LINKIN PARK’s MIKE SHINODA: ‘Metal Felt Like Very White Music’ Before Nu Metal

Mike Shinoda

During a new interview with Metal Hammer magazine, LINKIN PARK‘s Mark Shinoda recalled how the blend of musical genres on Hybrid Theory, and in the nu metal scene as a whole, helped diversify metal’s appeal beyond its core audience.

He said: “At the time, if you asked somebody what they were listening to they’d say… ‘Rock. I listen to hip hop. I listen to jazz.’ It wasn’t until five years later they’d say, ‘Everything’. Hybrid Theory did some of that work. It was part of the progression towards breaking down boundaries between styles of music.”

“I listened to 90% rap music,” he continued, “then I’d look at a lot of rock bands and I’d be like, ‘There’s something too white’ [about it]. That was one of the things that turned me off, especially hair metal. Hair metal felt like very white music and I was growing up in a very diverse city so I didn’t gravitate to it. That didn’t resonate with me. And it wasn’t just about race. I don’t mean the color of skin. I just mean the culture of it. When nu metal started at the very beginning, it was a very diverse place.”

“There was a moment when that term, nu metal, and what it meant, was actually pretty cool,” Shinoda added. “It’s almost impossible to imagine! I remember when KORN first came out and when DEFTONES’ first couple of albums came out, and whatever you think about a group like LIMP BIZKIT, their first album was really raw.

“There were all these groups like SNOT and HED PE, and it wasn’t smart music, but there was something really visceral and culture blending that was important.”