In an interview with Billboard, Linkin Park icon Mike Shinoda talked about their classic song ‘One Step Closer’ from the ‘Hybrid Theory’ album and revealed how he and Chester Bennington had a severe conflict with the band’s producer Don Gilmore.
Linkin Park’s legendary frontman Chester Bennington was found dead at his home in California on July 20, 2017. The cause of his death was declared as suicide by hanging.
The surviving members of Linkin Park have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of their iconic album, ‘Hybrid Theory.’ The debut studio album of Linkin Park was released on October 24, 2000. The four singles from the album, ‘One Step Closer,’ ‘In the End,’ ‘Crawling,’ and ‘Papercut,’ brought the mainstream popularity to the band.
Recently, Mike Shinoda joined an interview with Billboard and recalled the recording process of the ‘Hybrid Theory’ album’s lead single ‘One Step Closer.’ Apparently, Chester and Mike got into a conflict with the band’s former producer Don Gilmore. According to Shinoda, Gilmore didn’t know anything about hip hop and did not defend them against the label when they questioned the creative parts in the song, such as.
Here’s what Mike Shinoda stated about Don Gilmore’s attitude towards their creativity:
“In choosing Don Gilmore as a producer, we were really hesitant. Don had more of these radio-alternative songs, and we knew that he would get that part of our sound right, but he knew nothing about hip-hop. Not a thing!
And he said that to us when he met with us. He was like, ‘Here’s the deal, the part of your sound that I can’t contribute to is the hip-hop part. I know that’s a big part of your thing. But I like how you do it, so I will try to just get out of the way in terms of the beats and raps and stuff, I will leave that to you.’
And we were like, ‘Okay!’ And that worked out great because we didn’t know how to mic up and engineer a rock band in the studio. We didn’t know how to arrange, how to multi-track guitar and vocals, in a way that sounded like what we heard on the radio that we loved. So that was all us learning from Don.
As we got into it, we did have these real-tense points of conflict because since he was hands-off on some of the creative in terms of letting us dictate how the hybrid was supposed to work – when somebody from the label came in and said, ‘I don’t like what they’re doing with mashing up these things,’ or if they came in and said, ‘I’m not sure about the rapping,’ then all of a sudden Don couldn’t definitively defend it.”
Furthermore, Mike revealed that ‘One Step Closer’ was actually about Don Gilmore and Chester was literally screaming ‘shut up’ at him at some point in the song. He also stated that they had to convince Don to trust them since it was their album and career at stake.
Here’s how Shinoda described the dispute with their former producer:
“He was like, ‘Uh, okay, well, that’s what the band thinks sounds good!’ The power struggle became a part of what making that album was. Some of the intensity and frustration you hear on the album is specifically album-related.
One Step Closer‘ was me and Chester literally writing about Don. We were so mad at him. The ‘shut up’ riff was literally Chester screaming at Don. We were losing our minds.
At that point in the process, it was just like, ‘Why don’t you trust us? This is our album. Our A&R guy doesn’t have to have his fucking name on the front of the CD, and play this music on stage every day.’
We knew – if we put anything on this record that we don’t like or that we’re not feeling, we’re gonna have to live with it. Like, this is our career!”
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