A few weeks ago, a lucky SiriusXM subscriber got the opportunity to interview one of her favorite artists, Chris Martin, right before Coldplay released its seventh studio album, A Head Full of Dreams. The interview, which aired on The Spectrum (Ch. 28), delved into Martin’s writing process, what A Head Full of Dreams means for the band within context of their long discography, what it’s like having worked with the same group of friends for close to two decades, and some of the highlights of their career together.
On what makes A Head Full of Dreams stand out among Coldplay’s six previous releases:
“Well, I’m very proud of the other [albums], but they feel now like a journey to this thing. To us it feels like the final few scenes in a movie or something. I always dreamed that our band would get to this place. I don’t know what anyone else will think of it, but for me, I’m just so grateful that we were able to make it. It’s kind of the album I’d always hoped we’d be able to make.
On how the band feels at this stage in their career:
I don’t think it’s the final years of the band, I think when we speak about something sort of having the feel of finality, it’s more sort of the end of one story. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t want to maybe do something in the future. I just don’t know what that would be. When a band says that, often it’s code for them feeling comfortable in the place they are in, and they don’t really want to think about anything after that.
On his song writing process:
It happens really two ways. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I’ll just be working away, and songs start coming through. You just sit there playing long enough and then songs start arriving. I don’t know where they come from. Then you take that to the rest of the band and then they add their layers, and that’s how it’s done.
Then, with a song like Adventure of a Lifetime, sometimes the rest of the band sort of improvise bits of music, then show me when they’re excited about it. If I’m lucky, then a song will come out on top of that music. So Adventure of a Lifetime, or we had a song on our last album called Magic, those came out that way. I love doing it that way, too, because I just have to do the bit at the end.
On how he gets his creative juices flowing:
I do two things. I do a thing called free-form writing, where you take a pen and paper, and you just write anything for twelve minutes and then burn it. And it cleans your brain out. I got it from Einstein — not personally, of course. But that’s what I got told he used to do just to kind of free his brain up.
The other thing I like to do is just mess around and do silly songs and try and do songs for friends or whatever, just to feel like you’re not taking it too seriously.
On what its like to have worked with the same group of guys for almost two decades:
Well, the experience is really incredible because everywhere we go and everything we go through, we share with this group of brothers basically. And sometimes when we are out and about and see other artists who have to do it on their own, I feel like I don’t think I could do that without my friends because no matter what craziness we’re going through, you can always just shut the door and say, ‘Wow, we gotta talk about this.’ And we’re all on the same team, and that’s an amazing feeling.
On some of highlights of his career with Coldplay:
We’re so lucky we’ve had a lot of [memorable moments]. We were just talking about the first time we landed in New York, and we were mixing our first album right by Times Square. None of us had been to America before, so just driving past Time Square now was like, ‘Oh I remember seeing that for the first time and just feeling like a little ant.’ That feeling of, ‘Wow, we’ve made it to America.’ We hadn’t even sold a record [at that point] or anything, but just the feeling of getting to America was huge.
Then we had a great moment when we headlined our favorite festival called Glastonbury Festival in 2002, and since then there has just been so many. When we played at the end of the Paralympics in 2012, when the Olympics were in London, that was very special. Making these last couple of albums has been really really fun because we worked really hard on how we communicate with each other and trying to bring the best out of each other. So right now, I’m having a long favorite moment.