“A Light That Never Comes,” Linkin Park’s new collaboration with Steve Aoki, debuted at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving hard rock a rarefied spot in pop-dominated terrain. The song is part of “LP Recharge,” Linkin Park’s new free-to-play Facebook 3-D action/strategy game, as well as the first single and sole new song on “Recharged,” a remix album due Oct. 29 that features two versions of “A Light That Never Comes” plus a dozen fresh treatments of tracks from Linkin Park’s 2012 album Living Things.
Combine that with singer Chester Bennington’s new role fronting Stone Temple Pilots — whose new EP “High Rise” arrives Oct. 8 — and Linkin Park hardly seems to be holed up out of sight in some studio.
“It all kind of developed together, and in fact we hadn’t originally intended to release all of this at the same time,” says the group’s Mike Shinoda, who helped design the game and co-produced “Recharged” with Rick Rubin, handling two of the remixes himself.
Jordan Berliant, who manages Linkin Park for the Collective, adds that “the game launch kind of lined up with the single launch. We felt that it would make sense to integrate those two elements and see if we could create something more eventful rather than independent launches of two different expressions of Linkin Park.”
Shinoda says the team-up with Aoki, which streamed exclusively for two weeks on Microsoft’s Xbox Music, stemmed from tweets and messages between the two. “Talking led to shooting some ideas back and forth and eventually it became obvious one of those was the best one,” he says. “We put a bunch of work in on it, and it became the song.” The track even stayed largely under wraps until Aug. 10, when Shinoda and Bennington made a surprise appearance during Aoki’s set at the Summer Sonic festival in Japan to perform it.
The song officially emerged Sept. 16, four days after the game launch and after fans — playing as rebels (who are also members of Linkin Park) in a futuristic society trying to free natural resources from “a small group of evil people” who have hoarded them — scored a certain amount of points. The game’s plot addresses some of Linkin Park’s own social and environmental concerns and the work of its Music for Relief charity. Shinoda notes that proceeds from available character upgrades will go to sustainable energy initiatives in Haiti, Uganda and other locations.
The video for “A Light That Never Comes,” based on 3-D image capture of the band members, is due Oct. 9. Computer giant Dell, which provided technical support for the clip, will host a making-of feature. The song is also featured in HBO’s fall programming ads and on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” and Berliant says Linkin Park’s team is working on “a couple other game licenses” for other remixes from Recharged.
“Collaborating with Steve Aoki was a big driver for the album,” says Peter Standish, senior VP of marketing for Warner Bros., Linkin Park’s label. “So are all the other components that are woven into it — the ‘LP Recharge’ game, the partnership with Microsoft and Xbox. Most importantly, hopefully it’s a lot of fun for their fan base. You’re always trying to come up with something different for a band’s fans, and everybody feels like that was achieved — and is still being achieved.”
That combination, Standish adds, also allowed the label to take “A Light That Never Comes” to radio with plenty of momentum.
Linkin Park, meanwhile, has entered the studio to work on a follow-up to “Living Things.” Shinoda says “it’s really early” in the project, though the group is “working quickly” and is happy with what’s developed so far. “It’s probably going to be a little surprising to some people,” he says. “It’s not going to sound like ‘A Light That Never Comes,’ it’s not going to sound like the remix album and it won’t sound like ‘Living Things,’ either.”
And rest assured, all of those concerned say: Bennington is most definitely engaged in the process even if he’s coming in and out due to commitments to Stone Temple Pilots, who are also managed by the Collective.
“Being in [Stone Temple Pilots] is a dream come true, because I’ve loved that band for a long time,” Bennington says. “But my priority is always Linkin Park. In no way, shape or form do I want anything I do with Stone Temple Pilots to interfere with what we have to do as a band. The guys in STP understand that. This will be a very mutually respectful thing — and a lot of fun.”