Fusion of art and tech fuels Linkin Park vocalist

Linkin Park

Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park using the StageLight program he helped refine. Credit: Dell

It could be said that the same rap-metal aggression that became the distinctive sound of Linkin Park also helped form the soundtrack of a new millennium.

The band’s debut release “Hybrid Theory” in 2000 dominated alternative-rock airways and launched Linkin Park into the mainstream. Two Grammy awards eventually followed.

It would have been understandable if Linkin Park had taken a well-deserved break following its newfound commercial success.

But the opposite happened. While on tour, the band installed a makeshift recording studio in the back of a tour bus so it could work on a follow-up album while traveling from city to city promoting the first.

“The recoding system that we needed to put in the bus to be able to work was the size of a full-size refrigerator,” recalled band member Mike Shinoda. “It was massive.”

It was also classic Shinoda, who throughout his life turned to technology to unlock creativity. Shinoda is probably best known as a rapper and most notably for providing the verses for “In the End,” which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, the band’s highest appearance on the chart.

Renaissance man

But Shinoda is equally known among fans and rock enthusiasts as a top-notch engineer, producer and illustrator. Shinoda graduated from the Art Center College of Design of Pasadena in 1998. That accomplishment came only after he and his band mates decided they would finish college before focusing on music full-time.

Shinoda remains immersed in technology today, with some of his latest ventures focused on helping others reap the benefits.

His recent revamp of StageLight, a sound-recording software designed especially for new musicians, simplified the interface by allowing users to access certain features without a special keyboard that many newbies don’t have.

“I come from a design background, and oftentimes the greatest design challenge is to take something that is very complex and make it feel intuitive,” he said in a recent interview. “People talk about that all the time, but actually executing it is a lot trickier than most of us usually imagine.”

Shinoda and his band mates also see technology as an effective means of helping the developing world. Their Power the World campaign is raising money to buy solar-powered packs designed to provide electricity for the lighting, communication and device needs of medical professionals working in challenging environments.

Shinoda in focus

Shinoda discusses his charitable pursuits and how technology has influenced his music in a recent video released by Dell as part of its “Celebrating Achievement Through Technology” campaign. Tech Page One will profile other visionaries spotlighted by Dell in the coming weeks.

Nick Clunn
Nick Clunn is a journalist covering the tech beat and an adjunct professor at Montclair State University. He lives in New Jersey, where he had worked as a staff writer for several leading daily newspapers and websites.
Nick Clunn
Nick Clunn
Tags: Software,Technology