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Phoenix will be video chatting exclusively with LPU members on Wednesday, January 23 at 1:00pm PT. Be sure to arrive early as spots in the chat room may be limited. Date and time subject to change.
The part 2 of Phoenix’s interview to the East Coast Radio has been posted, Dave answers questions regarding LIVING THINGS and even A Thousand Suns.
Your new album is called Living Things - can that title be taken to mean you feel songs are living things?
The album title stuck because it had a couple different reads that we liked about it. As the album was developing it felt a lot more personal. Lyrically it was more you and me, rather than a political or kind of world view. And that was just the direction it was coming out, so it was that Living things kind of mentality going into it. There’s a ton of different reads on it. The individual songs themselves kind of become your kids at some point in the studio, and they do become these living things themselves.
It’s not the concept album A Thousand Suns was. Was this a conscious decision, and was there any pressure from the fans to steer away from this?
A Thousand Suns wasn’t intentionally a concept album. When we finished it we looked at it and said, “Wow, there are a lot of themes running through the breadth of the record itself”. We hadn’t sat down with that as a purpose.
I think it was us pushing ourselves as far as we could in one direction and to see where it would take us creatively. With Living Things, again, our studio process never begins with the pre-determined destination. Maybe other artists are able to do that but we’re either not smart enough or talented enough to visualise the end result and then achieve it. The process in the studio is a little more wandering than that. It’s almost like the Australian idea of a walkabout – like you’re just kinda letting the music happen and seeing what you like and what you’re being attracted to, and what’s interesting to everybody. So almost like if we went out in one far direction with A Thousand Suns – we felt like we had already been there, so themes and sonically it naturally just moved on from what we had done.
There are tinges of country, almost folk on the album…?
Yes. Mike and Brad have been really interested in some of the earliest recorded American music. They got into recordings from the Smithsonian – around the 1915/20’s, that kind of era – and the songs that were recorded had been around for years and years and years. It wasn’t our attempt, by any stretch, to write that style of songs, but it was more about digging into those and seeing how the structure of them work – seeing how they were presenting melodies and ideas, just before the modern structure of songs was occurring, and then just plugging in the stuff that we do and letting that move us in a new direction. So there are definitely some different influences coming through.
If any rock band could do that, it’s Linkin Park. I think of your album with Jay-Z and collaborating with that genre…
For us, it’s always been like that from the get go. We’ve got a lot of guys in the band who all have a lot of different ideas, and grew up listening to different styles of music. That continues to this day, and it gets deeper and deeper the more that all six of us get older and are exposed to different kinds of music. There’s never a lack of ideas. It’s more about steering the ship, a question of organising them.
We can be all over the place but [producer] Rick Rubin does a great job with that. I see that as his main role on the last couple of records. He is the outside ear that can sit across so many different genres. The vast amount of music he’s worked on in his career span really lets him speak to what we’re doing – he can tell us what’s working, what’s not, and why we need to work on and re-address certain things. He’s not the type of guy who’s going to tell you how to get there. He’ll just tell you that you need to go somewhere else.
Is that the key to how he works – how he’s gotten to be one of the top producers of our time?
The key that I’ve seen with Rick is that he sincerely loves music and the creative process. It almost catches you off guard. You think that it must be an act; that there’s got to be a piece of him that’s pessimistic – about the industry itself, musicians, or being in the studio. But he just can’t get enough of it. He sincerely loves the creative process and it’s contagious. It’s a freeing mode to operate in. His history speaks for him, and we felt him out and learned our process with him early on. Now it’s a really fun working relationship.
Do you have a jaded bone in your body?
(laughs) Yeah, haha, see I have a ton of jaded bones! I couldn’t do what Rick does in that sense. But yeah, I work against it.
But it has to feel pretty good to know you’ve provided the soundtrack to so many people’s years of teenage angst; that your music has been a catharsis for so many?
