Interview with Phoenix
November 13, 2008
SMNnews managed to sneak in a quick 15 minutes with Linkin Park bassist “Phoenix” - also known as “Dave”. He talks about recording for the new album, possible collaborations with Jay-Z and other metal artists, his beard, as well as the next step and musical direction for the band.
Where are you right now?
Fun. Enjoying your time off?
Absoutely. We toured through mid-September in the US, so we’ve just been taking some time off, and come November we’ll be back working on the new record. I’m enjoying being home, kicking back and just doing some promotion for the Road to Revolution CD/DVD.
November 25th right?
In terms of your writing for the new album do you have a preference for how you want to sit down and get it hammered out?
Well, we are done writing at this point. We had a little break in the summer, like 6 weeks at home where we started working on it a lot. We are just waiting to get back in the studio now to begin writing some more and begin recording, there’s still a lot of work to do. Our fans know we are slow writers, but we hope to have less of a layoff with this album.
It was 2 years between albums last time, yea?
Yea. The big part was we didn’t know how long it would take to be proud of. For Minutes, we took time off of after Meteora, and it took a year and a half to write and record.
Do you have a producer in mind?
For now, we’ll just have Mike produce it. Potentially other people, but at this stage up it is up in the air.
What about Timbaland?
He is not on the radar.
So…have to ask. ‘Phoenix’, do I call you that?
It’s comfortable for me.
Well, I would hope so, considering that’s your name in the band. Do you have a preference though?
Nah, I honestly don’t have a preference. My family calls Dave.
That also makes sense…so, Milton Keynes…fantastic venue, fantastic crowds - why there for the DVD?
We knew going in to the show we were recording it, we knew it was gonna be a special show for us and we figured it would be something we really like the rest of the world to see. Having seen the footage and the largest Project Revolution show abroad, it made sense to edit it and put it out.
We always have our own video guy, Mark, who does our internet stuff and website video editing and capturing - we have him film it all. For Milton Keynes, we had a full crew, and a full on shoot.
Right on. Any nifty behind the scenes DVD easter eggs you can tell me about?
There’s surprises in there. At his point there’s a ton of stuff to still be put together. We haven’t figured what’s included yet. The best way to keep up to date on that, is linkinpark.com - that’s gonna have up to the minute info.
Nice plug. What sort of additional content you looking for?
We’re still messing with it.
What about one good, hearty drinking tale that wasn’t included?
I have to apologize, I mean, is it a bad sign if I can’t remember anything? We’ve had couple of doozies.
This is a stupidly vague question, but what’s the best crowd slash fan situation you came across?
Hard to say, not being PC here, but everywhere we go there’s a different thing the crowd does. Like Europe in general, specifically in the UK, they bounce up and down, where in the US, they pit - lateral movement. Asia is insane, even there it’s so different. Japan is crazy to play, because there’s a built in respect in the culture where when we are not playing the crowd will go deadly quiet…just to hear what Mike and Chester have to say, even if they don’t understand, the crowd will go dead quiet and listen. You’re used to screaming, and loud, but Japan is unique that sense.
That is pretty intense stuff. Keeping in league with intensity, I know Jay-Z appears in the mix for a few tunes, what’s the jigga man like in person?
He’s a good guy, and we have got a chance to work with him quite a bit. Ever since we got that Collision Course CD, he came out to LA, and brought his entourage with him. Our crew and his crew got along well from the start. I think Jay is the one, if not the best MC, of our time. Crazy work ethic.
Will he perhaps appear on a track or two on the new one?
Doubtful, only because when we do studio albums, we never have worked with any guests. We keep it to be our own stuff.
Does he constantly bombard you with pressure to wear his Rocaway clothing line?
No (laugh). I don’t think he’s ever talked about it. I asked if he could get me a pair of shoes, and he ignored me and laughed at me.
You also collaborated with Bustah - what’s next on the collaboration circuit? Any metal artists per chance?
Not really. No plans. Just us.
Minutes to Midnight is a far cry from past material, and has perhaps alienated your ‘heavier’ audience - will we see a proverbial return to form?
For us, we don’t sit down with a direction, we just begin with writing music, and it works towards whatever we gravitate towards - its wherever the album goes. For us, it would not work with an idea of where you want to finish. It kills the creative process. Having said that, we all love the stuff we’ve done, we love heavy music and we are sure we aren’t gonna abandon that. But we want to push new ways to stay energized for ourselves and fans.
Touring: tell me more - US/UK, what’s the plans? More festival type gigs, smaller venues, what’s what?
Right now, we finished in the September. The touring cycle ended for Minutes to Midnight, and there’s literally not one show on the calendar. We are purely back in the studio and are going to write and focus on the new record. Having said that I wouldn’t be surprised, next summer we’ll do some shows and if we were to do that, it would be Europe.
Thanks for your time…as a final question…are you ever going to shave your beard?
I’ve been thinking about it! My hair and beard is a product of my laziness. I haven’t touched a razor on my face in 10 years. It’s only been clippers without a guard, that’s it. An actual razor, it gives me razor burn, I decided if I’m gonna play music and its ok for me not to have that.
Long live beards. Thanks Dave.