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Interview with Mike Shinoda

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After their amazing concert at Bercy last September, Linkin Park followed up their world tour with the same enthusiasm, everywhere they go.

One: ow has your success changed your lives?
Mike Shinoda: Even if it doesn’t really looked like we have changed our way of life, we realise that our bank accounts are a lot more full than before…Even if we aren’t super rich, we don’t have to worry about money. We can live off our music and not be troubled, be worried about other things. We don’t have to work during the day and spend the nights in the studio to create our music. It is much more comfortable, and that’s mainly what success has done for us.

One: If Linkin Park wasn’t successful, what would you be doing today?
Mike Shinoda: I would probably be a painter…That could be a little pretentious as a job, but I always liked drawing and imagery. When I was young my parents were always really concerned about me. They were always saying things like “How will Mike succeed in life? There are only two things he is interested in, painting and music. He can’t do well in life with those types of jobs.” I guess I didn’t turn out so bad. Today when I go home between concerts, one thing I really like to do is paint. It’s good that I get to exercise my two passions.

One: You write most of the lyrics for your songs mostly with Chester. What is the distribution of work like?
Mike Shinoda: We always write together. When we decide to write a piece about a particular theme, we talk about it just the two of us, and we discuss our personal experience about the subject. We discuss it together, we throw around ideas, and after a few days we start to edit. Then we think about what would be interesting ideas to hear about. For a piece like Somewhere I Belong which talks about our views of society, it was really interesting to talk about our ideas since they were really different. We had to come to agreements on what was going to end up in the song, but I think it worked out.

One: So what is the message in Somewhere I Belong?
Mike Shinoda: Contrary to what some fans think, this song is really optimistic. It talks about what humanity has become through the years, and to understand what kind of a world we live in, and realise it’s not so bad. We want to develop the idea that you can't dwell on too much in the past, and to appreciate life day by day.

One: Do you ever think about what it would be like to take Chester’s place as lead singer?
Mike Shinoda: We talk about it sometimes, just joking around, but there is no competition between us. Everyone respects everyone else’s work. I wouldn’t be able to sing as long or as hard as Chester. He’s a screaming machine, and I don’t think my vocal chords would be able to hold out for the whole concert.

One: Your concert in Paris was a huge success. What did you think of all the crazy fans?
Mike Shinoda: I am always impressed when people do crazy stuff. Even if it’s part of the job, I still don’t like seeing 15 and 16 year old girls get beat around in the mosh pits. Usually they are ok though. We are here to please the fans, not for them to get hurt.

One: Everywhere you go you have body guards. Do you think the fans can get really dangerous?
Mike Shinoda: The body guards are usually there during touring. Usually when we are leaving a venue to get to the tour bus there are tons of fans around, and they make it impossible to get anywhere. In those cases, the security guys come in helpful. With that being said, it happens often that we can make it out on our own without the help of the body guards. And to this day, we have never had a bad experience like that. When someone stops us and asks us for an autograph, usually we give it to them. We are really open with our fans, and I think they know that. In return they don’t jump on us and they are always respectful. And since we have never hidden the fact that we have girlfriends, the ladies are a little less savage! (laughs)

"One" Magazine (France) - December/January 2004



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