In June 2011, Bennington revealed to Kerrang! that Linkin Park has begun working on new material for their next studio album, "Living Things". He explained, "We've been working on a new record for the past two months. The music is great and we're well ahead of where we're expecting to be. There aren't a whole lot of noises going on, but there are a lot of good songs."
Rick Rubin will be a producer on the new album. "Typically we'll have a once-a-week meeting to go listen to the songs that they're coming up with and talk about them. For so early in the project, they are much further along than they have been on the last two albums we did. On 'A Thousand Suns' there were still a lot of irons in the fire. We knew, 'OK, we can't do this forever. Let's leave this batch and we'll come back and address it when we start up again'", Rubin said.
In July 2011, Bennington told Rolling Stone that Linkin Park aims to produce a new album every eighteen months, and that he would be shocked if a new album did not come out in 2012. The band continues to record and produce new material even while touring. Bennington commented on Linkin Park's schedule, stating, "Touring for two years is excruciating. When we would tour for two years even the most resilient person in the band, at the end of that, was f--king miserable." He further elaborated on their ideas in an interview with MTV saying, "We do have a really great head start. We've got some great music, some good ideas. The creativity has continued to flow for us for the last few years, consistently." He later revealed in another interview in September 2011 that the band was still in the beginning phases of the next album, saying "We just kind of began. We like to keep the creative juices flowing, so we try to keep that going all the time... We like the direction that we're going in."
In an interview featured in the March 21, 2012 issue of Kerrang! magazine, Bennington stated that the band has returned to more "familiar" territory on their new record, saying "with this [new] album, we've incorporated a lot of guitar work with big choruses and the heavier electronic stuff to give it that really big wall of sound feeling without getting too metal. This will be more familiar to people than 'A Thousand Suns' was, where we were like 'f--k it, we're just going to go bonkers." Bennington also said that the new album's lyrics would be personal and avoid being political, adding "We've been writing a lot about relationships."
On March 28, 2012, Shinoda confirmed that the band is filming a music video for "Burn It Down", which will be the album's first single to be released for radio-play on April 16. Joe Hahn directed the video. Shinoda spoke to Co.Create about the album's art, saying that it will "blow them [the fans] away... The average person is not going to be able to look at it and go, I understand that that's completely new, like not just the image but the way they made the image is totally new. So there's going to be that."
On April 15, 2012, Shinoda announced via his website that "Living Things" would be the title of Linkin Park's fifth album, with the pre-release sale to start on the April 16. Mike Shinoda stated that they chose the title "Living Things" because the album is more about people, personal interactions, and it's far more personal than their previous albums. The band will promote the album on the 2012 edition of the Honda Civic Tour, with co headliners Incubus. The band performed "Burn It Down" at 2012 Billboard Music Awards. On May 24, the band released the music video for "Burn It Down" and debuted "Lies Greed Misery", another song from "Living Things", on BBC Radio 1. "Powerless", the twelfth and closing track of the album, will be featured in the closing credits to the film "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". Most of the material from the album will have a live debut on the Honda Civic Tour in the Summer of 2012.
In July 2012, it was confirmed by Big Concerts and Warner Bros. Records that Linkin Park would perform two dates in South Africa for their Living Things Tour.