EDIT: 00.35 Tuesday 4 December. Thank you to everyone who took precious time out to ask me a genuine question. I tried to answer as many as I could but if I didn't answer, it may be that I'd already answered it so please have a read through the archived replies. Thank you again and remember, Taylor's words, "the haters gonna hate". Choose love. Debs. X

Hello Reddit,

My name is Debs Wild. I have been working in the music industry for 23 years.

In 1998, I discovered an unknown band called The Coldplay. My boss passed on them but I was the first domino to fall by introducing them to their publisher and lawyer. This led to them getting signed and I have been part of their team ever since.

I also continued to work right across the music business in many roles but in 2017 I was approached to write a Coldplay book. With the band’s blessing and access to their archives as well as content from & interviews with their trusted inner circle, including Coldplay HQ, friends, crew, collaborators and peers, the book includes never seen before band member quotes from my personal interviews & images from the very start of their inception.

I’ll be answering questions about my book, my position within the Coldplay team and my career to date. Go ahead, reddit, AMA!

The book is now available from various retailers and signed (by me) copies are available my shop https://www.musicglue.com/debs-wild (sorry about the non-UK postage cost, it’s a very heavy coffee table book).

You can find me on twitter: @debswild PROOF: https://truepic.com/qyx4tqa4.


Comments: 867 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

Alfoudari177557 karma

Coldplay released a song called moving to mars. Which is a beautiful song, in 2011 they played it live and when they did Chris said something like this “we’ve never played this before, and depending on the next 5 minutes we might never play it again” Well obviously they never played it again, why is that? What’s the story behind moving to mars? Jonny’s guitar is awesome in that song, so which band member didn’t like it?

TheRealDebsWild488 karma

That wasn't the reason (unlike Hardest Part!). Vocally speaking it's a tough song to sing. I was disappointed it didn't make the MX album, I always loved it too.

malice666403 karma

I remember the first time I heard "Yellow" and knew this band was going to be huge, did you have the same feeling?

TheRealDebsWild327 karma

I do remember hearing that for the first time and wondering where on earth it had come from! I guess it was the song everyone was waiting for. You can never predict if a song is going to be a hit but it definitely felt like it.

Cbasg232 karma

Are you one of the few family and friends who have a copy of the safety EP? It's been a coveted item for years!

TheRealDebsWild321 karma

I was sent a copy by Phil just after I first saw them. It truly is my prized possession.

ancientflowers172 karma

How much credit do you think you deserve for Coldplay's success?

TheRealDebsWild249 karma

Hello! I don't actually think I deserve any but I had a part to play as the first domino to fall and it is a real privilege for the band - including Phil - to give credit for that.

KlaysToaster120 karma

  1. Is there any new music coming out soon?

  2. What exactly is Los Unidades?

Thanks for having this AMA!

Also don’t pay attention to the negative questions. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of stuff like this before but a lot of people on reddit hate on Coldplay cause they think it’s cool. So don’t pay attention to that

TheRealDebsWild106 karma

All will be revealed... but never by me. I will leave that to Anchorman.

Thank you for your additional comment, after 20 years, you get used to it. I prefer love to hate.

jamesb3221 karma

Boys, let’s get the reddit tøp clique on this one. This is some cryptic language right here. What’s Anchorman?

TheRealDebsWild53 karma

Not what, who. He is the news announcer of all things Coldplay.

Sixunderground00101 karma

what did you immediately find great about them when you first heard them?

TheRealDebsWild193 karma

"Great" came later. I saw potential and overall it was the vibe / atmospherics of their music. And Chris' voice. The songs weren't there yet but that didn't put me off.

ostuberoes72 karma

This is an honest question: did you know about Radiohead at that time? If so, did you notice any similarities or did you just never make that connection?

TheRealDebsWild173 karma

I'd have no business in the music business if I didn't know about Radiohead back then ;-) I did know about them (& bought their records) but honestly, my first point of reference was Jeff Buckley - I was a big fan of Jeff.

jamesb3258 karma

What have you learned from Coldplay that you think younger songwriters trying to make a career in music should know? And thank you for doing this AMA! Even if there isn’t anything specific you have learned from them musically, have you learned anything from your journey with them?

