“I definitely paused at many different points and reflected on whether or not I was going to have the stamina to do this"
Let’s face it, Linkin Park are one of the biggest rock bands on the planet. They have a structure in place that most artists in the world would envy, whether that’s videographers, live musicians or social media teams. Mike Shinoda could easily have sat back, stayed relatively private and been the big picture guy for this project - and only that. But for the EP and the 16 songs that form the ‘Post Traumatic’ album, out in June, he chose to do as much as he could by himself.
“The ideas and the topics on this album are so personal, starting in a dark place and starting with grief,” he starts.
Whether filming the videos for ‘Place To Start’, ‘Over Again’ and ‘Watching As I Fall’ by himself (“On the crappy side” of his phone, he chuckles) or hand-painting the artwork, he found himself creating things that were sensitive and scary, and far too intimate to entrust anybody else with.
“It just felt like it was the most natural thing to do, to just try to create stuff myself,” he says. “Originally I’d made maybe the first two videos for ‘A Place To Start’ and ‘Over Again’ as examples of something that I could reshoot, and I was going to show them to the label and management and say, ‘What if we do something like this?’. My inclination at that point was to give it to somebody else and have them make a higher production value version of what I was doing, but then once we all started watching it, it became obvious that was unnecessary, and that the more raw and direct depiction of what was going on was better.”
It’d certainly have been easy for him to hide, and put a distance between himself and his fans who shared his grief. When he’s out meeting fans, when he’s doing interviews, Mike is reliving everything surrounding Chester’s passing all over again. That’s why he found himself having to ask not only if he wanted to do this, but if he could do this.
“I definitely paused at many different points and reflected on whether or not I was going to have the stamina to do this,” he admits. “I wouldn’t have wanted to get a week or a month or a year in and basically decide that it was too much.”
So time and again, he finds himself reliving one of the heaviest periods of his life. It’s exhausting, but rewarding at the same time. “There are days where it’s more work and there are days when it feels fine,” he says.
“And I think I’m driven by what I feel like it can do for somebody, the idea that there are a lot of folks out there, from Linkin Park fans to people that don’t really follow the band, that have gone through or are going through difficult stuff.”
“I know what my story is, a lot of them know what my story is, and to be able to walk through this together is hopefully a positive thing.”
This is only a taster- you can read the full Mike Shinoda feature in our Scarlxrd issue. Available now from SHOP.ROCKSOUND.TV
Mike Shinoda's 'Post Traumatic' is available now. You can listen to it in full, below: