Mike Shinoda has stated that he would have wanted success for Linkin Park “without being recognisable” in a new op-ed.
The singer and producer reflected on Linkin Park’s 2003 sophomore album ‘Meteora’ – which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2023 – in a new op-ed written for The Guardian. In the piece, he wrote about his discomfort with growing visibility as the band rose in popularity at the time. “Fame was never a priority. But it happened,” wrote Shinoda, before stating that he and Chester Bennington did not want to be seen as the faces of Linkin Park.
“If the photographer had it their way, it would just be Chester, or me and Chester, but we wanted people to know that this band was all of us, not just the singers at the front,” he added. “Linkin Park being well known or well regarded was a blessing, but would I have wanted the band to be successful without being recognisable? Probably. The fame aspect of my career always felt odd.”
Elsewhere in the article, Shinoda recalled the lead-up to recording the band’s sophomore LP, in which they toured relentlessly. “We were going from city to city all over the world without any breaks for 18 months,” he recounted. “I was rarely home – to the extent that I let the lease go on my apartment. My stuff went into storage, and when I was back I’d stay with my girlfriend. I didn’t have a clue about the world yet, but it was life-changing to taste new food, see new buildings and explore other cultures.”
He also briefly reflected on the expectations the band placed on themselves to artistically evolve, following their breakout debut ‘Hybrid Theory’: “We knew we had done something life-changing with ‘Hybrid Theory’, that it was a moment that a lot of people were going to remember. But we felt strongly that we didn’t want to get pigeonholed into a past version of ourselves. Now I can look back and let in a bit of nostalgia. I have more of a sense of humour about that period – mainly about all those stupid pants I used to wear.”
Shinoda concluded by expressing delight at the band’s resurgence among younger listeners, noting that there had been a spike in listenership over the past year. “There are a huge number of new fans, in the multiple tens of millions, on streaming platforms,” he wrote. “Back then, I would have never guessed the music we were making would continue to connect with people 20 years later.”
In April 2023, Linkin Park released an expanded edition of ‘Meteora’ including unheard demos, behind-the-scenes footage and live performances. In an interview with NME following its release, Shinoda spoke about the band’s experimentation with new sounds on the album, stating: “‘Breaking The Habit’ was the big epiphany moment. It had no heavy guitars, no screaming. It was mostly built on strings, a piano and a programmed drum track. ‘Meteora’ opened the door to trying out different things.”
In an interview in November, Shinoda discussed his latest projects and expressed praise for Sleep Token’s debut album ‘Take Me Back To Eden’, stating: Now I know why everybody’s talking about them, because their new record is really adventurous. It’s really strange to me in the best way.”