As Coldplay inch closer to finishing the follow-up to 2002's A Rush of Blood to the Head, frontman Chris Martin is finding influence from some unlikely sources.
"Do you like Jay-Z?" he asked British radio jock Thom Costall of station Harborough FM during an interview Friday. "I've been listening to Jay-Z and Kraftwerk a lot, trying to get inspiration for the last few songs on our album."
When he hasn't been listening to hip-hop and electronic music, Martin has been writing lyrics, some of which reflect his recent entry into fatherhood; in May, wife Gwyneth Paltrow gave birth to their daughter, Apple Blythe Alison Martin.
"Once you're gonna have a baby, [writing about] that kicks in anyway," he said. "So it's been happening for 10 months, but I mean, I'm not singing about [diapers] or anything."
Coldplay have been working on the new album with producer Ken Nelson in New York. Earlier this year, the band recorded some tracks in London and much of the material was demoed in Chicago.
In addition to working on their new record, due early next year, Coldplay hooked up with U.K. rapper Mike Skinner (a.k.a. The Streets) late last year to work on the song "Dry Your Eyes" for his A Grand Don't Come for Free. Originally, Martin was supposed to appear on the chorus, but his vocals were pulled. "There was this version of it in which I sang the chorus," he said, "but I said I didn't think it was as good as the version where [Mike] sang the chorus. Then he didn't think that was as good as the version where some other dude sang the chorus, so neither him nor me sings on the chorus.
"It was cool to spend the day with him," continued Martin. "He's an amazing guy. You know, there are some great rappers coming out, [though] I don't know whether he'd class himself as a rapper or a MC or whatever."
While Martin wasn't too happy with how he sounded on "Dry Your Eyes," he was even less thrilled with one of the tracks he sang on Faultline's 2002 album, Your Love Means Everything, which was recently re-released. Martin's connection with Faultline dates back to 1999, when Coldplay were looking for a producer and he met with Faultline frontman DJ David Kosten. They ended up hiring Ken Nelson but stayed in touch with Kosten.
"He said, 'I've got a couple tracks. Do you want to have a go at singing on them?' And I said, 'That'd be cool,' and then we did [it]. So those two tracks, ['Your Love Means Everything' and 'Where Is My Boy?' are] on there, and ['Where Is My Boy?'] I don't like. I'm embarrassed about my performance on it."