Linkin Park and Mike Shinoda are no strangers to the world of EDM. With two electronic influenced remix albums under their belt, and two mega collaborations with a superstar EDM artist, Steve Aoki, Linkin Park has continued to find ways to blend their genre-busting sound with elements of electronic music.
If you’ve kept an eye on AltWire as of late, you may have caught our special features last month where we asked both Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda to name their influences, and the music that made them what they are today. However, that wasn’t all we had in store for Linkin Park fans! Recently, during rehearsals for LP’s upcoming return to the stage at this year’s Rock In Rio USA concert in Las Vegas, we were able to catch Mike Shinoda for a very quick Q&A to talk about the band’s work on “Darker Than Blood,” their future 7th album, Hybrid Theory’s 15th anniversary, and even to discuss those persistent rumors of an upcoming Fort Minor resurgence.
Check it out below!
AW: If I understand correctly, work on Darker Than Blood began almost two years ago. Was the first demo of this track created during the writing and recording sessions for A Light That Never Comes, or did work begin on it after the fact?
Mike Shinoda [Linkin Park]: We started “A Light That Never Comes” and “Darker Than Blood” at the same time, but ALTNC came together faster. We actually finished “Darker Than Blood” during our Hunting Party sessions, where we were pretty much writing nothing but heavy rock the whole time, which might be why it finally came together. It was a change of pace at the time.
AW: Musically the two songs feel very different. Would you say the writing process for both songs was very similar, or was there some big differences when it came to creating each track?
Mike Shinoda [Linkin Park]: I wanted “A Light That Never Comes” to be more of a Linkin Park song, and “Darker Than Blood” to be more of an Aoki song. We did more of the heavy lifting on the former, Steve did more of the work on the music track of the latter.
AW: Your band is no stranger to electronic music, having integrated elements of the genre into your own music, as well as supporting the genre through two remix albums. However your collaborations with Steve were the first time your band has written a completely new song with an electronic recording artist. What attracted you to wanting to work with Steve instead of the other big names in the business?
Mike Shinoda [Linkin Park]: We get along. It’s as simple as that. I feel like Steve is a friend I’d hang out with all the time if we weren’t on opposite sides of the globe playing shows!
AW: In the period leading up to THP’s release you were very vocal about the current state of rock and roll and how the genre has lost a bit of its punch. Coincidentally in the last few years, some electronic artists like Kill The Noise have expressed similar sentiments about the current state of EDM and electronic music. How do you feel about modern electronic music? Do you agree?
Mike Shinoda [Linkin Park]: It all ebbs and flows. For me, it’s not about leading a movement to change things as much as it’s a personal statement on a record—making something that inspires you and illustrates the kind of music you want to make and listen to.
AW: Later this year will be Hybrid Theory’s 15th Anniversary. It’s crazy to believe it’s already been that long, but none the less it’s a big milestone for the band. Any plans of a special tour, re-issue or other event/product to commemorate the upcoming anniversary?
Mike Shinoda [Linkin Park]: We’re not planning anything musically—no remasters, remixes, or re-releases— but rather plan to celebrate the anniversary in simpler terms. More to come on that later.
AW: Linkin Park seemed to have done everything lately. We have these electronic-driven collaborations with Steve, we’ve had the raw, rock energy of The Hunting Party, we’ve had the cinematic vibe of the Mall soundtrack… Where does Linkin Park go next?
Mike Shinoda [Linkin Park]: Creatively, we go wherever the music takes us. I’m really happy with the reaction from The Hunting Party, and I think we’re ready to move somewhere new on the next album, which will be coming next year. As usual, we’re also finding other ways to use our creative energy—most notably with a venture capital fund, to invest in and support consumer-facing tech companies we believe in. Technology has always played an integral role in the way we make music, bring it to the stage, and connect with fans, not to mention the way we simply live everyday life. So getting into deeper relationships with the technology community, collaborating and supporting brilliant young minds who want to change the world, that’s something we’re very passionate about right now.
AW: Lastly, in regards to upcoming projects…recent activity on Fort Minor’s social media profiles have lead to many fans believing that some new material may be in the works and that FM may finally make a return after a 10 year gap from the last record. Is there anything you can say at the moment to confirm or deny this speculation?
Mike Shinoda [Linkin Park]: If I were to ever bring Fort Minor back, the first place I’d say anything about it would be on social media. I’m @m_shinoda on Instagram, @mikeshinoda on Twitter, by the way.