Linkin Park has posted a new video of Mike unboxing Hybrid Theory 20 for the first time!
Mike confirms "Dialate" (Xero Demo), "Reading My Eyes" (Xero Demo), and "Esaul" (Xero Demo) have Mark Wakefield on vocals. "Begrudgingly, Mark agreed to let us release the songs with his vocals, shout out to him for that." These are 1998 very early studio demos (not Xero tape).
Mike hasn't answered questions on every stream lately but he does take a few occasionally. He gets questions about literally everything, so we wanted to post some of the more interesting answers that we are adding to Linkinpedia.
There is no real order to any of these - it's a mix of Linkin Park songs, live tracks, other songs, and solo stuff. Enjoy.
The Little Things Give You Away: “I remember the moment I wrote it. That song came very quickly. I remember sitting in the corner of the live room in this little studio we were using that I think Korn actually owned the studio, strangely, and that whole chord progression of everything up to the second chorus, everything up to the middle spot where everything changes, it all came together in almost one sitting. It was crazy. One of Rick’s ideas as we were finishing that album, he was a proponent of putting that song first on the album. We were like, “I get it, that’s a huge statement.” Because remember, people were coming off of Meteora, they were like, “This band is about One Step Closer and In The End and Breaking The Habit and From The Inside and whatever, that’s what this band is about”, and then long break and then first song on the album, Little Things Give You Away… people would have been like, “What the fuck are you guys doing? You’re idiots.” Numb, Collision Course to Little Things Give You Away.”
Sleepy Time Jam: “Yeah we’re working on it, I don’t have definitive news yet. But Sleepy Jam is on the horizon, I want to get it out as quickly as possible so you guys can start using it for your sleepy time music. Remember if I told you if I put it on streaming services that it’d make royalties when you listen to it? My concept is actually, I have a scholarship at ArtCenter College of Design that I funded forever ago, and I realized, “Ah I’d really love to do something with the income from the Sleepy Time Jam that’s really cool.” I want to try to send those royalties there, I want it to help fund the scholarship. When you are doing something like that, if I donate it from my royalty income, it gets taxed on the way to me and then I can donate my portion to the school. So I’m like, “Is there a way I can do it where just donate the album itself to the school?” So if it makes $1,000, then the thousand dollars is taxed and then a portion of a thousand dollars goes to the scholarship. So I’d rather the whole thing go, if it’s possible. My scholarship at ArtCenter, it’s big enough for a graphics or illustration student based on financial need and merit. So they have to be really good and they have to need the money, and they need help going to school. So we’ll figure it out, that’s why it’s taking an extra second. We aren’t going to just put it up on SoundCloud or let you download the thing, I want to do something like that with it. It’s complicated enough… the government doesn’t want you to use charitable donation as like a tax loophole basically. So you’ve gotta do it the proper, legal way and I’m not super educated on how that works so we’re figuring it out. So that’ll be that with the Sleepy Time Jam.”
Melodic Metal Jam: “It’s not on Dropped Frames 3, like I said, I’ve gotta figure out a way to get these all of these other tracks to you guys. I don’t know… some of them I actually like and want to develop them for something and eventually do vocals. I don’t like the idea of doing vocals on stream. That one in particular is not on my list of ones I’d do vocals on. I feel like some of them I could see developing somehow.”
About You/Over Again/Papercut (Live): “I liked the idea of mashing a few things up in the live show. I thought especially when I was doing certain Linkin Park songs in the set, I wanted them to sound different than the Linkin Park sets. Like because it was my solo set, I didn’t want to be estimating Linkin Park especially without Chester singing. The songs were already going to sound different so I tried to take them further outside of the norm so they sounded… if I played them too similar I think your brian would have been comparing it right away and it was not going to be able to be compared. My solo version context wasn’t going to be better. I’d rather make it way different and you’re like, “Oh, it’s a totally different take on the song.””
It's Goin' Down (X-Ecutioners / Mike / Joe): “The X-Men, known as The Executioners, got signed as a group to Loud Music, Loud Records. And Sean C who works with Jay-Z, he’s been in the game forever. He’s like a legend. He was their A&R guy and he came to us and said, “Hey, would you be down to work with these guys?” And I already knew… on the East Coast to me, I was trying to think, to me, would there have been a group of DJs who were more legendary. There were radio DJs there were, but in terms of scratching and performance, I think they were the dudes. Because individually they were so dope and then they got together and it was like, “Woah, a super group of DJs.” And Joe and I loved their stuff, we were way into it. I produced and wrote the track myself. Did they send drums? I feel like maybe they sent some drums and I did all of the guitars, and Joe did the scratching and they did some stuff. I don’t know if they sent some drum tracks with some scratching on it or not. But I produced it; I forgot who mixed it actually, I think they might have actually picked the mixer.”
