A Visit with Publish Brand

June 14, 2013

Publish Image

This week, I had a short visit with a new friend, Michael Huynh of Publish Brand Apparel.  He’s a smart and intense dude who built a company from the ground up.  His dad was a shoe cobbler with some experience in clothing, and never wanted his son to be in the apparel business, since he saw it as tough, low-paying, and service-based.  Michael’s dad wanted him to be a lawyer or doctor.  So Michael hid the idea of Publish from his dad.

The idea of Michael’s company came from his infatuation with a specific moment in the creative process: the moment when something becomes “real.”  For many, like myself, the buildup of time and energy behind a creative passion can be all-consuming to the maker, but there is often a sense of disconnection.  When you’re making something creative–an album, a book, or a clothing line, for example–countless hours may go into a project, over a long span of time.  During that time, it’s hard for other people to understand or appreciate the sweat and stress of making it work, the frustration of hitting dead ends and getting it wrong, and the overwhelming joy of getting it right.  Your parents and friends will ask, “how is it going?” but there’s really no answer you can give them that will help them understand.

Really, you’re working toward the moment when you get “published”–the moment when you finally get to show everyone what you’ve been up to.  Only then can they truly feel the effort that went into it, and begin to understand.

That feeling is one that I understand intimately, and it’s the feeling that Michael’s company was built on. He told me a great story about it: when Michael finally got his own space, his own office and warehouse, he didn’t even invite his dad to his opening party, for fear that his Dad would be disappointed in the small office.  Then, in the middle of the party, he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder…his father had crashed the party to see what his son was up to.

Michael was embarrassed and anxious as he showed his dad around the place.  But in the end, his dad gave him some of his most important encouragement.  And today, Michael is in the middle of a breakthrough in “publishing” his brand right now, finally turning heads with his creations.  In particular, their hats are kinda blowing up.

Unfortunately, as we were  hanging out and talking, I didn’t think to take any photos.  But if I had, I would have taken a picture of the craziest thing I found at their warehouse: the guy hand-making Publish’s popular hats is Michael’s own dad.

In a day and age where everything is computerized and streamlined, it’s often easy for fans to forget or question that there’s a human being on the creation side of the equation.  So sometimes it’s the human touch that makes the biggest difference.

As Michael says, “Today for Tomorrow.”

 

mike

If you have a phone or like connecting with other people, watch this.

February 26, 2013
mike

Linkin Park SOUNDWAVE Transformer

July 12, 2012

Linkin Park and Hasbro are collaborating on a super-limited LINKIN PARK EDITION SOUNDWAVE. It’s a new and exclusive model based on the original 1984 toy, the one I grew up playing with. It includes Lazerbeak, Buzzsaw, and Ravage. There will only be 2000 units, available at SURU and comic/hobby shops.

Hasbro is currently showing a sample of it, inside the Transformers booth at Comicon. Here are some pics from Les, the designer. Shout out to Mr. Hahn for overseeing its golden glory on our end (no, it’s not real gold).

The LINKIN PARK SOUNDWAVE will be available later this year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

mike

Linkin Park PC with Music OS Software: More Info

July 6, 2012

As announced HERE and HERE recently, my bandmates and I have teamed up with Dell and Open Labs to release a limited edition PC, containing Music OS software and a large library of exclusive, original Linkin Park sounds.  With it, you can write, record, and perform your own songs — even using LP sounds and loops if you like.

Why Music OS / Open Labs?
As I mentioned in the video above, I was using basic keyboard and samplers on stage for a while, and I outgrew them.  They couldn’t do all the things I needed to do; then I found Music OS.  Music OS is a software that does a lot on its own, but also allows me to run all my favorite software inside it.  In other words, if I use 25 different virtual keyboards, samplers, and effects in various songs, I can just open those inside Music OS and play the exact sounds from the record on stage.  I also enjoy using the touch-screen feature; the software is designed with performance in mind.

Why PC?
It’s no secret that I use Apple devices for much of my everyday stuff.  But on stage, I’ve been using Music OS on PC for years.  In testing, Open Labs found the PC to be a more stable touring unit, and that’s what we need in concert.

