We Moved! WE MOVED

The Star Article: Minority Report

Friday, February 11, 2005

Minority Report

February 2006
Let me tell you my New Year’s resolution – to take more vacations,” laughed Mike Shinoda, 28, who could be the music scene’s most visible workaholic and overall Renaissance man. It has come to be widely expected that near everything he touches either suggests Grammys (a recent win for the Linkin Park/Jay-Z effort Collision Course surprised even him), or climbs high up the charts.

Shinoda is one of the founding members of Linkin Park and since the multi-platinum rap-rock outfit has been on a hiatus, he has taken time out to concentrate on his solo project Fort Minor and develop his label Machine Stop Recordings. He has been a busy bee and he knows it.

“That’s my goal, to take breaks this year. I’m getting stressed out. I don’t know how hard other people work but I do know that when it comes to what I do, I definitely work hard and I think that everybody who is passionate about their craft can relate to that,” he added during a phone conference from Los Angeles last week.

But there is no sleep just yet. Next Tuesday, Shinoda takes Fort Minor to Kuala Lumpur for a gig at the Indoor Arena, Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort. Coming back to Kuala Lumpur is a welcome detour (Linkin Park played the capital in October, 2003) and something Shinoda is looking forward to, even in this musician/rapper/producer’s jam-packed show schedule.

For the Fort Minor bandwagon, the Kuala Lumpur concert will assemble 11 performers. The line-up includes Shinoda, and his Fort partners – Tak (short for Takbir, the Islamic phrase for “God is great”) and Ryu alongside DJ Cheapshot, their band mates from Styles of Beyond, a mini-choir, a drummer, and a string trio called Black Violin.

“It’s a hip-hop show, but it’s very high-energy. The fact that I play in a rock band also says how much I love that kind of high-energy show. It’s a big, exciting show.”

“So if you’re coming to the show,” he added, “Come with a lot of energy and be ready to sing the songs with us because we’re going to have a good time.”

Better known as The Glue (his nickname), Shinoda thrives on risk-taking when it comes to the music. Stepping out from the 35 million-selling Linkin Park institution to dive boldly into his alt-rap baby, Fort Minor, only speaks of his bold, head-down attitude towards “keeping it real”. On the band’s debut The Rising Tied, everything save for the cheesy boy-band pop of early radio single Believe Me is as real as it gets in the world of mainstream rap innovation.

From the gritty self-check/mission statement of Remember the Name to the deep thought of tracks like The Battle, Red to Black and Kenji, Shinoda has built Fort Minor into a formidable unit. Aside from “writing every note, every line”, he has also combined his music skills with the clout gained with years of pop dominance. The Fort Minor album boasts breakout R&B man John Legend and rappers Black Thought and Common. Even hip-hop kingpin Jay Z blesses the disc as executive producer. Shinoda is the sort of musician with commercial drive and musical credibility. And this is the same guy who got Sir Paul McCartney himself to come over for a run-through of Linkin Park’s eye-opening Grammy appearance early this month.

During last week’s long distance conversation, he revealed that after this Fort Minor tour, he intends to get back to the serious business of the next Linkin Park album. The news is that the band’s new album will be produced by none other than Rick Rubin (with Shinoda sharing co-production credit). The bearded genius of such rock albums from Red Hot Chili Peppers and System of a Down could well turn Linkin Park’s stylised teen-rock into something truly hard-hitting.

“There are so many sub-genres in rap and rock and electronics, so ‘rap-rock’ doesn’t really describe us very well, and we’ve never felt a strong connection with that category. We definitely want to push the envelope and do something that sounds different from what you know Linkin Park as, and different from everything else that’s out there,” he hinted on Linkin Park’s new direction.

However, he still has time to keep his feet on the ground, staying sane amidst the dizziness of the hectic pace. On the band’s website recently, Shinoda leisurely reported that he and Linkin Park co-singer Chester Bennington had been exchanging “diaphragmatic diatribes.”

“Um, well I think that’s just the reference to the volume of the music,” he laughed, by way of explanation. “We’re screaming a lot (in the new Linkin Park songs), where the Fort Minor record is kind of dynamic in the sense that there’s quieter spots amidst the aggressive parts.”

“And that’s what the name means: ‘Fort’ represents the large, aggressive side and ‘Minor’ represents the smaller, darker side,” he added, candidly sharing that Bennington was on the other side of the glass listening to new Linkin Park material he wrote.

Shinoda spills that there are no plans whatsoever for another Fort Minor album, preferring to take things step by step with his focus squarely on two things – touring to promote the present Fort Minor campaign and writing the new Linkin Park album.

Now how real is that? Perhaps Shinoda is just getting started.

thanks to lptimes.com