The nu-metal rapper and songwriter visited Australia for Brisbane’s BIGSOUND conference last week, where he delivered an insightful keynote chat about his storied career, touching on some new solo music that he’s recently been teasing on social media.
“I’m gonna take you on a ride”
“If you’re a fan of Linkin Park, trust me on this one, I’m gonna take you on a ride,” the Japanese-American artist and producer told the crowd of industry delegates and artists who’d gathered inside the Fortitude Valley Music Hall. “It’s not gonna fit so perfectly into a box.”
Since the beginning of last year, Shinoda has taken a step back from his Fort Minor project and collaborations with other artists to focus on writing music for himself, tailored specifically to his own strengths as a vocalist. We don’t have a solid release date yet for the first song of this new solo era, but based on a recent social media video showing Shinoda symbolically shaving his head (watch above), it’ll be “soon”.
It looks set to be the first in a string of releases from Shinoda, who admitted he plans to treat every single release like it’s an album release. “I decided, ‘Why don’t I put that [level of] depth into each of the singles all the time?'” he said. “I’ll just go deep on the art and really go deep on the concepts and create, like, a cultural ecosystem underneath all of these releases. And it’ll feel different.”
During his keynote, Shinoda shut down the idea of using AI to mimic the voice of late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington to create hypothetical new music for the group. “I wouldn’t use it,” he said. “I can’t think of an example where I would. I reserve the right to change my mind, but where I’m at right now is, I wouldn’t use it.
“But, that said, the memes are great,” he added. “What’s even funnier is when it’s like a Linkin Park song sung by SpongeBob. That cool. The way people use it makes me laugh.”
Shinoda also confirmed there’s no plans for the future of Linkin Park, post-Bennington. “We don’t talk about that stuff,” he said, referencing his recent conversations with the rest of the band. “I’ll say that it’s not the plan right now. But with that said, what I’m trying to do for Linkin Park fans who are so hungry for what we can do, is to take on some of that myself in the meantime.”
He continued, “Because, number one, it’s enjoyable for me to do. And number two, I know that when I make certain sounds that are familiar, that people who have a Hybrid Theory soldier tattooed on their arm, when they hear it, I know how it makes them feel. And I want to give them that feeling. I think that connection is such a gift, and I wanna give that to them.”‘
Linkin Park recently released the 20th anniversary edition of their second album, Meteora. It included a never-before-heard song from the Meteora sessions featuring Bennington’s vocals, called ‘Lost’.