TheRealDebsWild85 karma

I learned from many people over the years (one boss told me that songwriting was like a muscle that needed exercising every day). I have lots of little nuggets that I pass on to aspiring writers. To use Coldplay as an example, I have to quote Chris and say "don't ever give up". Making it in this industry can be a really hard slog and you need to be prepared to put in the time. These days, a lot of artists can be DIY but I also think I'd say don't expect anything. Do it because you love it, because you feel you have to and if you make a living from that, it's a bonus. Also, look at other ways of "making it" - it doesn't always have to be the obvious route.

parkinsg49 karma

Why “Coldplay” and not “Playcold”?

TheRealDebsWild100 karma

The name is taken from a book by Philip Horky called, 'Child's Reflections, Cold Play".

eideus17 karma

In the Netflix Amazon Prime documentary one of the members, I think Chris, mentioned they took it from another band that didn't like it. Is that true?

TheRealDebsWild14 karma

Yes, this is true. Tim Crompton was using the name first and when he didn't use it for his band, Chris picked it up. Keane is a myth because people got Tim C and Tim Rice-Oxley confused.

definethegreatline43 karma

  1. Can you provide more insight as to why the GS tour was extremely short?
  2. What in your opinion, has changed the most in terms of getting signed and promoting a record in British music industry from the 90's to today?
  3. Are label deals not as powerful as self-promotion at the moment?
  4. During the X&Y/Viva era, I was under the impression that Chris had a reluctance to have their songs in ads (I might be muddling this up here) and in my opinion, that has somewhat remained true to this day for the other records. Any particular reason?
  5. How does exactly the deal with Parlophone and Atlantic work - does Atlantic only handle promotion in US/rest of the world outside of the EU/UK? (I've probably got this wrong somewhere too)
  6. Don't know if you can disclose this, but is touring or record sales/streaming/royalties more lucrative for a band of Coldplay's stature?
  7. Finally, when is Life is Beautiful being released? ;^)

Thanks for coming by, sorry that Reddit isn't being very nice.

TheRealDebsWild75 karma

I'LL DO MY BEST...Can you provide more insight as to why the GS tour was extremely short? THE INTIMACY OF THAT RECORD IS REFLECTED BY THE VENUES IT WAS PERFORMED AT. IT DIDN'T FEEL LIKE A STADIUM TOUR ALBUM PLUS THEY ALREADY A GOOD IDEA WHAT WAS COMING NEXT SO WE DIDN'T HAVE TO WAIT LONG. What in your opinion, has changed the most in terms of getting signed and promoting a record in British music industry from the 90's to today? SORT OF ANSWERED THIS ONE. THE MOST? IN TWO WORDS: THE INTERNET. Are label deals not as powerful as self-promotion at the moment? DEPENDS ON THE LABEL AND THE ARTIST BUT I WOULD URGE EVERY ONE TO SELF-PROMOTE. During the X&Y/Viva era, I was under the impression that Chris had a reluctance to have their songs in ads (I might be muddling this up here) and in my opinion, that has somewhat remained true to this day for the other records. Any particular reason? NO, THAT'S NOT QUITE RIGHT. THE BAND HAVE ALWAYS SAID SINCE PARACHUTES THEY WOULD NEVER AGREE TO USE OF THEIR MUSIC IN COMMERCIALS, UNLESS THEY WERE ADVOCATES. THEY NEVER HAVE - THE ONLY (SORT OF) EXCEPTION WAS THE APPLE AD. How does exactly the deal with Parlophone and Atlantic work - does Atlantic only handle promotion in US/rest of the world outside of the EU/UK? (I've probably got this wrong somewhere too). THAT'S A LONGER STORY ABOUT EMI BEING SOLD OFF BUT PARLOPHONE REMAINING AND BEING PART OF WARNERS (THEREFORE ATLANTIC IN THE U.S)... COMPLICATED BUT THERE'S DEFFO AN ARTICLE ONLINE ABOUT THAT. Don't know if you can disclose this, but is touring or record sales/streaming/royalties more lucrative for a band of Coldplay's stature? I DON'T TALK MONEY :-) Finally, when is Life is Beautiful being released? 12th OF NEVER!


