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G4TV Interview with Mike

Friday, February 11, 2005

G4TV Interview with Mike
January 2006

If you are an angst-ridden teen looking for a fix of rap-metal with plenty o’ pop hooks, then you must be familiar with Linkin Park, right? If not, you musta been living under a rock for the last few years. Or maybe you’re a mole-person? Whatever the case may be, Linkin Park is one of the biggest bands on the planet and the kids love ‘em.

They struck it huge in 2000 with their debut album Hybrid Theory and the smash single “One Step Closer.” The follow-up, 2003’s Meteora, was also a homerun hit. Between those efforts, they released a remix album that features a slew of top name and underground MCs, and recently even kicked out the excellent mash-up collabo with Jay-Z, Collision Course, which made hip hop heads…um…turn their heads. That album musta had a lasting effect on singer Mike Shinoda because while LP is on break between albums, he went and popped off a hip hop solo album under the name Fort Minor. The Rising Tied hit stores November 22 and has been getting great reviews from both the rap and rock press. The sound is exactly what you’d think the singer of Linkin Park doing a rap album overseen by Jay-Z would sound like: big monster beats, some crisp guitars, and lyrics about pain, love, hate, redemption and cigarettes.

Mike was kind enough to chat with G4 about his new album, his love of videogames and hip hop and why killing on horseback is really the way to go. So let’s rock, shall we?

Hey there, Mike. G4 here. So, New Year’s Eve just passed, which got me wondering what your favorite videogame of 2005 was?
Halo 2. I have a good team I play with online, which makes it a lot of fun. I play with a couple of the other guys from Linkin Park, and sometimes with Story of the Year or Styles of Beyond.

What game are you most looking forward to in 2006 and why?
Ecko's Getting Up. The trailers look amazing, plus they put a Fort Minor song in the game.

What is your New Year's resolution for 2006?
I'm in the process of balancing touring with Fort Minor and writing a new Linkin Park album, which will be out this year. It's tough balancing both, but they're a lot of fun, so I tend to get carried away. I guess my New Year's resolution is to take time to chill out.

Sweet. Hey, back in the day, what game did you rule at?
Well, I used to be really into Nintendo. My friends and I had a club where we rented games until we finished them. We finished pretty much every game in under a week. I had the record for fastest. It was a game called Dinowars, and I finished it-after the first time ever playing it--in about one hour and fifteen minutes. Other than that, I was good at the basics, Super Mario Bros., Punch Out, all that stuff.

There’s so many videogames being turned into movies. Has there ever been a good movie adaptation of a video game?
I didn't mind Resident Evil, but it might have been the casting...

Understood. Milla Jovovich is quite hot. On another topic, your new Fort Minor solo hip hop album was executive produced by Jay-Z. That’s awesome. What did he contribute to it specifically?

I produced and mixed the album, so people always ask what Jay did, if he wrote any lyrics or music, and the answer is no. Those things were my responsibility. But he did something that was very important: he helped me pick through my songs and decide which ones made the cut, and which ones needed work. When you're working on a song, you listen to it a million times, and it's nice to get someone with a fresh, expert ear to give you an opinion.

Was your work with Hova on this inspired by your mash-up work with him?
About that time, I started wondering what it would be like to get back to my roots. Before Linkin Park, I pretty much only made hip hop. At that time, about eight years ago, 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 when I began to wonder what it would sound like to bring it full-circle, to get back to my roots, but to use all the tools I have learned since then.

What does the name Fort Minor mean?
"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. Fort Minor is so different from what people expect from me, so I always tell people to just go to www.fortminor.com and get a taste--so far the response has been great.

That’s cool…but why didn't you come up with a cool, hard rap name like Mike the Knife or MC Killa-Hoe?
Actually, I used to make tons of joke songs when I was younger. I went through a phase with a friend of mine where we just did joke gangsta songs. The names of the characters were things like "MC Slap-a-Hoe" and "Glock-In-Yo-Mouf". There was also a female singer, whose name was "Hoe", and every time she was supposed to sing, we said, "Hoe, sing". 'Cause that was her name.

Hell yeah! What were your favorite albums as a kid, the ones that had the most direct influence on your current sound?
Five hip hop artists who influenced the Fort Minor sound would probably be Boogie Down Productions, N.W.A., Public Enemy, Run DMC, and Rakim. But the thing that separates the style of those albums from the Fort Minor album is the organic quality of it. One of my goals was to write and play every note on the album. With some exceptions, that's what I did.

What is the greatest technological invention of the last three years in your world and why?
I got the iPod cradle installed in my car. No silly radio-frequency crap or bits you put in your cassette deck. Just drop the iPod in the cradle and it plays, recharges, and I can change channels from my steering wheel.

What game would you most recommend for angst-ridden teens looking to escape reality?
I just started playing Gun on Xbox 360. It's great for all the same reasons Halo is great. The bonus is that there are horses, and you can slide into things and kill them.

thanks to lptimes.com