Chester Bennington: 'This Album Speaks for Us, and the Sound We Previously Lost Is Captured There'

Linkin Park members discussed "The Hunting Party," live shows and the meaning of "'Hybrid Theory' prequel."

Ultimate Guitar

Linkin Park members, singer Chester Bennington and drummer Rob Bourdon, recently spoke to Japanese Gekirock magazine (translated by the Blackout Show Online) about their upcoming album, "The Hunting Party."

Talking about the new album sound, Chester stated that whenever they make an album, they are "reborn as a band."

"We deliberately go for a new sound, as not to make the same album twice. We're Linkin Park, and we do what we want to do, that's the true nature of our band," he stated. "Ultimately, it's had good results. This is why the sound is us. When you listen to the beginning of a track, you can tell it's a Linkin Park song.

"It doesn't matter what other people think. We care about our own personal quality. We can't control what people like, but we can control what we do. Our own satisfaction. This happens with every album release, and I'm grateful that our fans feel the same way we do every time. In the current hard rock music scene, there isn't anything that excites us musically. It's the same with alternative or indie channels. All the indie bands sound like Train, and that's mendacious.

He also touched the reasons which led the band to the making of "The Hunting Party." "I'm not complaining about the music itself, but the nature of the music. For example, if a news headline says, 'Cure for cancer found!' then you can't write about how Lindsay Lohan got drunk at some party. It's just something you don't do. I don't want to be dishonest to my own music. You can't play adult contemporary on a rock music station. It definitely gets on my nerves, even if it's a good song (laughter). I think that's the problem with the current music scene.

"There was this song that Mike was working on before," he continued. "I liked it, because I knew that we could turn it into something cool. But Mike , he decided midway through the project that he hated it, and started on a new song. This eventually became 'Guilty All the Same,' but when he first let me listen to the opening riff I shouted out, 'Yes! It's great. This is the only way to go! The entire album should go in this direction.' I was really excited. 'Let me start screaming right now,' I told him (laughter). Do you understand? There was this feeling we hadn't felt for a while, this hard and heavy sound that had been lost. Keeping a song original while maintaining its coolness is difficult, but it was awesome finding that direction. Once you have that, the path ahead becomes pretty clear."

Chester also discussed the band's mastermind Mike Shinoda's words, describing "The Hunting Party" as the prequel to the band's debut, "Hybrid Theory." According to his words, Mike was referring to the mentality of the record.

"It's a low, raw kind of sound led primarily by the guitar, but I think that this new album truly represents what we really want to do at this point. It reflects how we ought to be. What I'm trying to say is that this album speaks for us, and that the sound we previously lost is captured there.

"It's similar in feeling to 'Hybrid Theory.' 'No music appeals to me. There's cool music, but nothing that captivates us,' is how I feel. The songs I want to listen to right now are from 20, at least 15 years ago. There are good bands out there, but only 2 or 3 that I look forward to hearing more from. It's such a situation that inspired us to start working on a new album. We know that there are fans out there eagerly awaiting a heavy album, but I don't like the idea of them thinking of this album as a 'prequel to Hybrid Theory' in such a sense.

"Each song has a story to it," he elaborated further, discussing the collaborations on the record. "For example, 'Guilty all the Same' represents what we've been making, and the expectations of our fans. With 'Rebellion,' we wanted to create a new kind of sound. Not in the sense that we get a new producer or anything, but with a musician we respect. We thought along the lines of Daron (from System of a Down), Rakim or Page Hamilton (from Helmet). We had the idea, and then Rakim really came (laughing). Everyone was really happy, because Rakim's rap was everything we'd been looking for, it spoke what we wanted to say. It might be a rude way to put this, but that song wouldn't have been much without Rakim. It's a f--king epic song.

"As for Daron, we let him listen to the song and he liked it. He didn't want to add guitar or anything though, because everything was already there. The song was perfect, and all that we'd hoped to create. 'All for Nothing' also has an interesting story. We liked it from the very beginning, the melody was cool but Mike was having trouble singing it. It was rare for him to struggle like that. I asked him, 'Doesn't your voice sound like Helmet?' and he responded, 'I thought so too, but is that a good thing?' Of course I told him it was great, I love Helmet. We hadn't done it intentionally but it sounded very similar and that was cool, so we discussed whether to have Page come in and work with us. Next thing I know, Page was in the studio!"

