Mike Shinoda Admits Linkin Park Was Miserable With ‘Hybrid Theory’

The Linkin Park icon Mike Shinoda recently chatted with ALT 98.7 FM, recalling the makings of ‘Hybrid Theory’ and how much of a misery the recording process had been as everybody from label executives to producers suggested ideas to them constantly. He also opened up about how that challenging process paved the way for ‘Meteora.’

Even though ‘Hybrid Theory’ was a major commercial success, it felt to Shinoda that not everybody thought it would succeed. The rocker got candid as he recalled how everyone in the studio seemed to have opinions regarding how the record should be, often recommending that the band leave the rapping out.

However, against all the odds, Linkin Park released the album the way they wished, proving to be a triumph for the label. So, when it was time to record something new, which would be ‘Meteora,’ the act decided that maybe, parting ways with their producer was the right idea. Yet, when the producer promised they would fully be in charge of the next record, the act didn’t let him go.

Mike Shinoda on the behind-the-scenes of ‘Hybrid Theory’ and why Linkin Park was a mess while producing it:

“When we went in the studio and did ‘Hybrid Theory,’ though, we were doing great stuff, and we were really happy with a lot of stuff we were making. But culturally, it was a nightmare. We were miserable. The band was very aligned on what we wanted to make, but the label was fighting us every day; people kept throwing in opinions about, ‘Oh, it shouldn’t be this. It shouldn’t be that.’

There were even suggestions the band shouldn’t have any rapping. [It shouldn’t have] any hip-hop-like production or influence in it. We just stuck to our guns, made ‘Hybrid Theory,’ and the rest was history. The thing about ‘Meteora’ was, we were like, ‘That sucked, that ‘Hybrid Theory’ process sucked.’

I don’t think we want to work with Don again because he was letting the door open to all these knuckleheads who were coming in and making our lives miserable. I mean, I don’t mind the difficulties and stress and the things that can make an album tougher. I don’t mind that stuff, but there was extra stuff, and Don was aware of it, but he wanted a meeting.”

The band then gave the producer an ultimatum, reminding him how challenging the process had been and they didn’t want to relive that:

“We asked him, ‘We’re gonna let you go. Why should we do this with you? Like, first of all, thank you, congrats on the record, but also, we’re at a different place,’ and he was basically, ‘If you make ‘Meteora’ with me, I promise we will make as good or better of a record. I will devote 100% of myself to it.

Also, I learned a lot making the last one. I will eliminate all of that nonsense that happened on that first record. We will not experience it.’ And true to his word, we believed him. We could have been like, ‘Nah,’ but we believed him, and it did work out.”

Thus, the makings of ‘Hybrid Theory’ was miserable for Linkin Park due to creative differences they had with their label company and producer. However, when the record became a major commercial success, their producer agreed to let the band do anything they wanted and devoted himself to their next record, ‘Meteora.’