Following the release of the highly acclaimed Post Traumatic, Mike Shinoda swiftly returns with the more light-hearted release, Dropped Frames, Vol 1 – an album created over the course of lockdown with the fans, for the fans.
Heavily inspired by fan suggestions throughout an ongoing series of Twitch streams, Dropped Frames, Vol 1 sees the veteran musician completely at ease with experimentation, with each and every track playfully toying with genre influences in such a manner that both entertains, yet still delivers an excellent listening experience.
Taking a break from a seemingly endless source of inspiration, Mike was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions about the release, among a few other things!
AltWire [Mark Stoneman]: Hi, Mike! First off, congratulations on the release of your newest album ‘Dropped Frames, Vol 1’! I suppose we do not need to ask how you have been coping with being shut indoors all day. What was the inspiration behind beginning to stream the creative process with your music, and at what point would you say the idea of actually releasing a ‘Twitch album’ first occurred to you?
Mike Shinoda: I don’t know if I even consider Dropped Frames an “album” series. The live stream this music comes from is really the nucleus. I make new things every weekday from 10am to 1pm PST; at that pace, I could make an album every three weeks. So, releasing the music is an inevitable by-product.
AW: Before touching on the more experimental side of things, ‘Open Door’ immediately stands out as an extremely optimistic anthem about overcoming adversity and achieving your goals. Would you say that the track is something of an encouraging love letter to aspiring fans?
MS: Sure, that’s definitely one of the reads. Like most of us, I wrote it from the perspective of waiting for something to happen, for something to reveal itself and say, “this is the path that you should take next.”
AW: Welcoming fans aboard to contribute to ‘Open Door’ was a wonderfully rare opportunity for newer musicians; with any future ‘Dropped Frames’ volumes that might be on the horizon, do you plan on holding more competitions for fan involvement?
MS: Sure, if the moment seems right.
AW: A few of your recent releases aside from ‘Dropped Frames’ have been collaborations. Are there any upcoming collabs you’re excited for, or would like to plug?
MS: Not at this moment!
AW: ‘Super Galaxtica’ sounds like something scooped up from a classic arcade title. From having previously worked on film soundtracks and 8-Bit Rebellion and LP Recharge, have there been a few potential video game soundtrack ideas/offers in the past that intrigued you? Are there any series you wish you could do the score for?
MS: I haven’t been offered anything interesting, but I’m open to the idea. I play Overwatch, Fortnite, and a little bit of Minecraft; I’m also a big fan of Zelda, Halo, Metroid, and Mario. Most of those haven’t historically gone to mainstream musicians for music or done collaborations. But anything is possible.
AW: Branching off that previous question, it is no secret that you are a little bit of a gamer. We’ve seen a few sessions of Animal Crossing on your stream as of late. What are some of your all-time favorite video games, and else are you playing at the moment?
MS: My top games would probably be Metroid, Zelda Breath Of The Wild, Mario 3, Mega Man (for the art, not the game itself), and Halo. Honorable mention to the Medal Of Honor and Call Of Duty franchises.
AW: With so much of the album rooted in experimentation and pushing you out of your comfort zones, have you discovered any new favorite instruments/synthesisers that you could potentially see fitting in with future material?
MS: I’m getting my Teenage Engineering OP-Z fixed, so I’m excited about getting that back. And while I don’t use my MPC60 on the stream, because it’s too slow, I love that machine.
AW: Whilst reviewing previous career material during a stream, when selecting your preferred tracks the term ‘no-brainer’ comes up a lot – are there a couple of ‘no-brainer’ favorites from ‘Dropped Frames, Vol. 1’ that immediately come to mind, and if so, why?
MS: Super Galaxtica, Duckbot, Osiris, and El Rey Demonio are probably my favorites. Lots of little sonic gems and happy accidents in there.
AW: It’s clear from the very first glance that ‘Dropped Frames, Vol. 1’ was a fun creative process -- are there any moments on the album that you perhaps were a little less thrilled about?
MS: I was really happy with all these tracks, actually. I think you can tell from the names of the tracks. I wasn’t sure if some of the tracks would work when I sat down to make them—some of the fan requests were so random! But I think these all came out pretty good.
AW: Have you been tempted at all to include a few ‘Dropped Frames, Vol. 1’ tracks to future live setlists? (‘Duckbot’ seems perfect for a bass-heavy/electronic loving crowd, but ‘Booty Down’… we’re looking at you.)
MS: Maybe I’ll just play Booty Down 10-30 times, and go home?