The following has become the de-facto biography on the multi-platinum record selling band, Coldplay. I have made only minor modifications to the standard biography provided all over the web.
Coldplay met in the mid-90s during their first week as students at University College London, and quickly became friends. Chris began writing songs with Jonny. Guy liked what he heard, and joined in on bass. Will was so keen to be part of it that he moved from guitar to drums. All four shared a passion for music, and a quiet determination to be as good as they possibly could be. They rehearsed almost every night: 'We used to play in bathrooms, the basement, even in the park,' laughs Chris. 'Anywhere we could find to play.'
'We were determined to do it, from the start,' adds Jonny. 'And from the moment I met Chris I really did think that we could go all the way. Do something.'
They recorded a four-track EP and pressed 500 copies, which got them a gig at the In The City music festival in Manchester in 1998. Their set brought them to the attention of Simon Williams, who signed them to his Fierce Panda label for one single, 'Brothers And Sisters', which in turn led to their deal with Parlophone.
Coldplay's debut album, 'Parachutes', was a collection of direct, soulful, utterly beautiful songs stripped right back to expose the raw emotion underneath. Showing that you don't always have to shout to be heard, it has sold nearly five million copies worldwide, winning a clutch of NME and Q awards, two Brits in 2001 and the Grammy award for Best Alternative Album in 2002. Almost overnight, the band moved from playing small pubs to T In The Park in Glasgow, The Big Day Out in Australia and a headlining US tour. 'It was nerve-wracking, quite surreal,' laughs Jonny. 'But also the biggest high ever.'
Their second album, 'A Rush of Blood To The Head', arrived later than expected because of the extreme level of control the band maintains over its music. They used the same team as 'Parachutes': Ken Nelson co-produced and mixed with the band, and Mark Phythain handled the computers. They started work in October 2001, and by Christmas the recording was finished. Everyone was happy - except the band. 'There was a feeling it was almost going too smoothly,' recalls Jonny. ' We were pleased with it, but then we took a step back and realised that it wasn't right. It would have been easy to say we'd done enough, to release an album to keep up the momentum, but we didn't. And I'm glad because now we have something we'll be happy to tour with for two years.'
'I think we day-jobbed it a bit,' agrees Chris. 'It was good, but not good enough. So we went back to Liverpool, to the tiny studio where we did a lot of the last album. Just the four of us and Ken and Mark, a little gang. Songs like Daylight, The Whisper and The Scientist splurged out over two weeks, and we recorded them very quickly. We just felt completely inspired, and felt we could do anything we liked. We didn't have to do the acoustic thing, we didn't have to do a loud rock thing, we didn't have to react against anything. We started seeing a lot of Ian McCulloch, and he was saying, 'Try this, try that.' Brilliant!'
Although still recognizably Coldplay, this album is louder than the last, more uptempo and energetic. 'There's a lot more fear on the last record, a lot more blatant insecurity, whereas on this one it's more hidden,' says Chris. 'We've grown up a bit, travelled a lot more, met so many people. Musically too, we've heard more: the Bunnymen, The Cure, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, New Order...the last two years, we've been like a cultural sponge. We've sucked it all in and now it's coming out on this record. A lot of it is meant to be about drive and confidence in the face of worry and insecurity.'
The Coldplay story is a story about ambition. About four people who formed a band not to become famous or provide fresh soundtracks for TV ads, but because they wanted to write great songs, to make music with real honesty and passion. 'We were trying to say that there is an alternative,' says singer Chris Martin. 'That you can try to be catchy without being slick, poppy without being pop, and you can be uplifting without being pompous. Because we're sometimes playing quieter stuff, it's hard to sound like we're trying to change things, but we wanted to be a reaction against soulless rubbish.'