Amidst its involvement on the soundtrack for the new Transformers movie and a number of members' solo projects in the works, Linkin Park is hard at work on its fourth album, which will likely come out in 2010 according to co-frontman Mike Shinoda.
"It's moving," Shinoda tells Billboard.com. "I feel like we've been writing a lot. I'd say we've got about half the music done, though I shouldn't say halfway because who knows how long the next batch of songs will take. But all the material's just kind of coming together, and every week we meet up and assess the situation and for the rest of the week we just go and work on whatever we find exciting."
Shinoda says the group has decided on a producer but is not revealing that yet. He expects "an interesting transition" in the sound from 2007's "Minutes to Midnight," especially since singer Chester Bennington's upcoming solo project, "Dead By Sunrise" -- due out this fall -- "is much more of a rock album," leaving the door open for Linkin Park to experiment with other approaches.
"It's not going to be 'Hybrid Theory,' " Shinoda reports. "It's not going to be 'Minutes to Midnight.' And if we do it right, it'll have a cutting edge sound that defines itself as an individual record separate from anything else that's out there." He acknowledges that the rap element that was not a major part of "Minutes to Midnight" may be more prominent this time out, too. "I think I have some of the Fort Minor (his rap side project) energy in me that wants to come out, so you'll probably hear more rapping on it," Shinoda says. "I don't know if it'll be a little or a lot, but I now I've been sitting down writing a lot of verses, so there's a better chance of those making it on the record."
For now, however, Linkin Park has given its fans "New Divide," the theme song for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." As a group of confirmed fans of the toy and cartoon franchise, Shinoda says the group "created a song that we felt fit the spirit of the movie and the characters and also obviously stayed true to the spirit of the band." Film composer Hans Zimmer adapted "New Divide" into instrumental segments for the film score, and Linkin Park worked with Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky on other pieces for the movie.
"It was incredible," Shinoda reports. "I've never tried to write music to visuals. It's a type of working that's new to us, and it's really fun."
In addition to the Linkin Park projects, Shinoda has designed his third tennis shoe for the DC Remix Series, with proceeds benefiting his Michael K. Shinoda Endowed Scholarship fund at the Art Center College of Design in California. He's also preparing for a new art show, "Glorious Excess (Dies)" -- a sequel to last year's "Glorious Excess Born" -- which opens in August at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.