EQ.com Interview Extra
Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda
By Richard Thomas
The December issue of EQ profiles Linkin Park's A Thousand Suns. Here, singer Mike Shinoda elaborates on the writing and mixing process in these interview outtakes. (Read the main article HERE.)
On choosing an engineer and mixing A Thousand Suns...
We did a mixer shootout with seven guys. We sent two songs to all of them, then had an engineer mix up the results so we had to base our decision strictly on what sounded good. We ended up picking Neal Avron, who works at Paramount/Ameraycan. Brad and I sat in with him while Rick listened via DigiDelivery and sent notes via email. Each song took about 2-3 days to mix. Neal is really good at recalling mixes, so we went through all the songs once, then recalled everything to make changes. Neal said he likes working with Brad and I because we’re very specific about our mix notes. We know how to communicate exactly what we want, and we usually know what moves are going to get the right sound. We also know when to step back and let Neal work his magic!
On Linkin Park’s writing process...
We’re pretty non-traditional when writing a song. We don’t generally ever sit down as a band and write anything. It’s always two maybe three guys working, and any little idea that we throw down will probably get tweaked over and over and over again for a period of up to a year. The setup for us is that we sit down once a week on Mondays and review the changes in the songs and make a list of notes about what’s getting better and what’s not and what’s next to do. Then during the rest of that week, I’ll attack what needs to be attacked and usually I’ll see some work by Brad and Chester. Brad tends to be more of a structure and editing guy. Song structure is really one of the things he brings to the table that’s really powerful, and Chester and I write all of the vocals together. Usually me, Brad and Chester doing that writing. Sometimes we’ll go to Joe’s studio to work. On this record, Phoenix was more involved by giving us the input on Mondays. He’d come in and play bass once and a while, but in our band, just because somebody plays something on stage, that’s not necessarily who’s writing it. This record was a little more electronic based, so Rob was giving input and telling us how he thought about how one thing should transition to the other. But for the most part, I was writing something and presenting it to him and he’d give his feedback on it. Once the Monday meeting was over, we might throw a track in loop record and just go nuts for hours, and the only way to get that stuff organized and find the gems inside of that jam would be to separate it out into different playlists and play those for the band next Monday.