Interview with Phoenix

13.05.2008
Linkin Park bassist Phoenix on ‘monster rock’, Metallica, and fist-fighting with his bandmates.

FHM: You guys combine rock, hip-hop, grunge, and metal. How do we call your music?
Phoenix: Monster rock? I don’t know. Tough question. I’ll let you guys decide on that. I’ll let you call it whatever you want.

FHM: So, what was the first “angry” song you wrote and what drove you to write it?
Phoenix: Ha ha ha! Our songs aren’t necessarily angry, although there’s just an element of anger. But there’s also a lot of other emotions there—sadness, and hope as in Meteora. I think we wanted them to come from a place of honesty lyrically.

FHM: Where’d you get the name “Meteora”?
Phoenix: Meteora came from when we were still on the Hybrid Theory tour. Meteora’s a place in Greece—we saw it in a travel magazine that showed pictures of it just like a series of rock formations, with monasteries perched on top of it. It almost looked like it was out of a movie or something. And as we continued to work on the album, the thought of the place stuck with us. It gave distinction to what we wanted to give the album, to create something that was a little bit timeless and had an epic feel to it.

FHM: Is it true that from 80 songs you guys cut the album down to 12? Are you really this picky?
Phoenix: I think people get the wrong idea when they hear that. A lot of them are song fragments and it’s what I’d call, um, bad songwriting? So at the end of the process, it’s more like there are 80 song fragments that we’ve worked through on the album. They were eliminated to more significant or more listenable songs. It was cut down to 20, and through that recording process, we came up with 13, then 12. That’s kind of how it works for us.

FHM: You are known for your high-impact performances. Out of all the artists you’ve performed with or made music with, whom did you learn much from?
Phoenix: One of my favorites has been Metallica. We toured with them on their recent summer *Centurion tour. I’ve been a fan of Metallica since I was 10, and to go out and see those guys play every single night live is incredible, it’s just awesome there’s so much energy. I cannot say enough good things about it. And they’ve been so accommodating and friendly with us, really.

FHM: You are said to be the harshest critic in the group. Is there any truth to this?
Phoenix: It’s very true. I think one of the blessings is that all six of us are perfectionists, and at the same time the six of us are pretty opinionated so we do battle a lot and we do disagree a lot.

FHM: So when did the biggest brawl happen?
Phoenix: Oh man, in Hybrid Theory we actually had a battle over “Crawling”. Just with the song structure itself…

FHM: So you guys had a fistfight? All six of you?
Phoenix: Yeah.

"FHM" Magazine (Philippines) - July 2004


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