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Apr 11

Mike Shinoda Google Hangout – Creativity: Music to My Ears [Video]

Mike Shinoda was gracious enough to take some time and do a google+ hangout with students from the Creativity: Music to My Ears course and for all those that were interested were also invited to view the hangout! I definitely recommend watching this video, the questions were really on a different level than what we usually accustomed to. The students that were part of this hangout were from all over the world and they’re part of the class (join here). He did talk about The Hunting Party a bit, then discussed the recording process, mixing, etc. then the art and he did mention James Jean (The Hunting Party album artwork), creativity, inspiration, Guilty All The Same and music videos (Project Spark) and much more! Watch below:

Thank you to Tina Seelig (professor of the course) for organizing this!

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Apr 10

Rolling Stone: Inside Linkin Park’s Heavy New Album & Loudwire Reviews 5 Songs

Rolling Stone spoke to Mike about the heavy direction that the new album, The Hunting Party has taken, they also describe a few of the songs in between Mike’s quotes, I was also entertained by Mike describing that Rob had to work with a trainer in order to get fit enough to do the drums on the album!

Inside Linkin Park’s Heavy New Album: ‘We Need to Weed Out the Emo’ (Read Full Here)
On the heavier sound of The Hunting Party
One day, when Linkin Park rapper and multi-instrumentalist Mike Shinoda was working on the follow-up to their 2012 record Living Things — an album that had pop-friendly sensibilities, subsequently went gold and was their fourth LP to reach Number One on the Billboard 200 — he had a personal revelation. “Dude, what am I doing?” he asked himself. “I’m doing the exact same thing!” So he began writing heavy music.

“It needed to be visceral,” he says with a laugh. “We need to weed out a lot of the soft, emo kind of approach to our music, and we need to weed out anything that feels aggressive for aggressive’s sake. We’re not 18-year-old kids making a loud record – we’re 37-year-old adults making a loud record. And what makes a 37-year-old angry is different than what made us angry back in the day.”

On Rob recording the drums
Similarly, the band members took the ethos of the bands that inspired them and, rather than go on a nostalgia trip, tried to “modernize that aggression sonically,” to use Shinoda’s words. “Keys to the Kingdom” opens with an affected, robotic-sounding voice yelling and then manages to make some disjointed-sounding riffs work. “I wanted you to listen to the song and be disrupted at regular intervals,” Shinoda says. “I wanted that to be jarring or distracting, just kind of fuck you up.”

This approach was especially difficult for drummer Rob Bourdon who ran himself ragged trying to keep up with the music. “It’s probably the hardest stuff he’s ever played on one of our albums,” Shinoda says. “He had to physically work his way up to it. He had to go running, lift weights, work with a trainer.” Then with a laugh, Shinoda says, “He eventually went to a chiropractor because he threw his back out playing drums. I don’t want to put the guy in the hospital, but it was fun for both of us to make something that was challenging to him. And he definitely feels that at the end of the day, he’s a better drummer for it.”

Also, Loudwire reviewed/described 5 songs off the album, you can read about the tracks here.

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Apr 09

Rakim and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda Think Rap-Rock Still Matters [Interview]

XXL magazine got to interview Mike Shinoda and Rakim recently, they talk about collaborating for the first time, working on Guilty All The Same, Mike praised Rakim a lot in this interview! Then they talked about bridging the gap between cross-genres. Mike also discussed some previous rap-rock collaboration like with Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes, and personally inviting Rakim. Read an excerpt below the full interview here.

Interview with Mike Shinoda and Rakim (FULL HERE)
On Collaborating For The First Time
Mike Shinoda: “If somebody tells me their top ten rappers of all time and they don’t mention [Rakim] in the first two or three, then I pretty much disregard them entirely. You basically don’t know what the fuck you are talking about. I’m not being extreme. I’m being real.

“What ended up taking [the collaboration] a step further [towards] making it, and I knew it was going to work, is when we got on the phone and I was telling him about the place where we are at in rock music. ‘Cause rock music right now has gone real pop. I listen to rock radio right now and it sounds like I’m listening to Nick Jr. or the Disney channel. It sounds like commercial jingles.

