14th March 2006 – Interview with Coldplay drummer Will Champion (RS Archive Post)

Coldplay's Will Champion talks to The Rhythm Studio about the recording the new Viva La Vida with, life on the road and the fortunes of his beloved Saints...

How's work on the new album going?

It's going very well.  We have our own studio now which is great because it means we can go in at any time of the day and we don't have to worry about wasting time in an expensive studio.  We've been writing and playing for most of the year now and have been recording for about 2 months... so far.

What was the inspiration behind recording in various churches in Spain?

The idea was to have a little bit of a change of scenery.  We were just recording group vocals and wanted to go to spaces that were acoustically and aesthetically interesting, to give the record some different character.

How has Brian Eno influenced the Coldplay sound?

Brian's work has always been an influence on us.  From the things he's done with Bowie and Talking Heads to his own solo records, his use of atmospheric sound and electronic treatment of traditional instruments is something that we've used heavily in the past.   Funnily enough, this record sounds less Eno-like than the last couple even though it is the only one he has worked on officially!

The final leg of the Speed Of Sound tour finished earlier this year - Do you enjoy life on the road?

I find that 'the grass is always greener' when i am coming to the end of touring or recording.  By the time we're finishing an album, I'm so keen to get back to playing live, but when we're 18 months into a tour, all I want to do is get into the studio.

Is there a particular venue or location that you have found particularly special to play?

Madison Square Gardens in New York is always very special.  But for the sheer size and sense of occasion, it is hard to beat Glastonbury.

How did you get into playing drums?

My next door neighbour when I was growing up had a drum kit and I occasionally played on that and also during music lessons at school.   But then I started playing other instruments when I was about 14 and didn't really look at a drum kit.  When I went to university my friends started a band up and needed a drummer so I said I would give it a go.

Do you think your drumming has benefited from the fact that you play other instruments 

My approach to playing the drums has always been from a musical perspective.  I'm not one for big fills and flashy rolls.  I try and listen to the song and only play when it is really necessary.  It is just as important when you don't play as when you do.

What's on your stereo at the moment?

I'm listening to the Klaxons record, Albert Hammond Jnr, Arcade Fire and a lot of Hip Hop.

Do you have any advice for young drummer and bands who are just starting out?

I feel that it is important to base a band around a group of friends.  Chemistry between band mates is something that you cannot overestimate.  It's more important than technical ability in my opinion.

What would make you happier: Southampton back in the Premiership or another Coldplay no.1 album?

Judging by their current form, I think a return to the premiership is unlikely for the Saints, but in a dream world I would gladly take both!!

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