘The less you give a f**k about what anyone thinks, the more you’re completely free’

today08/05/2021

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Coldplay’s Chris Martin joins Zane Lowe on New Music Daily on Apple Music 1 to discuss the band’s new single “Higher Power”. Martin tells Apple Music about the origin of the song and why it’s a highlight in the group’s catalog, the intimate collaborative process working with super producer Max Martin on the track and gratitude during COVID. He also shares what inspired the band’s 2019 album ‘Everyday Life’, why he doesn’t listen to his own music, Coldplay’s creative evolution and slow “journey to freedom” and more.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin Tells Apple Music About the Organic Creation of “Higher Power”…

Chris Martin: It came on a kitchen sink. A bathroom sink. And then the title, “Higher Power,” had been around for a while. If you go on my phone, there’s like 15 abandoned Higher Powers that aren’t that good. Voice notes, yeah. And then it just dropped through that song. On a keyboard that my friend’s friend lent me. Because of where we were staying, there wasn’t a piano. So I was super grateful. So I think with good songs, at least, they are just like their own things that you happen to catch. Because you just know that it’s nothing to do with you. I have a deal with myself. It took a while to negotiate it, but we came to an agreement. But to say that if anything comes calling, you have to go and do it. Whatever it is. And most of it is not that good.

I think that we’ve been very blessed to have some songs that some people like over the years, largely through tenacity and perseverance, because there’s thousands of ideas that don’t even make it past the drumming department. But a song like “Higher Power,” in our whole catalog, there’s probably 15 songs where that’s happened where it basically just… lands. Yeah, actually Will said, “I really like this.” And that was our first session altogether with Max Martin. Altogether at that early stage. And so I sent them the demo and then they started working on it and Will texted me and said, “This is going to be really good.” I’ve had that maybe twice.

Zane Lowe: What was the other time?

Chris Martin: “Viva La Vida”

Coldplay’s Chris Martin Tells Apple Music About Working With Max Martin on “Higher Power”…

So with “Higher Power,” we’ve been through all those challenges so it clearly wants to sound like this and we’re with the best producer of all time. By the time we came to Max, which has been a long journey towards each other, I think we wanted to get there at the point where we’re like, “You do your thing and we’ll do our thing. And if it works, amazing. And if it doesn’t, no one loses anything.” Max is our producer right now for anything we do. So just before “Higher Power” arrived, I’d done a whole session with him auditioning songs for a potential album. But “Higher Power” didn’t exist then. So we’d been through this whole process of him saying, “Yes, no, maybe, change this.”Real Mr. Miyagi stuff. I think that for whatever reason where he is in his life and where we are in ours, it felt really fresh for both parties. And I think he didn’t know if I was going to let him that deeply in, if you see what I mean. You’d have to ask him, but I think it’s been more enjoyable for him than us just saying, “Here’s the song, don’t touch it but add some sparkly stuff.” It hasn’t been like that at all. It’s been very much like, “Okay, here’s the very basics. What do you think?” But with “Higher Power,” to answer your actual question, I was here and they were all there. And that song arrived and so I sent it to them quite quickly and then went to meet them.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin Tells Apple Music About Gratitude During COVID…

Well, I just came back from rehearsing with everybody and it was just so … I think the one thing that this whole time has given all of us is an extra gratitude for the job itself. The fact that we can go to work together, even that is amazing. So, of course, there’s part of us that was rehearsing like, “Why? We’re rehearsing the play, to nobody.” But I think there’s just, for me, I’m personally so grateful to be playing in our band. It’s funny, within the band, there’s a mild frustration at not quite knowing when we might be able to do what we’re really here to do and play for people, but also a deep gratitude and joy in the thing itself.

Actually, just before COVID, we’d done an album called Everyday Life, which we were never going to tour for a couple of reasons, one environmental and one just that it felt like some of those songs might not feel quite right, in amongst certain other songs. It felt like its own thing. And so this last year, we were always supposed to be making the thing that we are making at the moment. So we were very lucky like that, but because it was so difficult to get together and because we always work a bit separately and a bit together. We’ve done that for a long time and it’s really great. So the basic pattern of it was normal, but the gratitude for it was quadrupled, because suddenly it was so difficult to find a country that we could all go to for a bit that would let us all in to record. But we were able to, in some funny places, but always in a bubble and all the rules and everything.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin Tells Apple Music What Inspired The Group’s 2019 Album ‘Everyday Life’…

