Mike Shinoda is figuring things out as he goes. He's taking tragedy and turning it into artistic expression. Where he goes from here is still unknown but for now he finds comfort in the thing he know best - music.
The co-founding member of Linkin Park just released "Crossing A Line," the first track from his upcoming solo project Post Traumatic, due out June 15th. The 16-track album came about in the days following the death of the band's lead singer Chester Bennington.
Shinoda sat down with Harms for a revealing one-on-one where he got candid about dealing with the loss of a close friend, the future of Linkin Park, their intense relationship with their fans and the solo journey he's embarking on.
Coping with the Loss of Chester Bennington
"We were brothers. We were always together. The only person I spent more time with than Chester was probably my wife. You now, the adjustment and the place where you start when something like that happens - it's crazy and it's so confusing. I think one of the first things that I turn to whenever I'm in a situation that's really stressful or difficult is my art... I think about eight days after Chester passed I knew that if I didn't get into he studio and start writing something soon that my fear of doing it would just build and build and build so I had to force myself to just go in and write something."
(Photo: Joel Marasigan)
Embarking on a Solo Project
"In the beginning I was just writing anything just to be able to write. Some of it was intentionally bad. Some it was actually intentionally kind of funny. But just to do it and to know that I didn't have to be scared to get in the room. And those songs eventually turned into serious songs which in the beginning a lot of them were very dark and kind of like revealing in a way. And as my life has gone on from there the songs have to."
Relationship With Linkin Park Fans
"It's been insane. I kind of couldn't believe the volume and the intensity of the reaction from the fans everywhere in the weeks after Chester passed. There were seemingly like thousands of tributes and memorials and people showing up in places with signs and flowers and singing songs. The fans held concerts where they just did tribute performances of our stuff."
"Every artist says they have a special relationship with their fans and I know having done this for as long asI have that our relationship is special and it is unique and it's different and that also it's not a one-way street. That those fans have literally held me up and kind of held me together in some way in the past eight months."
The Future of Linkin Park
"The answer is I don't know. We don't know. I feel like right now, everybody processes this stuff differently and this for me is a necessary part of processing it all. I needed to have a singular path where I kind of didn't have to check in with everybody else about what I wanted to do. For better or worse all of the answers have to come from me on this. And I really needed that responsibility and control of it."
Unreleased Linkin Park Tracks
"All of our fans know that whenever we write a record that there's demos that we cut that we don't use. At some point, yeah. We've already had the conversations with the guys and with Talinda about that. I don't think that the timing is good. I don't think that we're ready for any of that. But maybe some day."