Boston Herald talked to Mike about striving to make a progression in Linkin Park’s sound with each album, working with Rick Rubin and starting to listen to folk music, read below or here on BostonHerald.com
In its early days, Linkin Park was lumped in with such nu metal bands as Limp Bizkit and Korn. But over the last decade, Linkin Park — which headlines the Comcast Center on Tuesday — has worked hard to evolve.
The latest sonic turns see the band adding a deeper electronica influence. The lead track off new album “Living Things,” “Lost in the Echo,” comes on like a Deadmau5 remix.
“I really loved (the bands in the nu metal scene) and we toured with many of those bands,” Linkin Park rapper/guitarist Mike Shinoda said from Los Angeles. “But if bands are making the same record they made 10 years ago, I don’t want to hear that. What Korn did with their dubstep record (last year’s “The Path of Totality”), it wasn’t my cup of tea, but I appreciate those guys are putting the effort to make something different.”
“Living Things’ ” dance moves are more subtle than dubstep’s huge beats. They’re also just one of the record’s musical twists.
“We want our music to draw on as many different genres as we can,” Shinoda said. “If we work with a rock guy, we can’t get that, but (producer) Rick (Rubin) knows everything.”
Rubin helmed comebacks and landmark albums for country king Johnny Cash, rock gods Red Hot Chili Peppers and soul sensation Adele. Rubin can handle any sound, any style. But his skills are uniquely suited for Linkin Park.
In the ’80s, Rubin produced seminal rap and metal albums for Run-D.M.C., the Beastie Boys, Slayer and Danzig. A decade later, Linkin Park pioneered a rap metal mashup on debut disc “Hybrid Theory.”
“When I first met Rick, I was terrified of him because he’s responsible for half of my favorite albums,” Shinoda said. “But when I got over that, I realized he’s such a gentle, creative guy. He really lets us discover things for ourselves.”
Shinoda and Rubin have co-produced the California band’s last three records together. Their latest collaboration debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in June. Although it’s been a colossal success in today’s depressed music market — it sold an astounding 223,000 copies its first week out — Shinoda is more proud of his band’s artistic growth.
Shinoda says each Linkin Park record will journey a little further from the band’s roots. How far?
Shinoda and lead guitarist Brad Delson have lately been grooving to some turn-of-the-century folk music.
“This was the same stuff that influenced Bob Dylan,” Shinoda said. “The songs were part of a Smithsonian archive box set, but it’s amazing how new sounding it is. They were written before the verse/chorus/verse/-chorus/bridge/-chorus pattern that everyone uses today. Listen-ing to them really -inspired our writing.”
Don’t worry, the band’s next album won’t be a Woody Guthrie tribute -album. But the disc after that one?
If they keep hanging around with Rubin, an Americana album isn’t out of the question.