Little more than a year after releasing Ghost Stories, Coldplay is back already with a new album titled A Head Full of Dreams, due out December 4. Ahead of its release, frontman Chris Martin called in to chat with Alt Nation host Jeff Regan about the project and to debut its lead single, Adventure of a Lifetime.
Martin describes Adventure of a Lifetime as joyful. “It makes me happy to listen to it.”
“When we finished [the song], we were like, ‘Okay we are probably ready to come out again.’ This is one of those songs that brings everything else together on a project,” he explained. “I’m not really on it that much — I sing a bit and play a bit of piano — but it’s really the rest of the band on form.”
The song came about in a peculiar way, however, with the title being the source of inspiration.
“The first thing that came was the title, and [lyrical inspiration came when] I was reading this book called Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I’d been begging our guitarist Johnny for years to make a riff that I like as much as Sweet Child of Mine by Guns and Roses, then he showed me that one, and I was like, ‘That’s it!’ So those elements all came together, and we just wanted to kind of embrace our love of joyful music and sort of let it free.”
Martin also has a suggestion for where to listen to the song: “You know what I like to do with this one? Run along the street. It makes me feel like going to get fit.”
The quick turnaround on this new album is partly due to the band not touring in support of Ghost Stories. Rather, they headed immediately back into the studio to begin work on its follow up.
“We just wanted to make this big, colorful, joyful thing called A Head Full of Dreams. So just after we did that little bit of promo for Ghost Stories the last album, we went right back in [the studio] and didn’t emerge until about a month ago,” he explained. “We toured so much a couple of years before, that I think everyone could see that we were just having a great time in the studio and we had such a clear idea of where we were trying to get to. Everyone was very cool and said, ‘You guys can go back [to the studio]. Our label and all the people that hold the power, they were very kind.”
The majority of the album was recorded in Hollywood’s Henson Studios, which Charlie Chaplin built nearly 100 years ago, as well as in London and in Los Angeles County.
Throughout the process, the band would take little breaks and travel, which kept things fresh when studio time came.
“That proved to be very healthy, because when we were all together it was very focused, and it’s gonna sound a bit simple, but we just had a really great time recording, which is not always the case,” he said. “It was just so fun to make it.”
Martin says, after six previous albums, that A Head Full of Dreams is Coldplay at its best.
“The truth is we’re so excited. We’re sort of in the place we always dreamed we’d get to in terms of the music we’re making, and we’re very close at the moment as a group of friends,” he explained. “We’re just so grateful to still be in the band and to be making stuff that we were always trying to get to.”
Freedom, Martin explained, was what allowed this album to become the record they’d always dreamt of making.
“It was two kinds of freedom: first the freedom to embrace all of our influences,” he said. “In this day and age, you can listen to so many amazing varieties of music at the touch of a button, and we just wanted to embrace that and let go of the concept of being a rock band.”
He continued: “Second was … the freedom to work with anyone that we really loved, regardless of what genre they came from. So we have an album where there is some great classical players, and Beyoncé, and Noel [Gallagher] who used to be in Oasis, all these cool people, and then a lot of production was done by these two Norwegian guys called Stargate. We were very blessed in that we could bring these different worlds into the same studio. So [having] a sense of freedom was the main thing.”
Unlike with Ghost Stories, the band plans to tour in support of A Head Full of Dreams.
“I think this tour will finally have a setlist where we feel good about it from start to finish.”
Keep an eye out for A Head Full of Dreams on December 4, and catch the band (finally!) on tour.