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Sunday, February 6, 2011

ColdPlay's Band Rules

Coldplay was on a segment of 60 Minutes a while back and during the interview, there was a closeup of their "band rules" posted on the wall of their rehearsal studio. While they all may not apply to all bands, some of these rules are definitely universal.

If these points are good enough for Coldplay, they're good enough for you too. Here are some of the rules as they appeared in the shot. My comments in italics.

1. Albums be no longer than 42 minutes, 9 tracks. (Yes, please. This should be a commandment, not a rule).

2. Production must be amazing, but with space, not overlayered, less tracks, more quality, groove and swing. Drums/rhythm are the most crucial thing to concentrate on; diff. between bittersweet and science of silence. (This is a reference to The Verve and singer Richard Ashcroft's solo effort).

3. Computers are instruments, not recording aids. (Most people think of these the other way around).

4. Imagery must be classic, colourful and different. Come back in glorious technicolor.

5. Make sure videos and pictures are great before setting release date. And highly original.

6. Always keep mystery. Not many interviews.

7. Groove and swing. Rhythms and sounds must always be as original as possible. Once jon has melody twist it and weird it sonical.

8. Promo/review copies to be on VINYL. Stops copying problem, sounds and looks better.

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Anonymous said...

I don't understand rule 1. All of their records have more than 9 tracks. Many people feel ripped off by albums with fewer than 10 tracks.

sculley said...

I've seen this before, and I also do not agree with rule number 1, as well as any other arbitrary rules about how long a record should be etc. Most of my favorite records are beyond 42 minutes and my favorite is 70 minutes. However, I do believe that sometimes artists put out records that should have been shorter, and thus, better, because of the fact that numerous songs felt more like filler. It's not so much the length of time as it is the content that is the issue for me. A 42 minute record can seem too long if a couple of the tracks in the middle just aren't working. Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones wrote something like 300 songs for Thriller. (However, in writing this I Googled that to confirm it, and Wikipedia says 30 songs. Of course, Wikipedia is prone to errors. Other web documentation says 300 songs. Not sure.) Anyways, even if it was 30 songs, they didn't go "Hey, let's do a double album." Just because an artist has 30 songs doesn't mean that they should release it all, and just because they've got 9 or 10 songs doesn't mean they've got an albums worth of material. I think that *trying* to cram things into a predetermined ideology just doesn't work - whether it be "all records must be 40 minutes in length" or "all records must be over an hour in length." It's like trying to do the same thing with a song. I've heard songs that started out beautifully and then fell apart because it feels like the band felt like the song should be longer. I think my 42 minutes are up. :P [end rant]

Aimee Ricca said...

Absolutely love Rule 8! So obvious, yet so overlooked!

#5, is another great one: We were recently contacted to do promotion for an album release next, where they hadn't even named the album yet, and had nothing visual!

Numbers 1 and 6, I can take or leave. I tend to enjoy albums with 11 or 12 tracks - You can always tell the difference between an older album and a newer one because the length of the older is shorter and it disappoints me everytime! As far as 6, there are ways to keep the mystery with many interviews. However, emerging artists need as much coverage as they can get and keeping the mystery for them most likely will not produce results.


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