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Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda on Their Facebook Numbers, Technology and the Lost Art of the Music Video

Mark Davis, Getty Images

Leave it to Linkin Park. As many bands struggle to adapt and make sense of the digital age, LP manages to thrive and innovate, not just by embracing new technologies, but also by figuring out how to sensibly apply them to the band.

Besides delivering their fifth consecutive #1 this past June on the Billboard 200 with their LIVING THINGS album, the group also announced a partnership with Open Labs and Dell to create a one-of-a kind music creation software. Music OS (Linkin Park Edition) is a unique and powerful software package that makes it easier for musicians to create, organize, perform and share the music they make.

And now this – the launching of the video for their new single “LOST IN THE ECHO.” The concept is compelling and unprecedented in that it allows the viewer to seamlessly become a part of the production. Co-directed by Tool’s Jason Zada, renown commercial and video director, and interactive director Jason Nickel, creators of the award winning Take This Lollipop viral video, the interactive music video features the viewer’s digital world through use of pictures from their own Facebook profile.

The video application asks permission for temporary access to the user’s Facebook photos and incorporates them in the video. These photos are integrated into the storytelling through stunning visuals, set against “LOST IN THE ECHO.”

The one-of-a-kind, interactive video can be experienced on www.lostintheecho.com. You can also see a trailer for “LOST IN THE ECHO” below.

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda took some time to talk to Noisecreep about this sparklingly original video concept, technology and what other music videos first impressed him.

How did you guys arrived at such an interesting device within the context of such a beautifully produced video.

For me, it kind of comes from the conversation that started about the format of the music video. Music videos haven’t really gone any place last few years. You have little stories. You have some performance. And that’s about it. Nothing has really started a new phase. Sure, you had the OK Go kind of thing a few years ago. The K-pop thing that’s been going on. You know, funny, interesting viral stuff we all like to watch. But we wanted something really different, we wanted to seriously mess with the format and how the visuals are delivered.

What was the creative process like – how did you get to this specific effect?

The treatment came first – the story. Jason and Jason did all the heavy lifting. We shot down the first few storylines, and they just wrote more. The one we landed on struck a serious chord as far as the story of the song – about uncovering emotional baggage – coming to terms with it and letting it go – the video had to connect with that and we think it does in a powerful way.

Watch ‘LOST IN THE ECHO’ Trailer

And then the fact that photos create a thread throughout the story allowed for this dazzling Facebook interface. Given that Linkin Park has almost 45 million Facebook fans, that’s a pretty powerful connection.

It’s amazing. It got us thinking, how do we incorporate the technology that Jason is manipulating to allow that audience in. Almost 45 million – it’s hard to fathom. Groups don’t usually get as many fans as individual artists because if there’s a band member someone doesn’t like, you lose them. With us, there are six opportunities not to like us [laughs]. But we are fortunate to have the largest amount of fans for a group on Facebook. I think we have 16th largest fan base overall. Because of that, the format of the platform lines up with the way we communicate. We have a fan base that gets this stuff. We can gear stuff towards them. Plus, we’re active on things like Twitter. Admittedly, we were late to the party, but in the beginning it wasn’t as media-rich a format. We were not the type to say, ‘This is what I’m having for lunch.’ But once things like Instagram started happening, we’re very much into that and so we share lots of things we enjoy and find truly interesting.

You guys have always been very open to new ways of doing things.

I always just think about the stereotype of your old uncle, the one that says ‘I’m not gonna put my money in my ATM because what happens when it runs out?’ We have to be the opposite, not intimidated by technology but rather on the forefront of it. We have to know what fits well for us as a band. And it has to be honest and authentic. If we don’t take the time to use these apps and services we’ll never know what is a good fit for us. We’re not fortunetellers in any sense of the word. There’s lots of trial and error of what will work out best for us. It’s just a function of looking for things that are fun and interesting.

Well you’ve certainly done something fresh and different with the new video.

Thanks. We like to approach everything, from videos to things on stage to our recording process as something we can learn from and have fun with. The video is an example of us trying something different – and next time it won’t be this. It will evolve. For this video you have to have Facebook and Flash – next time I’d love to do something that even includes people without those things.

Mike, what were the early music videos that stood out to you in terms of innovation?

Early on it was the Public Enemy video for “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos.” Not so much for any of the effects or anything – it was more about the gritty emotional content of the video. And later on the work of the director Mark Romanek. His work was just so compelling for me as I was graduating high school and getting ready to go art school for graphic design. Just so innovative and visual and I was usually inspired by his work.

Watch Public Enemy’s ‘Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos’ Video

Linkin Park is currently on the road headlining the 2012 Honda Civic Tour with Incubus and Mutemath. For further information and tour updates, go to www.linkinpark.com.

2012 Honda Civic Tour Dates:

08/30 – Denver, CO – Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
09/04 – Vancouver – Rogers Arena
09/05 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
09/07 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
09/08 – Los Angeles, CA – Home Depot Center
09/10 – San Diego, CA – Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre

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