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06.2011 - Interview with Chester Bennington on

How is the current album different from your previous ones?
The electronic element of the band has come to the forefront. From now on we’ll do things we haven’t done before when we work on a new album – like doing a heavy song without falling on the obvious arrangements and distorted guitars. We’ll have to find other ways of being aggressive. When things feel like they could have been on a previous album, we’ll trash it.

What inspired that change?
It keeps our creative edge. We’re not a machine that makes the same tomato soup over and over again. For us, it’s like we’ve made that tomato soup but we’ve forgotten what we’ve put in it so we’ll make something else and hopefully you’ll like that too. We want to be artists and to continue making music we find interesting.

How has your audience changed over the years?
A girl came to us ten years ago when she was 15, and it was her first gig. She’s still in the fan club but she’s been married for seven years and has two kids. The people who have been with us from the beginning have grown up with us. There are also people finding us from the new album. It’s a diverse audience and it’s fun to see different types of people singing along.

Why was the first album, Hybrid Theory, such a massive success?
We were fortunate to release it at a time when people were still buying records. We were also mixing hip hop, electronic and rock music in a way people hadn’t heard. A lot of it’s about timing. I don’t know exactly why it was so big. If I knew, I wouldn’t need to make music any more – I’d just sell the formula.

What’s the first record you remember liking?
When I was two I used to sing Foreigner songs. My brother played their records all the time and I’d sing along.

What was your first song about?
When I was 15 my friend and I learned every Doors song we could play. We liked them as they were so poetic, spacey and deep. So it was something along those lines.

What’s the worst gig you’ve done?
At a bar called the Grasshopper in Arizona with my band Grey Daze. It was a Tuesday night, 7pm, and there was no one there. We played the whole set for the waitress, bartender and doorman. The fewer the people, the harder it is. You have to be professional to do it. You can’t expect things without earning them. Those three people could tell their friends if they liked it, then there’ll be six people next time.

What are you most proud of?
The fact we can all take criticism. It’s important to take feedback and say: ‘I like this thing but the other four people in the band don’t.’ That’s important creatively and helped us grow. It’s prevented a lot of drama that perhaps other groups have gone through. We needed to accept each other’s criticism or we’d have no career.

What’s the worst review you’ve had?
There was a really funny article when Hybrid Theory came out. This guy wrote: ‘I hate Linkin Park so much I hold them responsible for death, famine, disease, poverty…’ – basically everything bad in the world was because of me. That’s quite something to put on my resume. I thought it was pretty awesome; someone hated us so much.

What have you spent your money on?
My ex-wife.

What lessons has the music industry taught you?
You need to work for success and there are more important things in life than buying material things. Being in a band, there’s a lot more you can get sucked into other than the music. You have to find a balance between the business of making music and the art of making music. It can be a tricky balancing act at times.

Metro Magazine - June, 2011


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