Mike ended the week with a THREE HOUR stream and answered a LOT of questions to head into the weekend.
- Is there a way for the MS/LP stores to merge because shipping is so expensive? -> "Yeah I wish there was a way to fix the shipping situation. Believe me, if you're selling tshirts you want everybody to buy your tshirts. If there was anything we could do about it, we would figure it out. But those folks have to make their money too, the shipping people."
Mike said sometimes they manufacture exclusive merch in other parts of the world, like Asia, but not always. And it's expensive for them to do that.
There might be a few CoronaJams that need more attention, which is very common when he is writing songs and he comes back to them to work on them. Although he does these in like two hours, the process for an actual song can be months for him. He may come back a month in and decide a song needs drums, or guitar, etc.
Mike gave an extremely detailed answer about how to record screaming into a microphone in a studio, which shows he has 15+ years of experience with Chester.
He'd like to work with Green Day.
- Which LP song would you choose to re record or remake with your current knowledge about songs and music? -> "I don't know if I'd do specific songs, but the era where we were really figuring out stuff was Meteora into Minutes To Midnight. We were still figuring out how to bridge the gap between Hybrid Theory and other things. So I feel like we could have figured out how to make some of those songs even more unique. Not that we don't love the songs, they're great as they are and they are snapshots of where we were at the time."
- When making A Line In The Sand and The Little Things Give You Away did you always plan on making them long songs or did they just happen? -> "With The Little Things Give You Away, that was just how the song went. With A Line In The Sand, I did kind of want something.... I think I wrote the opening heavy part first, then I went "oh it would be cool to do a long lead up to that thing." And that kind of happened as I was writing the first part of the song. Because I did most of the music on that one. Man... Rob, and the drums were so funny, because I wrote all the parts in the computer and I had to make sure they were POSSIBLE to be played. And I was like "...I KNOW a drummer can play this. And I KNOW it requires double kick, and you usually don't play it. So can you learn double kick in order to play these songs?" And he was like... "probably!"
- Can Linkin Park be a new music festival for new bands? For new bands and to promote mental health? -> "That'd be cool. I mean... there are so many things that one could do in the world. I don't know if starting a music festival at this moment in time is my calling, but I am not opposed to it."
- Do you have a say in what bands are added as opening acts? -> "Yes, we do. Bands usually do unless you have a manager that is a lunatic. Openers was always a subject we really got into. Because it matters. There's all these things to balance - who are the fans going to like, what region are we in, what do I like, if you're transitioning from Meteora to Minutes To Midnight, and Minutes To Midnight to A Thousand Suns, you can't just go with like a nu metal opener. The fans are going to want a nu metal opener. If the nu metal opener is there... the fans will be like "yay, we saw a band we liked", but did other people buy tickets? It should be a big plus in some column. It shouldn't be like "yeah the fans like it" and you were going to sell 5,000 tickets and then you add that band and now you're still selling 5,000 tickets. It should be 500 more people or a 1,000 more people came to the show because of that band. Or because of the combination. Sometimes those bands are too expensive, sometimes they are not too expensive. It's so complicated. For me, I do care a lot expanding the fans horizons."
He talked about a Vans collab, but said he preferred drawing on his own shoes because Vans usually just does one release with someone and stops.
- How did you come up with the ideas for music videos? -> "It depends on the video. Joe directed a lot of them, so you can ask him. Some of them, we got involved and suggested things. Joe did not like that, but he dealt with it. My own Post Traumatic videos, I did some on my phone. When we transitioned from the ones on my phone to the ones that were not on my phone, like Make It Up As I Go, I told our video rep at the label that I wanted an animated or motion graphics video. I wanted it be very colorful and kind of represent the album cover and the art. He sent me a link of things, and one of them that I liked was a guy that did a lyric video for somebody else, I think it may have been Green Day actually. And I was like, oh they're good, they're good! Ghosts, that video just popped into my head. I have no idea why, I just wanted to have fun. Part of having good self care is being aware of your state of mind and being like, "today I want to do a very chill track, I don't want to do something really aggressive and stressful, I don't want it to be super stressful today, I've got a really chill energy today." And that's what we did. Hopefully I am doing it right."