Kostahh42 karma

Why did your boss pass on them initially?

TheRealDebsWild89 karma

The simple answer will probably make no sense but it was because nobody else in the industry was interested. Mad eh?

heavendevil_36 karma

What initially made you think they might end up being as popular as they are today?

TheRealDebsWild31 karma

It was all based on my gut reaction. None of us knew what was to come but I was a fan of music as well as it being my job. I guess being such a huge fan of them contributed to me wanting it to happen for them and believing it could.

legend_of_the_rent35 karma

Debs, I apologize for the people coming to this thread just to give you crap and hate on the band. Unfortunately when you are the biggest band in the world, you will get a lot of hate for no reason whatsoever.

Anyway Debs, I read the book and loved it. My question is when did you decide to start writing this and how long did the entire process take? Thanks for discovering my favorite band Debs. Much love to you and the Coldplay crew.

TheRealDebsWild28 karma

Don't worry and thank you. I was approached to write this book so it's a weird one. I didn't really want to but when I was told it was going to be me or someone else, I felt I had to. I started exactly a year ago and handed the first draft in on 22 March. I then spent Easter finessing, editing and rewriting. After that, I spent possibly longer getting the layouts right which a lovely chap called Russ let me get involved with.

rr125233 karma

Have you written about other bands that didn't become as successful, but that you would recommend to Coldplay fans?

TheRealDebsWild58 karma

Not in a book but yes, I have written online and recommended other artists. Some you will have heard of, others you may not have. Here are a few: Animal Kingdom, Turin Brakes, Rae Morris, Elbow, Scott Matthews...

lukaafilm33 karma

Hi Debs, thanks for the great book and for doing this AMA (and for everything you've done for the community over the years).

You mention in the book that seeing Coldplay live in their pre-Parachutes days was jaw dropping for you and other people like Steve Lamacq. Can you describe more precisely what made you like them so much back then? Do you remember how the show (or even specific tracks) made you feel on an emotional level?

TheRealDebsWild33 karma

Thanks for having me! Having just answered something similar, I'll jump to the latter part if that's ok? Having never heard a note before I saw them live, I didn't have any clue what the song titles were. I could guess that the Safety EP's songs and Panic were on the setlist. Maybe even So Sad but I honestly don't remember. What I do remember was the hairs on my arm stood on end and I was rooted to the spot.

poopdaddy231 karma

What would be different about Coldplay’s path if they were getting started in 2018 as opposed to 1998? Would your approach be to their development strategy be any different today than it was 20 years ago?

TheRealDebsWild25 karma

The development strategy would have to be different (it wouldn't be me, other than give advice when asked, I didn't really get involved with their artistry) and that's an interesting thought because I am guessing if Coldplay were launching now, their music wouldn't like it was in 1998 either... I wonder what it would be like?

niceguydavemusic25 karma

Hi Debs! What will your Coldplay treasure hunt entail to win your copy of the Mince Spies EP? Awesome book!

TheRealDebsWild36 karma

All you will have to do is guess the EXACT location of the CD. It's hidden somewhere that's mentioned in the book. It's not actually hidden there of course so hopefully nobody will turn up at any places looking! At first people can just guess but only one place per day. There won't be any clues until nearer the closing date if it hasn't been guessed by then. It starts today at 5pm (GMT). It's open to the whole world!

GiantBooTQT25 karma

Thank you for your discovery, I know I enjoy Coldplay. Where exactly did you make the decision to make a move with them?

TheRealDebsWild31 karma

The first time I saw them in Manchester. It was my job as an A&R scout to go out & see several bands every night so when a special one comes along, you act immediately.

stnsm24 karma

What happened to Coldplay Oracle?

TheRealDebsWild34 karma

Ha ha! Methinks you probably know that. Has my identity been blown?

stnsm13 karma

Whaaaat. I'm so confused right now.

