Mike Shinoda’s “terrible days” are growing fewer and farther in-between. It’s been less than a year since the Linkin Park co-founder lost his bandmate and close friend Chester Bennington to suicide last July, but in order to ease the grieving process, Shinoda turned to what he knows best: music.
His first solo album since Bennington’s death, Post Traumatic, is scheduled to drop June 15, and he recently sat down with Entertainment Tonight Canada to chat about how the LP came together on the heels of a loss that shocked the rock music world.
“It started in a really dark place,” Shinoda explained. “Having lost one of my closest friends and collaborators — we associate who we are to some degree with what we do, so I felt very lost.”
Although Shinoda and his team debated getting involved with organizations that help people suffering with mental illness and substance abuse, he decided that approach wouldn’t be effective for him to convey his message. Although many Bennington-penned Linkin Park lyrics center around depression, Shinoda hasn’t dealt with it personally, so he turned to songwriting to broadcast the lessons he’s learned and update fans on his current state.
“Life was difficult,” Shinoda said. “Music was easy. Music made things easier.”
Shinoda says the journey of his healing process and wrestling with trying to find a “new normal” can be heard on Post Traumatic. But as the album’s title suggests, some songs might bring up issues that become painful during live performances. Shinoda — who will start touring the album next month — says he’s going to start will a full set list regardless.
“If [songs] become too hard to play, I’ll take them out, but I’m gonna start by really going for it and facing it head on and seeing what happens,” Shinoda explained. “What I realized at one point during this whole thing is that I was a little apprehensive of meeting up with large groups of fans because I knew that a lot of them would be crying and saying ‘I’m sorry,’ and asking me ‘Why? What happened?’ And I was scared of that until I did it, and then I realized what a cathartic experience it was for them and myself.”
Watch the interview below.