NEW YORK (Billboard) - As the lead singer of the multimillion-selling band Linkin Park, Chester Bennington helped define the rap-metal sound of the early ‘90s. But as his career was ascending, his life was falling apart: Bennington was heavily involved in drugs and spent some nights wondering whether he would make it to the next day.
Luckily, he survived and used the turmoil to inspire his new project, Dead by Sunrise. Bennington and his bandmates -- Orgy members Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck -- will release “Out of Ashes” October 13 on Warner Bros.
1. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE MEANING BEHIND THE BAND’S NAME?
“Dead by Sunrise” really sums up the kind of lifestyle I was leading when we began working on the record. I was partying a lot; I was drinking heavily; I was using a lot of illegal substances, and it wasn’t fun. It got to the point where it was really out of control, so the name of the band comes from that feeling of literally not knowing if you’re going to make it to the next day.
2. HOW IS DEAD BY SUNRISE DIFFERENT FROM LINKIN PARK?
The main difference between them is that Linkin Park was known for taking a more metal approach and incorporating lots of hip-hop beats behind that. Dead by Sunrise has a lot of grungy, punky, straightforward rock elements mixed with an alternative rock, melodic sensibility, as well as some electro-alternative pop stuff.
3. YOU ALSO DID SOME PRODUCTION WORK ON THE NEW ALBUM. WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN BEING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BOARD?
Being involved with all aspects of the process opened up a lot of creativity within me, and I started writing songs like a madman. I was writing eight to 10 songs a year before. I had a lot of ideas but really not that many great songs, and they came in spurts. Whereas now, I could write probably 100 songs a year. It’s really kick-started a lot of energy in me that was lying dormant for a little while.
4. WHAT KIND OF TOUR PLANS DO YOU HAVE?
The idea now is to go out and really start playing small shows. That could mean playing in front of a couple hundred people. My goal is to really build a fan base the grass-roots way: Go out and hit the road and play small shows and get fans who just want to hear us play.
5. WHAT PROMOTION ARE YOU DOING FOR THE NEW ALBUM? ARE YOU TARGETING LINKIN PARK FANS OR A DIFFERENT CROWD?
I don’t know if Linkin Park fans will like Dead by Sunrise. Some people may actually like Dead by Sunrise and not like Orgy or Linkin Park. I do have an advantage in the fact that Linkin Park is huge, and there are lots of people who are fans of mine, and fans of Linkin Park, and they’re going to come see it because it’s tied to Linkin Park, and that’s all they care about. But I’m not relying on that alone.
6. YOU’VE WORKED WITH A WIDE RANGE OF ARTISTS. IS THERE ANYONE ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH IN THE FUTURE?
If there was somebody I had to choose right now, it would be Chris Cornell. And Slash and I have been kicking around the idea of working on a song together for quite some time; we just can never seem to connect at the right time.