Why Dell?
This year, I visited Dell with the Open Labs team, and got a chance to see and try out some of their new laptops and desktop computers.  They were awesome (I personally loved the touch screen XPS 17, with the JBL speakers).  They’re also less expensive than Mac, which we figured might be helpful for the LP fans who are interested in getting this.

The info and purchase page is below.  There are only a few hundred available worldwide, and we’re not making more, so if you’re interested, now is the time.

Click here to find out more or purchase.

mike

My Chapter for Jono Bacon’s ART OF COMMUNITY Second Edition

July 3, 2012

A while back, the amazing Chris Anderson (Wired, TED) introduced me to a guy named Jono Bacon.  With Chris recommending we speak, and with a name like that, there was no way I could forget this guy.  Jono is the author of a fantastic book called The Art Of Community.  The book is about growing, empowering, and leading communities to success, both online and in the world.

As it turned out, he was writing the second edition of the book, and asked me for an interview for one of his chapters.  I gladly obliged.

Now, the new book is out (with my interview chapter) and you can check it out here on Amazon: LINK

Jono also notes: “While the book is available to buy in bookstores it is also licensed under a Creative Commons license — I have believed that if you don’t have $40 to your name but want to improve your community, you should have access to the information. People can download it from the website at http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/ too.

So: either get it for free, or purchase it and support Jono if you can.  Either way, please help Jono and me out by spreading the word.

Thanks,

mike

Suggestion For Apple and Other Smartphone Makers

October 29, 2011


Like many people, when the World Health Organization announced in May that cell phone radiation was now classified in the same “carcinogenic hazard” category as car exhaust and chloroform, I was alarmed.  I suppose it doesn’t help that radiation seems to be a complicated matter, with conflicting studies and corporate spin making a lot of noise.  At any rate, there seems to be a pretty good reason to start being more careful.

In the past year or two, I’ve found out that two friends of mine have been diagnosed with brain tumors (brain lesions).  Because of that, the subject brain cancer–and the cell phone’s potential role in causing it–has been coming up more and more often.

I use an iPhone, which is constantly pulling information down from a 3G network.  I wanted to put a little more distance between me and the phone.  At first, I tried taking my phone out of my pocket every time I’m not driving or traveling…but I kept forgetting it in random places.  Since then, I’ve been trying to remember to turn my phone to “airplane mode” at home and at the studio.  But it’s hard to remember sometimes; and on top of that, the iPhone actually makes it cumbersome.  If I want to keep it connected to my WiFi network, I have to go to the settings, turn on “airplane mode,” then exit that screen and go to a different screen to turn WiFi on (and yet another screen if I want bluetooth).

With that said, I have a request for Apple.  Give us a “3G Auto-Off” mode.  When my phone detects its familiar WiFi network (home, office), it should automatically switch off 3G, but leave on the WiFi and/or bluetooth.  It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than keeping a “hot” phone in my pocket all day.

I realize that I’m not that well-versed on this subject, so if any of this is incorrect or needs updating, please feel free to let me know in the comments.  And feel free to continue the discussion below.

Please re-Tweet or post to Facebook if you like this idea.

EDIT: Thanks for all the great comments.  For the record, I know the link between cell use and cancer is still being researched.  Furthermore, I’m no extremist, I simply fall into the “better to be safe than sorry” category.  I’d rather do some simple things that keep me more protected.  Feel free to keep discussing, below.

mike

Maschine, in Three Sizes

September 5, 2011

The Akai MPC2000 was my first real sampler.  I used it throughout all the original Xero and Hybrid Theory demos and our first album.  After that, I started making beats directly in ProTools.

I got back into the MPC with Fort Minor.  But I ran into a little problem: I’ve been collecting samples and sounds for about 15 years now, so I have a massive library of stuff I might want to pull from, and a lot of them are in different formats.  It would take forever to import all that stuff on an MPC.  Not to mention I couldn’t travel with an MPC–it’s too bulky.  I opted to use the MPC for some stuff, and other solutions at other times.  It was complicated, and I wanted to have one sampler that could do everything.

