The first two records were a whirlwind. Hybrid Theory was the best selling album in the world that year. We beat Britney Spears, which didn’t even make any sense to us. A couple years later we decided we needed to go back and basically completely change what we were doing or else we’d be stuck doing that thing forever.
We ended up doing an album called Minutes to Midnight, which was like taking a few steps out of the box and learning how to do something different. The last album was called A Thousand Suns and it was a complete departure. We went totally out of left field to people that were following the band.
But to us, it was a necessary step. We knew going into it that it was really going to be polarizing. It was going to take a lot of effort for a fan to get into it, which is a lot to ask of people. Because it was a concept record, the first two songs on the album were instrumental and had absolutely no traditional structure—you didn’t get a song until the third track in.
We absolutely lost and gained fans. If you look on the iTunes reviews its either one star or five stars. Everybody loved or hated it. That’s kind of the point. So coming back after that… we love that record and had a great time doing it and touring it. It kind of worked out exactly the way we wanted it to.
So coming into this record we’re like, what do we feel is the next step for us creatively? Like, what are we excited about doing? And, this is it. It’s definitely feeling like there was a thirst for a certain thing that is very “Linkin Park,” and we wanted to give them that. We’ve been holding it back for a long time and we felt like now is a good time. We’re excited about doing it. We’re excited for people to hear it.