It’s funny for me, because music was always my outlet to escape from the world. I started playing violin classically at the age of six, and it grew from there.
Every now and then I laugh at what I do now for a job. At that point I never thought I’d be doing music professionally. It was always just an escape – a funnel or vent for disappointments, a way to turn my anger into something positive. It was like that for probably 14/15 years – those formative years – and it wasn’t until we were finishing college that we then thought, “Hmmm, we’ve got some good things going with this music thing, maybe we should see how it goes…”.
Your Music for Relief organisation has been doing some amazing work…
There are so many layers to it, and I could talk about it for hours. We started it in 2004/5 principally as a disaster relief organisation, after seeing the places we’d tour being affected by natural disasters. We wanted to try and figure out a way to do something to help. That’s grown, so we still do that and various environmental initiatives too. In the last year and a half, we were approached by the UN to talk with them about ways that we might be able to help them with their energy initiative for all. There are some astounding stats – like, a billion people in the world are without electricity access.
We started working in different ways with different projects around the world, like the Power The World project, to hopefully address the huge issue – an issue I believe the next generation is going to have to tackle. It’s not that sexy to talk about energy access, people aren’t drawn to that, but when you start to hear the stories about babies being delivered by candlelight…we heard one story about a project we’re doing with an OBGYN in Uganda who has to deliver babies with a cellphone in her mouth to use the light at night. So it’s a way of finding solar-power generators to work in these medical clinics. Really cool stuff.
You revealed your album artwork on the Internet – how do you feel about new technology and where do you see it all going?
With technology and things like that, it’s a sprint more than ever. Things move so fast. It used to be that you release a record and then go touring for two years. If it’s a big record, it would be still kind of selling even after that, but nowadays, a record’s not new anymore if it’s been out for two weeks. The flip-side of that is that there are a lot more cool things you can do that are becoming more and more accessible for us to interact with fans, and for them to interact with each other. It’s really cool and it’s a unique place for being a band, or just being a fan of music. For us, everybody in the band has fun with it and so it’s easy to somewhat keep abreast of what’s going on. But by no means are we at the forefront of it all, we try to just see it as another outlet, another opportunity to get our music out there.
Dave spoke to east coast radio about Linkin Park’s South African touring cycle kicking off today. That’s just part one part two will be posted tomorrow on http://www.ecr.co.za.
Your South African fans have been waiting for a long time for you to tour the country – has it always been on your radar to go there?
Absolutely! A couple of us are really good friends with a guy there who’s connected to promoters and he’s been wanting to get us to go for a long time. He hasn’t just been saying it; he’s actually been trying to make it happen. It’s been going on for 10 years, so at this point we’re really excited to go. It’s always exciting to go somewhere you haven’t been before, or to play somewhere new. South Africa seems like such an awesome place.
What have you heard about the country?
There are a lot of different things. Music wise, we are fortunate enough to have toured with Die Antwoord, they came out with us and we got to hang out with them. We know there’s a lot of good stuff going on musically in SA. In addition to that, we know we’ll get to go on safari. I’m also a big golfer and I know the country has a rich golf heritage so the opportunity to play there is going to be great!
So you’re big fans of Die Antwoord? What do you like about them?
Yeah, I love them. If nothing else, they’re very unique and creative, and they’re kinda doing their own thing in an artistic way, and pushing other people’s buttons. And that to me is fun.
Even in another language?
Even in another language exactly! (laughs)
Will you tailor your show for South Africa?
There definitely will be some different things. Going into a larger venue means we have to gear things up differently. Production is working with the idea of playing stadiums. It presents some unique opportunities when the look and feel of the show is that big that we aren’t able to do here in the US or a lot of different places.
Do you find audiences overseas to be very different? Being here in the States, I’ve realised that the fans here are very lucky because they’ll have the opportunity to see Linkin Park play a number of times, whereas for many in South Africa for example, this may be the only chance they get. Do you feel that makes audiences different for you?