Sorry For Now: “The high pitched voice on Sorry For Now, I think it was just a scat version of the chorus. So it may be saying “Sorry For Now” and stuff and I just chopped it up. Or it may be saying gibberish, like some version of that. I think it may be a little bit of “na na na.””
Pop NSync Song: “It is not on Dropped Frames 3 unfortunately. We’ll put the NSYNC one with the Melodic Metal one.”
Powerless: “I don’t know why it wasn’t played live. I don’t have a good answer for you. Other songs got picked. It was funny, we basically figured out how to play it… ish, kind of figured out how to play it, in order to do the video for it. Super weird movie.”
In Pieces: “Chester did most of the vocals. I did more melody and he did more lyrics. That one was more of a Chester-vocal song and I did more of the music. Brad did something on that one too. I know what Chester was talking about, where he was at. I did the chorus, he did the verses. The music was mostly me and Brad. The steel drums were keyboards.”
On September 14, 2020, "A Thousand Suns" celebrated its 10th anniversary. To celebrate, Mike listened to the album on his stream on September 10 and then on September 14 (the release date in the USA), took a lot of questions about the album.
Here's what he had to say:
What inspired Linkin Park to go from making a normal album to making a concept album: “It’s funny because it’s a little bit like the current climate. We were writing songs for… we thought we were going to be doing a video game. And then that fell through, it got to the point where things were getting designed and it all fell apart and it didn’t work. We had all this music. The concept of the video game was not about apocalyptic things, it was more about… there was this patient who was stuck in a mental institution for some reason, and he was being unjustly kept there and punished. And they did things to his brain and he developed powers to control things. He could move things with his mind at one point but I think he could like, at one point, shoot electricity and fire and stuff like that. And the concept was still loose, it wasn’t an awesome concept but it was getting there.
Right now if you think of the state of America, it’s so fractured culturally. At the time of A Thousand Suns, we were coming out the George W. Bush presidency and troops were still in Iraq. The idea that, “Oh, we’re just going to all blow each other up” was at the very top of the mind. So that influenced the lyrics a lot, that’s why we used the Oppenheimer quote and the Savio quotes about the machine, the pieces of the machine, all of that stuff was ambitious… some people thought it was too ambitious, or thought we were in over our heads. That’s fine, but we were making what we were really feeling at the time. So that’s the reason for the concept album kind of thing.”
What Mike was listening to in 2008, 2009, and 2010 when making A Thousand Suns: "I was listening to a lot of Radiohead, everything from MGMT to Pink Floyd. I think there was some Nine Inch Nails and Tool in there. We a bunch of remixes with other people that were based on some of the things I was listening to at the time. But I wasn’t listening to new Nine Inch Nails at the time - it was old Nine Inch Nails, like Broken and Fragile. The first four proper studio albums by Nine Inch Nails are my favorite ones. Also weird instrumental music, I was listening to like Gonjasufi and this group called Fuckbuttons. Those are super crazy, by the way… Flying Lotus too… some really out there stuff which I loved and I still love. Tarot Sport was the album; “Rough Steez”, that was a track. So dope. Gang Gang Dance was another artist I was into that I was listening to a lot. Holy Fuck was another band. O+S, Caribou, Peter Bjorn and John, Naked & Famous. So I was listening to a lot of wild stuff and those influenced it. Those songs are awesome, some of them are super duper sick. Death Grips.”
The playing field for artists making an album like ATS in 2010 versus now in 2020: “I feel like the playing field for art and commerce, the distance between “Hey I’m making a jingle that’s supposed to be a pop song” and on the other side, “I’m making an art project that’s so obscure and abstract and wild, nobody’s going to fucking listen to it, I don’t fucking care. It’s not about people listening to it.” Back then, I feel like there were two points of the spectrum and a relatively even scattering of artists who lived in between. We lived in between, a lot of artists lived in between. It’s like, “I want to make art, AND I want to sell records. And some of my songs lean one way or another.” But I don’t think any of our stuff goes all the way to one side or the other. I think now because of how the social media algorithms work and how streaming algorithms work, and YouTube, Spotify, TikTok… now everybody’s either on one side or another and they’ve cleared out the middle. It’s a lot of… either most of them are making shit to sell and then some people are making shit that’s art. And it’s really out there art. Look at like Thundercat; to me the reason he’s so interesting is he can live in the middle. Kendrick can live in the middle. Charlie XCX can live in the middle. But I think even if some of the most poppy artists tried to do something that is more artistic, people would be like, “Why are you doing that?” People would back away from it, the label would be scared to put it out in the first place. The label would be like, “No no no, you need to go back in… we don’t hear a single. So what are we going to promote?””
