ONE SHOT CLOSER

MIKE EX­PLAINS THE STORY BE­HIND ONE MORE LIGHT’S COVER ART

Kerrang! (UK) - - LINKIN PARK -

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...

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