Michael Kenji "Mike" Shinoda is an American musician, record producer, and artist. He co-founded Linkin Park in 1996 and is the band's rhythm guitarist, songwriter, keyboardist, and co-vocalist. Shinoda later created a hip hop-driven side project, Fort Minor, in 2003. He served as a producer for tracks and albums by Lupe Fiasco, Styles of Beyond, and The X-Ecutioners. Shinoda is also the co-founder of Machine Shop Recordings, a California-based record label. Outside of music, Shinoda is an artist and graphic designer. He has painted several pieces of artwork, some of which have been featured in the Japanese American National Museum.
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My short bio:
Hey guys, Mike Shinoda here, from Linkin Park. I like long walks on the beach, short walks off long cliffs, and medium-length intros about what I’m about to be doing.
A little bit about me:
I can’t touch my shoulders with my hands unless I cross them (right hand can’t touch right shoulder, left can’t touch left).
The only bone I’ve broken is my pinky toe, which I happened when I slammed it into a wall while turning a corner too closely because I was running to the bathroom.
I started an NES gamer club in junior high called “NINTENDOL, where the only rule was that you be able to finish any NES game you played in 7 days or less from the time you opened the package. We all drew the letter “L” on our consoles in red.
I drew and painted obsessively growing up, and invented my own casts of characters for Mega Man, Metroid, Super Mario, and a handful of Dungeons and Dragons characters (shout out to Jeff Easley).
I can’t do a safety float on my back in the water; my legs sink and I go under far enough that my nose is submerged.
I once made a demo tape of joke gangsta rap songs called “Pooch Pound” that included a song called “North Coast Killa” where we executed all our Canadian gangsta rivals.
Lastly, I have a side-project called Fort Minor, and I recently released a song and 360 video called “WELCOME”.
I’ll be answering your questions for the next 60 minutes, so ask me anything about music, tech, drawing, painting, snowboarding, basketball, Music For Relief, or whatever else comes to mind. Excited to talk to you guys!
My Proof: https://instagram.com/p/6SmCbODmTp/
Hey guys, thanks so much for all the great questions. We leave for Europe this week, see you guys at the shows. And thank you for supporting Linkin Park and Fort Minor. And thanks for the support on WELCOME: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REAwGmv0Fuk (make sure to watch on your phone in the YouTube app for the 360 experience)
What does it start with?
What inspired you to bring back Fort Minor? I'm a huge fan Mike!!!
Edit: Oh and the new song, Welcome is fucking great!!
NO, YOU'RE FUCKING GREAT
Hey Mike, thanks for doing this AMA! Here are my questions:
Sorry for the personal nature of the questions — I’ve been trying to get in touch with you for 15 years and failing, so this seemed like the best way! Feel free to PM a response. :)
HEY! Hope you're well! Yes, I remember that. That was back when I was volunteering to do all the art for things, because wasn't everyone's "art bitch" yet (for those who need more backstory, I eventually became the go-to art person for everything in high school, so I was basically constantly inundated with art tasks like football game posters, talent show programs, and yearbook crap. Some of it was fu to do, some, not so much).
did you know that your name is fun to say to the tune of My Sharona?
Hi Mike! I love your work both in Linkin Park and Fort Minor! Here's my question: do you have that one small hobby that you cherish most but don't tend to speak about?
Hey Mike, huge fan of all your work.
I've been a fan of LP since the beginning, and I never remember hearing about or reading about any kind of animosity or even a simple argument between the 6 of you. How is that possible when you've spent just about every day with the same group of guys for almost 20 years now?
Fuck those guys.
Where'd you go?
I miss you so
Seems like its been forever
That you've been gone
I'LL TELL YOU WHERE I AM:
IN THE BERENSTAIN BEARS PARALLEL UNIVERSE.
If Reddit got together to write you a rap, would you rap it?
That's a great idea. Let's do it right now.
Hi Mike, I recently started to listen to Linkin Park and I love it, but I have a small question.
Why did Linkin Park capitalize all the song titles in LIVING THINGS?
How did the mash up with Jay-Z come about? Also I loved seeing your moonshine posts on Instagram when you were in West Virginia (my home state)
Jay Z and MTV came to us asking "if we'd jam together."
LUPE FIASCO REFERENCE AND YOU'RE OFFICIALLY MY NEW BEDT FRIEND
Agreed, well done
How did Fort Minor first meet/get back together? Also, will you be going to see Straight Outta Compton this Friday?
1- I just started making songs. Styles Of Beyond were friends from back in high school days
Hey, Mike. Big fan. Since the release of Linkin Park's The Hunting Party, I've been wondering, was it intentional that the riffs to Victimized and A Line In The Sand sound similar? If so, why did you do it?
Not intentional...but Victimized was a bit of a precursor to THP album in a way, so it makes sense. Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees...
