FIRST LINKIN PARK 2014 STUDIO UPDATE

February 3, 2014

As many of you have already noticed, I’ve been away from my blog / Twitter / Instagram for a while, since we’re pretty deep into the writing and recording process.  I wanted to take a moment to tell you about what’s going on.

As most Linkin Park fans know, the sound of each album is usually quite different from the last.  The new album is no exception.  But as usual, the album’s sound twists and turns as it is created, so any attempt at estimating what it sounds like today would be silly.  The moment I tell you it sounds like “X”, the songs will automatically take a drastic turn and evolve into something different within a week.

But what I can tell you is I’m inspired.  We’re inspired.

The band is trying all kinds of things we haven’t before.  First of all, we’re not in the same studio.  All our previous albums (except MTM) were recorded at the same studio; this album is not being done there.  All our previous albums were done with a producer at the helm; this album has largely been self-produced.  We normally write in a organized and regimented style, recorded into the computer; this album has been the product of a mix of focused experimentation and free form jamming.  We’re even tracking parts to tape instead of going exclusively digital.

I’ve been spending 10-12 hours a day in the studio–jamming, experimenting, writing, recording, re-writing, re-recording…searching for the sound that truly captures where we’re at as a band right now.  Something bold and energetic.  Something with a balance between the chaos and order.

As ever, we’re digging deep to craft the best songs that will set the tone for the next step, that will draw a line between what we’re doing and everything else.

We can’t wait for you to hear it this summer.

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

More About “Less is More,” More or Less.

January 15, 2012

I like New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s one of the best moments to reflect on where I’m at and where I’m going, and to make a simple effort to direct the course towards a place that I’d like to be in the future.  This year, mine comes from a classic tenet of design I learned in college: less is more.

There’s a lot of “more” around.  I’m at the mercy of it at times (maintaining this blog, my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Viddy while I work on my band stuff and other stuff at the same time).  But there are moments when the “less” really shines.  As I was working on some new music tonight, I was thinking about how few instruments and gadgets I’m really using in the studio, for example.  Sometimes, zeroing in on a few things that you like best can really help define what you’re doing.  It can also give you more time to effective in what you’re doing.  Rather than screwing around with 50 gadgets, you’re going deeper using the 5 that are your favorites.  As Buckminster Fuller might say, “do more with less.”

I like being busy and I’m fine with dabbling in a lot of different creative pursuits.  And I don’t expect for my “less” to be anything like anyone else’s “less”.

But like most of us, the noise out there in the world is deafening, and it pays to shut it off for a minute and focus.

mike

Short Update: Secret Show, Smodcast, and OP-1

August 8, 2011

Busy busy.  Other than my occasional post from Instagram, things have been pretty busy and pretty random over here.

I recently did a podcast with my friend Jensen, who has a show on Kevin Smith’s “Smodcast” network.  It’s here.  If you want to know what’s up with Spotify, America, Kreayshawn, humble brags, and sax solos, then you have to check it out.

In other news, we’re challenging everyone to go to secretshowforjapan.com and donate to MFR / Save The Children to help kids affected by the situation in Japan.  The contest isn’t secret, but the location of the show is–and I think it’s the smallest venue we’ve played in half a decade, maybe more.  Anyone able to raise $500 will receive 2 tickets to the show.  There are special prizes for the top fundraisers, as well.  Just go to the website and start a fundraising page.

Other than that, I’m still writing.  I got a new keyboard, the OP-1 by Teenage Engineering.  Check it out:

mike

Linkin Park’s New Studio (Video)

January 22, 2011

A big shout out to Avid for the new ProTools 9 software.  This is the first time ProTools has ever been this portable, and we love it.  Phoenix and I made a demo on the 10 minute drive to the venue tonight using my laptop, PT9, an AKAI MPK Mini, and Kontakt (by Native Instruments).

EDIT: Sorry if some of you had problems watching it–the video took some time to upload.  Side note: how awesome is it that I worked a song in the car, then posted the video from my phone as we walked into the venue?  I love technology.

-m

mike

Come geek out in the studio.

December 23, 2010

A great article about A Thousand Suns came out recently in EQ Magazine.  It’s more of a tech-focused piece, so those of you who are into music gear can feel free to get into full-on nerd mode with me.

But for those who aren’t as music-gear-savvy, here’s an excerpt that you might enjoy:

“With the exception of Bennington’s trademark guttural screams, any resemblance to the rap rock genre they helped define has been rinsed out. Intensity and ferocious introspection are still the endgame, but the path has changed. And when that path is lined with more than 50 million album sales, two Grammys, and nine Number One singles on the Billboard Alternative Chart, throwing the rule book out the window takes more than a simple leap of faith.”