TheRealDebsWild35 karma

It was me!

stephend200020 karma

What is your favorite moment with the band. Any concert, backstage moment or general banter with the band that comes to mind?

TheRealDebsWild40 karma

I do have one night that still makes me laugh but it's one of those (annoyingly for everyone else) 'you had to be there' stories as it doesn't translate well on the page. Me, Chris & Vicki (Taylor) trying to explain what a Pantomime is to Dave Holmes. Chris got the giggles and couldn't speak for laughing. See? You had to be there.

hvn4219 karma

Hi Debs!

At which point did you realise hmm, maybe this band is more than just the next hotnewband the NME will hype for a few months?

Also, I feel sorry for all the people on here that don’t have anything better to do than posting idiotic comments in this thread.

TheRealDebsWild12 karma

Probably when Simon Williams first plugged the band in the er, NME! Ha. I think each gig I went to, I could see them honing their craft and Chris' on stage persona growing in confidence. Even though I believed in them from day one, it just evolved (albeit at a pretty fast pace!)

SoulBoy197819 karma

Have any of the band seen the book? Do they like it?

TheRealDebsWild35 karma

Chris & Phil love it. I know that Will & Guy had a preview peek of a PDF version and Jonny has seen a copy but pretty sure he hasn't read it as he doesn't really like looking back. Not sure I'd want to either :-)

LonleyViolist16 karma

Were there any other bands you discovered in similar ways that didn’t end up making it big?

Also, any pre-Parachutes songs you wish had become part of the album like High Speed? I’m biased towards Easy to Please 😉

TheRealDebsWild22 karma

I didn't "discover" other artists in the same way but I did try to sign some things a while before other people that went on to do well (& others that didn't make it at all!) High Speed is on Parachutes partly down to me telling Phil that it must be! He'd played me an early demo of it and I loved it. Easy to Please is available on the Fierce Panda release, Brothers & Sisters so I didn't feel it needed to be on Parachutes. So Sad would have fit but I don't think the album is missing any tracks. Deffo not Ode to Deodorant! I love that song by the way but I think they were right to ditch it!

raania_tahseen_200016 karma

How much does the band mean to you? And also, do you think they could go even further than what they've achieved so far?

TheRealDebsWild41 karma

Without wanting to sound like a sentimental old woman (I am getting on!) they mean the world to me. I'm as loyal and defensive of them as I am with any friend or family member. They never cease to surprise and amaze me so yes, I do believe they can go even further.

rrrishabhhh15 karma

Hey Debs, I recently watched the documentary and fell in love with Coldplay even more. What are your views about it?

TheRealDebsWild11 karma

I love it!

SrA_Saltypants15 karma

How often do you keep in contact with them?

TheRealDebsWild22 karma

It depends. We keep in touch via text and email. I see them more during touring but Jonny doesn't live far away from me. Saw Will recently at the preview of Mat's wonderful AHFOD film.

bford102614 karma

Is Chris really as sweet as he seems? He always comes across as a gentle sweet soul who brightens a room when he walks in

TheRealDebsWild22 karma

Yes! They all are. I'm not just saying that either. They are genuinely caring and have been there for me during some dark times.

vegtable_man14 karma

What's your favourite Coldplay song ?

TheRealDebsWild47 karma

I think favourite songs are mood dependent but Politik is always up there.

colebenson01214 karma

Something that I love about the book is the little pieces of memorabilia like setlists and letters. Were they things you collected or did you have to go out and find them?

Thanks again for commemorating the band in such a beautiful way!

TheRealDebsWild12 karma

A lot of the content is mine - the photos captions say on some but the rest are in the photo credits at the back. I didn't have to look for any - it was more a case of which shall I leave out!

rrrishabhhh13 karma

Hi Debs! According to the documentary, Chris can be quite pressing on the team at times. This, on the contrary, has lead to the team sticking together closer instead of falling apart. What are your views about it?

TheRealDebsWild15 karma

Their close friendship and mutual love & respect is definitely a factor for them staying together. They all care passionately about what they do.

clouplay_flyon11 karma

Hi Debs,

Which is your favorite Coldplay era and which song is your favorite from that era?

