We Moved! WE MOVED

New interview, Suosikki Magazine 2007

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Story of Linkin Park

Count minutes to midnight
Text Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros, Los Angeles

What makes Linkin Park happy? Well, of course jamming at the studio. And if they can come up with an album at the same time, it’s just extra!

The listening session of Linkin Park’s new album Minutes to Midnight is closely controlled. The six misters have hired their own guards and the editors invited listen to the new album with head phones. The track list circulates under the code name ‘Lion Pride’. We are allowed to copy the names of the 12 tracks on our notebooks. The security measures taken in the bungalow of the Sunset Marquis hotel are strict as the musicians don’t want their art to leak on the internet beforehand.
– We have finally published our earlier material online. We were previously concerned to do so as on the internet people don’t necessarily listen to the album as a whole. For us the album is a piece of art and only one song doesn’t fully unfold it, the guitarist of the band, Brad Delson, tells.
– This may sound far-fetched, but can anyone make sense out of a part of ten seconds of a movie. In our opinion listening to one track of the album is as insipid as showing just a short part of a movie, the other vocalist of the band, Mike Shinoda, explains.

Over 150 songs

Mike and Brad are sitting on the terrace. A dry wind makes Brad’s curly hair even more messed up than it already is. Mike has hidden behind sunglasses. The interviews of the day have sucked all the energy out of the two men and Mike is yawning with devotion. Despite the exhaustion Brad is a talented storyteller and Mike who has also influenced the album as producer colors the stories up with his own insights. The atmosphere is relaxed and the musicians are content with their work.
– We have been at the studio for one and a half years and worked over ten hours a day. The making process of this album was more democratic than the one of our previous albums. Previously we voted the best songs out of 20 to go on the album but now each one of the guys participated in the writing process from the very beginning. Our DJ Joe Hahn noted that he felt that he was taking part in making this record more than the making process of the previous albums, Mike states.
– Each one of us brought songs with them. The best ones of them ended up on the computer, all in all more than 150 rough versions. We recorded some singing or humming in each one of them. Twelve best ones of them are on the album, Brad continues.
The guys have been living every musician’s dream, jamming at the studio with no hurry.
– We were able to use all the instruments we wanted. I believe that the album shows our love towards music. We didn’t do it because we had to do the next album but because we enjoy music, Brad describes.

Rendition of music

Hearing the album for the first time, it sounds fairly darkish. My opinion turns the two on the defensive. It doesn’t help even if I explain that this fits the Finnish mentality more than well.
– Okay, naturally the lyrics sound different in the ears of a Finnish person and a person living in Los Angeles, Brad finally laughs and continues:
– Everyone is allowed to comprehend our music the way they want. The same way as each one of us looks at a painting from they own point of view. That is the beauty of art.
– The lyrics of What I’ve Done can be easily understood as the end of the world or a rebirth. Or something totally different depending on the current state of mind, Mike admits.
Now he’s, above all, interested in what is the national drink of Finland.
– Oh, Finlandia vodka, is that what you drink?
They are interested in life in the North. But why don’t they come and have a show in Finland?
– Our agent Scott Thomas is booking all our shows. Maybe our fans in Finland haven’t been telling actively and loudly enough that they want us there. We want to perform in Finland so keep some noise about it in there, they add up.

How is Fort Minor doing?

Fort Minor was the name of the solo project under which Mike Shinoda published the album The Rising Tied in 2005.
– Before Linkin Park I made a lot of hip hop. Back then, about ten years ago, I had cheap equipment and I knew hardly anything about making music. During my time in Linkin Park I have learned a lot about producing, writing songs and overall a lot about people. Fort Minor was like the closing of the circle for me. The project started as I thought what it would be like to return to my roots and use all the knowledge I have gathered during the way to my music, Mike told to Suosikki magazine a couple of years ago.
Now he grins at the question.
– There’s nothing going on with Fort Minor. It was fun to do, but I didn’t have any greater plans with it.
I was excited about it and brought that back with me to Linkin Park. It’s good to be making music with the other guys again.

This is how Linkin Park started

Friends, vocalist-rapper Mike Shinoda and guitarist Brad Delson, recorded their first songs in Mike’s bedroom in 1996.They met the drummer Rob Bourdon in primary school and Mike met the DJ Joe Hahn in Art School. Brad shared an apartment with Dave “Phoenix” Farrell who became the bassist of the band. Phoenix left the band after college but came back a year later. Band’s another vocalist Chester Bennington who was chosen to replace Mark Wakefield came from Arizona to California after Mike heard him sing on the phone. Chester left his regular job and his wife to Arizona to wait for the success of his music career.

Once upon the time at the studio

During one and a half years many things happened at the studio. Reminiscing Brad’s stumble stirs up the biggest burst of laughter:
– I ran into a glass door. It was the first day at the studio and the door was so clean that I thought it was open. After that I put there a warning sign saying: Be wise, don’t walk through! We videotaped the recording process and we’re publishing material from the time of Meteora to today on our website, Brad reveals.
There are juicy stories also from working with legendary producer Rick Rubin who has also worked with for example U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers and System of a Down.
– Rick wasn’t engaged to the making process of the record the same way as we were. Every now and then he came to listen to the songs and influenced on the results. For example for the song Little Things Give You Away our drummer Rob recorded demonic drums with medium equipment at his practice studio so that the rest of us could get an idea of the song. Eight months later Rob had practiced playing the song for at least 50 hours. We recorded it with the best possible recording equipment. Rick listened to it and concluded that the demo version was better. He was right. The first version still had the original feeling. There was something magical about it. During the way the song had turned to sound mechanic even though Rob played it perfectly, Mike tells.

The original interview in Finnish

And by the way, this is now officially my first blog post! :)