Revealed! The Secrets Of Linkin Park's New Album
Chester Bennington takes K! on a tour of their forthcoming album - and explains how they've learnt to love guitars again
Linkin park are busy putting the finishing touches to their fifth studio album and they've given Kerrang! the inside story of the new record.
The as-yet-untitled release - tentatively scheduled to see the light of day this summer - is currently being completed in the band's LA studio, and frontman Chster has revealed to K! that it's sounding "a lot more familiar" than the bands last album, ATS.
Where that 2010 release took LP into unfamiliar and polarising territory, the vocalist has promised that the latest outing sees the Californians take heed of their nu metal roots and throw an embrace around guitars once more.
And if that's whetted your appetite for the new release, just wait and see what else Chester and co have shared with us this week...
With the record nearly finished, how are things shaping up in this final straight?
We've found our stride right now. It's really a prolific phase for the band; we've found a place where everyone is really happy and feels like their voice is being heard.
How ha the positivity rubbed off in the sound of the record?
One thing that Mike and I discussed early on in the writing process was that we wanted to focus on trying to keep things up-tempo. There's some dark stuff, too, but our fans can tell that even in the darker stuff there's always a glimmer of hope, and that's what we write the songs about. It's not finding the positive twist on even the darkest moments; we never want people to feel any hopelessness.
Was the decision to write "up-tempo" based around planning to play the songs live?
Yeah, that was our real motivator. We know that when our fans come to see us play, they come for the energy of the show. But we've been writing a lot of midtempo stuff and they're good songs, and if we keep writing these kind of songs we're going to end up with a really long set (laughs). We know that with every record we put out we're going to need to put out singles and pick our favourite songs, so we thought it'd make a good exercise.
Does that mean a departure away from the sound of ATS and towards LP of old?
Over the previous two records, we were trying hard to break out of the nu-metal box that we'd found ourselves in. It's easy to characterise us as that, based on HBT and Meteora, when we were a nu-metal band. But we knew there was more to us than that. And, with the exception of the metal seven-string guitar tone that we had on the first two records - which I think is the reason a lot of people like the band - I feel we've found a place where we're finally comfortable in our skin.
Is it simply a case of balancing all the different sides of the band?
Absolutely. There's so many different sides to LP, and we're tapping into each of them a little bit. With this album, we've incorporated a lot of guitar work with big choruses and the heavier electro stuff to give it a really big wall of sound feeling without getting too metal. This will be a lot more familiar to people than ATS was, where we were like, "Fuck it, we're just gunna go bonkers." (laughs).
Was that a defined focus for this album, then?
We just know the things we don't like, so we know whether or not we're feeling this vibe or that vibe that we've had in the past. But, above all, we just let the music take us wherever it wants to go. Mike and I naturally gravitate towards the ideas that inspire lots of melodies right away. From there, the songs will let us know whether they're good or not. Our process is pretty labour intensive, so songs always go through a huge range of work. It's very rare for our songs to start off one way and stay that way. The ones that become really, really hard to work on fall to the side, and the ones that stick around are those that inspire us, lend themselves to lots of different changes, and the ones that are continuously easy to write lyrics or melodies to.
And what can we expect of that lyrical content?
We've been writing a lot about relationships. We're not a political band; we're more of a socially minded band. We try to look at things that we find in the world that we'd like to see less of. We stick to what we're really good at writing about, and we always have these great things to be inspired by. We've found a new way of writing that mixes everything together well - we're not focusing too much energy on home or the studio or the road. And I think that's helped us be more creative, so we'll be able to make records faster, stay out on the road and continue playing shows - while not overplaying to the point of people getting sick of us (laughs).