Linkin Park are setting up to release their seventh studio album 'One More Light' this coming May 19th with the first single 'Heavy' dropping just last week. The band, often known for taking risks and defying genre, appear to be making no exceptions with their next record. We got the chance to ask Mike Shinoda a few questions about the new album and he was awesome enough to take the time to answer them. What can fans expect from 'One More Light'? How does the album differ from their past work? In what capacity did they use outside artists and just how did the jump from 'The Hunting Party' to 'One More Light' come to be? Read our brief interview below to find out all this and more. LPA: We've seen the band touch on this record as a very 'personal' record. You've mentioned that connotations of family led you to choose the album cover, for instance. But you all have put out songs before which were deeply personal. What's different about this record? Is family a theme we can expect to be explored more explicitly than previous albums? Mike Shinoda [Linkin Park]: In a way, this album is personal because it's more specific. Maybe because each song started with concept and lyrics. Often on One More Light, the words paint a picture which puts you in a time and place. For example, on Halfway Right, Chester sings, "I used to get high with the dead end kids / in abandoned houses where the shadows live." That's a very specific image, and probably one that wouldn't appear on any of our other albums. LPA: With the final tracklist revealed, it appears that a lot of the songs are the same working titles we saw on the board when the process began. Do you think this is down to your approach of writing the lyrics before you made the music this time, so instead you had a naming scheme based on the words you were writing rather than the sounds you were making? MS: Yep, the song titles were there from the start on this album, because the words came first. On other albums, I'd start a song with music, so I'd have to come up with a random word to name the song file in the computer. But on this album, all titles are words in the songs. LPA: We've heard you talk about the sombre nature of the title track 'One More Light' - hinting that it will be a truly raw song, full of emotion. With this album being so personal, what were some of the challenges you faced in writing it? Can you point to any other moments or tracks on this album that you think listeners may find challenging or unexpected? MS: The song One More Light is a stripped down track, inspired by the passing away of a friend. It's the heart of the album in a way, maybe because of its minimalism, maybe because of the subject and execution. It's about loss, connection, and the myriad complex emotions that come along with this type of story. LPA: As with every album Linkin Park puts out, you're always going to divide some of the fan base. In the press for 'One More Light' you said that you don't rap as much on this album but sing more. You also noted how there's no screaming on this record or *really* heavy guitars. Was that a conscious decision you made during the process or are there songs you recorded that you deliberately chose not to include with the final ten because they perhaps didn't fit in with the final overall tone and message you wanted to create for this album? MS: We didn't really care about genre. The sonic choices we made on this album were intended to best serve each song. We just focused on the words and melodies that felt most special to us, then supported those with the sounds that felt like they supported the song and created the best soundscape to get the idea across. At the end of the day, I think you can hear that we weren't aiming for it to fit into a box, and that's one thing I like about it. LPA: During the writing process for 'One More Light' we saw a number of artists mentioned, hinted at or seen in the studio who could have been potential collaborations for the album, including The Chainsmokers, Blackbear and Conner Youngblood among others. With the final tracklist noting the only feature as Kiiara, can you shed some light on if any of these came to fruition even as strictly writing credits on the new album? Blackbear posted a snapchat last year from the studio that many believe to be 'Sorry for Now', is this the case and was he involved in any way? MS: Generally, here's how it would work: we'd get in the room with someone, and start on something from scratch with them. We worked mostly in the same way we always write songs, but with extra firepower in the room. I think you already know some of the collaborators on the album: Andrew Dawson, Eg White, Justin Parker, RAC, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter. On Sorry For Now, I had a finished vocal and a rough track that the whole band liked, but we all thought the track could use some spice. We invited Blackbear and Andrew Goldstein in with me, Chester, and Brad, and we created this vocal sample drop together that took the song to a whole new level. It was really fun having people with different perspectives and talents in the room each time. LPA: Prior to the release of The Hunting Party, you lamented the state of rock music at the time - that perhaps there was a lacking presence of the visceral, guitar-heavy rock that you and the band, and so many of us, grew up on. In doing so, you also lamented a bit of the 'poppier' sounds coming out of more alternative and indie rock bands. But some fans and music journalists have seen 'Heavy' as more of a 'Poppy' song that is more accessible to the mainstream, radio audience than some of your earlier works. Was The Hunting Party meant to be more of a statement in the context of the musical scene, and what would you say to fans who might be scratching their heads at the new record considering the metal-driven almost 'anti-pop' mentality of the last one? MS: Great question. Think of a gallery painter's shows--each exhibition is its own statement, inspired by where they're at in the moment and what's going on around them. We're not McDonalds, we don't make the same thing over and over. In order for us to be happy, we have to be experimenting and pushing the boundaries of who the band is and what we do. Sometimes that means wild direction changes. Besides, anyone who thinks our band is synonymous with a genre isn't actually very familiar with the band. We're proud to be able to play comfortably on stage with Paul McCartney, Metallica, Jay-Z, and Steve Aoki. Who else can do that? LPA: We're not sure if this is something you're aware of, but from an outsider's perspective, it seems that the 'One More Light' cycle may be the first time we're seeing this particular side of the band. You guys genuinely seem comfortable, happy and excited about where you're at right now and it feels like this is showing through not only your interviews but the music as well. There's almost like an optimism to everything you're doing. Is there any merit to this? MS: Just like anyone, the 6 guys in the band are complex and human. They have good days, bad days, and everything in between. I think one thing about this album and the place we're at, is that we're comfortable with ourselves, and comfortable with sharing our experiences and art in a way that we haven't before. I think that's what makes One More Light special, and I can't wait for people to hear it.