by Jay Tilles
Coldplay‘s Chris Martin is in awe over Beyonce and Noel Gallagher, both of whom made contributions to the British band’s forthcoming album, A Head Full of Dreams, set for release December 4. In an interview with Kevin & Bean this morning, Martin explained this is the first time the group has collaborated with famous musicians on one of their albums.
“Some of the record is about trying to make dreams come true, and humans’ ability to fix things by coming up with new ideas. And one of our dreams was to have Noel play on something because we used to love Oasis so much.” According to Martin, Gallagher doesn’t sing, but he does offer “a big guitar solo.”
When asked what went wrong with Oasis, Martin paused. “I love Oasis. I think it’s dangerous when you change the lineup of something; the magic… it always comes out different.”
“I feel bad for for them,” interjected Bean, “because they’re both very talented and I feel like Oasis was something that was so special that they can’t get out from under it. No matter how great Noel’s records are now, all anybody wants to ask him is ‘When is Oasis getting back together?'”
“I’ll give you my serious answer if you really want it,” offered Martin. “I think a band by its very nature is only as good as the chemistry between the players. None of us in rock bands, or whatever kind of bands we’re in, are virtuosos, otherwise we’d be concert pianists. So the only thing you have in your favor as a band is your unique chemistry. And if you’re lucky enough to have a great songwriter like Noel then those songs get fed into this weird arrangement of people. I feel like the great bands respect that chemistry.”
He cited U2 as the greatest example of a band that understands that their chemistry is what makes them unique. “And that’s why when you go and see their concert, not only do you have the joy of the songs but I think as humans you have an appreciation for the relationships and you think, ‘God, those guys have been together since they were fifteen.’ There’s power in that,” Martin continues enthusiastically. “Like U2, you’d be fine on your own but you’re better together.”
Martin contemplated bands that have gone their separate ways, referencing the Police and the Clash. “You think all these people that have split their bands up seem to wish they hadn’t, so how do you navigate that?” So, if the rumors about this being Coldplay’s last album are based in any sort of truth, it’s clear the band has thought long and hard about the long-term ramifications of any sort of split.
Martin also joked around when asked about what it’s like to hang out with music royalty like Jay Z and Beyonce. “Want the real truth?” Martin asks. “Breakfast is served in a GRAMMY. The orange juice comes in a GRAMMY. Then someone like a butler comes in and does any kind of dance that Jay—Jay will be like ‘Do a tango!'” he joked, to which the room erupted in laughter.
“They have cutlery made out of money. It’s so weird. And then you get a diamond croissant, which you think would be cool but hard to chew. So he just throws diamonds at the window. And then we just watch reruns of great TV appearances that Jay has done.”
Martin also talked about working with Jay’s wife, Beyonce. Much to the surprise of Kevin & Bean, Martin revealed he’d sheepishly asked Beyonce to contribute backing vocals, all the while hoping she’d sing more significant parts once in the studio. “I was trying to be sort of English and Hugh Grant-y about it and be like, ‘Would you possibly ever consider singing…?’ I really wanted to say, ‘Would you mind singing our whole album so we’d sound better?’ But I said, ‘Is there any chance you could come in and help with some singing?’ And she said ‘Yeah.’ She was wonderful and helped out with two or three songs. It was really incredible to watch.” Martin confessed the group was so enamored with Beyonce that they dressed up the studio just for her. “We built her a little vocal booth and made a little painting for her that said she was amazing. That’s really true.”
Finally, Martin addressed the new single, “Adventure of a Lifetime,” being what Bean called “Straight-up disco.” “I think it’s just the way we’re feeling at the moment. Sorry, I’ve got no good answer. See last year we made this record called Ghost Stories which was very intimate and personal and small—it was more about how to deal with difficult feelings and how to alchemize them. And part of learning that journey was that at the end of it you get to a more joyful place. So some of that is really coming through on this album.”
Coldplay’s new album A Head Full of Dreams is set for release December 4. The band will be performing a private KROQ show this Friday at the Belasco Theater in Downtown LA. Find out how you can win tickets here.