James Wilson-Taylor of Rock Sound recently conducted an interview with LINKIN PARK vocalist Mike Shinoda. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the fan reaction to his debut solo album, “Post Traumatic”:
Mike: “It’s great. It’s really nice. It’s almost like I hoped to some degree, like I hoped that it would have this connection with people, not just my story, not just what happened in the last year, but their story, you know what I mean? That’s actually been happening. It’s always a good feeling. Part of it is because I’ve done a couple of shows now and the shows, I play the new stuff, I play a little bit of FORT MINOR, a couple LINKIN PARK things and just the feel, the shows are fun and they also have a weight to them, like a gravity to them, like a little something else, which is nice.”
On whether he’s surprised of the “cathartic” reactions he receives to playing LINKIN PARK songs live like “In The End”:
Mike: “I don’t think it surprised me, but I think it was better than I thought. The other day, I played a really small, it was like a 600-capacity venue in New York and it was very, it was even more energetic than the KROQ show. ‘In The End’ was very energetic that night. It’s something that as I go, as I play more shows, it’s a whole new experience. First of all, just doing stuff on my own, there’s a lot of newness to it, there’s surprises around every corner. It keeps it exciting and it’s also open for a lot of spontaneity.”
On whether his live shows will feature more political undertones:
Mike: “When it seems appropriate, when it’s something I feel like I want to talk about, I brought it in a little bit. I have another song that’s a LINKIN PARK track that’s called ‘Hands Held High’, which is almost a stream of consciousness rant when Bush, George W., was president and the other night, I was feeling that, so I played those two songs back to back. I did the ‘Hands Held High’ version a capella, then I played ‘Kenji’. Part of that is being on Twitter that day and reading it and going, ‘Oh my god! This is so insane.’ Then other times, it’s about, it is just about kind of going through certain things during the day and wanting to play certain songs. Being in a band, you don’t get to do as much of that. Like, if you’ve got six people in the band, if one or two of them isn’t prepared to play a song, then you just can’t play it. I can text everybody that day and say, ‘Guys, I really want to play this song on this day because blah, blah blah. Please, can you be ready to play it tonight?’ If the guys can’t, if our drummer doesn’t have his drums in the room, obviously, then the answer’s probably no.”
On his future plans for his solo career:
Mike: “The main focus for me right now is to explore all the things I can explore with it. That sounds almost like I’m evading the question, but the truth is, that it’s a journey without a goal. If there are goals, they’re so simple that they almost would seem boring. Like, a goal would be to feel like I know what my live set is supposed to look and feel like. Right now, it’s still changing a lot and I’m still just an artist and a person who likes to get things right, like I feel I’m still figuring out what it’s supposed to be. Obviously, we’re still promoting the music and still getting it out there to people. I think there are some people who are scared to listen to ‘Post Traumatic’ because it sounds dark and heavy, which can be the case, but I feel like what they need to know is the album may start there, but it doesn’t end there. As it goes, it’s like a diary and this year, it started in a dark place but in ends in a place that is light and more open. So the open does that. So, if I can spread the word of that and hopefully that’s a message of hope to fans, I should say old fans, or potentially people who are fans. Other than that, I’m open to suggestions. [Laughs]
Shinoda played his first solo shows since the death of LINKIN PARK singer Chester Bennington on May 12 at the KROQ Weenie Roast in Los Angeles and May 13 at the Identity LA festival, also in L.A. Shinoda mashed up some LINKIN PARK songs along with his solo material, singing some of Chester Bennington‘s parts from songs like “Bleed It Out”. He played “In The End” on piano and let the fans sing most of Chester‘s vocal parts, though at times he came in and sang his parts.