In the world of viral videos, and controversial hype, some major elements are overlooked in the music industry. The sometimes less talented, more scandalous artists are talked about — whether in praise or disapproval.
You may not have heard Linkin Park’s sixth studio album, The Hunting Party, was released on June 17th. Unfortunately, we’ve been bombarded with female artists boasting their overtly sexual, and often offensive, lyrics. (Please keep your “thots” to yourself Beyoncé and Nicki!)
Thankfully, plenty of us in the world do care about great rock bands–amazing bands like Linkin Park. The Hunting Party went to #1 in 67 countries, and reached #3 on the U.S. Billboard charts. Kudos, Linkin Park!
As a music fan, I’ve always loved the band’s innovative sound. I recently had the privilege of speaking with Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington to discuss the album and current tour.
“I was looking for something to listen to and I couldn’t find what it was that I wanted, ” Mike explained about the concept for the album. “I wanted it to be modern and progressive. If it was modern and progressive, it tended to be a little more mellow. And if it was heavier, it tended to not be as progressive. So, I think we all found that there was just a style that was kind of being under served that we wanted to hear, and that’s what we decided to make.”
Mike also explained The Hunting Party is an album that needs to be taken to the stage. And that’s just what the band is doing. Last night, Linkin Park, along with 30 Seconds To Mars and AFI, kicked off The Carnivores tour in West Palm Beach, Florida. The tour will last throughout September across the U.S.
“I have yet to read anything negative about the record on a critical level, which is pretty amazing, and for that, we’re very grateful,” Chester says about the reception of the album so far.
Bringing back some raw emotion and aggression that the band was originally known for, The Hunting Party delivers where other rock albums fail, as these days the genre often leans toward pop-rock or electronica.
Every fan has their favorite song on The Hunting Party, mine is “Until It’s Gone”, but does the band like a particular song over another? “Different people gravitate toward different songs for different reasons,” says Mike. “Even I like different ones on different days. So, whereas, one day I love ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ because it may be one of the wildest, rapid fire songs on the album. Another day, I like ‘Rebellion’ because it’s such a cool mix of the heaviest stuff on the record, but also it’s really melodic and a solid song underneath that. And then other days I like ‘Line in the Sand’. I think ‘Line in the Sand’ does all of the best things that Linkin Park can do in, like, one song.”
Fans have long awaited The Carnivores tour to hear some of these tracks, like “Final Masquerade” and “Wastelands” live, and now the wait is over. When asked about what can be expected on stage, Chester couldn’t resist to tease all of us journalists. “We’re actually going to do a DJ style party set where we just play lyric videos. We thought that would be cool.” Mike, of course, joined in. “We’re not even going to go onstage.”
Joking aside, both Mike and Chester assured us there would be a nice mix of old and new songs performed on stage. Half Full will be giving you a review from The Carnivores tour in Tampa later this weekend. [Click here for the review and photos.]
Back in the day, Linkin Park members were able to hang out with fans endlessly as they signed t-shirts and CDs. Nowadays, that sort of thing is frowned upon by the crew and venues. “The crew was literally like, ‘We can’t do our jobs because you guys are hanging out with the fans.'” Chester explained. “We had to come up with a new way of doing that. So we’ve done meet and greets with our fans every night, every performance we’ve ever done. We’ve been able to thankfully keep our private lives private and share our professional lives with our fans and everybody’s been really respectful of all that. It’s really cool to be in Linkin Park and kind of be a normal person at the same time. I appreciate that from our fans and it makes it that much easier to keep an openness with our fans as much as we possibly can.”
As much as Linkin Park loves their fans, sometimes they take risks of, as Mike put it, “totally pissing off a portion of our fan base”, like with their more electronic-driven album, A Thousand Suns (2010). “People might not like what you’re doing,” says Chester. “With this record, I felt like, yeah, it’s probably not going to get played a lot on the radio. So, we knew that going into it before. Those things don’t really matter to us. Like, what we care about is making a record that’s exciting to us. We wanted to make a statement. We knew if we did it right, if we made a good heavy record, we would actually be pleasing most of our fan base. So, I’m pretty sure that, like, 90 percent of Linkin Park fans would be excited to hear a record that reminded them of the Linkin Park they discovered early on.”
Well said, Chester!
As the conference call came to an end, I nabbed the last question: What is Linkin Park’s advice for living life with a Half Full attitude?
Chester: “I think not sweating the small things is really important. Using your focus on the big picture, because that’s really the trajectory of where you’re headed, is the big picture. A lot of times when you look at the easiest things happening, it can get kind of chaotic and things will be all over the place. But you’re still moving in the right direction or you’re moving in the wrong direction. So, you have to look at yourself honestly and then kind of figure out where you’re headed in the big picture sense, so you don’t sweat the small stuff, because that’s usually where most of my stress comes from, things that don’t really matter.”
Chester also says the band stays positive with each other by being direct and honest.
Mike: “Stay confident about what you’re about. Just come to the table and try and find some middle ground. I always feel like the root of a lot of my problems, and other people that I know, is usually fear and a lot of that is based on unfamiliarity. People are scared of a lot of things that don’t look like something they understand. Being scared of stuff like that, that can manifest itself in so many ways. We’ve tried to be really cognizant about not operating by fear.”
“You’re a gentleman and a scholar,” Chester complimented his band mate’s advice.
“That was like a plot summary of Frozen,” Mike jokes.
“Which is why it’s so successful,” Chester agreed. “Such a good movie; swell presence.”
WATCH: “FINAL MASQUERADE”