Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda and Rick Rubin on the band's 'unusual' style
There came a moment, about six months after Linkin Park began working on “Living Things,” that it felt like it was falling apart. The band held weekly meetings to chart their progress and “it didn’t even feel like we were on the path to making a record. It was a bummer,” recalled Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda.
The group’s rapper/co-songwriter/producer played the new album, out June 26, last night for a small group at Los Angeles’ Sonos Studios. The playback included a multi-media installation programmed to each of the 12 songs on the set.
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Afterward, Shinoda and co-producer Rick Rubin participated in a Q&A conducted by KCRW’s Jason Bentley.
At the band’s meeting the next week, everything came together, as if the bad session had broken loose some creativity. “Everyone loved everything,” Rubin said. “It was sort of miraculous.”
As we reported from a listening session a few weeks ago, “Living Things” is one of Linkin Park’s most propulsive, dynamic albums yet. After 2007’s “Minutes To Midnight,” which featured a number of contrasting styles to create a “weird patchwork,” and 2010’s “A Thousand Suns,” on which, Shinoda says, “we went in one direction as far as we could down the rabbit hole,” on “Living Things,” the band focused much more on personal dynamics and relationships. “It’s what was popping out of our mouths. It felt great.”
First single, “Burn It Down,” remains at No. 1 on the Billboard Rock Songs chart, and the album’s closing track, “Powerless,” has been chosen as the end title for, appropriately enough, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” which opens June 22.
“Living Things” marks the third album in a row that Rubin has produced with Linkin Park.
“I was terrified working with Rick the first time,” said Shinoda, especially since the legendary producer had helmed many of the seminal rap albums that Shinoda grew up on. “It took time to be able to work together and just do the thing. Now we’ve got a really good rhythm.”
Rubin noted that Linkin Park works unlike any other band that he produces. “They’re unusual in that they craft everything individually. They’re unlike a band, they’re more like programmers...The other things I work on you see happen in the moment. This you see evolve over time.”