"Jornada Del Muerto": “I remember making this part and texting and emailing a bunch of people, like, to make sure that I got the words right. Because it’s supposed to be, I wanted it to be “Lift me up, let me go”, but in Japanese. We were doing a bunch of different stuff in different languages on the album.”
“The Catalyst”: "The Catalyst" came surprisingly easily. That one was like, “Oh wow! That one is a song, that one is defining part of the record.”"
"Blackout": “I think “Blackout” was tough and eluded us for a little bit. The hardest part about “Blackout” was the vocal was a scat vocal that sounded like what the vocal sounds like now. Here’s what we were doing at the time. We were still doing a lot of songs where the lead vocal was a scat lead vocal with no words, a lot of “da da da” and “na na na.” On the original vocal, I kept pushing Chester to get weirder and weirder. We both did this but it was easier for me to go in the booth to do that, but I think it was because he was doing it and I was recording it, he felt self-conscious a little bit. So he’d always fall back into “na na na” and “la la la.” I was like, “No dude, really really pretend you’re making words.” So what we tried to do is the screaming thing with that and he really had to let loose. But once he got there, that whole song… imagine someone singing that whole song in gibberish. And then when it was time to make it into lyrics, it always felt like you were going from something so dope and so visceral, every time we tried to write words to it, it got too logical. And we wanted it to be illogical. So then we started listening to the gibberish and saying, “What words sound like those words?” And that’s why the lyrics on that song are so fucking weird, they are super weird just because that’s what the grunts and gibberish sounded like to us. We were just trying to make sense of the gibberish. That’s a writing technique that Rick Rubin has used on everyone from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Neil Young and Tom Petty. He wasn’t the pioneer of that thing, he was just the one who taught us how to do it.”
“When They Come For Me”: ""When They Come For Me" was tough and eluded us for a little bit."
"Waiting For The End": "“Waiting For The End” has its issues too… I knew that it was good, and I was intimidated by diving into it and I didn’t want to screw it up. I remember having the beat and most of the sounds and rapping over that, which became the bridge. I kept waiting for certain things, something to pop up that I could stick in the song and jump off of that point. And then Chester brought in the “waiting for the end” vocal line and then I was like, “Yo, now that is the song.” But it wasn’t pulling our hair out trying to get it right, that was really being patient for the right pieces to come together."
Imogen Heap has covered 'Sharp Edges' in an online stream; she says, ""The Gloves Are On" for my weekly Tuesday live piano and voice improvisation. For you and I to enjoy and while we are at it, raise money for The Creative Passport."
Go to around 53:00 minutes to check out the cover!
She said, "I just really really love this song. It's so pretty."
Thanks to Simon for getting her to cover the song and for sending this over!
Mike Shinoda will be dropping volume 3 of Dropped Frames on Friday, September 18, 2020. He has released 'License to Waltz' to streaming services already for fans to check out.
Volume 3 tracklisting & jam ideas:
01. Dream Fragment // Freestyle Track
02. Sound Collector // Linkin Park/Fort Minor Sounds + Nobody Can Save Me/Battle Symphony
03. Dust Code // Freestyle Track
04. No Delete // Freestyle Track
05. Robot Yodel // Country + Folk Alternative Rock + Bavarian Yodeling
06. Vibe Train // Freestyle Track
07. Mike's Gonna Mike // Nirvana + Tools Of The Trade + Giorgio Moroder + Italian Neomelodic
08. Shoreline // Freestyle Track w/ samples requested by fans
09. Goodbye Cow // Freestyle Track
10. Genesis Supernova // Dead Or Alive + Tron Legacy/Daft Punk/M83 + Pokémon Mew
11. Sidechain Gang // Freestyle Track w/ samples requested by fans
12. Overcast // Freestyle Track
13. A Thousand Jams // A Thousand Suns-style Track
14. License To Waltz // Tchaikovsky's Flower Waltz + Beastie Boys + Reggaeton + ASMR