We Moved! WE MOVED

25 Questions Fixins Interview with Mike Shinoda of Fort Minor

Friday, February 11, 2005

 25 Questions Fixins Interview with Mike Shinoda of Fort Minor


1. How long have you had the FORT MINOR project in mind?
Before Linkin Park, I pretty much only made hip hop. At that time my equipment was very cheap, and I didn't really know much about production or engineering. I've learned so much about production, songwriting, and people in the last few years. I think Fort Minor started about two years ago when I began to wonder what it would sound like to bring it full-circle, to get back to my roots, but use all the tools I have learned since then.

2. What was the driving force and/or inspiration behind this venture?
Hip hop right now is mostly based on keyboard music. One of my goals of the Fort Minor album was to keep the big sound of a hip hop album, but make it using live instruments and hand-played keyboard parts. I played things by hand as much as possible.

3. Where did the name FORT MINOR come from?
Fort” represents the more aggressive side of the music. “Minor” can mean a few things: if you're talking about music theory, minor key is darker. I wanted to name the album rather than having my name on the cover, because I want people to focus on the music, not me.

4. Who are some of the artists featured on this album?

Jay-Z is the executive producer, but he didn't write anything. He helped me pick the songs and mold the direction of the album. Black Thought, Common, John Legend, Styles of Beyond, Holly Brook, Kenna, Jonah Matranga, Mr. Hahn, and Eric Bobo are some of the people on the actual album. I limited the guests to people I already knew. I think the only person I cold-called about the project was John Legend, simply because I really like his voice. I figure I could have probably gotten bigger names on the record, but I wanted to do the album with friends instead.

5. Who did the production work on this album?

I produced and mixed all the songs on the album.

6. If you could work with one person from the past, someone who is no longer alive, who would that be? Why?

John Bonham from Led Zeppelin. I would want to do a whole record over his drums. I would do a million records oer his drums if I could.

7. Based on the sampler that we peeped out, this has a grungy hip hop sound to it - kinda in between crossover rock hip hop and underground hip hop...how would you classify the sound that you are trying to achieve with this album?

I have been telling people that it's an “organic” hip hop album. Whether I was using live instruments or keyboards or sounds from a sample library, I tried to make it a little less keyboard-driven that most of the stuff out there. In fact, even though I have a lot of tambourine sounds on keyboards, when I needed a tambourine sound, I drove down to the store, bought a real one, drove back, put up a mic, and played it. It just sounded better on the songs.

8. So where does FORT MINOR plan on hitting first, if a tour is in the works?

I've been touring outside the states for a bit. I'm hoping to bring a tour to the U.S. in January

9. Where is your favorite city/state/country to perform, form the Linkin Park shows?
Tokyo. It's so unique, plus the fans there are amazing. They have their hands up for the entire show, plus they scream and sing along louder than most other places

10. Which do you enjoy more, rockin' the mic or running the boards & producing the beats?
I might enjoy the production side a little more, but I like both pretty equally. I think they're both important to a song. The Fort Minor album is probably more personal than most of the stuff I do in Linkin Park, just because it was appropriate to do it that way. I didn't have five other guys to represent, just myself

11. What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you while at a show or on the road on tour?
Some guy in Malaysia asked me to sign his baby. I was sitting at a shoe store, and this guy walks up and holds his one-year-old kid out, face-down, and hands me a marker. I felt like if I didn't sign the kid, he was going to be pissed, so I did it.

12.What city has the hottest girls?
I'm married, so let me make it clear that I'm not the expert—I'm not out there looking for groupies and whatever. But from what I can tell, it might be a toss-up between Italy and Brazil. I don't know what cities, though

13. What's in your cd player/changer right now?
Thrice “Vheissu,” Death Cab For Cutie “Plans,” one of the Led Zeppelin box set discs, Cam'Ron “Purple Haze,” The D.O.C. “No One Can Do It Better,” and a demo of some new Linkin Park songs. I'm not making that up, either. I have to pull my CD changer magazine out when I get out of my car, in case it gets stolen—I couldn't let the LP stuff leak

14. Some people collect stamps, some collect baseball cards...what do you love collecting?
I paint, and I collect records and vinyl toys. I don't have that many, it's not a big collection. But I was really excited recently when I got to be part of that Munny show Kid Robot did. They had a bunch of people from Uma Thurman to The Neptunes customize Munny figures. I did one. They held the show in L.A., New York, and San Francisco, then they sold them on eBay and the proceeds went to charity.

15. Favorite chewing gum?


16. What brand of shoes are on your feet right now?
Nike Delta Forces--the ones with the purple and gold on the back, and faux black and white snakeskin on the front.

17. Favorite candy bar ?
Whatchamacallit or Twix.

18. Pepperoni or sausage?
Everything but anchovies and onions.

19. Automatic or manual transmission?
Whatever gets me there.

20. Which pant-leg do you put on first, right or left?
Shit, I don't know! I guess left.

21. How many times do you knock on the door...2, 3, 5, etc..?
Three or four

22. Which side of your mouth do you chew?

23. Nintendo or Sega? X-Box or PS2?
Nintendo and X-Box. I guess I should admit my video-game-nerdiness right now. I had a club in Jr. High called “Nintendol.” Everyone in the club had to put an “L” on their Nintendo after the name. There were only a couple of us in it, and we finished upwards of 150 games as a crew. I had the record. I finished a game called “Dino Wars” one hour and fifteen minutes after the very first time I played it

24. Who would you do...Smurfette or Judy Jetson?
Judy Jetson. At least she's cartoon-human.

25. Give us your favorite pick-up line of all time?
You know those guys who can get away with saying something crazy to people and they laugh instead of punching them? My friend actually walked up to a girl he had never met before and said, “Nice shoes, wanna fuck?” Sadly, as I recall, she spit her drink on him.