I think, for us, everywhere we go is a bit different. There are definitely some similarities from crowd to crowd, but at the same time, places where you play more often, whether that’s in parts of Europe or in the US, definitely have a different feel than places that you’re not able to get to as quite as often. Like in parts of Asia or parts of Eastern Europe where we haven’t played more than once or twice, or even places where they’re not used to getting lots of shows in, there’s a higher anticipation and excitement built around the show. For us, we feed off the energy, so it’s a lot more playful and a lot more fun. I don’t want to say it’s a lot more fun than playing a normal show, but it’s a lot more fun than playing a normal show!
Well, South Africa should be a treat then!
We heard the numbers and stuff about how the shows have sold there, and we weren’t expecting anything like that. The response tells us that it’s going to be something awesome for us and awesome for the audience. It’s also the only time where we get time off, maybe five or six days in Cape Town to see the sights. Under normal touring circumstances, you’re only in and out of a city, but in this case, we’re actually going to get a chance to look around and have fun down there.
Phoenix has talked to MusicFeeds.com.au about the new Linkin Park album and Australia’s Soundwave 2013 that Linkin Park is rumored to take part in.
Linkin Park is without a doubt one of the most successful bands to rise from the ashes of the nu-metal movement through the late 90s. Their ability to mix metal with rap and electronic layers all within the tight circle that encompasses ‘radio friendly’ music saw them absolutely dominate the airwaves and the charts. Since 2000′s Hybrid Theory, the band has maintained a healthy presence in the mainstream. Now, 12 years later, with their latest release Living Things fresh from the print, it looks as though Linkin Park have no plans on slowing. After our chat with bassist Dave ‘Phoenix’ Farrell, we know this is true.
Within a matter of days, Linkin Park will be packing up the van and hitting the highways of the States for a tour with Honda Civic Presents, a perfect opportunity for the band to showcase the new material. We got straight to the thick of it as I asked Phoenix his opinions on the final product: “This record for us is interesting, it’s blended a lot of the different things we picked up in the studio after the past ten or twelve years or so. There’s a blending of styles that we’ve used throughout our first four records and at the same time, there was an attempt to insert new sounds and new ideas.” As Phoenix continues, he discusses the band’s pre-production concerns, rather than attempting to be as different as possible from their previous releases. “This was more comfort and confidence. We were working on whatever we were being gravitated towards, whatever we felt like writing. It was a real open approach to the record.”
I thought I’d push this topic a bit further, given the younger demographic the band initially targeted is now 10 years older; is it becoming harder to write music under the guise of Linkin Park? “Well, there’s a yes and a no to that answer. I mean, it’s always been hard for us to write given that there’s 6 dudes in the band, and everyone needs to be happy with the track before we release it, There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into that. But at this stage, I feel as though we’ve entered a good creative flow where we’re a lot more comfortable with new tools and concepts. Also, the fans have given us the ability to push ourselves and explore new things, which is fun for us as well.”
Much like with their other recent albums, Linkin Park tagged long-term collaborator and production legend Rick Rubin. Having worked on everything from Metallica to Slayer to Adele and The Dixie Chicks, we got talking about the character of Rubin, and what it’s like to work with such a heavyweight: “Rick’s great. I think he’s a wonderful fit for us, He doesn’t spend a tonne of time in the studio with us, kinda lets us do our thing, see what we want to work out; if we want to do a song he’ll sorta…come in and give us a ‘fresh-ears’ approach to it. So we can kinda hunker down, get to a certain point when Rick will come in and give us his feedback, you know, how it’s hitting him. Then we move forward from there.”
From hearing about artists who had worked with Rubin in the past, I had this idea of a big bearded man running around a studio biting people’s heads off for getting in the way of his genius, though Phoenix painted a much different picture: “The thing I absolutely love about Rick is that out of everything he’s done, which is a shitload, he doesn’t have a cynical bone in his body when it comes to music and the creative process. He has a love for those things and he wants to kinda help us with what we’re doing, push us to be creative and not be complacent and comfortable, to make the best record we can make. He’s very…well the cliche would be ‘all Zen’, real Buddhist, but there’s a lot of truth to that.”
