Jump to content

Rick Rubin Interviews Mike Shinoda


Recommended Posts

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.

 

Recap:

- 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. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, LPLStaff said:

- Rick asks about Hybrid Theory - Mike says the album had five singles but Chester would say that it actually had six. 


GREAT write up! Really interesting stuff!

 

Do we know what song Chester was referring to here?

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, LPLStaff said:

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.

 

Recap:

- 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. 

This was amazing! Great interview!

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Justin said:


GREAT write up! Really interesting stuff!

 

Do we know what song Chester was referring to here?

Maybe Pushing Me Away. OSC, Crawling, Papercut and In the End where the singles and Points of Authority and Pushing Me Away went to radio stations.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, PurpleFlinstoneVitamins92 said:

I remember Mike saying radios played APFMH been tho it was not a single. But I could absolutely be wrong 

APFMH was played by radios? Damn, I didn´t know that

Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, PurpleFlinstoneVitamins92 said:

Due to popular demand back in the day. Like people calling the radio station and being like “hey can you play APFMH ?” 

Damn that´s cool!

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, PurpleFlinstoneVitamins92 said:

Due to popular demand back in the day. Like people calling the radio station and being like “hey can you play APFMH ?” 

I miss stuff like that so much. When I was a kid I used to call the radio and request songs. When they answered I felt like a celebrity, speaking directly to the voice I was hearing on the radio lol

Link to post
Share on other sites

Again we get the story of Mark's stage fright and since we still don't have the q&a with Jeff Blue online, there is a contradiction which I'm curious about. It might be possible that Mark suffered from stage fright which then impeded his performance which led to him getting kicked out of the band. But still I find it really interesting that Mike never mentioned anything close to what Jeff has written about in his book. Or put differently: Jeff never mentions stage fright.

 

Thanks yor the write up and the cool infos!

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Trumtram said:

Again we get the story of Mark's stage fright and since we still don't have the q&a with Jeff Blue online, there is a contradiction which I'm curious about. It might be possible that Mark suffered from stage fright which then impeded his performance which led to him getting kicked out of the band. But still I find it really interesting that Mike never mentioned anything close to what Jeff has written about in his book. Or put differently: Jeff never mentions stage fright.

 

Thanks yor the write up and the cool infos!

I've literally been saying the same thing, I think that there is a contradiction in the story.

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Trumtram said:

Again we get the story of Mark's stage fright and since we still don't have the q&a with Jeff Blue online, there is a contradiction which I'm curious about. It might be possible that Mark suffered from stage fright which then impeded his performance which led to him getting kicked out of the band. But still I find it really interesting that Mike never mentioned anything close to what Jeff has written about in his book. Or put differently: Jeff never mentions stage fright.

 

Thanks yor the write up and the cool infos!

So what were Mark's reasons for leaving the band, according to Jeff?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really wondering if and why LP were ever close to breaking up due to personal issues with Chester. Jeff mentioned that they had issues but all of them had the big picture in mind and could overcome them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, PizzaPino said:

I'm really wondering if and why LP were ever close to breaking up due to personal issues with Chester. Jeff mentioned that they had issues but all of them had the big picture in mind and could overcome them.

The quite big hiatus and almost total silence between THP and OML was basically due to Chester’s problems with addiction and recovery IIRC, I think OML was meant to drop in late 2016 otherwise. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, RickLPL said:

So what were Mark's reasons for leaving the band, according to Jeff?

Basically that Mark felt like the weakest link because his performances weren't good (live and during recording). According to Jeff he lacked the quality of being a front man. So Mark got thrown out of the band rather than quitting because of anxiety issues, so the band could become a overall better package. It could be connected of course but it felt more drastic in Jeff's side of the story than what Mike told us. I mean sure, Mike doesn't need to go: "Well, he sucked so we threw him out of the band" but he made it seem much more "unfortunate" rather than it being a necessity at the time to take the next step. Which is obviously understandable with them being close friends.

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, PurpleFlinstoneVitamins92 said:

The quite big hiatus and almost total silence between THP and OML was basically due to Chester’s problems with addiction and recovery IIRC, I think OML was meant to drop in late 2016 otherwise. 

 

Yes, that's right. But not due to any problems, LP was/is very close. Mike even visited Chester personally himself during that rehab stint in 2016. The band is so secretive about things going on with them like this that the entire band could have visited Chester at different times in rehab and we would have zero clue unless the band ever said it publicly. And they are quite private people so they likely aren't going to ever get into stuff like that.

 

I remember Ryan Shuck said 1-3 days after Chester passed that Rob Bourdon had told him some of the most incredibly kind things he's ever had said to him, about his relationship with Chester and how he (Ryan) had helped Chester out in life, etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, LPLStaff said:

 

Yes, that's right. But not due to any problems, LP was/is very close. Mike even visited Chester personally himself during that rehab stint in 2016. The band is so secretive about things going on with them like this that the entire band could have visited Chester at different times in rehab and we would have zero clue unless the band ever said it publicly. And they are quite private people so they likely aren't going to ever get into stuff like that.

 

I remember Ryan Shuck said 1-3 days after Chester passed that Rob Bourdon had told him some of the most incredibly kind things he's ever had said to him, about his relationship with Chester and how he (Ryan) had helped Chester out in life, etc.

Yeah they were discrete and “protective” when one of the band members had a difficult time (mainly Chester). We got to  know Chester’s  2016 issues only after he passed, there were no rumors or stuff like that. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Trumtram said:

Basically that Mark felt like the weakest link because his performances weren't good (live and during recording). According to Jeff he lacked the quality of being a front man. So Mark got thrown out of the band rather than quitting because of anxiety issues, so the band could become a overall better package. It could be connected of course but it felt more drastic in Jeff's side of the story than what Mike told us. I mean sure, Mike doesn't need to go: "Well, he sucked so we threw him out of the band" but he made it seem much more "unfortunate" rather than it being a necessity at the time to take the next step. Which is obviously understandable with them being close friends.

Wow that's quite a different reason. Thanks for explaining!

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/5/2021 at 2:14 AM, PurpleFlinstoneVitamins92 said:

Yeah they were discrete and “protective” when one of the band members had a difficult time (mainly Chester). We got to  know Chester’s  2016 issues only after he passed, there were no rumors or stuff like that. 

Yeah, the band has always been like that. I respect it. They're all very protective of their private lives and respectful of each other in that way as well.

 

They were all acutely aware of Chester's struggles and did all they could to be there for him. I believe that Mike and the rest of LP used the OML writing sessions as a sort of therapy for Chester as well as themselves. They mentioned starting the sessions with no music, and instead asking questions like "Are you ok? What's going on in your life today?" They would talk about everything, and then craft those feelings and experiences into lyrics and then eventually into full songs.
 

I really believe that writing Heavy and Halfway Right was therapeutic and cathartic for Chester and that he was doing better after a really bad 2016. He seemed more open about his feelings which was a good thing. He looked really healthy and happy as well. Chris Cornell's passing is what derailed everything. It seemed like Chester just never recovered from the depression that followed.

Edited by Justin
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...