Linkin Park is without a doubt one of the most successful bands to rise from the ashes of the nu-metal movement through the late 90s. Their ability to mix metal with rap and electronic layers all within the tight circle that encompasses ‘radio friendly’ music saw them absolutely dominate the airwaves and the charts. Since 2000’s Hybrid Theory, the band has maintained a healthy presence in the mainstream. Now, 12 years later, with their latest release Living Things fresh from the print, it looks as though Linkin Park have no plans on slowing. After our chat with bassist Dave ‘Phoenix’ Farrell, we know this is true.
Within a matter of days, Linkin Park will be packing up the van and hitting the highways of the States for a tour with Honda Civic Presents, a perfect opportunity for the band to showcase the new material. We got straight to the thick of it as I asked Phoenix his opinions on the final product: “This record for us is interesting, it’s blended a lot of the different things we picked up in the studio after the past ten or twelve years or so. There’s a blending of styles that we’ve used throughout our first four records and at the same time, there was an attempt to insert new sounds and new ideas.” As Phoenix continues, he discusses the band’s pre-production concerns, rather than attempting to be as different as possible from their previous releases. “This was more comfort and confidence. We were working on whatever we were being gravitated towards, whatever we felt like writing. It was a real open approach to the record.”
I thought I’d push this topic a bit further, given the younger demographic the band initially targeted is now 10 years older; is it becoming harder to write music under the guise of Linkin Park? “Well, there’s a yes and a no to that answer. I mean, it’s always been hard for us to write given that there’s 6 dudes in the band, and everyone needs to be happy with the track before we release it, There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into that. But at this stage, I feel as though we’ve entered a good creative flow where we’re a lot more comfortable with new tools and concepts. Also, the fans have given us the ability to push ourselves and explore new things, which is fun for us as well.”
Much like with their other recent albums, Linkin Park tagged long-term collaborator and production legend Rick Rubin. Having worked on everything from Metallica to Slayer to Adele and The Dixie Chicks, we got talking about the character of Rubin, and what it’s like to work with such a heavyweight: “Rick’s great. I think he’s a wonderful fit for us, He doesn’t spend a tonne of time in the studio with us, kinda lets us do our thing, see what we want to work out; if we want to do a song he’ll sorta…come in and give us a ‘fresh-ears’ approach to it. So we can kinda hunker down, get to a certain point when Rick will come in and give us his feedback, you know, how it’s hitting him. Then we move forward from there.”
From hearing about artists who had worked with Rubin in the past, I had this idea of a big bearded man running around a studio biting people’s heads off for getting in the way of his genius, though Phoenix painted a much different picture: “The thing I absolutely love about Rick is that out of everything he’s done, which is a shitload, he doesn’t have a cynical bone in his body when it comes to music and the creative process. He has a love for those things and he wants to kinda help us with what we’re doing, push us to be creative and not be complacent and comfortable, to make the best record we can make. He’s very…well the cliche would be ‘all Zen’, real Buddhist, but there’s a lot of truth to that.”
Now to the question on most people’s minds: what does the band have to say about all the hype on Linkin Park making the trip down for Soundwave 2013, “I’d be stoked to come down again. My favourite place in the world to tour is Australia. I do say that a lot about a lot of different areas, but I’m totally being honest. Nothing has been confirmed yet, not 100% as far as I know, but it’s a huge, huge priority for us to get down there early next year. Right now we’re just a bit too far off to lock it in, but the information will be available very soon. I don’t know why it’s all hush hush, I dunno. But it is.”
So there you have it, a strong ‘maybe’ to Linkin Park playing Soundwave 2013. Be sure to check out Living Things, which is available now. Without a doubt, it is a release the band is very proud of and excited to see how it goes down with the fans. Keep an eye out for news of a tour; shouldn’t be too far off.