“So that’s where its gone and we couldn’t see ourselves going there. We couldn’t do it. It felt like, that’s not the moment for us right now. We want to make a heavy record, an aggressive record that’s true to where we come from.”

Rakim: “I got a lot of respect for Linkin Park. I’ve been a fan since they came out. I remember a long time ago sitting down and flipping through the channels, and this animated video came on and I was sitting there with the kids. I immediately started watching it. It was a Linkin Park video. Me and the kids were sitting there rocking to it and the animation was crazy. Naw mean? We figured out the name of the group and we started listening for ‘em.

“Like I said, I’ve been a fan throughout their music. “Pushing Me Away” to “Don’t Stay” to “Be Myself.” I like all they music. I get a vibe off of it and I know exactly what they speaking on and the feeling they bringing across and I respect them for that.

“And when they called to see if I was interested in doing a joint. It was perfect. It’s a band that picks up the integrity and I felt I was going through the same things they was going through when he told me how he was listening to certain music and he didn’t want to do that route. I deal with the same thing in hip-hop. Majority rules, and if everybody is going this way, artists are almost handcuffed to do the same thing. I felt it was a good statement to make and a good chance to try and rebuild what we trying to do. As far as them trying to rebuild the rock sound and me trying to make that statement and let people will know what’s going on. Again, I felt it was a perfect opportunity.”

On The Studio Sessions For “Guilty All The Same”
Rakim: “It was dope. Like I said, everybody’s attitude was down to Earth. The vibe was cool and I’m kind of like a picky person when it comes to my studio sessions. I usually work by myself and I got my own studio in the house. Now, I am really used to working by myself, but I feel no way about going in there and trying something that I never did before. I write in front of them. It was one of them things where the vibe was right and the song was definitely right. It was a matter of me putting that Rakim thing on.”

Mike Shinoda: “People like Rakim are fine artists. There are people who make pop music. They are more illustrative, but they are losing sight of the art in their art. When I see him come in, he’s got it written out on paper with a pencil. It’s not on his phone, it’s not on his laptop. Whatever. It’s on paper with a pencil. He got down at the dinner table in the studio and he’s like, “Give me a minute, I am still working this out. I want to make sure it’s right.” And that’s called craftsmen. You know, attention to detail and making sure the piece is everything you can make it.

“When he performed it, it really showed me the veteran status and attitude. Like, the authority too. This dude goes in there and he does the thing. He’s working it out in his head and working it out as he spits the verse. When he got to the last part, he’d always stop short of the last few bars. And he get everything worked out and then there was this moment where he just went for it. He went all the way through the verse and gave us—if you know the verse—the last four bars is just punchline. It’s such a big climax.”

On The State Of Rap-Rock Collaborations
Mike Shinoda: “A lot of that stuff, it’s more ingrained at this point. It’s more fused together. We always talk about when we make a hybrid of something, there are different ways to do it. Like, you can blend it together, meaning if you put something in a blender, you blend it and the two things become inseparable. It’s like you make a smoothie, you can’t see all the things that are in there. It’s just one thing. But, there’s another approach that’s called making a salad. Okay, you put all those things in there, and you can see every individual thing.

“You can approach all your songs any of those ways, but I feel like right now a lot of the stuff is out there is more like that first thing. It’s really blended together and you can’t tell when you listen to like a Lana Del Rey song. You know that hip-hop is in there, but you can’t pull it out. It’s engrained in the beats and in the production approach. Similarly, you like listen to some rap stuff, like some of Kanye’s stuff. It’s very musical. It’s very rock. It’s jammed in there so effortlessly that you can’t discern one thing from another.”

Rakim: “It’s been going on since hip-hop. I was one of the rappers that wished I had one of the Run-DMC beats. It’s really nothing new. We’ve been showing the similarities between rock and rap for the longest. I just felt it was my turn. Nah, mean?

Mike Shinoda: “This is a landmark in a certain category for us. We’ve never put out a new song on a new record with another artist this way. We’ve done collaborations with other people. But, like, the Jay Z record was based on music that was already put out. We did a song with Busta Rhymes that was a single, it was a one-off. That wasn’t our music either. That was his producer’s music. So, this is the first time we’ve had a track and we invited someone into our house. We don’t do that. It takes somebody that we have to have a special situation in connection and whatever to feel conformable to do that.”

