Saturday, September 18, 2010

Being "The Catalyst"

Linkin Park has been Red Dot Diva's number one favourite band ever since she first caught their song featured in the late 1990's TV series "Roswell". The discordant but refreshing Linkin Park track featured in an episode entitled "Meeting The Dupes" was called "With You".

That was the beginning of an almost 9-year love affair with Linkin Park for Red Dot Diva. She still remembered how she almost wore out the CD for "Hybrid Theory" as Chester's alternatively raw screams and other times, hushed vocals milked out the tunes. Their angst-filled "Papercut" in tune to her emotions simmering under a calm surface.

Red Dot Diva was working as a marketing / product person at an indie record label that time. She found that the band's successful methods of building an army of fans from the street level to their immense mainstream success was an interesting case study on the power of online marketing.

In Red Dot Diva's opinion, their success formula included:
- accessibility to and humilty with fans. The band constantly organized meet and greets whenever they can, had special giveaways from their website.. and more importantly, even before social networking applications came to the scene, Mike was on their official forum of over 60,000 fans (at that time) reading and replying to posts. There were also online chats with the band members scheduled from time to time.

The band was one of the few, who recognized from early on that their fandom was WORLDWIDE. Not just in the USA. And they made a great deal of effort to address the growing interconnectivity of our globe.

This mentality has continued now with Twitter, with many of the band members being personally active on the social network.

- keeping fans/ media continually updated with their going-on. Whether it be via lpTV consisting of behind the scenes sneak peaks, concert clips or fans saying hello, those news kept people interested and feeling 'closer' to the band

- their constant charitable efforts which showcased them as a band with heart. They have contributed to many charities throughout the cause of their career and have also started their own called Music For Relief. Red Dot Diva supports Music For Relief, and she recommends that you do too. It's a great way to enjoy good music, contribute to charity and yet support your favourite band's work and objectives - all at the same time.

Holding a band of 6 dudes together is not an easy task. Many a band have parted ways just after their song(s) became a certified hit. So Red Dot Diva gives Linkin Park "Respect" for the business savvy and common-sense friendship that was necessary for the band to be financially viable for more than 9 years.

It has been 4 albums down the road now, and even though, Red Dot Diva didn't really get very much into the some of the tracks from "Minutes for Midnight", she still kept pretty much in touch with the band's news. Social networking has made it that much easier, of course. ;)

With their usual down-to-earth but street-smart marketing drive, there were, as usual, lots of news and promos about the first single and album before the official release date. The first single "The Catalyst" was even used as a track for a trailer for video game "Medal of Honor" .

Red Dot Diva did nab the earliest chance to catch the audio release of "The Catalyst" and wasn't impressed. At first.

Perhaps this was due to Mike Shinoda's beat-rapping being more or less absent. Or the rather "cheena-sounding" techno-beats. The song was decidely even more digital than she was used to. Rather disappointed, she left the song be for two weeks or so.

Then came the release of the music video, with a shorter audio track. The Joe Hahn-directed video was a rather smoky affair with not much of the band being clearly visible, except for mostly Mike in a hoodie "singing" in the back seat of a car. There were some "T2" liquid-like moments involving Chester and some pretty arty slo-mo shots of the rest playing their musical instruments and hurling powdered paint at each other. Oh, not to forget those snippets of what looked like castaway scenes from "Inception".

Because Linkin Park's songs have always more or less been visually-connected to their videos or artwork, watching the video *with* the track made more "sense" and Red Dot Diva found that on first watch and third listen, "The Catalyst" began to gel and rock more solidly.

The repeated chants of "Lift me up, Let me go" made "The Catalyst" a very creditable and rousing rock anthem. It was a hook that would stick in your mind for days.

And for those curious to see what went on behind the scenes of that video, here's the "Making of.."

The band has just released their latest album "A Thousand Suns"and as usual, there are the "love 'em" "hate 'em" reviews regarding Linkin Park's music after "Hybrid Theory". From what Red Dot Diva seems to deciper, the album is to be listened in its entirety as a whole (somewhat like an OST), rather than just track by track.

Red Dot Diva is open to new sounds and with people doing stuff "out of the box". She still believes that Linkin Park's fearless spirit of experimentation may help being a catalyst or two for changes in her own life. So she will be doing some music shopping in a couple of weeks, and she may return with her own thoughts on "A Thousand Suns" then.

1 comment:

  1. Such a fantastic and personal review. I can't wait to share my own Linkin Park experience with yourself and your readers as well.

    Also, it's nice to find someone who has been a fan of theirs for the same length of time as I have, as opposed to the general 2003 that seems to be the norm age. Admittedly however, I was 8 and most certainly not working for an indie record label, so my own access to the extensive ways they reached out were definitely different, as was the relationship I had to their songs.

    But all of that is best kept for another time. Again, loved reading this, thank you for posting!