A year or so ago, I found a solution.  MASCHINE, made by Native Instruments, is a software-based sampler.  It’s a laptop program + physical controller combo.  I can import my stuff easily, sample new stuff in it, store and organize my samples on my laptop, and make beats using the built-in sequencer.  The effects are solid, and I can add more effects from third parties (like Waves, for example).  It can open as a stand-alone program (which is how I usually use it), or open as a plug-in in ProTools.

But most importantly, it’s pretty compact, and the actual controller is awesome.  Even the big one fits in my backpack, and I can write with it almost anywhere.  It’s got the MPC pads–which feel like the MPC–but they light up when each sound is playing.  I love this feature, because without it, I’d occasionally find it hard to remember which button corresponds with which sound.  It has 16 pads x 8 banks, which leaves room for tons of sounds.

Native Instruments just released an update to the software, plus two new controller options, seen above.  I use the big one, which is great.  The smaller one and the little iPhone app versions will be available October 1st.  They didn’t ask me to write this, nor am I expecting any piece of gear for writing it.  I simply love this piece of gear.  I’m going to go download the software update now…

mike

Why @Sonos Might Be The Best Piece Of Music Gear I Own

March 27, 2011

I rarely post about stuff that I buy–mostly because it’s music gear that 99% of the people reading this blog wouldn’t care about even if they understood what it does (Yes, I’m talking about you, Neko).

But I just got something that I can’t stop talking about, for two reasons: 1.) because I’m appalled that I didn’t have the sense to try it out sooner, and 2.) it’s literally changing the way I listen to and find new music.

Friends have been telling me to try out SONOS for months, and I kept putting it off.  I remember Joe Hahn saying something like, “you really need to try this.  It puts your entire music library, plus all kinds of online stations and stuff in any room you want, and it’s really easy.”  Someone else knew I love Pandora, and told me, “If you use Pandora, you have to get SONOS, because they work really well together.”

The Sonos website calls the product “a wireless multi-room music system unlike any other. One that sets up instantly and expands effortlessly.”  There are basically two types of player units they offer: one that plugs into your existing stereo, and one that is independent (it has speakers).

Add a little internet connection, and each of these little guys allows you the option to listen to: iTunes library, Pandora, IHeartMusic, Sirius, Last.FM, Spotify, Napster, Rdio, a bunch of other music services, and what seems to be any radio station–terrestrial or internet–from anywhere in the world.  Flip between alternative stations in Australia and France, dance stations in the UK, and local music from the Caribbean and Hawaiian Islands; listen to your iTunes playlists; search music on Spotify.  All your playlists, favorites, stations, songs, and virtually every bit of information is available and editable when you turn it on.

If you look at the units, you’ll notice that there aren’t really any buttons.  They sell a Sonos remote…but, after a quick download from the App Store, you can use your iPhone, Android phone, iPad, or iPod Touch for FREE.  I love this part.  I can be anywhere in the house, and I don’t need to go over to the unit or my computer to change the song–I just pull out my phone.  That part is just as easy as Apple’s “remote” in a sense (which I was using before)…but “remote” only controls iTunes; Sonos allows you to access a lot more.

Each of the players run from $350-$500 new.  The app for your phone is free, as is an app for your desktop or laptop computer.  There are a few other optional devices that enhance the experience.  All of it can be found at http://sonos.com/

mike

8 Bit Rebellion is Out

April 26, 2010

8 Bit Rebellion is now live in the iTunes App store. Yaaaayyyyyy

I did a live video chat on our UStream channel tonight to share the excitement. You can watch it here:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/linkin-park

mike

LP 8 Bit Rebellion: Pixie

April 2, 2010

With the “Linkin Park 8 Bit Rebellion”game coming out soon for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, I thought we’d feature a few of the characters.  I designed each of these guys; here’s an introduction.

Long ago, the world existed in 8 bit harmony…until PixxelKorp arrived.  Now, you are the rebellion’s only hope to fight the evil corporation’s mass-brainwashing campaign.

PIXIE is PixxelKorp’s mascot.  He’s soft and cuddly, and the kiddies love him.  After all, he’s selling a highly addictive product.  And if you mess with him, he will eat your brains.

Yum, brains.

More to come…

mike