This mash-up crashes to top of charts
04.05.2008This mash-up crashes to top of charts
In its phenomenal albums Hybrid Theory and Meteora, metal, rock, rap, electronica and pop have been melded with just enough flourish to keep the ears burning and the cash registers ringing.
So, collaborating with hip-hop superstar Jay-Z seemed like the next logical step for the six-man band.
MTV clearly thought so too, as it teamed Linkin Park with the Jigga-Man himself for its new TV special, MTV's Ultimate Mash-Ups.
And the result is Collision Course, a six-song EP featuring mash-ups of popular Linkin Park and Jay-Z tracks, including Numb/Encore, Jigga What/Faint, and Points Of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer.
For years, the mash-up has been a popular underground pasttime among deejays, hackers and online music traders.
It involves the linking of strange musical bedfellows and blending two seemingly disparate songs - The Beatles and Jay-Z, Nirvana and Destiny's Child, The Strokes and Christina Aguilera, for example.
Now, it's finally going legitimate.
And mainstream as well.
As one of the first legally-sanctioned mash-ups, Collision Course has crashed to the top spot on US charts and sold over
two million copies worldwide.
It also was recently No 1 on the Rias (Radio Industry Association Of Singapore) chart, and has sold more than 7,500 copies here.
The two-disc CD/DVD set is in stores now.
When informed of such impressive numbers, Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson told The New Paper over the phone from Los Angeles: 'That's what's cool about it. No-one expected it to work.'
Citing DJ Danger Mouse's The Grey Album - featuring vocals from Jay-Z's Black Album laid atop beats created using The Beatles' White Album - as inspiration, Delson said: 'We were excited to create the quintessential mash-up, to show that the more two genres are dissimilar, the more they're really not that different, and have a lot more similarities than you realise.'
He added that putting out Collision Course was 'an incredibly challenging experience'.
He said: 'Anyone can do a mash-up, but they do it in a crude way. We have to make it seem like they've always been that way - separated at birth.'
And for those who think Jay-Z's cred far outstrips Linkin Park's, it was the rap impresario who suggested the collaboration after being approached by MTV to do a live show of his choice.
After Linkin Park rapper/vocalist Mike Shinoda sent a sampler of Numb/Encore to him, Jay-Z agreed to the project.
The two artistes then set up several meetings where they traded music files back and forth, according to Delson.
So what was it like working with Jay-Z?
Delson said: 'He's such an accomplished artiste, and we've been fans of his for a long time. We were surprised at how humble and professional he was.'
And was Jay-Z all about the bling-bling?
'Not at all. He was all about the music-music!' Delson answered.
Within two short weeks last July, Collision Course was produced (mostly by Shinoda and Delson who picked the tracks and did most of the arrangements), recorded in a Los Angeles studio, and performed live at Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood after a string of rehearsals at the venue.
Delson, 27, recalled: 'It was a whirlwind experience, very different from the normal Linkin Park recording process, which is just super long and painstakingly drawn out.'
According to Delson, his bandmates were 'really stressed out' because they were simultaneously preparing for their tour, Projekt Revolution.
He said: 'We were learning, practising and memorising a significant amount of new music for both shows. We didn't want to turn up at Projekt Revolution and play songs from Collision Course!
'You can see how confusing it could get and how easy it was to get mixed up.
'Looking back I can laugh at it because it's all over and it all worked out. But there definitely were moments we didn't feel we could pull it off!'
Although Collision Course is a one-off record, critics are already slamming it as a commercial novelty, and have accused Linkin Park and Jay-Z of cashing in on a craze to make a quick buck.
Delson had this to say: 'People who say that are missing the whole point.'
He insisted that the sole driving force behind Collision Course is creative, not commercial.
'We're musicians, and that's our art. And along with success comes additional creative opportunities like this. Working with Jay-Z is a huge pay-off in itself.
'As a group, we always try to break down barriers - musically, artistically, culturally.
BREAKING NEW GROUND
'People are comfortable with categories, and when we blur the lines and push the envelope, people become uncomfortable and get all freaked out. They don't know how to handle it, and it's a bit frustrating.
'But others find it exciting, and we're in the business for those people.'
Then what does Delson have to say about the notorious mash-up of Britney Spears' Toxic with Linkin Park's Faint?
'No comment,' he replied.
'I haven't heard it, although I know it exists.'
With just a hint of sarcasm, he added: 'Am I excited by some of the choices? Nooo...
'I have certain tastes in music, and fans have their own tastes.
'Whether I dislike it or not, I'm totally supportive of anyone else out there making whatever they want. It's healthy and I encourage it.'
"The New Paper" Magazine - December 27, 2004