Coldplay’s lead vocalist Chris Martin recently had a chat with Time Of India and here is what he had to say!
Q: India has been waiting for years. Only after your solo gig in Delhi and the ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ video did fans realize that Coldplay are finally coming to India. How did your affinity for India come about?
A: India appeals to everybody. For me personally, I always felt like we would come here when we wanted to embrace all colours. I don’t mean racially, but literally; just all the colours of the world. To me, India’s always represented ‘everything’, it represents ‘all’. Everything is here. You can stay here forever and you’ll never feel like you’ve missed out on life. There’s enough to keep you occupied. We felt, that as a band, we had to get to a place where we could maybe handle that expanse of colour .Then we came up with that video, and the thing we’re talking about now is accepting everybody and loving everybody, which is reflected in the use of all colours. We chose to come here because here’s where it’s reflected very strongly.
Q: You recently performed a contemplative version of Suzanne, atribute to the recently departed Leonard Cohen. As one of this generation’s best-known songwriters, what does Cohen mean to you?
A: Leonard Cohen is someone who respected and followed his muse above any consideration for his career, financial success, or anything. I feel he was very in touch with the magical side of songwriting, the side that understands that songs come from somewhere else. And you’re really just a servant of the song. That’s how I’m trying to be, more and more. For people who write songs, it’s a gift you’re given. You become good at the craft, but you’re given the gift. And I feel I learned a lot about that from Leonard Cohen and the way he lived his life. He was so humble, never trying to be a popstar or anything, but always with just so much integrity.
Q: Is songwriting an inherent gift or something you can learn?
A: You can learn the gift of songwriting. The thing I really believe deep down is that everybody has a gift for something. Our job as adults is to make sure all children have the opportunity to find their gift. For some people it’s music, for some it’s medicine, or spinbowling. I do think everyone can write a song. You have to not be afraid of failure. It’s coming to an understanding that music is magical, and also learning the craft.It’ s like being a fisherman. You don’t make the fish, but you know how to catch the fish.
Q: Coldplay has now absorbed the electronic sounds of the pop rock generation. What goes into deciding the theme for a new album?
A: It’s just a feeling. It’s just something that comes through. I don’t know where it comes from. We’re open to life, because of where our personal lives have gone, or where we’ve gone as a band. We get to travel so much. We just naturally came to the place where we wanted to talk about acceptance and togetherness and love and peace and kindness. It’s a natural thing.
Q: Let’s talk about your India debut. There are rumours flying around that your set will be 12 minutes, or 20 minutes, or three songs, etc.
A: Here in Mumbai, we’re going to play a full show. It’s going to be 90 minutes. It’s going to be pretty cool. The great thing about life now is there’s so much technology to spread rumours. It’s very easy to be mysterious, but very hard to communicate the truth. It’s a double-edged sword. But I can tell you that we’re also a little bit greedy to play a full concert because we haven’t played here before. We’re headlining, and we’re happy that there’s Bollywood, Jay Z, and such diversity. That’s what the festival is all about -including everybody. Anybody that shows up on Saturday to see us, we will be happy to see them. Even production-wise, we have tried to make it as good as we could.
Q: You’ve spoken of acceptance.When the Beatles got acquainted with India, strains of Indian classical music found their way to their songs. Will Indian music ever find its way to a Coldplay song?
A: The problem now is that if you try to do that in western music, you sound like you’re trying to be like the Beatles. If you put a sitar in a rock song, people say you just want to be like the Beatles.
Q: Coldplay is often accused of being soppy sentimentalists. Many classical music fans recognize a similar accusation hurled at Tchaikovsky. Too emotional and not the real thing, etc.
A: I don’t agree. Music is to me a way of communicating feeling.For someone else, it’s a way of protest. I hear those people. I understand why people feel that way. I don’t. Someone says your music is too sentimental for them, then there’s another kind that would be perfect for them.
Q: On what basis do you accept or reject a new song? I’m sure there are many songs that are on the shelf somewhere?
A: Not on the shelf, in the trash! It depends on whether it resonates with me and the rest of the band. Not two or three of us. All of us.
Q: Playing stadium gigs doesn’t scare you. Goof-ups don’t scare you. What does?
A: Sometimes I have dreams where a concert goes really wrong, and that makes me scared. But if it happened for real, I’d say well, that’s the universe saying that’s supposed to happen. What would scare me is if we had to go on stage and we didn’t know what we were doing.
Q: What next for Coldplay?
A: I don’t know. I’m not going solo. I love
being in the band. I’m just grateful for today.