Linkin Park’s Brad Delson sat down with Music Radar and talked about not only the making of LIVING THINGS, the feeling and inspiration, but the transition Linkin Park had, he mentions Hybrid Theory, Meteora, Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns in this interview. He also talks about the guitars used on the new album and the sounds that sound like guitar but haven’t physically been played, he later talks about a few songs from LIVING THINGS and also talks about his vocals on UNTIL IT BREAKS, at the end of the interview Music Radar mentions the guitars that were used on the new album. It’s a very detailed interview about LIVING THINGS and a great read especially those interested in the guitar parts on LIVING THINGS. Read an excerpt below and the full interview HERE.
The album is fairly short. As they say, it’s “all killer, no filler.” [Delson laughs] Is that what you guys had in mind?
“Yeah, in fact, I went back and took a look at Hybrid Theory and Meteora because I remember those albums were to the point. I remember they were succinct, but I didn’t remember how it all broke down. It surprised me how short they were. I think the records were 35 and 36 minutes long. We were kind of looking at the body of work we had cued up, and with some rough sequences and segues, I think it was somewhere in that range. I thought, Oh, maybe that’s a good sign.”
With Living Things, it’s been said that the band felt more comfortable revisiting their past, embracing the earlier sound. What led to that?
“It’s definitely true that we started making our third record, Minutes To Midnight, before we knew it was going to be called Minutes To Midnight. We wanted to break out of that primary sound or mode that people associated with the band, because part of the inherent identity of the band is to be able to play in different spaces and mix different genres. That doesn’t always mean you’re mixing the same three ingredients; it means any of the ingredients that you want to use and are comfortable using. On Minutes To Midnight, we used different ingredients.
The guitars are a lot heavier on the new album.
“Yeah, there’s a lot more guitar work. Some of the heavier guitar energy has a more prominent role. I think some people got thrown when we name checked Hybrid Theory and Meteora – it’s not like we’re using sounds from those albums; it’s like the 2012 version of whatever that was for us when we were starting out.”
How do you go about crafting what you feel is the perfect Linkin Park wall of guitar sound?
“I think, on this record, it’s something we did on New Divide – that’s a heavy song, a high-energy song, and you don’t know what’s a keyboard and what’s a guitar. That appearance versus reality is interesting to me sonically, where things you think are one thing are actually handcrafted, and it’s something completely different. It’s that ‘I don’t know what I’m listening to.’
“Whether Mike’s doing a guitar part or I am, we always want to do what’s best for the song. A lot of times it’s finding that interplay between an actual guitar and a sound that we’ve handcrafted, whether it’s a sampled sound or an electronic sound. If you listen to Victimized, there’s that [Electro-Harmonix] HOG octave-oscillating sound.
“There’s also guitar-sample sounds that were made on machines that weren’t physically played, but you don’t know what’s what. Even when I was at the mix with [mixer] Manny [Marroquin], you’re not sure some of the time – ‘Oh, maybe that’s a distorted bass’ or ‘Maybe that’s a guitar sample.’”
What kind of plan did you have when you went in to record the new album?
“OK, so there’s something you should know about our process. Like, if you ask Rick about our process on a macro level, he’ll say very emphatically that no one makes music in the way that we do. Literally, that’s a very emphatic point that he’s made, that our process is just somehow very different. I think he described it more like a studio project than a band that jams.”
“Fortunately, because of where we are at this stage in our career, we do all of our writing and recording simultaneously. So we can actually be in a great studio – we did this record at NRG, and we’d be in Studio A, and different people would be in Studio B. Ostensibly, they’re doing it more traditionally, where they’ve written the songs, demoed them and now they’re going to track them. And they’ll assume we’re doing the same thing. Earlier in the process, we’d be in there writing or just making music. People would look at me and say, ‘Oh, so you’re recording, what are you tracking?’ And I’d be like, ‘No… not really.’ [laughs]
“This happened with Minutes To Midnight, where we did have that mentality: ‘The thing that we write can’t be the thing that people hear. We have to perfect the engineering of it by redoing it.’ Rick was really instrumental in A/B-ing stuff. I think it was The Little Things Give You Away, like, he listened to something Rob had in quotes ‘recorded’ over four days, and he did a blind A/B, and he said, ‘I like this one better,’ and it was the demo. Rob was like, ‘Ahhh, what do you mean? I just spent four days creating that!’ But Rick’s ear said that the magic was in the original thing.
“That gave us the confidence to just write in the studio and make music, and preserve those moments of inspiration on the album. Ninety percent of the time, I’d say what you’re hearing on the album is the initial spark of inspiration presented to the listener.”
There’s no one way songs get written, but is there something close to a pattern with Linkin Park – who starts something, who leaps on it?
“In our process, there are throughlines, because any one of the six of us can bring something in, and we’ll always listen to everything together, physically in a room, once a week. There’s no constrained way how it has to go, and so every song has a unique journey.
“I would say that Mike brings in the most ideas – he’s the most self-assured in terms of the creation of sounds. He produced the record along with Rick. And then it’s an open process for anyone to work on the songs and refine them. We tend to work a lot individually or in pairs within the Pro Tools sessions themselves, and we’ll always discuss everything openly together at least once a week to make sure that if there’s two versions of a song or if there’s a ‘newer version’ – Rick has made us very aware that newer doesn’t necessarily mean better.”
You’re featured as a vocalist on the song Until It Breaks. Very nice!
“Oh, thank you. That’s kind of a coincidence that I’m on there vocally, in the sense that it wasn’t intentional. That’s one of the songs on the record that isn’t so traditional in terms of the structure. It kind of has different suites, you might say. I think the inspiration was… is it Abbey Road where it has different movements?”
Yes, exactly. There’s the extended medley on Side Two.
“OK, cool, so that was our inspiration. We actually had a bunch of ideas that, for whatever reason, didn’t want to be full songs. But we loved the music that was there. So we built that around some of the songs that we had worked on earlier in the process that we wanted to put on the record, and we wanted to find a way to craft that all together.
“The first part where Chester is singing, the first refrain, that was an early demo that I just did in a day – it just was what it was, but it was a cool part for that section. Similarly, the end section was something I’d done up and everyone liked it, and I’d sung on it but it didn’t feel like it belonged in the same breath as some of the real songs on the album, like Lost In The Echo or Burn It Down or In My Remains. Mike had the idea to just glue it onto the end of that piece. I had sung the vocals originally, and I think I re-sang them, but the spirit was definitely ‘keep the vibe of the demo.’
“I don’t consider myself a singer by any stretch, but I am comfortable, as all the guys are, singing harmonies and backing group vocals, and we’ll do vocals on demos. It’s just unusual to have something that’s front and center.”
Source: Music Radar