Considering that their debut Hybrid Theory was the best-selling album of 2001, Linkin Park don’t exactly need to alter their sound for the follow-up, due in March. “I’m sure we could do some crazy stuff now,” says Park rapper Mike Shinoda. “But we like what we like. We know what kind of music we want to make, and we just go after it.”
For the past several months Shinoda and the rest of his band mates – guitarist Brad Delson, drummer Rob Bourdon, DJ Joseph Hahn, bassist Phoenix and singer Chester Bennington – have been hard at work on next year’s most anticipated rock record. Though Theory went quintuple-platinum and yielded massive radio hits with “One Step Closer” and “In the End,” it was this past summer’s remix CD Reanimation that showed there was more to Park than the sum of other genres. “We did that project with all these different people who are sample-based musicians,” Shinoda explains. “I learned a lot from those guys. So our samples on this album are a lot more interesting than on Hybrid.”
Shinoda is once again co-producing the record with Don Gilmore, who manned the boards on their first record. The group started the process at the beginning of the year with a whopping fifty songs in the can, eventually paring the list down to fifteen. According to Shinoda, the final results are “heavier” than prior efforts, but maintain the group’s trademark melodic edge.
The recording sessions did yield one big surprise, a song called “Breaking the Habit.” The track features samples, live guitar, a ten-piece orchestra, live piano and digital manipulation, sometimes all at once. “For the last five years, I’ve been wanting to write this song,” Shinoda says. “It’s about some friend of mine that had some really awful events happen to his family. It’s kind of dark. It’s not something people will hear on the radio, but it’s important to us.”