MIKE SHINODA Talks About Importance Of Following His Own Creative Muse And Not Pandering To Fans’ Expectations

In a new interview with Anna Mörck of Rolling Stone Germany, LINKIN PARK‘s Mike Shinoda spoke about the importance of staunchly following his own creative muse and not pandering to anyone’s expectations. Asked if there is something that he learned over decades of writing, touring and recording that he would really wish to tell his younger self about the music career or maybe other young musicians, Mike said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Shockingly, I don’t think so, really. I mean, just in terms of, like, everybody’s gonna figure it out as they go. You’re faced with questions and issues and stuff, and thankfully I don’t have any — there’s not any spots where I went, like, ‘Oh, we really screwed that up.’ I think we did all right.

“I think for me, one thing that, if I were to talk to my younger self and say, ‘Yeah, that’s really good. Do more of that or keep your mind focused on that,’ one thing is to not be distracted by trying to appease like an invisible ‘other’ with the stuff that you’re making,” he continued. “If you’re in a creative situation, whether it’s a song or a project or it could even be on tour, it could be decisions you make on the road or in your set or even if you’re a painter or whatever, if you are doing a thing because people will like it, it’s probably not ideal. As you’re doing it, you do have to actively focus on, ‘Do I like it?’ ‘Cause you’ll get — I will at least; I think most people are the same, though, when they’re making stuff — you’ll get a little confused with, like, ‘Do the people in the room like it?’ You’ll hear other people in the room saying they like it, and if you go, ‘I think it’s okay. We played a thing. I wrote a lyric. They love it. I think it’s fine,’ don’t do it. Do it when you go, ‘This is great,’ and they go, ‘This is great.’ That’s the bullseye.

“I hear all the time, I hear people do this whole mental gymnastics about things that are trending, what’s hot and what people will like, what fans will like. ‘Oh, my fans expect me to do this.’ It’s, like, no, no, no.

“People made fun of [Apple co-founder] Steve Jobs because he said this thing about, basically that amounted to, people don’t have imaginations the way that creators have imaginations,” Mike added. “I’m paraphrasing; this is not what he said. But the idea was, like, the reason we can surprise people is because they don’t know what they want. And we create the thing that they go, ‘Oh my god, now I want that.’ But before that happened, they didn’t know what it was that they wanted. It’s that somebody with imagination made a new thing. And it surprised you. And you went, ‘Oh, wow. I want that.’ ‘Cause if you just relied on people to tell you what to do, I think a lot of artists get into this rut then of making the same thing. ‘Cause the fans’ imagination of it is never gonna be — they’re not pulling from the source; the source is inside you. So pull from there; don’t pull from their expectations. That’s not the source.”

In October, Shinoda released a new solo single, “Already Over”.

This past March, Shinoda contributed the song “In My Head” to “Scream VI”, the sixth movie in the horror film franchise. The dark, electro-rock track featured guest vocals from alt-pop singer Kailee Morgue. He also co-wrote and produced Demi Lovato‘s “Still Alive” song, which is featured in “Scream VI”.

“In My Head” was Shinoda‘s first new solo material since he shared the standalone track “Happy Endings” in 2021.

LINKIN PARK has been on hiatus since the death of singer Chester Bennington in 2017.

A year and a half ago, Shinoda said that there are no plans for new music, albums or live shows from the band.

LINKIN PARK has not performed together in public since October 2017, when the surviving members staged a tribute concert in Los Angeles to Bennington. The band has not officially announced whether it intends to carry on following the death of Bennington, who committed suicide in July 2017 at the age of 41.

Bennington‘s passing was ruled a suicide soon after his body was found in July 2017 at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

LINKIN PARK released a concert album titled “One More Light Live” in December 2017.

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