What's your favourite Nintendo game?
1.) Mega Man 2
3.) Super Mario 2
4.) Legend Of Zelda
5.) Mega Man 3
Which is your favorite brand of beer?
Sapporo, Modelo, Kroenenburg (misspelled, I'm sure)
Oh, I see, you're a Universe A guy...
THERE IS ONLY ONE UNIVERSE, AND IN IT, THAT BOOK IS SPELLED WITH AN "E", NOT AN "A".
First of all I have to get it out the way and say I’m a HUGE fan of both Linkin Park and Fort Minor. I’ve been a fan since I was 10 years old when I first listened to Hybrid Theory. It’s my 24th birthday today, could I get a birthday shoutout from one of my favorite musicians?!
“Welcome” is a great song and seeing Fort Minor back has easily been the best surprise for me this year. Can you explain the motivation to release a new FM track and could we possibly see more coming in the near future (not necessarily a full album, perhaps a 3-5 track EP)?
It’s no secret that Linkin Park is always willing to try new things when making music. Do you have a general idea as to which direction the band will head to and what you guys will try out when recording your next album?
I’ve recently gotten a lot into EDM and your collaboration with Steve Aoki played a huge role in that (he dropped A Light That Never Comes during VELD Music Festival and I can’t describe in words how awesome it was). How did this collaboration come about and are you open to collaborating with other EDM artists?
Would you fight 1 horse-sized Brad Delson or 100 duck-sized Brad Delsons?
Thanks for the FM love. When I write a song, I usually don't think about what it's "for," I just write something. And so, when I wrote WELCOME, and listened to it back thinking "this sounds like a Fort Minor song", it was kinda shocking. I hadn't put out a FM song in like 10 years, so I had to take a moment to decide if it was something I actually wanted to do!
To answer the Steve Aoki question: we essentially met on Twitter. The world is a weird place.
4- Best question so far. Isn't Brad already almost duck-sized?
Since Chester broke his ankle, do you guys have any plans to return to Canada for the shows that were cancelled? Specifically Edmonton?
Loved seeing you guys at Sonic Boom a few years ago, but I was working so I didn't get to stay for the whole show (only the songs media was allowed to record).
Thanks for all the great music!
I love Canada and can't wait to come back
Hi Mike! Another huge fan here! Do you have a plan if the zombie apocalypse happens? If so, what is it?
Why isn't everyone mad that the people from The Walking Dead never just find an island? Is that already a thing? The zombie's can't even get over a fence, they definitely can't swim well. So get a fucking boat and get out on an island already.
What about Asahi tho?
Hey Mike, what music, new or old, have you been jamming to recently?
I have public playlists on Spotify and Apple, follow me there! I'm always putting new music in.
Hi Mike, you are amazing. My question is: How do you feel about the next generation of rock/metall?
Who do you think is great?
Mike what you recommend to get the success in the music industry???? (i love all songs of LP and tell chester that his screams make my wife cum)
Awesome, I recommend staying true to your artistic vision and always focusing on how you can improve.
How's marriage counseling going?
Hi Mike, I'm a huge fan of Linkin Park, I have over 100 songs on my iPod...
My questions are: would you ever go back to having red hair?
Does it annoy you that some people think you're in "Wake me up inside" when it's 12 Stones?
Who is your favourite Pokemon?
1- not likely, I'm a grown ass man
2- I'm glad that's not actually something people think
3- Charizard EX is arguably the most powerful Pokemon.
Hey Mike, do you and Chester do any special preparations when you perform at high altitude locations like Colorado or are you two used to it?
Also, what are your favorite pizza toppings?
Funny, my favorite pizza toppings are ham and pineapple, unless I'm in Colorado, in which case my favorite pizza topping is more oxygen.
You realise the irony in this sentence right? Right??
Cmon, give me more credit than that.
Hi Mike Shinoda,
I'm not too familiar, but how come is it that I remember your name?
It's just math, really.
Hi Mike! I’ve been a huge fan since Hybrid Theory and I was an original member of the Linkin Park Underground. I also love the work you did with Fort Minor.
Here’s my question: As a long time fan, I often get asked if I prefer “old Linkin Park” or “new Linkin Park”. I always respond by saying that nobody is the same person that they were ten years ago, and I love ALL Linkin Park. You yourself have acknowledged that you are not the same person who told us “to forfeit the game”. How do you feel about the change in your music style, and what do you have to say to people who don’t appreciate your evolution?
Thank you so much for doing this!
Our career isn't linear. Some people think of albums as an "evolution" which can be true. But for us, each album is its own microcosm, it's own experiment. And we're just trying to make the best songs we can at that moment, in whatever style is most exciting to us at the time.
Hola Mike, greetins from Ecuador. My question is: Hablas Español?
What do you think of lpfiction?
