Viva la Coldplay

2008-06-23 08:51
On the title of the album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
JONNY: "Viva la Vida" was a Frida Kahlo painting and the other choice element is the film Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Caring and Learned to Love the Bomb. That was its inspiration.

CHRIS: We liked the idea that you can listen to it or not listen to it and then decide what it’s called, a bit like those books where you can choose the ending. We wanted people to be a bit more free with our music, that’s why there are about three different ways you can end the album, depending on which tracks you select and fast-forward to. There’s two different titles so if you want to make it a sad album you can call it Death and All His Friends and skip certain songs and if you want it to be a very uplifting album you don’t skip certain songs and you call it Viva la Vida and then we don’t get any blame for it being too uplifting or too sombre.

On the writing the songs…
CHRIS: Well, we started writing the day that we finished the last album, X and Y, because we felt immediately that we had something to prove. We felt hungry again, so after concerts we would write, I would write or Jonny would write through the night. Something about when you come off stage: you have a four hour period of adrenaline, so most nights we wrote songs, you know.

JONNY: We’d play a lot together in sound checks.

CHRIS: Yeah, we did actually.

JONNY: We had hundreds of hours of sound check recordings of new things when we finally got to the recording studio.

CHRIS: I don’t think we’re embarrassed to say that we jammed a bit. (Laughter) We can use that word. We’ve been around long enough. We had a jam, so what? Sue us. (Laughter)

On the importance of ordering the tracklist…
WILL: I remember when we released our first record we went for a load of interviews in France when we had a particular track listing and everyone was like: “Why are you so miserable, you know, this album is very depressing,” and we thought, “Hmm.” Then we had a listen to the track listing and thought: “It is a little bit, it kind of ends on a bit of a downer,” so we kind of switched things around and everyone’s like, “Oh, you know, the sound of this record is very optimistic.” I think the beginning and the end are so important, and if you get the tone of them wrong it really changes the record.

On the cover art…
JONNY: Well, the artwork, the painting’s a picture by Eugene Delacroix of the French Revolution, Liberty and the French Revolution.

CHRIS: And then we painted on it.

JONNY: Yeah. So it was basically the idea of the song Viva la Vida whereby the revolutionaries are knocking on the door of the palace, you know.

CHRIS: And then spray all the paintings with slogans and ruin all the artwork. There was that looting, wasn’t there, in Iraq? Maybe it came from there.

On borrowing ideas for songs…
CHRIS: We’re one of the world’s worst, but most enthusiastic plagiarists, as a band. We’ll try and copy anything but tend to fail, so we come up with something that sounds like us, only through trying to sound like somebody else. I think what the key rule for this record was that we couldn’t do anything that we felt comfortable with before, like threw out the old tricks and make sure that each track had its own colour.

JONNY: The more things you’ve done, the more things you’ve recorded, the bigger the danger of plagiarising yourself is, I think, and so we really wanted to avoid doing that.

CHRIS: The key rule was that we could steal from anybody except ourselves.

Click here for the band's own track-by-track guide to the album

Audio Q&A

You wanted to push on as a band with this album. Have you succeeded, do you think?
Listen to the answer

Time to own up: what's your favourite lyric from this album?
Listen to the answer

Looking ahead to live work, you know have a wealth of material from which to choose. Or not choose, Will?
Listen to the answer

Is it true that you took some inspiration from Blur in the making of this CD?
Listen to the answer

- Interview courtesy of EMI

Straight from the horse's mouth, this is what Coldplay have to say on their brand new album, soon to be reviewed on channel24. Read on for the interview, or click here for the band's own track-by-track guide to the music. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.