Coldplay singer Chris Martin said that when he learned of the terrorist attacks on Paris last month – shortly before taking the stage at his own band’s concert in Los Angeles – he struggled with how to address it. “At first, we were just depressed, thinking, ‘What’s the point, what are we doing, why bother?'” he told USA Today. “But then we just decided to go onstage anyway and play some music.”
The band was supposed to perform songs from their upcoming LP, A Head Full of Dreams, due out Friday, but the members changed their minds. Coldplay instead performed hits like “Yellow” and “Fix You” and opened the set with their rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
“Our job as musicians is just to tell the truth, so that maybe it resonates with others going through something similar,” he said. “‘Imagine’ was going be so resonant because it’s about the antithesis of that kind of terrible activity, as is much of Bob Marley’s music. Our role that night was to play those kinds of songs.”
The show was originally supposed to be broadcast on KROQ and Tidal, and they later made up the gig with a full set – including four songs from A Head Full of Dreams – a week later.
Looking back, Martin did not regret the group’s decision to shift focus on the night of the attack. “For me personally, it was just so nice to be with my friends, and to think, ‘Well, everyone here is pretty cool and wants to feel good,'” he said. “It’s so easy to get despondent and despairing about things in the world. If it isn’t a terrorist attack, it’s an earthquake or an outbreak of something. So you options are to give up and do nothing, or to live more fully than ever. I don’t want to give up hope, because that doesn’t get you anything.”
Since then, Coldplay have been slowly unveiling songs off A Head Full of Dreams. The most recent one is their duet with Beyoncé, “Hymn for the Weekend,” which Martin has said came to him while listening to Flo Rida. The band also recently put out the ballad “Everglow” and a video, featuring a band of apes, for their song “Adventure of a Lifetime.”