- What are some difficulties involved with releasing the CoronaJams? -> "You know, it wasn't difficult releasing it. I will tell you what my idea was and why I can't do it. This happens all the time, like I have an idea, then I dive into it and waste a bunch of time and it doesn't happen. I wanted to be able to make one jam, mix it, send it in, and have it show up on all your streaming services as quickly as possible. Wouldn't it be cool, if after I did this one today, I just put it on Spotify and it was there that day? That'd be fucking awesome. That's not possible. They won't do it. Well not they.... the streaming services in general won't do it. There's a one to two, maybe three week lead time on the digital streaming platforms between when you deliver and when it shows up. The thing that I wanted to do that I thought was cool, was a living, breathing album, where I just keep adding songs to it. It's basically an album playlist. You download it as an album, but it just keeps adding and changing because it's actually just a playlist. Nobody does that, nobody will do that for me. The streaming services basically told me they need a UPC, like a barcode for the album and that is associated with the album, like what it is. It's the tracklisting, who wrote what, album art, blah blah blah. The problem is that the system is not set up for my idea. If I wanted to do my idea, I could just upload the stuff to SoundCloud but it doesn't help me because there are only this amount of people that give a shit if it's on SoundCloud. I would rather have it be up on Spotify, Apple, YouTube, Amazon, etc. So what I'm going to do is release it a little more traditionally but keep releasing them. So you'll get them. You all listen to music on different things, different places, different ways. I just want you to just go to your favorite thing and type in the name and there it is. So easy. It's just a little bit different than I wanted to do, but no big deal."
- Was Robot Boy influenced by Peace by Depeche Mode? -> "No, the chord progression is a 60s/70s progression. You hear it on things by The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and a host of other bands from that era. And I thought it would be interesting to do that progression. You don't usually hear that progression with modern sounds and sampled beats and things like that. So that was like the chord progression and the music bed. And over the top of that, the lyrics and stuff, I think that was mostly Chester on the lyrics, and I think I came up with the melody or I helped with the melody."
He said things he is currently interested in in music (sounds, etc) usually influences the collaborations he does.
Right from Mike's stream today: he will be releasing the CoronaJams starting in 3-4 weeks from now.
It sounds like the releases will continually come out over the next few months in a series of releases instead of just one big release, which makes sense because Mike is still creating new music. He explained there is a lag time between when he creates them, when he gets them cleaned up and properly mixed, and when they can appear on digital streaming services.
Mike said, "I am working on mixing and putting out some of these instrumentals from the live streams. It's been kind of going back and forth. I just want to set it up right so I can regularly put them out to you guys. There's like a lag time... I have to make them presentable and we have to deliver them, and then we can put them out. I'm trying to take that time and crunch it as fast we can do it. It's starting to look like around a month, or less... three weeks-ish to a month, maybe shorter. But we'll see how that works out. It's going well, you're going to hear Open Door, like a final version of that, you're going to hear some songs from the streams. And if in the first batch you don't hear one that you really love or whatever, it's gonna come later. I may not put them all out, 'cause they aren't all awesome, but I do want to put out the jams that have been created here on the streams. I'll put them out so you can listen to them on Spotify and Apple and all of that. You can make TikToks to them, or put into them in your Instagram. All that stuff, it'll be in the system. So there's that."
Music is on the way!
Montebello Rockfest, which Linkin Park headlined in 2015 with a weather-shortened set, has announced that they will be streaming past performers online the weekend of June 19-21, 2020 in partnership with Budweiser, Red Bull, and Rev.
"The popular annual music festival which takes place every June in Montebello, Quebec, will transform into a virtual edition, streaming videos from nearly 15 years worth of unreleased footage. The exclusive footage will feature behind the scenes clips from a variety of bands since the festival’s inception in 2005, live music, mosh pitting, and fans."
"Unseen footage will feature high-profile bands like System of a Down, Blink-182, Rammstein, Linkin Park, Motley Crue, The Offspring, Deftones, Korn, Limp Bizkit, NOFX, Pennywise, Bad Religion, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and others, all of whom have played at the concert at least once since 2005."
The festival is selling tickets to this virtual event online. "Weekend passport, VIP passport, day ticket and option to add a bracelet from the 2020 edition. Each buyer will receive a unique non-shareable link. Each weekend passport holder will receive a $ 10 discount code on the regular rate for the next edition."
At minimum, it looks like we are going to get at least one proshot song from Linkin Park's 2015 set... maybe/hopefully more since they are selling tickets to this event. Stay tuned.
Thanks to our friend Wesley at linkinparkbr for the heads up!