Finally, the drummer Rob Bourdon admitted that, since the album release, the live performances will be the challenge for him:

"This is why I train around 4~5 hours a day in my home studio. I practice until my arms are numb, and then take the next day off, the way I always have. I have to be able to keep going from the beginning to the very end. The drum sounds are recorded in one take, because there's nothing you can edit in or out. That's why I have to be able to keep drumming for longer. Since it's been a while since I've played anything this intense, I'm enjoying it. As I understood the aim of the album and got involved in its making, I realized I was changing as well. I became more aggressive, stating my opinions and pouring in my own energy. It really feels like this album projects what we want to be. I'm happy with the energy, and pushing my own limits. I can't wait for everyone to hear it too."

"The Hunting Party" will be available on June 17 via Warner Bros. Records.


37 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I hope this isn't just building up to a big let down... Actually really keen to hear this album.
    I have my doubts. Didn't they say the exact same thing with the last album?
    Jacques Nel
    The last album, you have to admit, was a step in the right direction though.
    I hope this one is a significantly bigger step.
    I wouldn't fall for it to be honest. Their label would hardly let them stray away from commercialism for the sakes of pleasing the niche nu-metal crowd. Most there will be is a couple of songs that are slightly Nu-metal, the rest, the same manufactured tripe.
    Jacques Nel
    No one needs to fall for anything, they've already said they will do as they please. Making music to someone else's liking will feel empty. Let them do as they wish, if you don't like the album, don't buy/listen to it.
    Of course they will say that. Do you really think they would openly say "Our management aren't letting us create the music we want to..". What they are doing is trying to expand on the target market that they are hitting. Right now they are very commercial and have a huge following.. now imagine if they brought back all the old Nu-Metal fans as well? Profits. Do you really think that bands in the mainstream are not as business minded as the big cheeses? That's why the label has trusted to put financial backing into them in the first place. They have smarts and talent.
    Funk Monk
    If you listen to "Guilty all the same" you'll find it is indeed a very guitar driven song. That being said, it doesn't at all sound like something from Hybrid Theory.
    Agreed, I found songs like The Catylyst off of a Thousand Days almost felt more Linkin Park ish than the new song.
    Quite excited for this. I've been re-visiting the old albums in anticipation. I forgot just how good Hybrid Theory is, so anything that can be described as "a prequel to Hybrid Theory" is good in my book
    This makes sense! You praised Clodplay in another threat, and now Lincoln Park! Yes! I get it now… No, no I don't… how do people waste their time with this trash?
    From the sounds of it, it sounds like they are going to pick up where Minutes To Midnight left off (sound wise), which to me, is the best possible direction they should take.
    Jacques Nel
    I hope that line where Chester says "It's very guitar driven" is true. As well as the whole "Like a Hybrid Theory prequel" thing. I have high hopes for this album. Especially when seeing that the people they collaborate with are not some techno DJ types.
    The last thing they should do is "go back to their old style." I hope they can achieve aggressive music in a new and inspiring way. So far we've heard two songs, out of which one was really fresh and one was horrifyingly flat. This band has always been able to achieve greatness in any kind of soundscape they venture in to and they have my trust, as long as they don't go all Rick Rubin on things and mix/master things flat as ****ing ****ing.
    Does anyone notice how the article title doesn't actually feature the band's name?
    I know, I thought it was that other Chester Bennington dude's band.
    I suppose it could have been talking about Stone Temple Pilots, but...yeah, it was pretty obvious in context.
    So far the first singles proved nothing, and both were horribly produced. I would've loved it if they continued the path of their 4th album. While generally it wasn't great, the lead singles were masterfully produced and echoed the theme of the album's concept very very well.. But that's just my opinion
    I heard one or two songs already. yup. Linkin Park still makes shitty rock yet again
    All indie bands sound like train? Wow I just lost a lot of respect for Chester Bennington (from the little I had left)
    He's talking about indie "rock" genre. Not about indie bands whom remain unsigned to a blood sucking label.
    I kinda feel the same way. I don't like indie much but saying they all sound like train is definitely not accurate.
    I honestly don't even care if they go back to their old sound anymore. They made 3 shit albums after Meteora and that was enough for me to give up on this band.
    REALLY? No wonder guilty all the same has that shitty rap part...mike didn't even like it
    You should open your mind to rap a little more. Rakim doesn't write about clothes, bankrolls, and hoes. He's deeper, more intelligent than that. I implore you to look into his parts lyrics, its really good actually.
    I don't think Chester knows the proper meaning of the word "mendacious" lol... good on him for trying to use big words though.