I think that after our last tour, we got to a place of, well, in fact, for the last eight years, it’s just been following the muse more and more purely. I don’t know how to explain it other than when you close your eyes, you’re sort of told what to do. And as the last tour was finishing, in fact, on the last morning, this song arrived in the hotel room in Buenos Aires that I recorded on my phone. And that phone recording is on Everyday Life, because that was the spirit of it. And it just seemed like we wanted to make the record about what people are going through on earth. What is it like to be a human? And then some of those people are other people that we see and some of those songs that are about my feelings about things or what I’m going through, and sometimes if you’re lucky, the song applies to other people and to you.And there’s a lot of, unless you hide in a hole right now, there’s so many questions about, how should I be as a human? How can I contribute rather than detract?And it’s very difficult.Because on the one hand you say, “Well, if we play a big show and people are happy, that’s great.” But then on the same time, but you got there by using loads of fuel. If you’re four White English people with a mouthpiece, that’s great, but also there’s no diversity within our band. How do we deal with that? That’s not necessarily our fault. We met where we met in the part of England where we live. But it’s not even that we know the answers. I think that album is about just acknowledging that there’s so much we don’t know on earth and everywhere else. But thanks for listening to me. I felt like no one would listen to it because it felt extremely personal in a strange way, even though it’s about loads of other people.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin Tells Apple Music Why He Doesn’t Listen To His Own Music…

I don’t listen to things really after they’re done because it’s too difficult. I don’t. It’s also, if I listened to it and thought it was amazing, I don’t know how healthy that would be for my ego. And if I listened to it, the most normal thing is I’d think it’s awful. The same as when you hear your voice on an answering machine. And I always love playing and singing the songs that we’ve released. First off, we have a song called The Scientist. When we first did that, I thought it was amazing, the recording. But now if I hear it, I just feel like, “Oh, this is awful.” But then if we’re playing the song, we were just rehearsing last week. Oh, I love … It’s so nice to get into the song. I think maybe it’s partly because while you’re working on something, you’re already inside those clothes and then as soon as you give it to the world, a mannequin fills those clothes. You’re not inside the song anymore, unless you’re playing it live.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin Tells Apple Music About Wanting To Make Music That Both The Band and Fans Love…

I’ve never been into that thing of, “We like it, so that’s great. And if anyone else likes it, that’s a bonus.” I feel like we care about what both parties think. I would never want to be willfully obtuse. But I do believe that if you’re super into something and you connect with it emotionally, then some other human might do too.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin Tells Apple Music About The Band’s Evolution, Experimentation, and Slow “Journey To Freedom”…

I think that every artist is completely intertwined with what’s happening culturally and what’s happening technologically around them. You know? So when the delay pedal came through, whoever invented that, then you had all these amazing delay pedal records. So we have existed in the band concurrently with the barriers between types of music coming down… which for us is the biggest blessing in the world. When we started, it was like, “You’re a white indie band and this is urban radio and this is alternative radio and basically old fashioned racist statements.” And so of course we fit in a box at the beginning and then right now in 2021, everyone’s doing everything. You can like Olivia Rodrigo as much as you like AC/DC and no one thinks that’s weird. And that’s musical utopia for me. And you can also listen to Olivia Rodrigo and then listen to something recorded 70 years ago. It’s miraculous. So why would you want to stay in one box? Plus we did that and it still exists. I always feel for chefs because they make this amazing thing and then someone eats it. But no one ate Parachutes, it’s still there. So there’s that, there’s the coming down of the barriers and the fact that when you’ve made something, it remains. Then I would say that when we made that first record, I was 23 and had a lot more insecurities and a lot less life lived. And over time, for one reason or another, from experience, from seeking out certain teachers, from watching other people work, from studying Bruce Springsteen or looking at Michael Jackson or Nina Simone or anyone that’s been great for a long period of time, I and we have just cared less and less what anyone else thinks and more and more about what is coming through, what are we being told to do by whatever you call those powers that be? And so the less you give a f-k about what anyone thinks, the more you’re completely free. And I think that our journey to freedom has been slow, but ever widening. So I feel like there’s no reason why you can’t have a pop song like “A Sky Full of Stars “which Avicii produced, next to a really indie thing. There’s a song on there (Ghost Stories) called “Fly On” which is really gentle and sweet. So I just feel like all the rules have gradually been thrown out of the window and that’s so fun.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin Tells Apple Music That Music is His Calling…

It’s not work, it’s just what I do. I think that all the stuff about being in a famous band or all this, or all that, I think if a worldwide pandemic teaches you anything, it’s that you don’t want to get any delusions of grandeur or think that you’re better because you’re famous, or you’re better because you’re whatever. I think that…. I just feel like this is the gift I got given. And, that’s what I do. And, I don’t think any more about – did we make it? Are we famous? Are we this or that? Does that make sense? Like that’s clearly bullsh-t. I think this is what I’m supposed to be doing, whether anyone’s listening or not, as long as I can afford to do that. Even if I was working somewhere else, I’d still be going home and doing songs.

It’s like this is the human body that I’m in, is supposed to be a singer, and a bit of a dad, and a bit of a partner, and a bit of a, someone who tries to plant trees or something. I mean, I want to play to loads of people because it’s so fun. And, there’s part of me that loves the fact that we made it and stuff. But the main part of me is like, “Well, everything has been given to you, everything, even the bit that worked hard on the songs you’re given, even that was given to you.”So, you can’t really take credit for anything or for anything. So at this point, I just feel so blessed and lucky to be doing what I’m doing, and I want to do it as much and as well as possible.

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today08/05/2021