When you think of Linkin Park fansites, the Linkin Park Association (LPA) should be one of the first ones that come to mind. The LPA doesn’t only provide us with detailed pre-concert posts, news updates and a Linkin Park themed Wiki, but its forums are probably the most visited in the whole fan community with over 1 million posts! With its thriving community, it provides a virtual “home” for many Linkin Park fans and actively helps with problems, questions or the trickiest puzzles Linkin Park throw at their fans. LPA staff member Joe even managed to obtain the big prize of the Linkin Park Scavenger Hunt – an exclusive mp3 file of the, at that time, still unreleased “LIES GREED MISERY” and the official permission to leak it.
Derek Oswald aka Derek The Infamous, one of the LPA admins, was so nice to answer a few questions about the long history of his fansite, its features and what’s to come in the future.
LPFC: When was the Linkin Park Association founded? Can you briefly describe the process?
Derek: The LPA was founded in or around December of 2001 by our former owner and webmaster Omar. It is actually by sheer coincidence that me and Omar even met, as it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Omar was in desperate need of someone to help convert a bmp file to png (as he was on a different computer than usual and didn’t have access to Photoshop), and seeing his post on Official Linkin Park Message Board; I volunteered to lend my services, unaware of how great a friends we would end up becoming. I had briefly ran fansites for Tomb Raider and other associated topics, but a music fansite was a first for me and when Omar offered for me to come on board I accepted immediately. To this date, because of the friends and experiences this site has brought me, I still consider it one of the best choices I’ve ever made.
LPFC: What was the main reason of starting the LPA? Did you feel that there was something missing in the Linkin Park Fan Community at that time?
Derek: Oddly enough, back when we first came into the game, the Linkin Park fansite world already had three very big players and wasn’t necessary in need of “another fansite”. There was PushMeAway, ran by Nicole, Linkin Park Fan ran by Rob Engel and lastly Linkin Park Alliance ran by Jess (not LPST Jess), the latter of whom would become a big ally to us when we first launched the site. So realistically, there wasn’t anything missing from the Linkin Park fan community. However; our reasons for launching the site were simple: Me and Omar both were extreme fans of the band with a passion to give back. For Omar, he credited Mike Shinoda as an inspiration for his art and his original desire to pursue graphic design, and for me I credited Linkin Park’s music as life saving and giving me the confidence to believe in myself as a person. We both had a lot to owe to this band, and while we never expected the band to even know we existed, we felt just having a site out there to show our love and respect would be enough. The band meant the world to us, and in our eyes…they deserved it.
LPFC: What were your personal highlights in the history of the LPA so far and were there moments when it was hard to maintain the site?
Derek: That’s a very good question, because it’s honestly very difficult for me to identify just one moment in which I was the proudest. I will say however; that becoming noticed by the band and more precisely Mike Shinoda was, is and always will be a very big deal to me personally. When you create a fansite for your favorite artist, you do it in the hopes and dreams that the band or artist you’re doing it for will one day take a cursory glance at the site or mention you in passing during a post on their blogs/official forums, even though you know such wishes are only fantasy. Such things are rare because it’s pretty much well known that for the most part; unless you’re friends with the band themselves, there’s always that possibility they’ll never see it, or that you’re doing it more for love than recognition.
So to have full support by the band, and (even more recently during this cycle) the opportunity to work with/do things directly for the band, is a huge highlight and I know I speak for the rest of the staff when I say that we can’t say enough how thankful we are. It’s the support from Linkin Park that makes running the LPA such a wonderful experience.
As for moments where it was hard to run the site? There’s always been moments here and there (as LPA requires a LOT of attention to remain as updated as it is), but for the most part being involved with LPA has been a very rewarding experience that has given me more amazing friendships, and opportunities than I could ever ask for.
Read the Story of the Linkin Park Scavenger Hunt Part 1 and Part 2 written by LPAssociation for Mike Shinoda’s Blog! View the video of the last step of the Scavenger Hunt – LPA staff member Joe receives the big prize from Mike Shinoda at the BBC1 studios:
LPFC: One of the features of the LPA, that I enjoy most, is the message board, because – in my opinion – it strengthens the feeling of community. What do you think is the best feature of the LPA?
Derek: While I certainly feel our gallery, tour section and music section are all very awesome -and worth a look if you haven’t checked already!- I will have to agree that our message board is a very strong part of our site. I believe this is because of the many diverse personalities and fans that exist within the Linkin Park fanbase, who all come together on our forums as part of one big melting pot. There’s also a little something there for everyone. You can engage in serious thought provoking discussions in our Serious Chat forum, discuss Linkin Park’s current/upcoming projects in Linkin Park Chat or even be random to your hearts content in Random Chat/our members only shoutbox. There’s so many things about our forums that I love, and it doesn’t surprise me that you picked the forums as your favorite feature, because it’s such a fun community to be a part of. I encourage anyone who hasn’t signed up yet, to do so because I feel you’re missing out!
LPFC: Do you think that there are features of the site that many fans seem to overlook? If yes, can you briefly describe those features?
Derek: I feel that every section of our site (which you can navigate via our top menu) has it’s strengths. There are a lot of things we have implemented into some of these sections, some that are really special and sometimes unique to the LPA. For instance:
Gallery – At last count our gallery had over 10,000 images, including very high resolution versions of well known band photographs stemming from Hybrid Theory to LIVING THINGS as well as high quality screenshots of every video the band has done to date. There is also some fan submitted content in our “Fan Submitted Content” section.
Tour Section – Very proud of this section. This page not only allows fans to submit pictures and videos of their show directly to us right on the page, but it also has complete intergration with Google Maps, allowing fans to browse a very cool interactive tour map. I was pretty excited when we launched this a few years ago and hope we can expand on it in future iterations of the site.
LPA Wiki – This is still a relatively new section to the site, but it’s slowly grew over time and I’m hoping to see it blossom into a huge fan resource in due time. Fan contributions are encouraged!
LPFC: What have you planned for the LPA in the future? Is there a part of the site that you want to improve on?
Derek: This August LPA staff members Todd, Andrea, Joe and myself are going to be at the LPU Summit in Camden, NJ where we’ll be meeting a lot of our members and visitors for the first time ever. It’s something I’m very excited about and I feel in many ways it is a culmination of all that we’ve done over our 10 years as a fansite. Within a few months we’ll start work on the next iteration of the site, and we hope to make this version even better than the last, while continuing to provide fans with the type of content, exclusives and news that they’ve come to expect from the LPA. We’ll let everyone know when that time comes!
Big thanks to Derek for this great interview! Check out the LPA and register as a forum member if you haven’t already.