ONE SHOT CLOSER
MIKE EXPLAINS THE STORY BEHIND ONE MORE LIGHT’S COVER ART
The picture was taken by Frank Maddocks, an art director at Warner Bros., whose work you can see adorning Deftones covers, Green Day’s Revolution Radio, and on all of Linkin Park’s albums. “He used to just do graphic design, but over time started taking pictures to integrate into his work. He’s become a great photographer.”
In keeping with how the band pieced together One More Light, the feel of the photo was hugely important. “Frank showed us this photo months ago, and it seems to continually raise its hand as an important photo with regards to the tone of the album. We kept coming back to it, which made it clear to us it would be the one that would end up on the cover.”
For two men with such distinctly different vocal styles, asking Chester and Mike how they think old-school Linkin Park fans will react to One More Light causes both to let out remarkably similar, knowing chuckles – as if they’re secretly playing interview question bingo and have just got full houses.
“I find it so cute that some of our fans still haven’t figured out what we’re about,” says Chester. “It doesn’t surprise me – I expected it, as we do throw some pretty big curveballs.”
He’s not wrong.this is, after all, the same band that released A Thousand Suns in 2010, a four-million-selling multi-concept record that, in his review at the time, K! scribe Ian Winwood suggested could “only be described as a political album”.and while Mike is quick to stress that One More Light is not political despite the “outward” focus he mentioned earlier, he concedes that “one of the reasons people thought Heavy should be a first single was because when you look at the news, everything does feel pretty heavy right now.”
“It takes people a minute to digest,” says Chester returning to the topic at hand, as well as his earlier food metaphor.“it’s like eating blindfolded; you know you like spaghetti, but if you were eating pork chops and broccoli, and then someone put a mouthful of spaghetti in your mouth, you’d be like,‘what the hell is that?!’”
“We’re not trying to pick fights with those fans,” says Mike.“just like everybody, we’ve got different moods.there are times that you want to listen to different music, and there are times that you want to make different music.”
“I tweeted the other night that ‘Creativity is too big to be put in a box’,” adds Chester – a less blunt message than Mike’s, which said simply:‘genre is dead’.“we don’t have the same restraints that other people put on themselves. Creativity is a journey, not a destination, so we’re constantly going down this road that takes us to these interesting places.”
Those places include hard-hitting topics, even if the music doesn’t pack the same metallic clout. New track Talking To Myself, which features a chiming guitar line and groovy bass reminiscent of The Killers, is just such a song.
“It’s about relating to how my wife must have felt when I was battling my demons,” explains Chester. “Seeing it going down and not being able to do something must have sucked.”
It’s interesting that Chester should mention the word ‘road’, because, for Mike, this is the key thing that fans need to remember: Linkin Park will still play all your favourite songs when you see them live.
“Literally 18 months ago we were playing metal shows – that’s who we are,” laughs Mike.“we play shows for fans – it’s not an egotistical, narcissistic endeavour.we want to play the fans’ favourites, so putting Heavy in the same set as One Step Closer is a challenge, and it’s part of the thing that makes Linkin Park.we can be just as comfortable onstage with Metallica, Paul Mccartney, Jay Z or [electro artist] Steve Aoki.”
“In The End is a pure pop song,” Chester jumps in to further illustrate how the band has long been musically omnivorous.“that was on the first record and is the biggest song of our career. It’s been this way for 20 years.”
“I don’t know where we’re going in future,” sighs Mike, sensing K!’s next question on whether he thinks Linkin Park could return to heavier terrain in future.“this is the body of work that we felt represents what we wanted to make right now. This is the album that we’re supporting and we’re super-proud of it.”
“We’re just riding the wave,” he concludes, arms outstretched as if he’s surfing.
These words stick with K! when we later look at One More Light’s artwork.as the sun sets on one chapter, they’re wading into something new. Sure, those waters may be untested, but they’re doing so together and with a youthful exuberance.
They’re asking you to trust their judgment and join them.
“WE’RE NOT PICKING A FIGHT
Monday Mike (below) tries to make sense of Sunday Mike’s (right) keyboard tinkering The children in it are those of a friend of the band. “We’re all family guys. The image reminds me of what it looks like when all of our families meet and our kids are...