Linkin Park: Joe Hahn Interview

  • Linkin Park: Joe Hahn Interview
    POSTED 19 Oct 2020
    Linkin Park
    Linkin Park (supplied photo by James Minchin)

    It’s hard to believe Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory had any more chart records to break, but the recent release of the 20th Anniversary Edition has seen the Californian band achieve a new Australian record. Despite sticking in the ARIA Album Chart for in excess of two whole years since its original release in 2000, it’s only this week the record has finally hit number one.

    “These are interesting times to be celebrating, but for us it’s been great to have something to look forward to,” Linkin Park DJ Joe Hahn admits.  “Hopefully the fans feel the same.”

    Hahn needn’t worry; Reddit fan discussions in relation to Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition are glowing. To mark the 20th birthday of the best-selling rock album recorded this century, the band have packaged the classic album with B-sides, live material and previously unreleased demos and mixes. These early sketches offer a fascinating history of the band’s fledgling years before Hybrid Theory’s success, an era when Linkin Park were rejected by more than 30 record labels (under the names Xero and Hybrid Theory) before finally signing with Warner Bros. Some were recorded in 1999 in the band’s Los Angeles rehearsal space off Hollywood Boulevard, a location the box set’s liner notes suggest was “semi-haunted”.

    “Well that was an interesting time and interesting place,” Hahn says. “If you look at that building today I think it’s a luxury condominium and it’s been cleaned up a lot, but back then it was full of junkies and homeless people. That was what we could afford and we’d load in and out of a back alley off Hollywood Boulevard. It was the heart of Hollywood and it reminds me of the LA version of the backdrop of the Joker film: a dingy, back in the day kind of thing. For us it was fun! As dangerous as it could be, we were invincible back then! I don’t think our parents even knew what we were up to…”

    The album which resulted from these sessions in the midst of Hollywood’s sleaze captivated a generation. Despite disparate musical influences including Stone Temple Pilots, Public Enemy and Metallica, Linkin Park quickly built an army of Millennial fans across the globe. Hybrid Theory has now sold in excess of 27 million copies – a baffling quantity that exceeds the entire population of Australia. Within a year of their debut record, the band were one of the biggest acts in the world and had cultivated a formidable live show.

    “When Hybrid Theory was released to the world it took off like wildfire, so any expectation we had, any vision or goal, we surpassed it,” Hahn says. “I’d never left the States before we began touring, so all of a sudden we were in different places meeting the coolest people. We had fans who didn’t even speak the language but sang along to every song on the record. We’d get plaques from local record labels saying we’d sold 5000 copies, which was a huge deal in these countries. It was so amazing that the work we did could transcend language, transcend borders and be appreciated by so many people. We were blessed to have the opportunity to make music and share it and have the support and be loved by people all over.”

    In spite of Hahn passionately reflecting on these moments, the unspoken truth is that Linkin Park no longer exists as six bandmates taking on the world; frontman Chester Bennington’s suicide three years ago means this box set is the first major release from the band since 2017’s One More Light studio album. When Joe takes this interview over Zoom in the days after the release of Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition, it’s 13 years to the day since an infamous Melbourne gig on Linkin Park’s Minutes To Midnight tour. Singer Bennington misjudged one of his customary stage leaps, falling hard and breaking his wrist just five songs into the set at Rod Laver Arena. Not only did he complete the show, he was strapped up and back on stage performing with impressive abandon in Adelaide the very next evening.

    “Chester was definitely accident prone!" Hahn says. "He broke his ankle playing basketball and he broke his wrist a couple of times. There have definitely been many moments – especially touring – when he shouldn’t have played and we should have cancelled the show, but Chester is a guy who is full of heart and wouldn’t want to disappoint. He’d say the F word 100 times in a couple of minutes, we’d say, ‘Okay, we won’t do the show’ and then you’d see him festering and he’d say, ‘No, okay, I’ll do it!’. That kind of gives you an idea of the type of guy he was."

    Hahn’s recollections of Bennington’s resolve slip fluidly between past tense and current tense, suggesting he’s still working through the fallout of his friend’s death in 2017 during a tour break.

    “We have found different ways to process it and we are definitely still dealing with it,” Hahn notes. “It’s nice we have this anniversary to celebrate the joy of the recording process, especially 20 years after the record came out. The B-sides and the behind the scenes material show people the ingredients it took to get to where we were.”

    Some of those angsty teens who discovered the fresh and hypnotic sounds of Hybrid Theory through MTV, early online forums or glossy music magazines 20 years ago now have children the same age as they were when they first heard the Californian group. The band's recording future without Chester Bennington might not yet be clear, but Hahn is honoured Linkin Park means so much to this cross-generational fanbase.

    “We get feedback from so many people telling us how this music has affected them and they are of all ages - not just the second generation, but also shows where there are grandfathers and grandmothers who show up. Very early on in our career, it felt like you had to be a certain age group to enjoy hip-hop or heavy metal or the genres in between. I get a joy out of now seeing music is borderless as far as style goes.

    "It took a lot for us to get to the point where we had an opportunity to make Hybrid Theory," Hahn adds. "There was a struggle to make this record, but so many great things happened out of it.”

     

    Purchase your copy of Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition right here on the Maniacs Store!

