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  • Rick Rubin Interviews Mike Shinoda

    This isn't something you see often - Rick Rubin interviewing Mike Shinoda!
    "Since forming in 1996, Linkin Park has sold over 100 million records worldwide. Their enormous success mixing genres like hip-hop, metal and anthemic pop was spearheaded by the band’s ultra-talented founder, Mike Shinoda. In this episode Rick Rubin talks to Mike about the albums he produced with Linkin Park that helped redefine the band’s sound. Mike also reminisces about the band’s early inner-personal dynamics. And Mike talks about the community of thousands of followers he's amassed on Twitch who watch him make beats live five days a week."

    Check the full interview out here.
    - Mike explains #ShinodaProduceMe on Twitch to Rick about how the process works and what the artists actually send him.
    - Rick and Mike talk about 'A Thousand Suns'. Rick: "A Thousand Suns is my favorite of the things we worked on together. It felt like something new and REALLY good.", "If you had done ATS after Meteora, everyone would have been like, "FUCK these guys!", you had to do Minutes to Midnight first.", "The dream is to make an album that gets either 1 or 5 stars. Polarizing music. And that's what A Thousand Suns is for you guys. I love it."
    - Mike tells the story of putting NoBraiN on 'When They Come For Me' and how it came together from the contest for 'The Catalyst'.
    - They discuss Mike's first introduction to music; the first album he became obsessed with was 'Licensed to Ill' by Beastie Boys. He tried to ask for the Cypress Hill debut album for Christmas and he didn't get it. So he asked his mom and she said she didn't get it because of the names of the songs being so extreme - 'Pigs', 'How I Could Just Kill A Man', 'Hand On The Pump', 'Hole In The Head', etc, so Mike found a way to get the album the very next day after that conversation. 
    - Rick asks Mike how he became a musician after this period of time - did he want to make beats, did he want to rap, etc. Mike explained he was taught piano from an early age but loved rap. He won a songwriting contest his piano teacher did so he told his teacher he wanted to write more like rap songs, so he wanted to write blues & jazz in her class. 
    - Mike discussed how he learned how to use gear when songwriting and discussed his little group 'North Coast Killaz'. The idea was to just make his friends laugh.
    - Songwriting for early Linkin Park sessions is discussed. Rick asked Mike around 'Minutes To Midnight' if he had ever written a song with just an instrument (like piano) and vocals as the band usually didn't write that way. Mike said actually yeah, some of our biggest songs like 'In The End' and 'Breaking The Habit', but usually no, we don't write that way at all. The band was much more comfortable writing the instrumentals first and then the vocals, but the entire songwriting process changed with Rick and MTM. Mike learned to make songs without having a fully produced instrumental before he wrote vocals.
    - Mike talked about writing with Tom Morello. The band didn't end up with much material from the sessions with him but Mike's main takeaway was picking Tom's brain about songwriting and how he used gear - they had some great conversations about writing tracks. Tom explained specifically how he uses gear he's super familiar with to achieve new sounds.
    - Mike talks about how he learned how to play guitar. He had a friend that taught him some Led Zeppelin riffs but Mike's main reason for learning guitar was just because Linkin Park needed a second guitar player on stage and the riffs for LP weren't hard to play.
    - Rick asks Mike how Linkin Park started. Mike explains Mark and Xero, how they had four real songs on their demo, etc. Cool story about Mike and Mark sending the tape to Immortal Records who had Korn and Incubus, and the label couldn't believe it was just two guys in the band, they were really, really surprised the drums were all sampled, etc. Mike and Mark switched off on instruments like guitar, bass, etc. They told Mike to get a full band together ASAP and play shows, to get in a studio and record, and then come back to talk to the label because they liked the songs. Mike jokes that the guy NOW says Xero never came back to show him more songs, but Mike says "yeah, we actually did send him more demos but he just wasn't interested in us anymore. We would have killed to get on that label so we did send them a lot of demos."
    - He talks about his relationship with Mark - they became friends at 12 years old. Mike explains the reason Mark left Xero was because he was going to get a stomach ulcer from playing live - he had panic attacks playing in front of people, he couldn't get up on stage in front of people, he would freak out at the monitor engineer every time they played so he'd piss off the guy in charge of the sound. He was so panicked about playing live. He did understand it was not a good fit for him to be in the band. He loves music a lot and that's what lead him into his music management role now with System of a Down, Alice in Chains, Deftones, etc. 
    - Mike tells the story of being introduced to Brad. Brad was the first of the current members of the band to join Xero. He was Mark's next door neighbor... looking out Mark's window, Brad was right next to him. Mike didn't know Brad well in high school because hip hop and metal kids didn't co-mingle. But Mark was in a band with Brad before that. Mark shared metal with Mike, Mike shared hip hop with him. He confirms for the first time that Mark was in The Pricks with Brad, before Relative Degree. Relative Degree overlapped time-wise with Xero because Mark and Mike wrote "on the side" since Mark was already in a band with Brad.
    - The rest of the band - Brad was at UCLA with Dave, Mike was at ArtCenter with Joe, Rob was at a neighboring high school. And then the story of Jeff and Scott finding Chester after they tried out a lot of other singers. It was very obvious Chester was the best fit. The direction of the sound was clear to the band pretty much as soon as they started writing together.
    - Mike explains the process behind them finding the Hybrid Theory 20 demos and videos. He loves 'She Couldn't'. Discusses the gear used when making it and loves the line "you are not alone", which turned out to be the identity of the band for the next five or six years - the idea was just there from the beginning. The band were naturally not great friends, but they'd geek out about music because they loved all the creative aspects of music together.
    - Chester did not fit in right away with the band. He was messing around with drugs, and Rob was totally straight edge so they didn't know if that'd be an issue for one, but also because his personality was a lot different than the band's. They wanted to get to know him first as a person before they could commit to him. "We were really different, but we were really cool. We really like each other. I think we're fine." Rick says having outliers working together really creates something intense musically. The band was polar opposites in a lot of ways and friction but worked really well together - they drew from a lot of different areas. Brad loved the music by Britney Spears, for example, so they drew from a lot of different areas. He said they had to experiment with their relationships, how Brad and Joe interacted together versus how Brad and Chester interacted together. 
    - Mike discusses how the band figured out how to play songs live. Rick says it was the first group he's ever worked with where all of the music was made virtually and not in a traditional band setting (like recording together in one room). So Rick said LP didn't figure out specific parts and instruments for people until they went to rehearse to perform live. Mike thought it was bsolutely crazy that Tom Morello told him Rage Against the Machine would jam in a room for hours together, then they'd assemble it with a producer and Zach would rap over it a month later and there was their album. Mike said his mindset wanted to take a musical piece and change/edit/produce it a million different ways himself... experimenting with it before committing to how it should sound.
    - When LP would play a song live, the fans wanted to hear the album version. If the band changed how they played it, the reaction was less from the crowd. At a certain point when everyone had heard the song one way for so long, the band and fans both liked it enough that way that they both enjoyed LP playing it a new way, so LP would add new bridges, etc to songs on stage.
    - Mike considers 'Dropped Frames' like kind of mixtape-style releases. He had over 100 songs and wanted to release them in a trilogy. Mike was concerned that maybe some of those instrumental songs had portions that could be parts of bigger songs, but he was fine with releasing them. 
    - He loves the song 'Drivers License' by Olivia Rodrigo.
    - Rick asks about Hybrid Theory - Mike says the album had five singles but Chester would say that it actually had six. 

