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Mike - "Open Door" & More Interview w/ Rock Sound

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A new interview with Mike, done from his home studio via video call, has been posted by Rock Sound.

 

Mike described how "Dropped Frames" came about, "Open Door", and more.

 

- "Open Door": "After I had shut that down for the day, I realized that I really want some vocals on that song. And I thought "I just spent the last little while l with the fans, why don't I just see if there is a fan who could sing the song?" So I did a little contest for the song "Open Door", had all the lyrics and everything done so all they had to do was sing it. So I posted it, I literally texted it to fans. I texted the high res file to like 10,000 people... so somebody's got it, just track down somebody who's got the song, and you can sing over it. Put it online, use the hashtag, and I'll find it."

 

The failed P!ATD jam: "I remember they wanted me to do a song in the style of Panic! At The Disco. And I just couldn't do it. I tried, and it just didn't sound good. So I just gave up and we did something silly. So I was going for modern and I told them before I even started, "Their music right now is all Brendon Urie's voice. So the second you don't have his voice, like what genre are you really even in? I don't even know what to call it. The new record is kind of like, pop/rock music." This was the day that "Booty Down" was created at the end of the stream.

 

Picking "Open Door" vocalists: "There were hundreds of submissions. I feel like I could tell very quickly who was a professional vocalist and who wasn't. The hobbyists... there were a lot of people who can sing, and they sing well, and then there were people who were like, they do it for a living. So it was very quickly I could tell from the quality of the singing who I would consider putting on the song. And it was a short list. Originally I was thinking I'd pick just one person, but I liked so many of them that I ended up putting seven of these people on the song because they were all so different. There's a couple of girls from Russia, one of which is a little more R&B, one is a little more rock. One is a guy who goes by Phantom who has like face tattoos and his music is very modern but trap and rock and electronic and whatever. There's a guy Pershard, in the video his hair is all crazy, he's the only one who submitted anything that sounded like that. And he's great, he's so so talented, so good. There were seven different people, all different styles and different ways of approaching the track. Like they sent in lead vocals, they sent in harmonies, I probably did have somewhere between fifty and seventy five vocal tracks to sort through in order to really listen to and find what I wanted to put on the song. Mixing it was a bitch but it ended up being cool."

 

- "Open Door" being on "Dropped Frames, Vol. 1": "I decided to put that on the front end of all of it because it kind of happened in the same moment. But the rest of the stuff I'm releasing for right now is going to be instrumental."

 

- Releasing an instrumental album: "I've never released an instrumental album. There's a poetry to instrumental music that I've always enjoyed listening to. I grew up drawing and painting and a lot of times I'd paint and draw to instrumental music. It lets your mind kind of wander and go wherever it takes you. A song like that could mean one thing to one person and another thing to another. It leaves it open for like, thought and creativity. It's perfect music for studying and drawing and waking up/laying down, putting on in the background, etc... it's almost useful music in a sense. Like use it for whatever your thing is. In the beginning, fans asked a bunch of times, "Are you going to put vocals on it? Let's put vocals on it." And the truth is, number one,  vocals are... it's a tedious process especially for me. I don't do vocals quickly and I wouldn't watch anybody to watch me sitting on a stream with a beat looping for six hours while I type on a computer, delete, type, delete, and then mumble to myself and leave the room. That's not fun for anybody. The other thing is, I feel as an artist, there's something in the stress of the world... with the news, and the pandemic, all of the things that are going on, so stressful, I feel like there's a poetry to the instrumental track that is appropriate for this moment in time. We are being talked at so much, like our whole experience on our phones is just people shouting. And you turn on the news and people are shouting. Everywhere I go, people are shouting. So I feel like this is a way to take a break, in a sense."

 

- "Open Door" lyrics applying to current times even though it was written before the pandemic: "That was a surprising thing for me as well. At first I was like, "I don't know if I should attach Open Door to these other songs because they're not the same thing." But the reason I think we decided to do it is because it's a good launching point in terms of the context of everything and the fact that yeah, it was written originally about looking for opportunity, looking for something good in the midst of whatever else, all the noise that's going on. And it's also like, there are moments where I'm talking to myself but moments where I'm not... I'm like, thematically I'm going back and forth with like a pep talk for myself and encouraging, almost like challenge, to somebody who might be listening."

 

- "Hybrid Theory" anniversary, why "In the End" is still so popular: "I think that when we wrote it, I remember being in... we were rehearsing in this little room in Hollywood. And when I say Hollywood, it was the grossest part of Hollywood. At the time, Hollywood & Vine had like prostitutes and drug dealers. There was a taco shop on the corner, an all black hair salon next door, like a grocery story with a Korean couple who ran that on the corner, and a bunch of like Scientologists. There was a place that was a reading center that was teaching you how to read but all of the books were Scientology books which is really kind of dark. And that was the place where we found a rehearsal room that we could afford. And we were working on our show and our songs there. And I decided to stay overnight in that building and I wrote "In the End." And I think Rob Bourdon was the first one to show up the next day for rehearsal and I played it for him and he was freaking out. There was something about that, there's a weird battle with hopelessness that, in our nature and our times, that the song is really about. What's odd about the song is it's almost talking about these things and saying like, "I don't have any answers." Because usually a song isn't about having no answers, right? It just kind of runs itself around in a circle lyrically. Especially as a young person, that's how I felt, that's how we all felt. I didn't know what to make of things and I think in a sense, that's still what goes on today. Time is a very universal thing. The fact is, yeah, it's been one of our biggest songs, it's been our biggest song for a long time."

 

- "Hybrid Theory" at Download Festival 2014: "We played it in order. In the early days, we played every song off the album, but we just didn't play it in order. Download would have been the only one where we played it in order. I felt like it was a matter of time before we did that, before we played that album front-to-back just because people were starting to do it. People were starting to play their biggest albums front-to-back and we were slowly pulling some of those songs out of the set, so they were more in demand. Not that we were doing it so there WOULD be demand, it was because we were trying to make room for our other songs and then obviously it's like, "Aw! They actually didn't play Crawling tonight!" We always played In the End, sometimes we wouldn't play other songs off of that record. So it was like, "Oh ok, there's already this feeling of fans who want to come see that at that show.""

 

 

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