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Linkin Park and Jay Z team-up a curious success

A Linkin Park and Jay-Z tag-team might sound impossible, but given some imagination, both acts have unleashed a massive curiosity for the holidays. MELODY L. GOH chats long distance with Linkin Park.
Linkin Park and Jay-Z collaborating? Now that’s a wild idea. But that was exactly what the two of the biggest names in today’s music world did for a special one night only performance for music video channel MTV.

As if the show wasn’t enough, Linkin Park and Jay-Z went on to re-record their collaborative efforts and package it in a neat little double-disc album.

Called MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups presents Jay-Z / Linkin Park: Collision Course, the album features all the six tracks the band and rapper performed at the show. These tracks are new versions of existing Linkin Park and Jay-Z songs that are mixed or “mashed” together. The track combinations are: Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You, Big Pimpin’/Papercut, Jigga What/Faint, Numb/Encore, Izzo/In the End and Points of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer.

“MTV presented us the idea to do the performance with Jay-Z. We came up with the combination of Numb and Encore, and sent the sampler to Jay-Z. He liked it and agreed to the project,” said Linkin Park drummer Rob Bourdon in a phone interview from California recently.

The MTV performance was held in mid-July in Hollywood, in front of a select group of fans. Part of the recording for the album was done while the band and Jay-Z were rehearsing for the performance.
“We actually did everything in two weeks – the rehearsals, the recordings and the performance. But given our limited time, the outcome had been pretty good,” said Bourdon. He added that neither the band nor the rapper/producer initially planned to release the recordings as an album, but since the result and response were so good, they decided to do it.

Collision Course was produced by Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda, whom Bourdon said did most of the work with bandmate and guitarist Brad Delson.

“Mike and Brad chose the songs and did most of the arrangements. We picked tracks that sounded alike in terms of pitch and tempo because we didn’t want to edit the originals too much. There was no proper formula of how we did the combinations, we sort of just went with what we thought were the best ones. Some of them were pretty obvious actually,” explained Bourdon.

The biggest challenge in making the collaboration work was re-recording the vocal tracks. Even though the music blended well, the vocals on most Linkin Park songs are jarring and not that suitable for some of Jay-Z’s tracks.

“It was a different attitude altogether. But we managed to make it work in the end. The transition between the two tracks and between the vocals are smoother than when we first tried to do it.”
On working with Jay-Z, Bourdon said that he and his other bandmates (Shinoda, Delson, vocalist Chester Bennington, bassist Darren Farrell and DJ Joe Hahn) have been fans of his work for many years.
“I think we were all impressed by his professionalism. He’s very talented and hard working too. It was great that we all saw eye to eye on things.”

The album, released in the United States last week, is the last of Linkin Park’s music projects for this year. Bourdon revealed that the band will only be working on new material some time next year, and that for the time being, the only thing on their minds is spending the holidays with family and friends.
“We will be releasing a book some time soon I think, before the end of the year. But we probably won’t be doing much promotion for that, we really just want to rest and relax for now,” Bourdon said. The book is called From the Inside: Linkin Park’s Meteora, and offers an intimate look at the band’s life on the road.

According to Bourdon, the band brought photographer Greg Waterman and journalists Steve Baltin and David Fricke on its 2003-2004 World Tour to document their life on and off the stage. “We had been taking photos ourselves in our previous tour and they turned out nice, and they sort of told a story. So, for Meteora, we decided to make it more professional. In a way, both Collision Course and the book are just our ways of sharing our experience with fans,” said the drummer.

The Star - December 07, 2004



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