Thank you so much for doing this IAmA. I have these questions for you:
1) Why was the song A.06 (A-Six) excluded from Meteora album, and why was only the instrumental released? Can we expect A-Six with full lyrics to be included on some of the next LPUs?
2) Why were songs Part of Me and Carousel (from Hybrid Theory EP) never played live?
A.06 was a demo we tried to flesh out, but never really liked the longer version.
We played those songs a ton when the band name was "Hybrid Theory," and once we had a whole album to play, those kinda just went away.
hi Mike, thanks for doing this AMA, Big fan :p
MY Question: LP is kind of known for its large spectrum in music-style. Is there a change LP will make an album that is heavier than HT or meteora?
See you at Pukkelpop
What's the darkest most insane early 2000's record label scum bag story you have? Honest question. I love hearing shit like this.
I don't have a lot. I once knew a label guy who bought his wife fake boobs as a pre-wedding present so she'd have them for the wedding. Needless to say, that didn't last.
I've never been this early to an AMA before! Long time fan of both LP and Fort Minor so thank you first!
What's your go-to sandwich?
Tuna or beef dip. Unless I'm making it, then I usually do a ham on bagel. This is weird; I just realized how nonsensical that sandwich decision making is. Like, I should just make tuna or beef dip. But I don't. Someone fix me.
Hi Mike! Long time listener of LP. Here's my question:
I have no idea what that means. I guess it's true, especially when compared to the first album. On our first album, we were struggling just to get a new guitar and a bass amp.
What inspires you the most when painting/drawing? And where do you get all the great ideas?
Also, if you could, for one day, be someone else who would you be, why? :)
Keep up the good work :)
I'll let you guys choose. Who should I be?
You have done a lot with your creative life, from music to art and I am sure you have learnt a lot along the way. What advice have you learned from your experiences that you could share with us all? You know stuff like how do you manage your time, all your ideas and demands and everything you want to do to ensure you actually get shit done and make it a reality?
p.s I have your signed skate decks from Glorious Excess on my wall and a signed hunting party vinyl from an LPU meet + greet on my walls, my most prized possessions! Thank you! :)
Read Tim Ferriss' Four Hour Workweek. And his blog.
I don't really watch TV, I don't follow any shows, I don't read pop garbage magazines and don't care about reality TV. I've met a few of the Kardashian clan, and I didn't have anything to talk to them about because I don't know anything about them, and everyone else in the world does. They (Brody and Kim) were nice, BTW
What is your favorite dinosaur?
Mike! I've seen Linkin Park live on stage several times. You guys are great. Keep being daring with your music and you'll always have a fan in me.
1) Who were your mentors, how did you find them, and what big lessons did you take away from them?
2) What advice do you have for people trying to find success in artistic fields like music or video production?
3) Are you still doing work in Haiti? Are there opportunities for us to help you in your side projects like that?
4) When LP was just getting big with Hybrid Theory and you used things like Instant Messenger to connect with your fans, did you ever use a screen name of SunggleFuzz something or was somebody just pretending to be you and trying to kill me?
1- Rick Rubin is a genius.
2 - Do what you love
3 - My involvement in the recycling project had to come to an end, but I'm really pleased that the effort is still ongoing and there are a ton of people able to support their families because of the work of SRS
4 - vaguely, but I'm not sure. Thank you for dropping by (then and now)!
Hey Mike! Great to have you doing this AMA.
I have a couple of questions:
If I recall correctly, you mentioned in an earlier interview that you guys (Linkin Park) don’t really jam when coming up with new music. How, then, do you start conceptualizing a new album, especially considering that every record (aside from Meteora, arguably) has been a significant evolution from the previous one?
A Thousand Suns was a drastic step away from Hybrid Theory, Meteora, and Minutes to Midnight, and was therefore received with both praise and criticism. Similarly, Living Things and The Hunting Party both had their individual themes, causing many listeners to separate the “old” LP from the “new”. After reading all the reviews and fan opinions, how do you guys react to it? Do you change the way you approach the next album? How do you manage a possibly divided fan base and attempt to unify it again?
Again, thanks a ton for this AMA. I’ve been a fan ever since I can remember, and love you guys because I can never predict how your music will change. I also hope you manage to make it to India some day!
1 - I'm constantly writing--on my phone, laptop, in my studio. From hundreds of demos, a handful of songs stand out, and we flesh those out. They can start from anything--Lost In The Echo began with an iphone recording of a children's cat keyboard toy, which I put in iMaschine (an iPhone sampler app), then took to the studio. I might even sing something today, into my phone in the car, that becomes something.
2 - Can't please 'em all! It's not our job to unify the fans. It's our job to make the best music we can, improve our craft, stay inspired.
Any plans of making another art show like Glorious Excess in the near future?
Not to fear, good friend, I shall paint again. Some day.