Disclaimer: This interview may not be reproduced in part or in entirety without the written consent of LPLive.net or LPAssociation.com.
On August 25th, 2009, The Linkin Park Association and Linkin Park Live had the amazing opportunity to have questions answered by none other than Linkin Park lead vocalist Chester Bennington.
In his brief Q&A done for both LPA and LPL, Chester managed to provide our websites and the fans with exciting new information regarding Dead By Sunrise, his clothing line Ve'cel, the future of Linkin Park, and answers to some of the most nagging questions fans have had over the last couple of months.
> Q: A recent behind the scenes clip has leaked out on the internet concerning the upcoming video for the second Dead By Sunrise single "Let Down". Can you tell us a little more about the plot behind the video and what we can expect from it?
The plot is this: the album artwork is an artistic kind of theme where myself and the guys from Dead By Sunrise are being swarmed by this black void trying to destroy us and so we’re kind of getting sucked up by this black presence. The video is a representation of that and an extension of the artwork. I will be getting engulfed by the black void, the same sheet we used for the artwork we’re using in the video. I’m wrapped up in it and it’s trying to kill me, but you can’t tell its trying to kill me. Inside the black void is an image of a woman who must be causing me this grief that’s going on in the song and the fabric turns from the shape of her body into the shape of my face. I’ve yet to see any edits yet so I’m anxiously awaiting those to see how it turned out.
> Q: About a year ago you launched a clothing line called Ve'cel to the general public and so far the response in regards to the line has been very positive. What are your ambitions for Ve'cel and where would you like to see the clothing line a few years from now?
I think that making clothes is kind of a tricky game. Everybody seems to have a clothing line and that’s not why Ve’cel was created. It was created as an extension of Club Tattoo. We wanted to make a Club Tattoo clothing line that we would carry in our stores and have a premium line, but because of the onslaught of bad tattoo driven designers, we decided not to release Club Tattoo as a line and release something outside of the industry and that’s what we did with Ve’cel. I’d like it to remain different from the others in the genre. We’re a small company and we’re trying to build the reputation of the brand on its own and not have to sell clothes based on the fact that I’m involved.
> Q: In your opinion how do you feel Linkin Park has improved since you guys recorded Minutes To Midnight? Specifically, have you noticed anything different since meeting up for this recording cycle?
I think we always get a little better after every record. We’re more open minded and more interested in trying to push ourselves in terms of the songs we’re making and the sounds we’re using and that’s where we grew up the most over time.
> Q: What is one thing you have yet to accomplish with Linkin Park that you would hope to one day achieve as a musician?
There are some things that bother me that I kind of don’t understand but I think they’re more of a music in general thing and I don’t know how valid they are. What bothers me the most with music is I want the fans to be more open minded. Being in a band like Linkin Park where we don’t fit anywhere, we float around and live in ambiguous place, we have a chance to play a lot of different shows with a lot different bands. There are certain fans that like what they like and they hate everything else. I hate that. I’m not saying I want everyone to like what I do, but I respect anyone that has the balls to get up on stage and do what they do. I want more open mindedness or at least more tolerance. I see bands play their guts out and get disrespected and that pisses me off.
> Q: You've been working on your solo project for quite a long time. The song "Morning After" dates back to at least 2001, for instance. How far back does Dead By Sunrise really go, and how challenging was it to keep some of the material from sounding dated?
That’s a good question. We started making the album in 2006. I think that because I’m drawing from a grungier rock sound as well as an alternative pop sound where we mix the two together, it already has that vibe of sounding familiar in a way. Adding the electronic element to the music elevates that from sounding dated. Good songs are good songs when they come out and that’s what I try to keep in mind when I’m writing. That’s what I’m always trying to do. I don’t know if I’ve accomplished it yet, so we’ll see when the album comes out.
> Q: Several bands (Metallica, Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, etc.) have been commemorating album anniversaries recently by playing them in their entirety as part of their live sets. Do you have any special plans for Hybrid Theory's 10th anniversary in 2010?
We’re no longer going to be playing any songs from Hybrid Theory. That’s our gift. L-O-L-J-K-smiley face. (Yes, he literally said that out loud).I don’t think we’ve put any thought into it. I don’t think we’ve realized it’s already been 10 years. We’re focusing on the next record. Wow, Hybrid Theory is 10 years old. Kind of crazy. Makes me feel old.
> Q: It wasn't too many years ago that you described yourself as being computer illiterate and not liking the Internet. You also have every reason not to be keen on modern technology, with your experience of having a stalker and whatnot. However, you and your wife have both been pretty active on Twitter recently, and you're surprisingly open about your personal lives. What prompted the change, and how do you feel about the interaction you have with all of your fans through the Internet these days?
I have a love/hate relationship with twitter. I find it completely annoying, but often times useful and entertaining. It’s really easy to text. I’ve never actually been on a computer while using twitter. So it can’t be counted as becoming a tech-head. For someone that’s in a band that’s so computer savvy and with all these tools that we use, I just tell someone I need you to help me record this and I have someone get on the computer who knows how to use pro-tools. It’s kind of ridiculous. Ever since I was a little kid learning how to program in DOS and make a square on the screen, my brain can’t comprehend it for some reason. It's really difficult for me to figure out how computers work. I’m ok at it. I can check my emails, but I’m not the most computer savvy person. I take a little bit of pride in that and I also feel like an idiot.
Thanks to Chester for answering our questions! Thanks to Felipe for getting us the interview..... Also thanks to Astat for writing the great questions for LPLive, to Jen for her assistance with narrowing them down, and of course Adam for getting this taken care of. I am eternally grateful to you all!