TheRealDebsWild14 karma

Every era has meant something different to me. Parachutes holds a lot of nostalgia but I've been so lucky to experience each one that I have never considered which is my favourite. That means I probably don't have one!

throwaway1337woman9 karma

Hi! I've been a Coldplay fan for nearly 20 years and still love their music. I roll my eyes when people make jokes about how lame their music is and don't really understand people who make fun of Coldplay or their fans. What's your response when you hear someone ridicule the band?

TheRealDebsWild12 karma

My first reaction is to be defensive and I obviously hate it. It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. Everyone is free to have an opinion - especially when it's right! Ha ha.

virtualtrack327 karma

Did you intentionally release the Life in Technicolor book prior to the AHFOD film release or everything was just Coincidental?

TheRealDebsWild10 karma

Nope, pure coincidence! A happy one too because Mat's film is amazing and he has been incredibly supportive of the book.

IRanAwayProject7 karma

Hi Debs, were there any songs/demos which you didn't like on first listen but ended up becoming big hits ? Conversely, were there any songs which you loved a lot but ended up being discarded by the band ?

TheRealDebsWild15 karma

Yes. I don't particularly like Speed of Sound but many disagree! I persuaded them to put High Speed on Parachutes and Talk on X&Y but lost the Moving to Mars argument. I didn't like A Sky Full Of Stars at first but once I saw it live, it all made sense and I love it now. There are a lot of outtakes that didn't make it on to albums that I still rate highly. That said, I do remember being brutally honest about a song that they (thankfully) left off AHFOD!

mellofello77 karma

What has your experience been like having worked in the music industry for 20+ years? It has always been a dream of mine to work in it.

Also, do you remember where you were or how you felt the very first time you heard Coldplay’s music?

TheRealDebsWild6 karma

It's had it's ups and downs but it's been worth it. If it's always been your dream, remember this.... I didn't realise it was a possibility so was 26 when I started in the music industry! It's never too late to follow your heart. (I answered the 2nd part already).

i_have_unmet_needs7 karma

There is a you tube video of Coldplay performing with Australian artist John Farnham, how did this come to be?

TheRealDebsWild8 karma

Well, he's a legend isn't he? They just asked him and he said yes.

Alfoudari1776 karma

Why did the live tour during X&Y get called twisted logic, but the song itself was never played?

TheRealDebsWild15 karma

I used to get asked that a lot. It's a great name for a tour but maybe they didn't feel the song fit the set list. Chris has since performed it with some talented kids and it sounded great! There's a video clip online somewhere.

Sharktopusgator-nado6 karma

Do you think how the industry selects artists has changed from when you discovered Coldplay? What are your thoughts on the industry today?

TheRealDebsWild9 karma

Yes, it really has. The most significant change is the Internet, specifically social media. Now it's easy to find out if you have a fan base without leaving the office just by checking the number of followers, friends, likes, plays etc. If you don't have those, the industry is unlikely to pay attention. Royal Blood were a recent exception to this and radio backed them anyway - very pleased they did!

swgmuffin5 karma

What does it mean to “discover” a band, and what position/job did you need to have for that to be possible?

TheRealDebsWild13 karma

I was the national A&R scout at Universal Records which meant going out seeing as many bands as possible (rehearsal rooms, showcases, gigs...anywhere) all over the UK. My interpretation of "discovering" a band is not about being the first to see them. You may see a band and dismiss them - that's not discovery. I think it's all about spotting and nurturing potential / talent. In this case, it involved support & me hooking them up with a lawyer and a publisher. Hope that makes sense!

rezilient5 karma

Did you know the late Safta Jaffery? I believe he was one of the producers on Parachutes. I am related to him and he passed away recently. It would be nice if you had a story or two about working with him. Thanks.

TheRealDebsWild3 karma

Hi. I was sorry to hear the news. I only met him once but he worked with Muse, not Coldplay, who also performed the day after in Manchester in 1998. I went to the show too and was a big fan - still am.

