Big dreams for the future

The award- winning Coldplay comprise (from far left) bassist Guy Berryman, singer Chris Martin, drummer Will Champion and guitarist Jonny Buckland.
The award- winning Coldplay comprise (from far left) bassist Guy Berryman, singer Chris Martin, drummer Will Champion and guitarist Jonny Buckland.PHOTO: LIVE NATION LUSHINGTON

British band Coldplay will move to a new format of releasing music after launching last year's A Head Full Of Dreams, a conventional album

Singer Chris Martin and his band Coldplay are taking the digital age upheavals in their stride.

Instead of bemoaning the fact that CD sales are no longer what they used to be, they embrace the new opportunities.

When the popular British band said their most recent album, A Head Full Of Dreams, would be their last, many of their fans were alarmed.

But Martin says they meant that Dreams, their seventh album, which was released last year, would be "the last conventional album as we think of albums".

In a telephone interview with The Straits Times, the 39-year-old singer explains that physical media such as vinyls and CDs led to limitations in the way albums were made.

"Now people don't really listen to vinyls or CDs so much. It means it's quite a fresh canvas on how to think about releasing music," he says.

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"This album feels like the end of a certain cycle for us. I think whatever we do next, we'll try and create something a bit different ."

He gave this interview a few days after the band announced their return to Singapore for a fourth show here, at the National Stadium on April 1.

The other members of the band are guitarist Jonny Buckland, 39; bassist Guy Berryman, 38; and drummer Will Champion, 38.

Coldplay, one of the biggest bands in the world right now, have a huge fanbase here.

When the first batch of tickets, costing between $78 and $298, went on sale for Citibank customers on Thursday, all 12,000 tickets were snapped up within an hour.

Many scalpers who managed to get their hands on the tickets also tried to re-sell them at marked-up prices online.

More tickets will be released tomorrow for subscribers to the organiser Live Nation Lushington's mailing list and on Monday for the public.

About 12,000 to 14,000 tickets will be available each day.

The upcoming show will likely be Coldplay's biggest here. Their concerts here in 2001, 2006 and 2009 were held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, which has a smaller capacity than the National Stadium.

Martin says: "I don't think we could ever imagine we could ever go to Singapore when we were kids - it seemed like the other side of the world."

The vibes on the current tour have been very positive so fans can expect to see the band at the top of their game, he says.

"I think we really appreciate our job more than ever and we're trying to live in the moment more than ever.

"We just feel very happy to be alive and that translates in the concert. So you can see a band that's just very excited to be there."

His enthusiasm about the band means he has no plans to strike it out on his own as a solo artist.

"I don't think it would be very fun. I love my band, we're a family, we're brothers and I just really love playing with them," he says.

Martin and Buckland started the band while they were studying at University College London in 1996 and recruited Berryman and Champion soon afterwards.

They released their debut EP, Safety, in 1998, but it was only with their 2000 single, Yellow, that the band found worldwide fame.

Over the years, they have been feted with multiple awards, including seven Grammy Awards and nine Brit Awards. With more than 80 million records sold, they also stand as one of the world's best-selling music acts.

Martin's excitable stage performances, involvement in numerous social causes as well as high-profile marriage to Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow from 2003 to this year have naturally led to him becoming the centre of attraction in the band.

The singer, who has a 12-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son with Paltrow, says that he has no problems with being in the spotlight.

"That's just the way it happens. I'm comfortable because I know that I would be nothing without Jonny, Will and Guy. I only have my position because of the three of them.

"When you go to see a movie, of course you see the main actor, but the film wouldn't exist without the director, the cameraman, the make-up. It's the same with our band, you see the singer more than anyone else, but there would be nothing without everybody else."

He also would not be where he is without his inspirations, musical or otherwise.

Recently, Martin paid tribute to two of his heroes who died this year - boxing legend Muhammad Ali and iconic singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

Coldplay's latest single Everglow featured a recording of a speech by Ali, while Martin sang one of Cohen's songs, Suzanne, at a show after his death last week.

So does he see himself still touring and playing shows into his twilight years like Cohen famously did?

"The truth is, I'm just trying to be grateful for every day and not think too far ahead. I feel like if I try to live in the moment, it makes me happier.

"So the answer is, I don't know. I mean, I'm just happy to be here today."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2016, with the headline 'Big dreams for the future'. Print Edition | Subscribe