Now to the question on most people’s minds: what does the band have to say about all the hype on Linkin Park making the trip down for Soundwave 2013, “I’d be stoked to come down again. My favourite place in the world to tour is Australia. I do say that a lot about a lot of different areas, but I’m totally being honest. Nothing has been confirmed yet, not 100% as far as I know, but it’s a huge, huge priority for us to get down there early next year. Right now we’re just a bit too far off to lock it in, but the information will be available very soon. I don’t know why it’s all hush hush, I dunno. But it is.”
So there you have it, a strong ‘maybe’ to Linkin Park playing Soundwave 2013. Be sure to check out Living Things, which is available now. Without a doubt, it is a release the band is very proud of and excited to see how it goes down with the fans. Keep an eye out for news of a tour; shouldn’t be too far off.
Phoenix spoke to National Geographic’s blog called “The Great Energy Challenge” about the “Power The World” initiative, Linkin Park’s pledge through Music For Relief and what they hope to have achieved by this time next year.
More than two years after the 2010 earthquake that left Haiti in rubble and displaced 2.3 million people, recovery has been slow in coming. Hundreds of thousands are still living in camps such as Corail-Cesselesse, a relocation area set up in the aftermath of the quake. And the cholera outbreak that has taken nearly 7,000 lives on top of more than 300,000 lost in the quake itself continues to cause suffering.
Aside from the quake, dependence on charcoal for cooking has continued to cause deforestation and health problems Haiti, prompting the U.S. Agency for International Development’s announcement today that it would support a $7.2 million project meant to bolster the market for cleaner cookstoves.
The dearth of reliable, sustainable cooking options in Haiti is just part of the overall energy access problem in a country where fewer than one third of the residents have any electricity at all, and where outages are frequent. Haiti, like many other countries around the world, suffers from a crippling lack of power.
Not many bands are better suited to bring that message to a broad public than Linkin Park. With more than 38 million Facebook fans, more than 700,000 followers on Twitter and a listener base that has steadily expanded since the band’s debut album Hybrid Theory was released in 2000, Linkin Park has threaded its philanthropic mission throughout its website, social media and viavideo messages on YouTube.
Dave “Phoenix” Farrell, the band’s bassist, answered questions about the initiative via e-mail.
Tell us about the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. The band pledged support for it last December. What will the band be doing?
Linkin Park and Music for Relief have launched Power the World in support of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Year of Sustainable Energy for All in 2012. We chose Haiti for our first Power the World project because the country faces severe energy poverty. There are 34 million people in the Western Hemisphere who have no access to modern energy; 8 million of them are in Haiti. To help, you can go to www.powertheworld.org to make a $10 donation and [our aid organization] Music for Relief will provide a solar-powered light bulb for a family in Haiti without access to energy.
What led to your interest in energy poverty? Have you done anything like this before?
I traveled to Haiti in April of 2011 to see firsthand how Music for Relief has helped the recovery effort. I visited Camp Corail and saw solar-powered lights, which MFR helped fund with the UN Foundation to help keep women and children safe. When the Secretary- General announced the energy initiative for 2012, I knew it was something we should be a part of.
Getting people interested in issues like energy poverty can be challenging. How do you plan to do it?
It’s definitely a tough issue to communicate fluidly and succinctly. In addition to our normal online channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) we are going to be creating some video components to help relay the magnitude and importance of sustainable energy for the future. We are also working in conjunction with the UN to create other projects throughout the year.
What has the response been like from fans (and maybe non-fans)?
So far the response has been very positive, but we are just getting started. I hope momentum continues to build through the year to facilitate a very strong interest in the issues of energy poverty.
There are so many issues related to energy. What stands out to you as being particularly pressing?
