I got the chance to attend the Absolute Radio Q&A with Chester in London today (thanks to LPA/LPU member fickleninja!). There was a live studio audience of around 18 people and some LPU members were picked from the audience to ask Chester questions. The Full Q&A will broadcast on Absolute Radio on 1 July at 10pm GMT with extended highlights on Absolute Radio on 1 July from 11pm. The event was filmed and will be available to watch at www.absoluteradio.co.uk. The interview lasted over an hour and Chester discussed many topics in detail including Linkin Park’s upcoming album LIVING THINGS, Rick Rubin, Touring, Stage Designs and much more. Check out a summary of the interview below: • The first 8 song on LIVING THINGS are “in your face” type of songs, the last 4 are more experimental. BURN IT DOWN doesn’t represent how the whole album sounds like. LIES GREED MISERY has big beats and there are other songs on the album with big beats too. • When creating a new album, Linkin Park grade all their songs with ”A, B, C, D and so on”, they then chop it down until only the songs graded A or B remain. They put all the other songs away. • Chester thinks Rick Rubin is awesome. Rubin was familiar with their work on Hybrid Theory and Meteora and he has worked with more artists from more genres than Linkin Park blend together. He understands rock, hip-hop and the electronic side. • There was a folk inspiration in this record. Rubin’s not scared of anything and embraces everything. Rubin helped pushed themselves to make folk inspired songs CASTLE OF GLASS and ROADS UNTRAVELED sound fresh and not “on the nose” folk songs as most people probably don’t want a full Linkin Park album of folk songs. • Chester never got to meet Owen Pallett from Arcade Fire as he was working in Canada at the time, Owen was very efficient and worked really fast and he added an amazing energy to I’LL BE GONE. I’LL BE GONE took a long time to figure out. They call figuring out a song “cracking the code” some songs they can crack quickly but I’LL BE GONE took a long time. It was a great song but they kept running into a brick wall when it came to the chorus and energy of the song. Owen helped turn a “pretty” song into a "rocking really great high energy song". • Chester said they are working on better time management now with touring and making new albums so they can make new albums quicker. Not necessarily shorter touring cycles, but just better time management. • He joked about touring so much that he ends up forgetting his address, number, wife and kids. • They have figured out how to stay happy and fresh on the road and still have time for their personal lives. They stopped touring for A Thousand Suns in October 2011 and they were in the studio as soon as they got home and finished the record beginning of April 2012. • A Thousand Suns - They pulled back things that people were familiar with. They pulled back big heavy guitars and tried to be heavy without being metal. They used electronic stuff to sound textually and atmospheric. • Chester was very happy with ATS, he thinks ATS was the best record they could have made at the time. It showcased everything they could do. • Every record is the best they could have made at the time. They could make the same record over and over again and become caricatures of themselves and fizzle out. Chester said “How many times can you write One Step Closer over and over again? It gets boring and people lose interest”. Even if the songs get better they will still compare it to the last version of that song. • He’s happy with the nu-metal beginnings, and they’re not disappointed by what they have done in the past, they just don’t want to get complacent and just do the same thing. They took a lot of risks over the last couple of records and knew they could potentially screw up and also irritate some fans. He said “If you want to listen to HT, you can put that on. You don’t have to listen to Minutes To Midnight” • He said “We don’t want to make safe records” and challenging fans and challenging themselves is more fun. • When asked about the change of musical industry he joked and said “There’s a music industry?!” They got lucky at the time they started and unlucky in some ways. He talked a lot about the music industry and the changes it is going through. • Stage Design - Some band members help with the design. He wishes they had lasers! They try and make sure there’s a connection with the live show, album artwork, website, merchandise etc . They want to make sure people get a great looking show but he personally doesn’t really care what shape the stage is as long as there IS a stage. He talked about how he always sustains injuries on tour. • ATS – Apocalyptic dark album with a focus on social issues. The name LIVING THINGS came from focus on people and emotions. • Sabotage cover - He was really sad when MCA from Beastie Boys died recently. Beastie Boys had a huge impact on his life. The only other time he cried when an artist died was when Kurt Cobain took his own life. Covering Sabotage was LP’s way of saying thank you to MCA. LPU Fan Questions: • Which does Chester enjoy more, listening to the final product or the process of creating it? He likes the process of making a record. He feels lucky being in a band with very talented guys. It’s fun to watch and be around creative people. He joked about Mike running off and creating crazy sounds in the studio. Listening to a record for the first time is really exciting, he likes unwrapping the final product and listening to it. He joked about smelling the CD and rubbing it all over his body and taking a bath in his pile of CDs. • Chester doesn’t know what Adele thought of LP’s version of Rolling In The Deep. He’d love to hang out with Adele and said she’s so talented and seems fun and cool. • Any plans to work with other artists? No. The spontaneity of those situations is what makes them special. He talked in depth about how the Jay Z mash up project came together. He talked about how happy he was to perform with Paul McCartney and that he has worked with almost all of his musical heroes including Jane’s Addiction and Alice In Chains • Which songs from LIVING THINGS did they find hardest to write? I’LL BE GONE came together quickly, the verse melody came together right away but the chorus was not how they wanted it to be, they like big choruses which feel like a big pay off. In this song the verses felt like a payoff rather than the chorus. It stayed that way for a long time and it didn't come together until Owen Pallett’s string arrangements were bought in and that helped bring life to the song. That song took the whole album time to put together. • “ VICTIMIZED is like a 2 minute long kick you in your face and laugh at you kind of song”. VICTIMIZED came together so quick and kind of wrote itself, it was a no brainer. • Technically, all songs go through weird phases, CASTLE OF GLASS started off as folk but they had to try and find a way to make it rock and interesting and not straight up folk, it was harder to capture the essence of an acoustic folk song and make it into a high energy LP track. • He talked about his tattoos and how the earlier ones all had meanings behind them. He joked about liking the girl that did his first tattoo. His favorite one is the one across his chest with his family members’ initials. He joked about having so many kids and not having space on his chest. • What was the objective of writing LIVING THINGS? Chester said there were no pre-thoughts about what should be on the album or what each song should be about. They go in blind. The only thing Chester and Mike discussed beforehand was that whatever song is chosen off this record to be added to the set had to make sure it didn’t bring the energy of the live set down. • Songs just come from nowhere, he could be dreaming up a song a 3am and he will get up and write it down. They didn’t sit down and think “this is the direction we’re going to go” on any record, they kind of just ride the wave. • What are your opinions on how you guys have evolved over the course of your career? “I think we’ve done a really good job!” Pre-Order LIVING THINGS Today!