Rakim: “I appreciate that, man. Thanks for the welcome mat. I hope I didn’t burn it out, man. Leave it at the door and I’ll be back.”

Source: XXL Magazine

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Apr 09

Mike Shinoda Interview – The Hunting Party Album Cover, Release Date + New Promo Picture

Noisey, have published an interview with Mike, it’s a nice interview about the new album and also the early times of Linkin Park. In the article they confirm the album title The Hunting Party and state that it’s due for release on June 17th, 2014 (US), 16th most other places. Below is the album cover, a new promo and the interview.

The Hunting Party Album Cover

New Promo Pic

Interview with Mike Shinoda (Excerpt)

Noisey: Do the songs have names yet?
Mike Shinoda: Naming shit is difficult for us, especially album titles. This one was easier than many of them; we second-guessed and argued over it. We never come up with an album title before the album.

It’s hard to put such an abstract thing as an album into, like, three words.
We have concepts behind the record, but a lot of times they have multiple meanings. Easiest album title was A Thousand Suns, which came from an Oppenheimer quote. He said it after they’d detonated the bomb, and that’s sort of what the album was about.

Tell me about Rakim.
There were no shortcuts. When he wrote to the song, he told me it was going to take some time; it took like a week and a half. At a certain point he said, “I’ve got 16 bars, but I want more. Can we do 24?” And he drove out—he doesn’t fly—from the East Coast to L.A., set up a couple shows on the way, canceled them, and then basically came out and recorded the song. He was still writing on it the weekend before he came in, and was even still editing it on paper. It’s not on his phone, it’s not on his laptop, he was sitting there at the dinner table of the studio still working it out.

Do you feel like you learned anything from him?
Any time we’re in the studio with anybody, I try to see what I can learn from them. What I learned from his style was to appreciate the difference between writing in a free-form way—like guys like Jay Z and Kanye who freestyle and free-associate into the mic—and Rakim’s the opposite. He spends a lot of time perfecting the verse. His verse is almost the rap equivalent of a shredding guitar solo, like you listen to it and you can’t even tell the notes because it’s so crazy. When you read the words you can follow along and see how the rhyme pattern and got built out. The rhyme pattern is constantly established and taken apart and re-established. That was the awakening—that form of writing is totally timeless. Even though it’s a little complex and a little much for people in modern pop to digest, when you hear it done well it still resonates. There are people who do complex shit and it doesn’t really hit you, because they’re just doing it for the sake of being complex. But Rakim’s verse is about hitting an emotional connection.

Read the rest of the article here

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Apr 08

Tina Seelig of Stanford University Interviews Mike Shinoda [Video Interview]

Professor Tina Seelig, of Stanford University, got to interview Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda for the course “Creativity: Music to My Ears,” in the interview below she states that Linkin Park have just finished recording their upcoming Linkin Park album. Mike said they finished mixing a couple songs for the upcoming album, he says Andy Wallace came from New York to mix a few songs (this was in late February). Mike Shinoda shares his insights of the creative and recording process. Professor Seelig asks Mike where he gets inspiration from, how creativity works in teams (writing, mixing), then he’s asked where the songs come from (the root of the song), how did it come about (topic, emotion, etc). He said if they get album artwork early that can influence the vibe of the album. Mike recommends more time in the creation phase, spend more time sculpting it. Then Mike started talking about music videos and said it’s boring to him and he wants to do anything but a music video, but he think it’s necessary. He wants to engage fans in a different way, something interactive, than just sitting down and watching a music video. Which certainly explains LOST IN THE ECHO and now Guilty All The Same music videos!

Mike S. from Stanford Tech Ventures Program on Vimeo.

I’m not sure if you can still sign up for the class but I recommend you do! It’s very interesting, all of here at MSC have decided to take the course and we’ve already done the first assignment. REGISTER HERE (it’s free btw!)

Source: Stanford Tech Ventures Program

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