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© James Minchin
“That’s what motivated us to make the first record, and I would say that same hunger and desire to fill a void is what motivated us to make, for us, a heavy record with a lot of technicality to it. It’s extroverted and unapologetic and demanding, and at the same time, it’s song oriented.
“There’s a lot of heavy music out there, and there’s a lot that’s experimental, and there’s a lot of great songwriting, too. Our DNA and our mission as a band is to make something specifically our own that combines these things in such a way that we’re suited to do; especially our emphasis on making that visceral, unapologetic music but still bringing to bear our love of songwriting and melody. That’s what we’ve been slaving away at every single day for the last six months.
“Even at this stage, it's interesting talking to people like yourself and hearing people's reactions to the first song. I can tell you that certain people, when they first heard it, said, ‘Are you guys f-ing crazy?’ For real. Certain people got it, and everyone ultimately came around and is on the path. To be fair, a lot of people were like, ‘The song is six minutes long. What do you mean it’s gonna be your first single?’ But for us, it’s the best thing that we’ve made that represents where we are creatively. That’s what we’re putting our weight behind.
“And then to top if off, to have a one-of-a-kind verse from arguably one of the greatest rappers of all time, that doesn’t hurt. And it’s so topical, too. Sometimes with a guest, you’ll hear a verse on a song, but it’s got nothing to do with the song the verse is on. Rakim and Mike and Chester, who obviously worked on the lyrics, had a creative mind meld in terms of elucidating the themes of the song. Rakim takes it in his own unique a direction, and it’s just beautiful. I’m so grateful to him.”
Will there be some other guests on the album?
“Yes, there will be. There’ll be a couple at least at this point, and that’s also a rarity. Certainly we’ve done collaborations and tons of things with different artists, but in terms of a proper Linkin Park album, I don’t think we’ve had any guests. On the one hand, it’s been an insular process because we’ve made the record ourselves; on the other hand, it’s been incredible collaborative because we’ve had a lot of creative people come in and out of the studio and share with us their process. At times, it’s led to them bringing their DNA into our songs. It’s been really full-on [laughs], and it’s been fun and rewarding.”