With Linkin Park's upcoming sixth studio album still months away from release – as of now, it's slotted for late June – guitarist Brad Delson isn't going to let all the cats out of the bag on what we can expect. But one thing's for sure, he says: Guitar solo fans will get more than their money's worth.
"There’s a lot of guitar solos on the album!" he says with a laugh. "And this is from someone who was quoted early on as saying I hated them." He catches himself and then clarifies: "Not that I hated them as a listener; I just don’t want to play any; I shirked guitar solos. Early on, I felt as though the songs we were making aesthetically didn’t want them. This new batch of songs, to me, always want solos. I feel like every song has one."
Earlier this month, fans were treated to an electrifying Delson wah solo at the end of the group's hardcore-tinged epic, Guilty All The Same. Featuring a compelling guest spot by rapper Rakim, it's a boldly original and wildly entertaining track, which, according to Delson, serves as "a battle cry for the record as a whole.”
Delson (who is co-producing with rapper and multi-instrumentalist Mike Shinoda) talked to MusicRadar recently about how the new record is coming together.
I'm curious why you decided to release Guilty All The Same So early.
“We wanted to get music out sooner than later. The timing just felt right with this song. We finished two songs relatively early in the process, and Guilty All The Same seems to inform the spirit of the record. For us, it’s the perfect lead offering to set the tone for the album as a whole.”
On Living Things, the guitars were punchier overall than on previous records. From what you're saying, you're ratcheting up the guitars even more now – and not just when it comes to solos.
“Yeah, there's way, way more guitar. Living Things certainly had a balance and energy, and it brought together the sounds of a lot of our different chapters in a new way. This record is really a musical experiment and creative endeavor unto itself. I’ve heard people say about Guilty All the Same, ‘Oh, it sounds like their older stuff,’ ‘cause it’s really heavy. But it’s not really like anything we’ve done, either. The heaviness of the track, and of what you’ll hear on other songs on the album, comes from a raw, visceral place, but it sounds distinctly its own as far as our musical history.
“I thought this was kind of funny: Mike actually described it almost a prequel to Hybrid Theory. There’s a lot of records that were influential to us – some hardcore stuff, some heavy, punk-oriented stuff – and that spirit is there. It’s like the record we might have made had we not made Hybrid Theory. It definitely goes down a different path, and it is guitar driven – that’s not an accident."
Now, how planned out is this? Did the band actually sit down and discuss a direction for the album, or were you kind of surprised to see where you were headed after you started working on it?
“A little of both, but I would say that it was much more intentional and conceptual. Per the latter, Mike demoed some stuff and has said that when he listened to it, he didn’t like it and threw it all out. One of the reasons for that – and I’m paraphrasing him, in this case – was that he felt the demos were derivative of the music he likes to listen to, but they didn’t fill a void.
“In scanning the landscape of new music, I think the void in what we heard is what motivated us to make the kind of record we’ve made. That’s sort of been the premise even when we started as a band. There’s a particular sound or a combination of things we’re not hearing. Sure, you could say, ‘A lot of groups are combining hip-hop elements and rock elements,’ but there was a very specific sound we were making and were hearing, and nobody else was doing it in that way."