Thursday, November 26, 2009

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington expresses his dark side with Dead by Sunrise

Media Credit: Warner Bros. Records

Chester Bennington is a caring individual. He doesn't want you to kill yourself.

Despite that fact, the native Phoenician and Linkin Park front man is still going to promote this ultra-dark, lyrically emo but musically heavy side-project, Dead By Sunrise. Don't worry, though. He amped it up with hard rock influences with the help of members of the electronic band Julien-K and synth-rockers Orgy.

Bennington chatted with College Times so we wouldn't cry.

College Times: How did you hook up with the guys from Julien-K for Dead by Sunrise?
Bennington: Well, I've been friends with Ryan [Shuck] and Amir [Derakh] for about 10 years or so, maybe longer. Ryan was the best man at my wedding and we're close. We're really close friends. So when I had to pick somebody to work with on these songs, I thought 'well, I'm going to call Ryan and Amir.' They actually started Julien-K and in doing so, Brandon [Belsky] has been working with those guys as an assistant-slash-engineering assistant ... and they couldn't recruit him into their band. So we kind of turned him from a boy into a rock star. Fu [Anthony Valcic] is a producer and engineer from Canada that was recruited to work for a company we had started. He has worked with Ryan and Amir and in doing that I became friends with him. I became friends with Alias when the Hybrid [Linkin Park] tour started. We had just started touring for Linkin Park ... and I met him kind of haphazardly back then. It turns out that he is way fucking better at drums than he is [at synth]. Somehow, through the grapevine, he started blending into Ryan and Amir's camp and we've been great friends ever since.

Dead By Sunrise has a more grungy feel than Linkin Park, and at times it sounds a little punk. I don't really hear that with Linkin Park, Julien-K or Orgy. Is that a sound you wanted to achieve or was it just something you fell into?
These are the songs I write. You know, I've always been into those genres of music my whole life. I primarily listen to punk music, grunge music or pop-alternative stuff like Depeche Mode and The Cure. Those are my things. So, when you grow up listening to the blues you're probably going to write bluesy songs. That's the same case for me here.

How is the songwriting experience different with Dead By Sunrise than it is with Linkin Park?
Really, the process of it is very similar. The main difference is that these are my songs and I'm involved in every aspect of making this record.

The band is playing upcoming dates, but are there any plans in the works for a full-on tour?
We're working on it.

Oh really? Will it be nationwide?
I would like to think so. I mean, I'm working on a new Linkin Park record, so it's not like I can be like 'oh, I have eight months to 12 months to tour this record.' It's like, 'okay, I'm making a record for Linkin Park.' I need to balance playing shows for Dead By Sunrise as well as being in the studio with Linkin Park, which is the priority. It's difficult for me to say that because they're both really important to me. We're figuring that out. It's the biggest hurdle facing us right now, to manage to build Dead by Sunrise around Linkin Park.

Was Dead By Sunrise's name originally "Snow White Tan." Why did you change it?
I loved the name. When we started working on the songs, I was really writing more ... of these mid-tempo, melodically driven songs like "Too Late" or "Walking in Circles," "In the Darkness," "Give Me Your Name," so we really had to pump up the rock a little bit. Otherwise I would have literally an album full of songs in that vein, which wouldn't be bad, but I don't want people to kill themselves to this record. I want people to play the album and rock out and have an emotionally dynamic experience. So, you know, um ... I totally just lost train of thought. I got a little distracted. My super hot wife just walked in front of me and I completely lost it.

Fair enough; why did you change the name?
Oh, yeah. So, at the time we weren't going out into the day and doing a lot of work until 4 o'clock in the morning, so it fit. Given that kind of dark nature to a lot of the songs and given that it just summarizes the overall musical feel of the band, it felt like, as time went on it got a little darker and heavier and meaner, so to speak. The name felt a little [less fitting], so we decided to change it to something that fit.

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