    Newswire 14

    Input Magazine Interview with Mike

    Mike spoke to Input Magazine about releasing 'Happy Endings' with his current NFT fascination, and more. Check out the full interview here.
    Some highlights:
    How did you get into NFTs?
    "I’ve been watching NFTs for a while. Linkin Park have like a VC arm, and a few years ago we did a bunch of meetings with different companies about investment and the idea of creating blockchain-related merchandise. And I was like, “I feel like we’re ready for it. But fans aren’t ready for it. Nobody’s going to buy it.” So we just stayed away from it. And it wasn’t until this year when I was like, “Oh, people are ready.” Regular people really are collecting this stuff. And it’s not just a couple of billionaires getting involved."
    And since you're kind of a household name, I presume people don't think that you're going to be an “opportunist crooked jerk” about this.
    I hope not! I’ve tried music and visual as an NFT. I've tried just visual; I’ve tried GIFs. Those have all performed differently. I’ve yet to do one that’s just the music NFT, like a full track beginning to end, one of one. That’ll be soon. I’ll do that and see how it goes.
    So tell me about the sale of the NFTs of “Happy Endings.” What was the price range for those 10?
    "I don't quite know right now, but I can guess. So here’s the way it worked: I had already put up a couple things on Zora, and I have this I had this single called “Happy Endings” coming out. It’s basically like a pop single. So we’re all ramped up for this big release. And I said to management, “I want to debut it with an NFT,” and they’re like, “You’re crazy. How in the world are we going to make that happen?” My attitude is like, “I know the timeline’s short, but we can work it out.” And that's what we did.
    The highest bid was five Wrapped Ethereum [around $8,000]. The lowest was a couple hundred dollars. And as soon as the initial sales were over, I said, “Surprise, everybody who owns one as of tomorrow is going to get a signed, one-of-10 print of the art. So you have 24 hours if you want to resell it. But whoever owns it at this time tomorrow gets a print.” I kind of expected somebody to go to the person who only spent 200 bucks and be like, “I will give you $15,000 for that NFT that you spent 200 bucks on.” I expected it to change hands. And it didn’t change hands."
    What do you ascribe that to?
    "I think the people who bought them were legit fans."