Alfoudari1775 karma

Is there anyone around to guide the band if they’re making a good or bad decision in a music sense?

TheRealDebsWild10 karma

They do that within the band - Will usually gets the final vote (apart from ASFOS when Chris insisted that song stayed on the album). Dave (their manager) doesn't get too involved in the music side of things but Phil does. They do ask their close inner circle too.

jimmydushku5 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA and writing this book. I've seen and read almost everything about the band and Life in Technicolor is the most complete version of events I've come across. Seeing all the old photos and memorabilia was very cool. What is your favorite memory of a show before and after they made it big?

TheRealDebsWild12 karma

Hi Jimmy. If you look up Coldplay superfan in the dictionary, there'd probably be a photo of you! There are so many. The Roadhouse show in May 1999 was special. Also memorable because Chris dedicated Don't Panic to my new hair cut (& then had to explain he wasn't saying it was bad). We had our photo taken together - it's in the book - and whenever I look at that pic, it takes me right back. It's also the first time they were asked to sign autographs. I think a big memory of a show when they had made it is the Paralympics 2012. I certainly witnessed one for the memory bank that night.

IRanAwayProject5 karma

Hi Debs, what is your favourite Coldplay B-side and what is your favourite unreleased track ?

P.S. Don't mind the haters here. We love Coldplay and we love you !!!

TheRealDebsWild4 karma

Thank you! I think Careful Where You Stand is one of my favourite B Sides. Not sure about unreleased track...

Fireblade_Uk4 karma

How did you discover the magic wristbands which now form such a major part of the concert experience?

PS: Keep up the good work and pass my gratitude to Chris and the team. I’ve been to many concerts but Coldplay have always been my number 1. This was me and my best friend - Manchester 2016 Coldplay 2016

TheRealDebsWild6 karma

That was Jason Regler's invention. I interviewed him for the book and his story is really interesting. Like a lot of things that happen in the band's career, it felt like a fate intervention!

Alfoudari1774 karma

There are so many unreleased music, will it ever get released?

TheRealDebsWild10 karma

I usually think it's unreleased for a reason but never say never. I do talk about this in the book because there are a lot of songs that get discarded and pop up later in a different guise. Whether a riff, a title or a chorus... Violet Hill is a good example.

niceguydavemusic4 karma

Thank you Debs for discovering Coldplay. Are there any other bands you wished you had discovered? Your book is amazing. 🙂😃💛

TheRealDebsWild4 karma

Thanks! Nope, one wonderful band is enough and the other ones I tried to sign, I'm still friends with and fans of so it was never just about my job it was mostly about being a fan. I did try to sign a lot of things and it was hard at the time to have bosses keep passing and then watch them do well. But that's the job.

cordell-124 karma

Are you actively seeking other bands to help bring them to light?

TheRealDebsWild4 karma

No but I do get approached by artists. I have mentored a few over the last few years and I speak at music colleges like LIPA, Access to Music, ICMP about the industry and usually come away with new music. It's still exciting to hear something with potential.

virtualtrack324 karma

Hey Debs

If you didn't go to that restaurant on the day you discovered Coldplay would things be different?

TheRealDebsWild7 karma

According to Phil, yes but I think it would still have happened - just differently.

Phantom_Katana3 karma

What is one irreplaceable memory that you share with the band?

TheRealDebsWild8 karma

Gosh, I don't know how to pick just one. There have been so many in 20 years. Some of my favourite times are soundchecks where there's just me and them.

Damdamfino3 karma

Hi Debs! Hopefully you’ll be back to see this. I ask everyone in the entertainment industry if they have a Michael Jackson story. So my question to you is, do you have a Michael Jackson story?

TheRealDebsWild4 karma

I went to see him at Aintree in 1988 but apart from that, no, loads of Prince stories though.

Armourdildo2 karma

Do you know John Niven? Is there much truth in the book Kill Your Friends?

TheRealDebsWild4 karma

Well he didn't discover Starfish! Ha ha. I only met him once. Nice fella. There is a lot of truth actually as there is a dark side but obviously it's a book and a film so also a lot of artistic license.