We have met Linkin Park, the new US metal sensation, in Paris and talked with these charming and incredibly funny young lads, who, despite an amazing success (more than one million copies sold for their debut album) and a European tour opening for the Deftones, keep their feet firmly on the ground. If you don't know them yet, hesitate no more and listen to "Hybrid theory", a hybrid of hip hop, metal and electro, which distinguishes itslef from the endless hordes of Korn/Limp Bizkit followers by a contagious energy, an amazin enthusiasm, an uncommon freshness and catchy melodies. Don't forget to catch them on tour with the Deftones.
Q: Hybrid theory is the title of the album, it was also the previous name of the band, why did you choose to change it to Linkin Park?
LP: We had to change name due to legal issues, other bands had similar names and rather than going through any dysfunctions with any of our musical friends, we decided to change the name. We put together some lists of names and I threw in Linkin Park because I thought it sounded like a cool name and we decided to stick with it.
Q: Hybrid theory is very successful in the USA, with more than 1 million copies sold, how do you live this instant success?
LP: We're very excited about the fact that the record sells so well in the US and I guess even more so that we're in Paris right now, because that means we have the opportunity to release our record in more than one country and we plan to tour in those countries as well.
Q: Was it a surprise for you?
LP: I don't think any of us expected any type of response like this. We had set up a couple of street teams with kids that pass our tapes, get the name out. We had fans and we knew that somebody knew about the band, but we had no idea, when we released the record, that 47 000 people would buy it that first week. It blew us away, every day is more and more overwhelming, because we're expecting it to stop anytime and it's not. (laughs)
Q: We noticed that there's no "Explicit lyrics" sticker on the cover, unlike most metal bands today, why?
LP: We forgot. (laughs) It's like when you sit down and you wanna write about how you feel, sometimes, cursing can be the easy way to go, rather than spending more time trying to find ways to express it that are more accurate. We're not a politically correct band, we just want people to feel honesty about what we're trying to say.
Q: Where do you take your inspiration from, lyricwise?
LP: The interesting thing about our lyrics is the fact that both Mike and I share the responsability of doing it, it's an interesting process to have when 2 minds come together to form one story. We both have to spend a lot of time talking with each other and figuring out which ideas of ours are working together, I think that's another reason why people can relate to us, it's not just one person's point of view, it's a collaboration.
Q: Does the comparison with Incubus and Limp Bizkit bother you?
LP: I think people need to compare bands, because that's the way you can explain what a band's sound is. As far as comparisons go, it's fine to establish genres, but at the same time, every band will tell you that they think their sound is unique. We definitely think we're mixing different styles in a new way that's fresh and different.
Q: What were your influences when you started the band?
LP: We all have a similar thread of influence, we all enjoy bands like the Deftones, NIN, but Joe is also into a lot of the DJ stuff and the more extreme styles of music, I'm into punk rock, Mike's into hip hop, Brad's into Britney Spears (laughs).
Q: Did you choose to have two singers in order to break the image of the singer who focuses the audience's attention?
LP: Instead of having one egomaniacal frontman, we have two to worry about. (laughs) The honest reason why we use 2 different frontmen is the fact that most rappers can't sing, so we can have one that sings and the other that raps. It's also very interesting on stage, because when one performs the song, the other can serve hors-d'œuvres to the audience (roars of laughter). Seriously, you can give 100% of your energy, than hand over the mike to the other person and recuperate.
Q: You have been popularized by the Internet and you have a very nice site, was it an important tool for you?
LP: The Internet is probably the most important tool we've had to help with our success. When we were Hybrid theory, we weren't signed and we had an EP out, the only way for people to get to know us, besides just living in LA, was through MP3s and through chats, were we could communicate with kids. And we developed unknowingly a quite substantial fan base across the world. We're also trying to develop the Web site.
Q: On the same subject, medias like TV, radio and the press have been fighting for some time for the promotion of the artists, do you think the Internet will just be a 4th media or will end up being more important than all the others?
LP: The thing that's unique about the Internet is that it's first medium accessible to people all around the world. Also, there's really no cost of producing content and putting it on your own site. You can be a kid in Des Moines and have a site on gardening and people can read it in Japan, Poland or anywhere.
Q: Will your video be available on your Web site, because we don't see it in Europe?
LP: It's available on mtv.com. We are also releasing a single in Europe that does have the video of "One step closer", as well as 2 new songs.
Q: You participated in 2 soundtracks recently, "Little Nicky" and "Dracula 2000", do you have other projects in that field and why didn't you record exclusive tracks for those movies?
LP: There are lots of people at Warner Bros. that take care of that, they submit our stuff to the people who are in charge of soundtracks and, if we do soundtracks, we want to make sure that the band is represented the way we want it to be.
Q: In the video for "One step closer", there are ninjas floating in the air like in "Matrix", what is your taste in cinema?
LP: It's funny that you mention "Matrix", because one of the actors of the video was the double of Lawrence Fishburne in Matrix. Our film influences are Walt Disney (laughs). We like anything that's new and cool, we like special effects and Japanese animation. Ghost in the shell, Crouching tiger, hidden dragon, that kind of thing. Chester is a big pornography fan. In the future, there'll be a visual evolution with the band, with videos, etc.
Q: In March, you're gonna tour in Europe with the Deftones, how do you feel about that?
LP: I think the entire band is completely extatic about touring with the Deftones simply because we admire their music and if there was one band that we unanimously wanted to tour with, it would be the Deftones. It's a very big honour for us. There's been a rumour about us playing with the "Family values" festival, but there's been no confirmation.
Q: What are your wishes for the future?
LP: World domination. (laughs) We want to kick all the boys bands out of the scene.