Linkin Park’s videos have run the gamut from the massive (the wide-screen visuals of “What I’ve Done,” the exploding soundscapes of “New Divide”) to the minimal (the dream-like macro focus of “Somewhere I Belong,” the jittery animated world of “Breaking the Habit”), but the majority of them have one thing in common: the dude sitting in the director’s chair.
Since their breakout 2000 album Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park DJ Joseph Hahn has also served as the band’s primary video director. And that’s very much the case with their upcoming video for “The Catalyst,” the first single off their much-anticipated A Thousand Suns album (due September 14). But unlike previous efforts, Hahn seemed determined to push his bandmates to the limit this time around, as MTV News found out when we visited the set of the video back in June.
“I think this is a little bit more of an abstract piece than what we’ve done before,” Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda told us. “My voice is a little tired because I’m singing on this one. And it’s a lot of singing, it’s been a long day, a lot of smoke [being used]. Once again, Mr. Hahn is in the driver’s seat, and we have faith in where he’ll take us.”
And judging from what we saw, Shinoda wasn’t exaggerating. Hahn filled “The Catalyst” set with enough smoke to give Cypress Hill pause, and that was just the beginning. Over the course of the day, we watched as he dunked frontman Chester Bennington in a pool of water, bounced his bandmates off trampolines and covered them in layers of multihued dust. It was a pretty grueling — not to mention messy — day … the kind of thing that required more than a little faith to get through.
Then again, one of the benefits of working with a director who also plays in your band is that you know he’s got your best interests in mind. Even if it seems like he doesn’t.
“Joe has directed all of our videos since, I think, the second or third one, so he’s been doing almost all the videos for our entire career,” Shinoda said. “And if it goes well, we pat him on the back, and if it’s a pain in the butt, we blame him.”
“The Catalyst” video premieres at midnight August 25 (technically, the 26th) on MTV.com and VH1.com, and then on MTV, VH1, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Tr3s and all MTV international territories at 8 p.m. ET/PT on August 26.
Are you looking forward to the video for “The Catalyst”? Let us know in the comments!