Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman talks about the new album, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, working with Brian Eno and writing under hypnosis
Are they a point of reference for you, the Beatles?
Of course. The Beatles are obviously a very important band for us because we’re from the UK and they’re some of the best songwriters around. In a very short period of time they recorded a lot of extremely innovative albums. You can’t deny their effect on everything musical around us.
Is it true that when you formed the band, you put in place a set of rules to keep the group together?
People keep asking us that. Is that in the press release or something?
No. One of them was that anyone using hard drugs would be fired.
I don’t know where that came from. We don’t really have any rules. The important things is just our relationships. And that we all work hard and that we all put as much into everything as we possibly can but there isn’t some sort of guide book as to what you can and can’t do. There’s no Coldplay law!
Some rules might help you to survive in this business for a long time.
I think we’re lucky because there’s four people in this group and we started off being friends first and foremost. We didn’t come together straight away being a band. We knew each other, we were all at college together before we did anything so I think we realised that there was a friendship there before anything else. That’s the fundamental thing that we have, the strength of all of our friendships.
You seem to share a friendly rivalry with U2.
U2 have always been kind to us. We’ve seen them play a few times and I think they’ve come to see us. We’ve met each other in various occasions. I like to think we’re an extremely hard-working band. We never rest on our laurels. I think, if anything, U2 see themselves in us a little bit because I think they were obviously very dedicated to their music and they spent a long time touring and they spent a long time trying to break America as we did. I wouldn’t say there’s a rivalry there but we know those guys and they’re always very kind to us.
Does Bono give you advice sometimes?
Sometimes. I remember once he was talking about how when you’ve done a few albums and you make some money you gotta make sure that you’re still concentrating on the music and not what kind of taps you’re gonna put in your new kitchen. He said something along those lines which I thought was very funny.