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It is not unusual for British quartet Coldplay to be described as “the best band in the world”. In their short existence thus far, the band’s collection of trophies already includes NME Awards, Q Awards, Brit Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and numerous Grammy Awards. Like Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr before them, Coldplay have made it big in the UK with their originality, mass appeal and rich melodies, and are now a worldwide phenomenon. They’ve managed to fill a vacuum in today’s music that too many bands before them simply couldn't.

One of the many reasons Coldplay’s music is so popular is that they explore topics that are universal to the human experience, evident in their immensely popular songs like Yellow, In My Place, Clocks and The Scientist. You’ve got to give them full marks for their dedication to quality and perfection. While recording their first album, apparently a bitter dispute among the members over the feel of the album led to such a harrowing recording session, the band thought it would be their last. Their second release, A Rush Of Blood To The Head, was delayed for nearly seven months as the band reworked it to perfection. Their mantra is to not release a track unless they are 100% satisfied with it. Intensely independent despite their big label associations, they have a hand in the artwork, videos and publicity of their songs.

With only two albums Coldplay have become an international phenomenon, selling 20 million records around the globe. Their debut album Parachutes opened with a bang in 2000 and went to #1 on the UK album charts, selling more than five million copies worldwide. The hit single Yellow can still be heard on the radio today. And then there was the sophomore effort, A Rush Of Blood To The Head, which did just what the title promised. A musical tour de force, it went to #1 in the UK and sold over four million copies in the US alone.

Despite numerous offers, no Coldplay track has ever featured in a commercial. The band turned down multi-million dollar contracts from Gatorade, Diet Coke and The Gap, proving that their music is as important to them as it is to us.

Coldplay's third album, X&Y, was released earlier this month in the UK. In the middle of 2004, the band had penned over 40 new songs, several of which had even been performed live on their last tour. However, they were scrapped and the band regrouped to write and record new tracks. Recorded after extended sessions in New York City, Chicago, and London – the band’s new album X&Y once again delivers the goods.
The Record Music Magazine brings you an exclusive transcript where the band talks about the making of their latest masterpiece. Here is everything you want to know about X&Y from Coldplay themselves.

What approach did you take to working on X&Y?
John: First of all we wanted it to be amazing and the best thing we’d ever done and anybody had ever heard. What that meant was basically we just pushed ourselves really hard in every direction, with each song, taking it as far as we could.
Guy: To be honest I think that’s all there is. It’s all about personal challenge and, you know, our challenge wasn’t to sell more records than the last one, our challenge was to try and feel more confident and satisfied with how we’d all worked in the studio than we’d ever done before. That’s the only challenge that there was really.

Why was there a delay in the release of X&Y?
John: Chris and I started writing after finishing the tour in the middle of 2003 in Chicago. We did a few weeks there just to basically lay down demos of stuff, meeting up with Guy and Will, doing more and more and basically going about it in a kind of weird way. We’d never really played the songs together, and we were trying to record them. We did that for quite some time really. Then we realized that a lot of it sounded like we’d never played it together, had no atmosphere, no sort of tension in it.
Guy: The dynamics just sounded flat because we were working individually. Chris would come in and lay down his part, Will would do his drums and then go and so on and so on. And it came to a point where we weren’t actually working as a band any more and it could have been just session musicians going in there.
John: Except crap session musicians.
Guy: So what we had to do was really find ourselves again as a band and remember what it was like to just be in Johnny’s bedroom with a few guitars and amps and just go back to basics and that’s when things really started to really happen and when we started re-recording things we were able to do it in a performance based way and to throw ourselves into the verses and then the choruses in a much more dynamic sort of way. We pretty much re-recorded, did the whole album in three months.

You can read the rest of our cover story on Coldplay in the July 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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