Mike Shinoda has a new pair of sneakers. We don’t mean that the Linkin Park rapper has acquired fresh footwear (though he probably has). We are referring to the fact that you can now buy the latest sneakers designed by Shinoda for DC Shoes (the proceeds of which help students at his alma mater, the Arts Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.) After the break, EW speaks to Shinoda about this sideline, the new Linkin Park album, and why he likes (most) of the new Transformers movie.
Entertainment Weekly: Could you walk us through your new sneakers? Ha!
Mike Shinoda: I’ve designed a couple with DC. I like sneakers. I guess I could call myself a collector. I have nearly 100 [pairs].
But you really design these things, right? You don’t just sit there and say, “Let’s do them in blue!”
Oh, no, no. I have a BFA in illustration. In my spare time I do quite abit of painting, and the shoes came as a result of that. On this one, webasically took the Xander shoe, which is the one we did last year, andkind of revamped it for more of a warm-weather look. I’m half-Japanese,so it’s influenced by various Japanese patterns that I gravitated togrowing up — they can be found on traditional fabrics and origami.
I’ve never discussed origami with a rock star before.
Dude, I grew up folding origami. We had a children’s day celebrationevery year and we’d fold cranes and samurai helmets and fish, amongstother things.
Are there any other musicians who know how to do that? Is Fred Durst a secret origamist?
I don’t even know him. I bet Dan Nakamura [AKA producer Dan theAutomator] knows how to fold origami. He always gives me tips on thebest sushi restaurants. But that’s as far down the path of Japaneseheritage as we’ve gotten.
The current Linkin Park single "New Divide" is from the Transformers sequel, Revenge of the Fallen. Have you seen it yet?
We’ve probably seen half of it, unfinished. Michael Bay showed us a number of scenes.
Is that hip-hop robot in the second one? I didn’t care for him in the first. He seemed a bit Scrappy Doo-ish.
That’s funny. There’s definitely a sense of humor with that stuff, andmaybe I don’t fall into their demographic [laughs]. I would say it’snot as bad as Jar Jar Binks. As long as it doesn’t hit that level, Ithink Michael’s okay.
Hey, I’m not trying to get you into trouble with Michael Bay. I’m sure it would be easy enough for him to have us both killed.
He definitely tailors certain scenes to certain types of people andcertain age groups, certain sensibilities. I don’t think his feelingswould be hurt if we were to say that those scenes weren’t for us. Themajority of the new film is really enjoyable.
What can you tell us about the next Linkin Park album?
I feel like "New Divide" is the beginning of a new phase for our band.We’re hoping to release things a little bit more often. We’re hoping tohave Chester’s solo album, which will be under the project title ofDead By Sunrise, out by the end of this year. And we’ll have a newLinkin Park record out next year.
Is it still going to be a concept album?
Loosely, I think that’s true. But it’s more complicated than that. Wedefinitely want to make a record that has a distinct identity that yourecognize not only as a new version of Linkin Park, but as somethingthat’s totally different from everything else that’s going on.
More about Linkin Park:
Linkin Park returns for new ‘Transformers’ tune: Welcome back?