Check out the whole article here:
http://www.eqmag.com/article/linkin-park-/December-2010/123281

mike

Linkin Park MySpace Featuring You Winner

July 29, 2010

We found our winner.

In the past few weeks, the band, our management, MySpace, and our friends sifted through the thousands of submissions.  We searched the top 100, and then we went deeper.  Using randomly-generated recommendations on Indaba, and searching by date, we found 20 finalists.

A few days ago, my bandmates and I listened to the top 20.  We voted, and we’ve got a winner.

The winner…

mike

Quick Post

June 12, 2010

Quick LP update..

We’ve almost picked the songs for the album. Almost picked a title. Almost confirmed an album cover. It always seems like these things get confirmed in a couple of days…why is that?

Anyway, I’m living the studio, on trail mix and coffee. What day is it?

mike

Recording Artists, Not Performers

May 6, 2010

I was having dinner with a close friend named Mark, and we found ourselves on the topic of seeing “new” bands in concert. Mark had recently gone to Coachella, and was telling me about his favorite acts–and some of the ones that underwhelmed him. He wondered aloud why some bands seem to be so proficient in the studio, but their live show didn’t seem to be nearly as solid. A thought occurred to me/us somewhere in the conversation, and I’m going to put it out there for discussion:

Today, there is a historic surplus of “recording artists” and deficit of “performers.” And it’s probably technology’s fault.

Thirty years ago, if you wanted to be a professional musician, you might start by saving up to buy an instrument. You’d buy it, and start teaching yourself. Next, you’d probably get lessons, and practice, practice, practice. You would get together with other musicians, at someone’s house, to jam other peoples’ songs, and maybe eventually write your own. Then you’d work your way toward playing live. You might start by playing covers, then move toward playing your own stuff. If that went over well, you’d build a fan base, who would spread the word. Eventually, a record company representative could find you and sign you to a deal, and FINALLY you would be able to create a “professional” recording of your music. By that time, you would have logged thousands of hours of performing together. And the recording of your album was geared towards capturing the essence of what you actually sounded like: the magic that everyone heard while listening to you play live.

Today, most people skip straight to the recording. The tools to make a great recording are as cheap as free: whether GarageBand on a Mac, or amazing online recording communities like BOJAM, nearly anyone can have access to the tools necessary to make a quality recording. There’s no gatekeeper or major hurdle between an amateur and their interest in learning writing, recording, engineering, and mixing music. That being the case, there’s a whole new generation of artists who have become really good at those things. They log thousands of hours writing and recording. Since an early age, they’ve been honing their skills, composing pop diddies and alternative anthems on their laptops–wherever, whenever they like. They put the songs online…and occasionally, a song starts to take off in a viral whirlwind.

But what then?

Let’s say the song becomes popular; whether signed to a record label or working independently, piracy assures that the mp3 doesn’t make a lot of money online. And the group needs to make some money to pay the rent, buy gear, build the band. So they start planning their “tour.” But they don’t have much experience playing live. They’re really good at their instruments, but they can’t make it happen on stage. The album has dozens of layered sounds on every song, and they only have four band members. The drummer can’t keep up with the drum pattern on the popular single, because it was a drum machine on the original recording. And the vocalist’s voice sounds awful without Auto Tune.

One of the places where a “listener” becomes a “fan” is at the concert, and if you can’t connect there, you lose. In the case of Coachella, there were some bands that had the whole package. Some sounded great because they sounded just like the album, some sounded great because they sounded different from the album. There were rock-based bands that played well together, and electronic-based groups that brought the energy of their recording to life on stage. But in between–and in general–more and more often, the world is seeing artists with incredible-sounding albums and songs, and no magic when you see them in concert.

My own band has had to deal with these same issues in one way or another in the past. We grew up recording on a computer, at the specific point in time when home recording software became accessible to the average kid. When we met a record executive for the first time, we had played no shows. At that moment, we realized that we needed to start playing live and practicing our new songs, so we could eventually bring them to a stage. It would be years before anyone had ever heard of Linkin Park. We were lucky enough to get through the worst of our awkward live mistakes while we were still a baby band, unsigned, without a million people coming to our first show to see what all the hype was about, and by the time “In The End” hit the mainstream, we had probably played 150-200 shows together and worked a lot of the kinks out.

I’m definitely not saying that being a masterful at recording isn’t an asset. I’m just saying that it’s a game with a lot of competition, due to ease of entry.

If you want to stand out, performance is key. After all, if you master that, you can easily hire someone to record you.

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