Mike Shinoda Talks About Anger, Joy and Kindness

September 7, 2018

We’re grateful that Mike Shinoda took part in the 2018 I'm Listening special, and ALT 92.3 was fortunate to have Mike visit us earlier this summer. We talked about how writing Post Traumatic helped him process his feelings, how sharing difficult emotions can lead to empathy and understanding, and moving forward even when you make mistakes.

Mike admitted that immediately after Chester Bennington’s death by suicide, he played music as “an escapist kind of thing – and that was like a year ago, when it was really hard.”

Over time, songs took shape as Mike processed his emotions over losing his friend and bandmate, and he worked “to capture moments as they were happening… as soon as I felt something that I thought would make a good song, I wanted to write and record as I was feeling it.” This “in the moment approach” helped him “cut through my own BS… the closer I could get to the heart of what I was actually thinking… the more it would hopefully ring true to another person who was feeling that way.” This collection of cathartic material became Post Traumatic, Mike’s first solo album.

Watch Mike talk about how Post-Traumatic began here!

Mike has shared his feelings openly over the past year outside of his music: he made a public comment about “feeling angry after Chester passed away” and talked about processing that anger as part of the five stages of grief.

After Mike heard from a fan on Twitter who didn’t think Mike had a right to be angry, he had some thoughtful insight. “Obviously I do, and obviously anybody who’s going through these things does, because that’s actually clinically part of the process. You can’t get through the process without that… I think the bottom line is: you have to be kind to yourself, try to be kind to other people, and listen. And if you know that you’re going through something hard, the more you talk about it… you empower the people around you to be more understanding.”

Mike shared that he had encouraged a comedian’s video performance of “In the End” online – “he was celebrating Chester”.  Mike found out later that this person who seemed to exude life had at one point considered suicide. “You just never know. This guy, his whole outward facing presence is positivity and joy… even he was susceptible. So let’s be kind to people.”

Watch Mike talk about processing difficult emotions here!

Even though platforms like Twitter can bring people together, Mike occasionally needs a break: “I know that I look at my social media and sometimes I have to close it, because there’s so much stuff on there that is stressful and painful to look at.” He emphasized that he wished we could focus more on issues than name calling and acknowledged that he’s a work in progress too: “I’ve always said throughout this process that I’m going to make mistakes myself.” That line of thinking made it onto Post Traumatic in the form of “Make It Up As I Go”, featuring K. Flay (an artist who Mike calls “inspiring"). "That song is about not knowing where things lead, and so you kinda have to make it up... and that's what I'm on right now. I have no idea what's going to happen as this thing rolls out, but I'm determined to enjoy it, and make the most of it, and hopefully keep a positive attitude."

Watch Mike talk about managing social media and learning from mistakes here!

You can hear more from Mike Shinoda on the 2018 I'm Listening podcast. Topics include what all of us can do to prevent suicide, how to talk to friends and family about mental health and suicide, what to do if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, how to get involved in suicide prevention in your local community and where to go to learn more.  Visit www.imlistening.org for more.