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Mike Q&A Summary 5/8/2020

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 Time for some chat recaps with Mike!

He mentioned Xero after seeing a question in the stream when he was playing Animal Crossing online on May 7, so we'll start with that.

 

- "Will there ever be a Xero reunion?" -> "No. Mark is the best guy ever, for the record. And also, he is like a music manager, like he manages bands. He's with the company, he spends time managing System of a Down, Alice in Chains, Deftones, Korn. He's not trying to like, sing in like a throwback.... thing. It wouldn't be good for his... he is like a professional person. And by the way, I just texted him tonight, we're still super good friends."

 

 

Next, Mike took questions when making his 2000s pop song on May 8th, so here are those.

 

- "Will you have a lyric writing session?" -> "I probably won't because lyrics take a long time for me. It's long and tedious. And it's just a looping beat. Here's what a lyric session is like for me. Usually looping music, unless we are writing a song with like chords, then it's like sitting at a piano or guitar probably and going back forth between that. And there's an element of like privacy and an element of concentration that I have to have. If there's a live stream going on, I will probably be too self conscious to do it. Number two though, if it's rap lyrics or even some singing lyrics, I will have one section of music looping for hours. If I were to have four hours of looping music with me mumbling to myself and occasionally coming up with a line. That would be mind numbing, I know you think that sounds fun, but that would not be fun for you guys. At least the way it comes to me, it is not fun to sit and do. Our engineers just basically just go sit in the other room on their computers and wait, and you know, make their own music or whatever."

 

- "Would you ever dye your hair a crazy color again?" -> "I haven't thought about it. It hasn't occurred to me to do it. You know, you never know. I'll say probably not."
 

- "What is your favorite song to perform live?" -> "It depends on the day."
 

- "What is the toughest song to play live?" -> "Those are obvious because we don't play them or I don't play them. I love the song Breaking the Habit, but I don't want to play the song Breaking the Habit because it is a little tough to go there."
 

- "The demo lyrics for In the End were less straightforward and more abstract than the album version. What inspired the decision to start over?" -> "I don't remember who suggested who suggested we write new lyrics. At that point, we were operating on intuition. We didn't know what we were doing. We just had feelings about like what to try. I think it was probably like, "hey this is going to be an important song on the record. It's probably going to be a single, so we should probably try to beat the verses." And when I did the final version, I knew that like, I felt that they were better. And everybody kind of agreed. It was that interplay between me and Chester. It kind of the simplicity of it. The original version was a lot more abstract and a lot more rappy. It might be out there on the Internet somewhere I guess. I will say that I remember our A&R guy from the label coming in and trying to like, tell me what to do and produce it. And that was one of those moments when we knew the whole recording process might fall apart. And we were in full-on fight then with him and a couple people at the label for our souls, for our identity. Because that was THE song he kept coming in and saying he played it for like, whoever, that rapper, and he didn't like it, so we should change it. And I was like, we like it though and this is us. I respect that rapper but I don't care what he thinks of my stuff. He doesn't talk about the things we talk about. He raps about rappy things. I talk about real life and emotions, of course he doesn't like it. That couple of weeks was when he started going to Chester and was like "You could have the whole band to yourself, you could be the star, and you could ditch these guys." He went to me and told me I could play keyboard - that was that moment. We were getting verses to In the End right. Very tense time."
 

- "When you listen to new music for fun, do you listen to words or the overall sound to the song and the words later, or what?" -> "It depends on the thing. I think usually I do listen to the whole thing together. I can't have a good song without good lyrics and I can't have a lyrically exciting song without a good track. Or at least a track that compliments it. It kinds of comes together, both things at once to me."

 

- "In The Meeting Of A Thousand Suns DVD, you mentioned you were considering three other producers besides Rick Rubin, who were they?" -> "I don't remember who they were. But I think I remember we talked to Flood (British producer) and I think we talked to Atticus Ross. I don't think we talked to Brian Eno although he would have been on my list. I feel like there was somebody else who was more of a producer... who was more "of that moment." That wasn't a moment when they were like, the hot producer. I feel like there was somebody in conversation who was hot at the time. I just can't remember who it was. But I know we were serious about Flood and Atticus at the time. I think we even asked if they would work together. Trent was not doing anything like that at that time - I would have loved to have worked at Trent. But also the issue there is that although he is a producer, he is very much an artist. And he would have very particular opinions about things. I find that artist producers when they have a "sound", there is consciously or unconsciously an awareness about what their fans will come to the project wanting to hear. And therefore that artist's sound needs to be in the stuff somehow. I don't do that as much. If one if my sounds is in a thing that I make for somebody else, it's usually an accident, or because they say "hey, I want something like this."

- "I would like to know if you'd release the instrumental you made for the documentary This Is Life with Lisa Ling." -> "I probably won't release that, no, it is not something that is on my radar to release. You can just enjoy it in the context it's in."

