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FRIDAY
25 November
2005

R.age, Star Publications (M) Bhd,

COVER
STORY

Menara Star, #15, Jalan 16/11,


46350, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

E-mail:
alltherage@thestar.com.my

BY NIKI CHEONG
MIKE Shinoda really doesnt need another project.
After all, as a member of Linkin Park, he is already
a Grammy winner, has gone multi-platinum and
has sold out numerous concerts around the
world, Kuala Lumpur included. However, he is
also not the type to sit still. It is because of this
nature that Mike decided to embark on a new
project called Fort Minor, in which he gets to go
back to his musical roots.
With numerous other artistes involved in the
project, Fort Minor has recently released its debut
album called The Rising Tied. Mike tells R.AGE all
about Fort Minor and the album in an e-mail
interview.
How different is Fort Minor from Linkin Park? Why
was there a need for you to start this project in the
first place?
Before Linkin Park started, I pretty much only did
hip-hop. I had studied piano for about 10 years,
and learned guitar and some other instruments
along the way, and Id use those instruments to
make tracks for myself and other people. About
two years ago, I started feeling like I needed to
get back to that. After I started making some
tracks, Styles Of Beyond wanted to get involved,
and then Black Thought got on it, then Common,
then John Legend, and then Jay-Z. All of a sudden,
Fort Minor turned into a serious record.
Technically with Fort Minor, youre not playing as
a solo artiste. Does it feel any different working
with a bunch of different people now, as compared to the Linkin Park bunch?
Ive worked with a lot of other people in the past,
especially on the LP album Reanimation. But even
that project was very different from this in the
sense that on the Fort Minor record, the pressure

and responsibility is entirely on me. Its my


record, so I had to make sure every detail was the
way I wanted it.
What happens if Fort Minor makes it really big?
What will happen to Linkin Park for you then?
Linkin Park is my foundation, and Fort Minor is
my focus for now. The album comes out on Nov
22 in the United States, and the day before in
most places outside the US. So its safe to say
that at least until the beginning of next year, I
will be spending a lot of time on this project.
Youre a trained graphic designer, and you obviously have a talent for making music too. What
other talents do you have that we dont know
about?
I am also a trained dragon-slayer. I plan on using
that in the future, maybe in the videos and live
shows. (hahaha)
What kind of music were you listening to in college? How has that music influenced the person
you are now, as well as the music you now make?
I have always listened to all types of music. In college, I was probably listening to mostly hip-hop
and darker, more industrial rock. But I did, as I
always do, keep my ears open to anything that
moves me. At this point, I probably buy about 10
to 20 CDs a month. Having a good knowledge of
music culture is important if youre a songwriter.
Ive heard a couple of your songs and I have very
little doubt that Mike Shinoda fans out there will
buy your album. Does this knowledge seem scary,
and if so, why?
Im not scared. Its a little foreign being out there
without the other five guys from Linkin Park, but I
know I have their support, so that helps. The
main thing about Fort Minor is that I wanted to

get out certain ideas and didnt have any other


outlet to do so songs like Kenji, which is about
the Japanese internment in the United States
during World War II these songs didnt seem
like they would fit on an LP album.
Fort Minor is not only one of your first major
works out of Linkin Park youre also going into
untested territory for you in terms of music genre.
Whats giving you the confidence to do this, and
what are your reservations, if any?
I am not concerned about the familiar or unfamiliar with this project. I am not concerned with fitting comfortably into a genre. I made what I
wanted to make, because I have been waiting for
someone to make an album like this, and they
never did. So I had to do it myself.
Tell us a bit about your first radio single Believe
Me. What inspired it, and how do you feel about it
now that its complete?
Believe Me was the first song in the making of
The Rising Tied that stuck out as a success. It felt
like a good song. Apparently, other people have
felt the same way about it because they have
gotten behind it to support the song and video. I
am extremely grateful for that. It has this old
school hip-hop foundation, but still feels new.
This album is a little bit like that, it has its reference points to different times in music, but still
feels unique. I cant wait until people hear it.
Fort Minors The Rising Tied is now available
from Warner Music.