Linkin Park co-frontman Mike Shinoda says the band's fourth studio album is going to be so unique, "they're going to have to come up with a new genre name for what this record is."
Shinoda wants to shake things up in the rock world with the follow-up to 2007's Minutes To Midnight, and tells Rolling Stone Linkin Park are doing just that. They're about halfway through the writing process and hope to have the album ready for an early 2010 release. But Shinoda adds that the quality of the tunes is chief among his concerns, and that "if we need to take a step back and make sure everything is top, top quality by our standards, we will."
The way Shinoda sees it, this country's musical appetite mirrors its appetite for food. "People just want junk food," he explains. "They want throw-away junk food music that's going to make them lethargic and fat. McDonalds is great once in a while, in moderation. Eat it every day and you just turn into a slob. We feel the same way about music. We want to hopefully move even more into being able to make more substantial music, and we've always been capable of it, but sometimes, there were different things that we got excited about on each record, about what we wanted to write and what we wanted to make and what kind of statement we wanted to make. On this record, we're definitely paying attention to the substance and the nuance, and we hope to make something that's really cutting edge and really different."
Before the world gets another Linkin Park record, though, the band's other mike-wielder, Chester Bennington, plans to release his first solo project, under the banner Dead By Sunrise. In addition, the band is currently collaborating with legendary composer Hans Zimmer on the score to Transformers: Rise of the Fallen. The band contributed a fresh song, "New Divide," to the film's soundtrack, "and when we delivered the song, everyone loved it, and so they invited us to work on the score.
"This is the first time we've written something to visuals on a screen, writing as you're looking at something to be inspired by," Shinoda explains, "and as the scene moves along, the music changes, and it's been a lot of fun to do that. This single marks the beginning of what we hope will be a more prolific phase on our career."
Back to the new LP disc: Shinoda says the record isn't what he would describe as a concept album, but has some cohesive elements. "This isn't necessarily a record that tells a story about a character or anything like that, but I do hope the record has a sonic identity, from beginning to end, that's distinguishable from the other stuff we've done and distinguishable from everything else out there. I would love, at the end of the day, to be able to look at this record, and say its something totally new, totally true to the spirit of the band, and it doesn't sound like anything else. That's what we shoot for."
Shinoda says he's been writing material for the album for months now, mostly while the band's been on tour in Europe and in the States, and he plans to take some of his "Fort Minor energy," and dump it into the LP album. "I really want a record that sounds different. I would love for this record to be something that has its own identity, and can't easily be connected to anything else," he says, before returning to his victuals analogy. "This album will be the kind of food that's foreign to you, that you haven't had before, and when you first taste it, you'll go, 'This doesn't taste like anything else I've had, but I think I like it.' We'll have to make the record and see."
Beyond his work with Linkin Park, Shinoda has teamed up with DC Shoes for his third tennis shoe for the company's Remix Series. All proceeds from the sales of the shoes, which Shinoda says he wore for six months on the band's most recent tour, will benefit his Michael K. Shinoda Endowed Scholarship Fund at the Art Center College of Design in California.