Mike joined Pooch and Tater on "Wrong End of the Snake" on May 26th. Jim Digby and Shelby Cude also joined in. Here's the recap!
Mike said that the band expanded their gear arsenal going into the Minutes To Midnight touring cycle, and he asked the crew how to down size some of the things he had, like the grand piano he used on the Meteora tour.
He wanted the band to pick good members for their touring crew, not just friends. But the exception to that was Mark Fiore, who took it seriously and studied hard to become their videographer. At first he was just a friend holding a camera but he wanted to become actually good.
Pooch mentioned that Mike asked him to do a "mic shootout" in rehearsals to pull together all of the professional microphones they could find. Mike listens to all of the TV broadcasts, live releases, live mixes, etc and oversees it with the mixer. He wants it all to sound good. So he wanted to make sure that the audio coming into the shows was also good quality. Mike mentioned it's not about how expensive it is, but he is talented at finding out how different gear achieves the sound he wants on stage. The plexiglass that was put up around Rob is because of the drum sound bleeding into the vocal microphones, so the band was changing microphones and trying any way they could to eliminate that bleed. Finally, the band didn't feel obliged to use a certain sponsor company's gear just because they were a sponsor, they'd branch out and use something else to get their desired result.
Jim explained that behind the scenes, the crew was testing out different PA systems for the band as well.
The band had shows with gear missing but the crew intentionally did not tell them so they didn't want the band to be nervous. The Austria show in 2007 was one of those shows. In Toronto in 2008, there were band members not showing up on time to the show due to their travel, as we know. The playback rig for the crew was also not there so they couldn't do a proper sound check of the PA, and then Dylan had to buy a new computer that day as well. Mike said that Linkin Park had five songs they could do piano style, and thankfully they only had to play two. Mike thought the set was starting to get obscure and thankfully the rest of the band was there because they didn't want the set to have so many obscure songs to start the show.
Mike is currently mixing his CoronaJams and about to put them on streaming services, relatively soon. They are all instrumental.
Mike said he really enjoys the huge crowds so he isn't very interested in playing socially distanced concerts. The band wanted the barricades as close as possible to the stage and the band, he didn't like them being so far from the stage at some shows. He said the band feeds off of the crowd being so close to the band, but also the crowd being close to each other.
About DSPs, Mike said it was so hard recording every show, mixing it, and getting it out to fans in a reasonable amount of time. Towards the end, the crew was turning them out every few days. It was crazy because the crew was kind of getting burnt out on it. At the first, they had to have a shipping container where Pooch and Dylan mixed the shows, but then they finally were able to cut it down to smaller gear after technology improved. At the start, Jim and the band had to review the edits but the band ended up trusting Pooch and Dylan with the mixing. Pooch says the fans still share and talk about the DSPs a lot to him.
Mike says the band wanted Ethan involved in the mixing at times too but he already knew that might upset Pooch in a way since Ethan mixed too. Pooch says it made him be a better mixer. Mike explained that the band brought their studio drum tech to help their live drum tech with sound too at that time. Pooch and Ethan still communicated a lot about the non-DSP live releases. Pooch could call Ethan before rehearsals to get all the plugins used in the studio because he'd give them the heads up on that sort of thing before LP would go out touring with a new album.
When building LP's live rig and when it came to maintaining it, Mike wanted someone who was smarter than him when it came to the new technological gear. Mike said he'd overload it or break it, or some idiot would knock it over and break it. So LP brought in coding geniuses and put them next to their touring crew.
Tater said that when they were promoting Post Traumatic with a TV show in New York and they were playing with The Roots. They went to play the first run through of the song... Tater wasn't allowed to touch anything because he isn't allowed to touch the console at a TV show. Tater immediately told Jim when he heard the click track that he knew things were wrong, but he couldn't touch anything.
Mike said the house band (aka The Roots) was two measures off. In Mike's click track, he only heard himself and the click. He said he wanted to just keep going, and the band ended up just playing around Mike. Mike's manager was there and Mike immediately asked him how it was... his manager wanted to do it again. Tater explained the house guy had the wrong program open in the console. Anyway, they played Crossing A Line again and then they were good to go on the second play.