Fewer than 25 percent of households in Haiti are connected to electricity grids. That means 75 percent of households are lit using kerosene lamps, candles. In addition to being dangerous, this is also far more expensive than electricity. With sustainable energy, neighborhoods are safer at night, medical services can be more effective, and children can study and play after the sun goes down. Our solar light bulb is hopefully a small first step towards a far better quality of life for millions of Haitians.
How far do you think social media can go in creating change?
As has been seen in 2011, social media can be revolutionary. The potential social media has to create change is just starting to be tapped.
What do you hope to have achieved by this time next year?
Power the World is a pledge to help one million families gain access to clean energy solutions. That’s the goal, and with the help of music fans everywhere, we hope to achieve it. Once again, you can help by going to www.powertheworld.org. Make a $10 donation and Music for Relief will provide a solar powered light bulb for a family in Haiti without access to energy.
Schwarzlicht Minigolf’s facebook page shared this picture of Mike and Dave. This was probably shot when Linkin Park had scheduled a “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon” screening with fans in Berlin near June/July. Although Mike is wearing a beanie in the picture and Phoenix is wearing a scarf but also a short sleeved tee so the date this was shot confuses me. Schwarzlicht Minigolf shared this on December 16th. Click for full size.
According to all the tweets from Mike and Ted Stryker the trio attended #KROQXmas. A couple of pictures of Mike have surfaced backstage, but that’s all when it comes to that.
Here are some tweets relevant to the guys.
A couple of things here. Last night Dave retweeted the following tweet from his account:
According to the website the event will take place at Morton’s Steakhouse on Monday, December 5th at 7:00 pm in Los Angeles.
Second update; There’s a new item in Linkin Park’s Facebook Store!
Black mug featuring a skull, feathers, and bird graphic on both sides….
Check it out here!
I just got this e-mail and it’s an update by Phoenix concerning the Secret LP show for Japan. It’s probably going to be posted on linkinpark.com soon.
As you probably know, we are playing at a small club in Los Angeles on August 31st to benefit tsunami relief in Japan. Many of you have already taken the challenge onsecretshowforjapan.com to raise money for tickets. To show our appreciation for your hard work, we are doing something extra special for those of you who go above and beyond the $500 fundraising goal.
If you are one of the top 50 fundraisers, you will get a meet & greet pass that includes a group photo with the band. If you are one of the top 10 fundraisers you will also get a signed instrument from us. The fundraiser whose campaign contributes the most money overall will get the meet & greet, an instrument and will also get to watch the show from the side of the stage.
If you live far from LA or just can’t make the show, you can still help the cause by donating to a fellow fan’s campaign.
Thank you to everyone who is participating. Japan needs our support right now. We hope to see you soon at the show.
Dave has a new blog post on linkinpark.com. It’s about the TV schedule of Linkin Park’s Preformance in Moscow at the Transformers Premiere.
Check out our performance of “Iridescent” in Red Square at the Transformers: Dark of the Moon premiere event in Moscow (below). As if playing in such an incredible location wasn’t great enough, our Russian fans surprised us by having a special moment planned. They had printed and distributed amongst themselves the words “wisdom,” “justice,” and “love,” coming from Martin Luther King, Jr’s speech. At the moment in our set where we use an excerpt from the speech, the crowd surprised us with their visual collaboration. It was an awesome sight to see, and something both us and our crew will remember forever.
To see more of the concert in Red Square, tune in to the Transformers: Dark of the Moon Premiere Special on MTV2, Spike and Palladia beginning Thursday, June 30 in the US, and on your local MTV channel outside the US beginning Friday, July 1.
First airing in the US is at 7:00pm on Thursday, June 30, on MTV2. A full schedule is below.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is in theaters now. You can get tickets here.
MTV2 – 7:00pm
Spike – 12:00am Midnight
Vh1 Classic and Palladia –11:00pm
Outside the US – check your local listings.