    Newswire 2

    Radio.com Interview with Mike (Feb 25, 2020)

    Mike did an interview with Kevan Kenney from Radio.com on February 25th and we're here to recap it for you! Check out the full 25 minute video here.
    - Mike listens to new music by jumping on streaming platforms and checking out new releases, but also follows playlists of artists that typically have around 5,000 followers~ who are releasing new music. 
    - He's talked to Brevin Kim about collaborating; he found them on Pigeons & Planes which he follows. Jacob, the founder of P&P is really involved with Brevin Kim but didn't want to really bother Mike about them but Mike wanted to talk to them.
    - When a new collaborator/artist is a super big fan of LP, it's an uncomfortable situation for Mike. He's had sessions where the artists can't get over who he is and it's weird. Sometimes the artists are able to get over it, but sometimes they can't.
    - He has been in a phase of "research and development." The entire afternoon after he streams on Twitch is composed of writing new songs (for himself, or with someone else). "I've got a couple of other things I'm not really ready to talk about yet."
    - "The idea of just going out there with one song and knowing that if this song does well, if the fans like it, I've got other songs that I can start to mold into an album. I've got other things and ideas that I can develop to follow it up with. And I'm ready to go regardless. It's a matter of keeping your tools sharp. I'm in here every day, everything is always sharp."
    - Mike says he is like a "creative director" of the Hybrid Theory 20 remix project. The label is who pitched the idea to him but he wasn't big on the project until artists like 100 gecs started getting tossed around. He thought at first that just remixing more Hybrid Theory songs was not interesting since the band had already done Reanimation. "We are not treading familiar territory at all by doing a 100 gecs remix." He said, "We have a few things. It's not fully formed yet, but there is some other stuff coming together." And finally about 'Crawling' remix: "In terms of the energy of the song, we'll try to go small. Delicate and introverted. I imagine it with a female singer. We've never really done that, so we'll see what happens."
    - "The support on 'Happy Endings' has been spectacular. I had written it with a couple of friends, one of them Upsahl. It wasn't like we made it and said, "Let's put this out!" We made it and it just sat on a hard drive. A little while later a couple of other people had heard it and they were like, "Yo, what is that song? It's so good." And I was like, "Oh! I forgot about that song." And then it ended up being other people who were like, "Put out this song." Originally Iann was not on it, it was Sam and Pete." Upsahl was introduced to Mike by Sam and Pete since they had been writing with Upsahl already. Someone else had already mentioned Upsahl to Mike around that time so he was very interested in getting a collaboration going.

    Newswire 0

    Mace Beyers interview about Chester

    There’s a new interview by Grey Daze Mace Beyers about Chester. Check it out ! 

    Newswire 0

    Assistance Needed: Fort Minor 'MTV Overdrive' Videos

    Hey everyone, we are looking for some help from people who have collected live audio & video over the years. In 2006, Fort Minor performed 4 songs for MTV Overdrive. For years, the videos worked, downloads were shared on LPTimes, etc as you can see by their news posts. In fact, the videos worked until even around the 'One More Light' era. For whatever reason, we never got around to trying to upload the videos until later.

    We started a thread in November 2019 about this, trying to get it solved in 2020, but we've had no luck. The issue at hand is that the video files are looking for the DRM on the MTV server, which is no longer there. Maybe there is a way to crack the DRM on the videos to get them to play, so we can upload them to YouTube for everyone.

    Or maybe you are someone that downloaded the files in 2006 and they still play on your computer. If that is you, or you have any ideas how to get the videos to play... let us know! 

    To date, we have had no luck on these four files. So we're turning to you guys!

    Here is the audio rip of the videos that we have, which we just uploaded to YouTube:

    .WMV video download (DRM locked)
    Thanks in advance for any help!

    Newswire 3
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