Coldplay's Chris Martin says new single 'Higher Power' all began with a bathroom sink

Watch an exclusive 'Higher Power' performance and the full extended interview with Coldplay here.
June 30, 2021 7:34 p.m. EST
Dave Meyers Dave Meyers

Coldplay's new single "Higher Power" was released at the beginning of May and since French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet (who was in space) was the first one to hear it, technically space heard it before earth. 

Chris Martin told Etalk's Tyrone Edwards that the space-agey music video (where he dances with aliens on the fictional planet of Kaotica) was, naturally, inspired by Star Wars.  

Before Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland delved into the details about the dystopian-looking planet and the inspiration behind that, they first explained how the single came about.

According to Martin, "Higher Power" was inspired by a huge bathroom sink.

“I was staying in a house with a big sink. I don’t know why but I just started hitting it. Violence against bathroom objects. It sounded really good so I just recorded a bit of this loop on my phone and took that loop and went and sat on the keyboard. Then the song just went, ‘Here I am,’” Martin explained.

WATCH: Full interview with Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland

[video_embed id='2232771']WATCH: Full interview with Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland [/video_embed]

When it comes to the lyrics of “Higher Power,” Martin said that the title came a long time before any of the rest of it.

“The title came first which is what happens with us quite a lot. I just had the title written down on a list for a long time and was trying to write a song called ‘Higher Power’ with not much success but just loads of voice memos. One day, in the way that sometimes happens – it’s maybe happened to me like 10 times in my life –a song just appeared from who knows where,” Martin explained, adding that the song “basically” came from the higher power in question.

“You have to be careful talking about it like that because some people don’t believe in that,” Martin warned. “But if you work with songs you definitely know that music is coming through you it’s not really coming from you.”

Martin said he did “a little skeleton stick man version” of the song first. 

“Then sent it to Jonny and Will and Guy and Max and then they add their colours and then it becomes a Coldplay song,” he explained.

And then the music video concept sorta, kinda came from the Star Wars franchise.

“For a while, we’ve talked about the movie Star Wars. In the first Star Wars, there’s the scene with the Cantina Band and we’ve always wondered what their story is. We wondered what alien musicians sound like. We’ve been heading towards this for a while. It just felt like the right time to go into that,” Martin said.

“It’s also really nice when you start inventing planets and things to realize you can say a lot of stuff about how you feel about life on earth. You can say it all metaphorically and allegorically and it’s almost more freedom of speech,” he added.

That's why Coldplay literally premiered “Higher Power” in space. Martin had the help of French ESA astronaut Pesquet to launch their new song into the world from the International Space Station.

“We heard that this astronaut Thomas Pesquet really didn’t mind our music so we thought it’d be pretty cool if he sort of played it in space,” Buckland said. “I think it was kind of a dream for all of us to speak to an actual astronaut while they were in space.”

“His perspective on the world really lines up with ours,” Martin added. “He was saying, ‘You know from here you can see that there’s no borders, there’s no difference. It’s just one thing.’ We’ve been trying to get to that point for ages, singing about it.”

When Tyrone asked Martin about H.E.R. (who mentioned to Etalk recently how much she loved jamming with Coldplay in 2019), he credited the chemistry of Coldplay to allow them to meet such talented people in the industry.

“If we have any quality in our music at all it’s from our chemistry. That’s what makes us sound like us. None of us are actually incredible virtuosos at playing but because we have some nice songs and we sound good together we get to meet people who are so, so talented at playing,” Martin explained.

“H.E.R., they’re just on the next level. They’re like Prince with how they can play. For some reason we connect over love of music then we get to watch them do their thing. H.E.R. she’s just on that Prince level of proficiency. She’s just full of music. She’s like Stevie Wonder.”

Martin and Buckland also credit their “English charm” for getting other incredible artists to play on their albums.  

Coldplay joins Etalk for Etalk Open House, the series that features performances and exclusive interviews with incredible talent like The Killers, Jessie Reyez, Shaggy, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes and more. Catch Coldplay's Etalk Open House on Wednesday night as part of Etalk’s regular broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on CTV  and 7:30 p.m. on CTV2.

 

BEFORE YOU GO: H.E.R opens up about her unstoppable rise

[video_embed id='2227451']BEFORE YOU GO:H.E.R opens up about her unstoppable rise[/video_embed]