 

- "What do you think about oriental scales? Persian, Egyptian, etc. Is it something that would inspire you while creating new things?" -> "Yeah sure. We could try that at some point. Maybe you redeem a theme suggestion and we do it. Throw Persian scales at me or something."

 

- "How did the Transformers remix of Iridescent come about? The version used for the movie was shortened and had additional percussion that wasn't on the album version." -> "Actually I think almost every sound used in the remix of Iridescent was in the song. We just turned them up or EQed them or compressed them. The reason for the remix was I think that the radio department at the label said, "hey, if you're going to go out with this song and the movie and whatever, we'd like to hear it pick up energy, like get to the point faster with a shorter version. And for it to have more energy earlier." That was a cool idea. To me it didn't ruin the song, I felt like it was a cool version of a song - kind of a subtle remix so we did it. Kind of a pain in the ass though because we were on tour working on it. I remember just having to go back and forth about mix notes and adding and subtracting things a lot. It was just tedious, it was fine though."

- "Why have you never done a song with Eminem?" -> "I think Eminem doesn't want to do a song, I think he has his own thing going on. So you can ask him. I don't know. It's no bad blood. I don't have any hurt feelings about when an artist doesn't want to collaborate or whatever. Even if I reach out to someone and say "do you want to a song?" and they don't answer... usually they don't come back and say "no", they usually just don't answer, that's just how it works. If you're an artist listening and you reach out to someone and they kind of ghost you because they don't want to do a thing, then just accept that as like that's where they are at that moment. And give them space to let them change their mind so just leave the door open because they may come back later. I think some people take it very personally, I think I did at some points but I don't anymore."

 

- "Can you play a classical piece on the piano for us?" -> "That was actually one of the song requests so if we get... if that one comes out of the bowl then we'll do it."

 

- "I really love the mashups you did during the Post Traumatic Tour. Are there some songs you tried to mash up that didn't work out?" -> "Yeah. Most of them worked out. The way I heard them happening, usually that would pan out and be good. I think I tried to do something with Castle of Glass and it didn't work. Blending it into another song. Then I thought "why would I do that? I want to play that whole song." But it's very intuitive."

- "I love your studio. I was wondering what's the most prized or favorite tech equipment you have. And if you could add any other items what would that be?" -> "You've seen the stuff I use as core gear. I'm thinking of adding... I've got a drum kit. I'm thinking of adding another camera so we can show the other room. We'll probably have to jump into ProTools and there will have to be some technical considerations to go through there. But yeah, the core of the studio, one of the core things that you can't see, there's hardware compressors and preamps and things like that. The kind of nerdier stuff. A lot of recording studios have like a mixing console in the middle and a computer connected to that. I decided to not do that because I don't really mix here. I wanted the keyboards and controllers to be the centerpiece. I do have some hardware mixing stuff, I use Ex-Logic SSL units and they're rack units. What that means is that faders and stuff that you usually see in the front of the room, I have the same quality gear but it's compacted and in a rack down there. And some other compressors and stuff over there. It's all real nerdy shit. Too much nerdiness."

- "How can you combine different genres in a harmonic way?" -> "I always told people like from the beginning, when we were doing Hybrid Theory, I feel like my best combinations happen when it's stuff that I really like. While I can make a song in the style of "whatever", with varying results.... I'm no expert... but I think if I really loved this (2000s pop) style of music and wanted to dive in and be great at it then I'd spend time listening to it, picking it apart, finding out what they use. So this is just an estimation of doing something in the style. When it comes to something I love, that's where you really go deep. Do the homework. It's one thing to be wandering around in the dark making stuff by ear and making stuff sound a certain way. You've got all the opportunity of actually researching and getting the actual gear. But back to the original point, mashing stuff up works the best when you actually like the stuff you're mashing up."

 

Phew! Huge Q&A!
 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, LPLStaff said:

The original version was a lot more abstract and a lot more rappy

This represent pretty much 90% of the HT demos, especially all of the Esaul versions or the Crawling demo with a Mike verse throw in the middle of the song just for the sake of doing it. 

 

And like always thanks for doing all of this recaps

Edited by Diaux

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I absolutely love ATS. Easily my favorite non HT album by them but I wonder what it could've sounded like with Trent, Atticus, or Brian Eno. Wow, amazing artists that could've taken that album to totally different places. Really cool bit of info there from Mike!

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9 hours ago, LPLStaff said:

- "What do you think about oriental scales? Persian, Egyptian, etc. Is it something that would inspire you while creating new things?" -> "Yeah sure. We could try that at some point. Maybe you redeem a theme suggestion and we do it. Throw Persian scales at me or something."

 ATS has a lot of Persian scales. Especially WTCFM and W&K. we have old songs very similar to these two songs. I remember at the time they released ATS, Mike posted some stuffs about Persians on his personal site.