     

    Listen to Linkin Park’s 'Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition' on Spotify:

    Listen to Linkin Park’s 'Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition' on Apple Music:

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Submitted by Site Factory admin on Sun, 10/18/2020 - 23:47


Linkin Park
Linkin Park (supplied photo by James Minchin)

It’s hard to believe Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory had any more chart records to break, but the recent release of the 20th Anniversary Edition has seen the Californian band achieve a new Australian record. Despite sticking in the ARIA Album Chart for in excess of two whole years since its original release in 2000, it’s only this week the record has finally hit number one.

“These are interesting times to be celebrating, but for us it’s been great to have something to look forward to,” Linkin Park DJ Joe Hahn admits.  “Hopefully the fans feel the same.”

Hahn needn’t worry; Reddit fan discussions in relation to Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition are glowing. To mark the 20th birthday of the best-selling rock album recorded this century, the band have packaged the classic album with B-sides, live material and previously unreleased demos and mixes. These early sketches offer a fascinating history of the band’s fledgling years before Hybrid Theory’s success, an era when Linkin Park were rejected by more than 30 record labels (under the names Xero and Hybrid Theory) before finally signing with Warner Bros. Some were recorded in 1999 in the band’s Los Angeles rehearsal space off Hollywood Boulevard, a location the box set’s liner notes suggest was “semi-haunted”.

“Well that was an interesting time and interesting place,” Hahn says. “If you look at that building today I think it’s a luxury condominium and it’s been cleaned up a lot, but back then it was full of junkies and homeless people. That was what we could afford and we’d load in and out of a back alley off Hollywood Boulevard. It was the heart of Hollywood and it reminds me of the LA version of the backdrop of the Joker film: a dingy, back in the day kind of thing. For us it was fun! As dangerous as it could be, we were invincible back then! I don’t think our parents even knew what we were up to…”

The album which resulted from these sessions in the midst of Hollywood’s sleaze captivated a generation. Despite disparate musical influences including Stone Temple Pilots, Public Enemy and Metallica, Linkin Park quickly built an army of Millennial fans across the globe. Hybrid Theory has now sold in excess of 27 million copies – a baffling quantity that exceeds the entire population of Australia. Within a year of their debut record, the band were one of the biggest acts in the world and had cultivated a formidable live show.

“When Hybrid Theory was released to the world it took off like wildfire, so any expectation we had, any vision or goal, we surpassed it,” Hahn says. “I’d never left the States before we began touring, so all of a sudden we were in different places meeting the coolest people. We had fans who didn’t even speak the language but sang along to every song on the record. We’d get plaques from local record labels saying we’d sold 5000 copies, which was a huge deal in these countries. It was so amazing that the work we did could transcend language, transcend borders and be appreciated by so many people. We were blessed to have the opportunity to make music and share it and have the support and be loved by people all over.”

In spite of Hahn passionately reflecting on these moments, the unspoken truth is that Linkin Park no longer exists as six bandmates taking on the world; frontman Chester Bennington’s suicide three years ago means this box set is the first major release from the band since 2017’s One More Light studio album. When Joe takes this interview over Zoom in the days after the release of Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition, it’s 13 years to the day since an infamous Melbourne gig on Linkin Park’s Minutes To Midnight tour. Singer Bennington misjudged one of his customary stage leaps, falling hard and breaking his wrist just five songs into the set at Rod Laver Arena. Not only did he complete the show, he was strapped up and back on stage performing with impressive abandon in Adelaide the very next evening.

“Chester was definitely accident prone!" Hahn says. "He broke his ankle playing basketball and he broke his wrist a couple of times. There have definitely been many moments – especially touring – when he shouldn’t have played and we should have cancelled the show, but Chester is a guy who is full of heart and wouldn’t want to disappoint. He’d say the F word 100 times in a couple of minutes, we’d say, ‘Okay, we won’t do the show’ and then you’d see him festering and he’d say, ‘No, okay, I’ll do it!’. That kind of gives you an idea of the type of guy he was."

Hahn’s recollections of Bennington’s resolve slip fluidly between past tense and current tense, suggesting he’s still working through the fallout of his friend’s death in 2017 during a tour break.

“We have found different ways to process it and we are definitely still dealing with it,” Hahn notes. “It’s nice we have this anniversary to celebrate the joy of the recording process, especially 20 years after the record came out. The B-sides and the behind the scenes material show people the ingredients it took to get to where we were.”

Some of those angsty teens who discovered the fresh and hypnotic sounds of Hybrid Theory through MTV, early online forums or glossy music magazines 20 years ago now have children the same age as they were when they first heard the Californian group. The band's recording future without Chester Bennington might not yet be clear, but Hahn is honoured Linkin Park means so much to this cross-generational fanbase.

“We get feedback from so many people telling us how this music has affected them and they are of all ages - not just the second generation, but also shows where there are grandfathers and grandmothers who show up. Very early on in our career, it felt like you had to be a certain age group to enjoy hip-hop or heavy metal or the genres in between. I get a joy out of now seeing music is borderless as far as style goes.

"It took a lot for us to get to the point where we had an opportunity to make Hybrid Theory," Hahn adds. "There was a struggle to make this record, but so many great things happened out of it.”

 

Purchase your copy of Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition right here on the Maniacs Store!

 

Listen to Linkin Park’s 'Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition' on Spotify:

Listen to Linkin Park’s 'Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition' on Apple Music:

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Linkin Park: Joe Hahn Interview

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