Interview with Mike Shinoda
11.05.2008s on the album (or else we wouldn't have committed it to tape!) but I do like the older versions as well. Most of the changes were done in order to make things a little more accessible. I wanted to make sure that people understood my lyrics. So I used metaphors that were a little more straightforward.
PRP: I've heard that you guys were actually originally from Calabasas, CA and not Los Angeles as most people think, any truth to this?
Mike Shinoda: Most people don't know where Calabasas is, so we say L.A. Our drummer Rob is from Calabasas, though. We grew up all over the place: Joe is from Glendale, Brad and I from Agoura, Phoenix from Mission Viejo, Chester from Phoenix. But now we live all around the L.A. area.
PRP: Speaking of which, the band recently enlisted former bassist Phoenix back into the group after having not played with him since your Xero days, how is the chemistry with him, and who handled the bass duties during the tracking of your latest album?
Mike Shinoda: We wanted someone in the bus to beat up on. Since we hate Phoenix so passionately, he was the only logical choice. As far as the playing on the album, Brad played the majority of the bass tracks.
PRP: If forced at gun point by a pack of militant mutant giraffes, would you don a tutu and sing sea shanty's on live TV?
Mike Shinoda: Sure. What color tutu? Would you sing with me?
PRP: I don't think the world is ready for that just yet haha..
PRP: The decision to name your album "Hybrid Theory", which is in fact your old band name seems almost tongue in cheek, do you view it as a tribute to that stage of the groups evolution or anything?
Mike Shinoda: We think everyone is very familiar (if not tired) at this point with the "hybrid" music idea. With the album artwork, we hoped to take that word to a different level: the idea that our band is about blending heavier styles with more delicate, beautiful elements. This kind of hybrid is a little more descriptive of our collective band personality, rather than a label of what kind of music we play.
PRP: As a group, you've maintained a fairly clean cut and positive vibe around you despite touring with bands such as the Kottonmouth Kings and (hed)p.e. who are known to get into a bit of trouble now and then, would you say that you guys are all relatively laid back?
Mike Shinoda: We aren't trying to be big bad rock stars or anything. But I wouldn't say those bands are either, necessarily. We have fun at our own pace.
PRP: Have you ever farted in a Tupperware container which contained food, closed the lid fast and left it in the fridge for an unsuspecting victim?
Mike Shinoda: No, but one of our band members once pooped in a bag, with the intention of throwing the bag on another band we were playing with.
PRP: You handle the more rap oriented side of things vocally, who would you list as influences and idols as far as emceeing goes?
Mike Shinoda: I really like listening to The Roots, Black Eyed Peas, Jurassic 5, Pharoahe Monch, and lots of others. I don't think we really have space for me to list all my favorite emcees off.
PRP: The band is considered one of the new generation of groups who were almost born on the internet, how instrumental would you say the net has been in the exposure of the band and the evolution of your career?
Mike Shinoda: Our street teams and fanbase was born and raised on the internet. It has been a very important part of our evolution.
PRP: The band have been quite generous as far as mp3's go, what's your take on the whole situation, negative or positive?
Mike Shinoda: (you mean "how do you feel about Napster"? hahaha) - we think those things have very helpful for us, as a new band.
PRP: There have been rumors that the groups independent EP may be re-released and that material off of it may show up on the forthcoming U.K. Single for "One Step Closer", is there any truth to this and do you have any idea yet as to what exactly will be featured on the single?
Mike Shinoda: The "One Step Closer" Import single will feature a remix (by me) of an older hip hop track of ours called "High Voltage", along with a slower song called "My December". What's nice for me about these things is that I did the majority of the writing on those songs, and I produced and mixed both.
PRP: Lyrically the album seems quite personal and introspectively written, was there ever any fear about having things so open and easy to interpretation?
Mike Shinoda: No. Chester and I feel strongly that open, honest lyrics were ideal for this album. Not to mention that it's very therapeutic.
PRP: While performing live, band guitarist Brad is usually wearing large headphones, is there a distinct reason behind this or is he trying to make a fashion statement?
Mike Shinoda: I don't know. He won't say. It's just a big mystery.
PRP: I've noticed you've done a bit of graphical work on the official website, was it past day job for you or more of a hobby?
Mike Shinoda: I went to school for illustration. I've worked in graphics for a while. It's fun for me to be able to be involved in these things.
PRP: You've mentioned the track "My December" which was recently included on the annual KROQ X-mas compilation, I've heard rumors that the song was actually recorded sometime ago and was never officially released, what's the story behind it?
Mike Shinoda: We actually recorded it more recently, at a studio in Nashville. It was an idea sparked by the KROQ album. We figured, why not just write a new song, put it on that CD, and give it away for the holidays? So it'll be on our website soon.
PRP: Have you ever considered cuddling with a Popple or a Wuzzle or even perhaps a Madball while on stage?
Mike Shinoda: No, but I've considered setting one on fire, extinguishing it with my urine, smashing it flat with my noggin, and eating it with a side of Mongolian beef.
PRP: The video for your first single "One Step Closer" is quite eclectic and getting heavy rotation as of late, where did the whole kung fu ghost monk theme come from and is it actually you guys in the make-up?
Mike Shinoda: Our DJ, MISTA HAHN, wrote the treatment for the video. It's a scary look into his head, isn't it?
PRP: Nah, it's completely normal to think of flying kung-fu ghost monks.. I do it all the time.
PRP: In just over a month, your debut release has gone gold and it will no doubt easily go on to hit platinum, how does it feel to get such a warm reception so soon after the release?
Mike Shinoda: We're totally thankful to all of the people who are supporting the band; especially our fans who frequent the website and our street teamers.
PRP: Do you fear with such a rapid rise to fame that it will wear off just as quick or even the possibility of being branded as an MTV band and such as a result?
Mike Shinoda: We're in this to have a career. I love watching MTV, but I don't live and die by it.
PRP: Rumor has it that you guys will be appearing on Late Night With Conan O'Brien in the near future, any truth to this?
Mike Shinoda: Yeah. Keep an eye on www.linkinpark.com for the date - we're confirming it soon.
PRP: With "One Step Closer" still doing strongly, have you guys made a decision as far as the second single goes?
Mike Shinoda: Not yet.
PRP: It's been rumored that the band are also a prime candidate for Ozzfest this year and are planning a tour with Taproot early next year, has anything been discussed yet as far as upcoming tours?
Mike Shinoda: We are doing a headlining tour in mid January through February, and Taproot is going to join us. We're very excited.
PRP: With the way things are going, the possibilities seem endless for you guys, what should we expect from the band in coming months?
Mike Shinoda: You shall see soon, my friend.
PRP: Well that about wraps it up, any shoutouts or shameless self promotion?
Mike Shinoda: I just want to encourage everyone to come out to the live show. Our shows are listed on www.linkinpark.com, so check one out, and come say hi, we always stick around to hang out with the fans afterwards.
Theprp.com - 12.09.2000