10 hours ago, LPLStaff said:

- "Why have you never done a song with Eminem?" -> "I think Eminem doesn't want to do a song, I think he has his own thing going on. So you can ask him. I don't know. It's no bad blood. I don't have any hurt feelings about when an artist doesn't want to collaborate or whatever. Even if I reach out to someone and say "do you want to a song?" and they don't answer... usually they don't come back and say "no", they usually just don't answer, that's just how it works. If you're an artist listening and you reach out to someone and they kind of ghost you because they don't want to do a thing, then just accept that as like that's where they are at that moment. And give them space to let them change their mind so just leave the door open because they may come back later. I think some people take it very personally, I think I did at some points but I don't anymore."

Very Interesting. Do you think at some points LP goes to Eminem for a song and he didn't want to that?! Or maybe Eminem goes to LP and they didn't want to do a song together?!

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12 hours ago, Hybrid1988 said:

I absolutely love ATS. Easily my favorite non HT album by them but I wonder what it could've sounded like with Trent, Atticus, or Brian Eno. Wow, amazing artists that could've taken that album to totally different places. Really cool bit of info there from Mike!

 

Honestly even with A Thousand Suns already being my favorite Linkin Park album it makes me a little sad knowing that Trent or Atticus could have been involved. NIN's my favorite band so that would have been pretty cool.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, lpplus said:

 ATS has a lot of Persian scales. Especially WTCFM and W&K. we have old songs very similar to these two songs. I remember at the time they released ATS, Mike posted some stuffs about Persians on his personal site.

Very Interesting. Do you think at some points LP goes to Eminem for a song and he didn't want to that?! Or maybe Eminem goes to LP and they didn't want to do a song together?!

Who knows.

What i do know is, lots of things regarding Em goes through his manager Paul Rosenberg or (not always) Royce da 5'9.
Looking at Em's timeline i don't think the timing was good, since he had stuff going on at that time.

 

2004 - Beef with Murda Inc

2005 - World Tour\ September 2005 Rehab

2006 - Passing of his best friend, group mate Proof

2007 - Producing projects for his label artist Ca$his - The County Hound EP\  Em overdosed later that year

2008 - Rehab

2009 - Relapse\Relapse :Refill album (Relapse 2 was scraped)

2010 - Recovery album

2011 - Bad Meets Evil album (with Royce da 5'9)

2012 - Label debut of Slaughterhouse - Welcome To Our House (which he executive produced)

2013 - Marshall Mathers LP 2

etc

Edited by Michelbeats

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14 hours ago, Hybrid1988 said:

I absolutely love ATS. Easily my favorite non HT album by them but I wonder what it could've sounded like with Trent, Atticus, or Brian Eno. Wow, amazing artists that could've taken that album to totally different places. Really cool bit of info there from Mike!

 

Great album. LP surely doesn't have over 5 albums or so left in them, right? They need to work with these different producers. Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite would be pretty good ones.

 

Atticus probably would have synths rolling everywhere on ATS, like "fine" but full band LP form, ha. He makes good music with Trent. It's hard to imagine ATS in any other form, but Blackout would have probably brought down buildings if Atticus was involved ha.

 

5 hours ago, lpplus said:

Very Interesting. Do you think at some points LP goes to Eminem for a song and he didn't want to that?! Or maybe Eminem goes to LP and they didn't want to do a song together?!

 

Yeah LP probably approached Eminem which is why Mike worded it that way. Just how it is sometimes, not everyone always wants to collaborate. The most likely time period could have been 2005, but remember that's the worst time in LP's career too so maybe the timing was bad on more than just one side. LP, Eminem, and 50 Cent were at least in talks for the summer 2005 stadium tour in the USA. I think LP's struggles with WBR plus the burn out from the million shows on the Meteora cycle really affected what could have happened in 2005. They could have done a Jay-Z tour in early 2005 for Collision Course right into a huge summer stadium tour with 50 Cent and Eminem. Then take 2006 off to make the album.

Downside: We wouldn't have gotten The Rising Tied or the Fort Minor tour. Upside: We could have had two epic tours in 2005 and maybe LP would have collaborated with one of those artists. Who knows, but too hard to play the "maybe" game. The WBR stuff came at a bad time for LP because Collision Course deserved its own sold out arena tour.

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Just as a side note, 2005 wasn’t a good year for Eminem either. He released Curtain Call that year, and named it that because he didn’t know if he was going to ever do another album, and he didn’t release another album for almost 5 years... A lot of personal issues going on for him too. So if 2005 was when LP/Mike might have reached out, the timing was bad for everyone for sure.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/10/2020 at 4:26 PM, Hahninator said:

 

Great album. LP surely doesn't have over 5 albums or so left in them, right? They need to work with these different producers. Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite would be pretty good ones.

 

Atticus probably would have synths rolling everywhere on ATS, like "fine" but full band LP form, ha. He makes good music with Trent. It's hard to imagine ATS in any other form, but Blackout would have probably brought down buildings if Atticus was involved ha.

 

Fascinating and unexpected answer by him. I'm a massive NIN fan, love Trent's music pre and post-Atticus, that could've been a crazy combination. The thought of comparing The Fragile and ATS is definitely inside of me.

Edited by KlaytonShinoda

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