Mike closed by talking about the Billboard Music Awards in 2012. An actor was supposed to introduce LP, and they went over it one hundred times, and then told LP, "the skrim in front of you will raise with smoke machines happening, etc"... very scripted. LP is backstage... came to the stage and was waiting, just hanging out. The show was live on TV and another person is talking, and the screens suddenly come up catching LP totally off guard. Brad's guitar tech has his guitar still, Mike has a mouth full of water, and they were supposed to start Burn It Down. Mike threw his water, ran to his keyboard, barely made it in time... Brad was rushing to the stage... and Mike said LP finally calmed down two minutes into the three minute performance. The band went off stage to watch the performance ASAP and saw that the smoke hid all of the chaos the band was going through.
Check the full stream out!
Of Mice and Men talked about Linkin Park in their recent Twitch stream on May 18th, where Mike had fans "raid" their channel by sending them all over to OM&M.
Due to the influx of fans, OM&M started talking about Linkin Park and their experiences with the band.
"We love Mike and we love the LP family. Linkin Park is a huge influence to all of us growing up, so..."
"I would say, straight up, Linkin Park is the reason why Of Mice & Men is still a band in 2020. The stuff that they taught us about, like, our finances, about planning, about the way we take our art seriously and not too seriously... shout-out to Linkin Park!"
"Shinoda really is like a musical father to us, for sure!"
"But he's like the cool dad, he's not like the dad who ground us. He's the dad who'd be like, 'I'm disappointed but you're not grounded!'"
"Yeah, good old Shino-dad!"
They talked about the memorable show in Zurich, Switzerland to start The Hunting Party Tour in Europe, their first arena that they ever played in Europe (with Five Finger Death Punch, but that was also the first show of the LP tour).
"We did do THP Tour with LP in Europe. It was the best tour we've ever been on, no doubt. 100%."
When asked about their fondest memories of Mike,
"One time when we were on tour, the unfortunate time when Chester broke his ankle on the basketball court. Shinoda got upset, not because Chester broke his ankle, but the fact that he got hurt again. And I guess that like was a thing that always happened. I don't know that was funny or not, but that is like one of my first memories... Shinoda being upset. Yeah, very very sad, I will never forget that time."
"I always think back to when he held open the O2 Arena in London. He kept it open so we could hang out with the band and some of their families in the room they had built for Michael Jackson. So it was like this whole disco room. Michael Jackson was going to do his 50 night residency or whatever there, so they built him a special room. So Mike held the venue open until at least 3 or 4 AM... I don't know how they had beer delivery, but we kept getting beers delivered."
A fan asked, "Did you guys ever consider making a song with LP at any point?"
They answered, "Mike actually helped us write an OM&M song, well a couple of them. He helped me structure the end of "Feels Like Forever", that's entirely Mike, that whole last chorus/triple repeat at the end."
"It's funny because when I invented that, and then I showed it to Mike, and then he showed it to you, it was like insane."
"Do you remember how he did it too? He was on like a plane to Japan. It was so sick. He was like "I'm going to be on a plane, so I'll listen to your jams and maybe I'll have some ideas" and then he got off the plane and he sent us the ideas. And he was like "what if you do this at the end?" and I was like "OH! DUH!" He also gave us one time an essay he that wrote for UCLA he wrote which was about how he broke down a song which was really, really insightful and cool to see his mind in his early 20s how he looked at a song. He's a legend."
"And it's awesome because he's got such a unique perspective when it comes to songwriting and storytelling, and you can see it on his streams, but he's able to explain things that make it less confusing than it needs to be."
"If we could get Mike to rap on one of our songs, it would be really, really cool. Get Mike on some heavy music again. Just have him spit... ooooo. We've definitely gotta hit him up about that."
And another funny story:
"When we did the tour with Linkin Park, we have a song that is called "Another You." It starts off with a really clean guitar part, and me singing a falsetto high note that directly correlates with what he's playing. We were in Germany in what I think is Munich but I looked over and Mike and Chester were both standing side stage. This is one of the first days of tour so we hadn't really gotten to hang out much. So I got really star struck and nervous that I totally fucked up that note. And just fucked up the whole song right at the very start. Aaron had to adjust his note. I just totally biffed the song because Mike and Chester were watching side stage and I got so nervous. And I remember immediately afterwards we were all in the dressing room, and before any of us say anything, Allen is like "he was right there! he was right there and I fucked up!" Not only was the 30,000 people sold out audiences crazy enough, we'd see them watching and we'd be like "OH MY GOD there's Linkin Park right there." And I just put my hand on his shoulder and I said "we fucked it up."