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Artistdirect.com Transformers June, 2009

Friday, February 11, 2005

Thu, 11 Jun 2009 08:36:32

Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda discusses being a Decepticon, writing music for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, his new DC shoe and much more...

There's more than meets the ear to Linkin Park's enigmatic sound.

"New Divide," their contribution to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is an epic orchestration of soaring guitars, entrancing electronics and an undeniable hook. Just like a transformer, it beckons a closer look.

"New Divide" is also just as explosive as a Michael Bay action sequence, and Linkin Park have gotten more cinematic while maintaining their edge. Working on the film's score too, the multi-platinum sextet continues to dazzle, however, it's all in a day's work.

Vocalist Mike Shinoda spoke to ARTISTdirect.com about Transformers, his new DC shoe, video games, Linkin Park's next evolution and much more in this exclusive interview.

What was the inspiration behind your new shoe from DC? Was there anything in particular you wanted to do with it that hadn't been done before?

One of the main driving factors for me was to make money for charity. I'm donating my income from the shoe to Music For Relief and my scholarship at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. DC has generously agreed to match the donation. So when you buy a pair, you get cool shoes and the good feeling of taking part in a lil' philanthropy.

"New Divide" feels like another big evolution for Linkin Park, but at the same time it preserves everything that makes you so unique. Would you say it's indicative of the band's direction on the next album?

I don't think so. It's got it's own thing going on—kind of like a little sonic island in between albums.

How do you feel like the song fits in with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen? Did you come from a different place creatively to get into that mindset?

We actually wrote the song for the soundtrack. Michael showed us a bunch of unfinished scenes from the film, and we tried to write something that fit the spirit of the movie, while staying true to the spirit of the band.

How did you immerse yourself in the Transformers mythos? It must've been a real honor to enter that world in the creative fashion that you do.

It wasn't that difficult; I'm actually a Decepticon [Laughs].

Was the song reflective of anything in particular in the new film?

Looking back at it, one thing that seems to fit really well is the dynamic between the more techy sounds and the more organic sounds. The loose live drums versus the crazy sample thing in the bridge, for example. That's pretty much what happens in the movie: the organic vs. the digital. It wasn't an intentional thing to do; that's just how the song came out.

Do you draw inspiration from any film composers or soundtracks in particular?

Sure. Recently, we were talking about how some of the great, classic themes—like the ones John Williams used to do—would always stand out in a film, and be played in various ways in different parts...and he was so good at it.

Is the soundtrack a lost art? Movies like The Crow and Last Action Hero had such iconic rock soundtracks. You guys could bring that vibe back with this!

That's pretty ambitious. For now, we're just trying to write some good songs.

Tell me about the music video for "New Divide." What was the inspiration or creative impetus behind the concept?

You'll have to ask Joe Hahn. He never tells us.

Have you played the latest Transformers video game yet?

No, but apparently I'm set up to do a contest by Xbox where I play it against some contest winners in a week or two. Based on the fact that I've been focused in my studio for about 5 months and haven't touched a video game in even longer, I expect to lose pretty badly.

Do you feel like video game adaptations allow fans complete immersion into these fictional worlds or do they dispel some of the magic?

I like video games in general—I think we might be a generation that ends up playing video games until we're well into adulthood. In fact, on a semi-related note, we're planning to put out a Linkin Park game for the iPhone sometime in the next year. We don't have a lot of info on that yet—it's still in the concept phase—but Artificial Life is the company designing it, and so far it looks really cool. More info on that will be on mikeshinoda.com and linkinpark.com later.

Are you in a particularly creative space right now after being surrounded by so much great art and inspiration?

I just try to keep the creative juices flowing. I have an art show coming up in August in Los Angeles, we're just finishing up our work on the Transformers score, and we have an album in the pipeline, so I'm busy. It's good to have a bunch of things going at once, to bounce from one creative thing to the next.

—Rick Florino