Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda reflects on Hybrid Theory: “I was standing on red carpets with celebrities and thinking, ‘Wow, this is so weird.’”

Mike Shinoda
(Image credit: Press)

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda has reflected on the band’s momentous Hybrid Theory era in a new interview.

Hybrid Theory, the nu metal idols’ debut album, was released in 2000 and became an instant smash hit. It reached number two on the US Billboard 200 and number four in the UK, while its single In The End cracked the top 10 in eight countries.

However, talking to The Guardian, Shinoda has admitted that the fame that came with such success was “odd” and that he’d “probably” prefer not to have become so recognisable in the public eye.

“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 46-year-old says.

“The fame aspect of my career always felt odd – to the extent that I did an art series in 2008 and 2009 called Glorious Excess, where I painted about celebrity culture, reality TV, Michael Jackson and Diana, Princess Of Wales. At the time I was standing on red carpets a lot with celebrities and thinking, ‘Wow, this is so weird. What a strange phenomenon.’ It felt fascinating and unnatural to be treated in a certain way because our music was popular.”

On the other hand, the musician says: “That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the success of something that a lot of people had told us was not going to work.

“We felt vindicated, especially by the connection we had with our fans.”

Shinoda also discusses how songwriting helps him cope with grief. Linkin Park’s singer, Chester Bennington, took his own life aged 41 in July 2017, and Shinoda released an album called Post Traumatic the next year that chronicled his feelings following his bandmate’s passing.

“There is rarely a period where I am at a loss for a creative idea to pursue,” says Shinoda. “I am always writing songs, working with the band, scoring a movie or painting for fun. I just keep going. Different people deal with grief in different ways. My coping style was to stay in motion, through music and art.”

Linkin Park’s latest studio album, One More Light, came out on May 19, 2017. The band released a 20th anniversary edition of second album Meteora in 2023, but have not composed new music or played a show in six years.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.