At the onset of quarantine, Mike Shinoda did something he’s actually never done in his career until now; he began creating music and art live on Twitch in front of and in collaboration with thousands of fans each day. The audience directly participates in the process, turning what might’ve been a creative low point into a communal creative revitalization. He committed to a daily 10am PT livestream, making music four days per week and visual art one day per week. He curates twelve of those tracks into a new release that connects music, technology and community: Dropped Frames, Vol. 1, out July 10 through Shinoda’s own Kenji Kobayashi Productions (ADA).
On Vol. 1, Shinoda selected eleven instrumental tracks born on the channel, in addition to the opening track “Open Door,” the only song to feature vocals. Viewers participated in the creation of these tracks by tuning in and communicating via the live chat. Fans earned points, called ShinodaBucks, which they could spend on things such as “Suggest A Musical Theme.” With suggestions ranging from “Mariachi,” to “Bollywood Hip Hop” to “90’s Boy Band Pop” – Shinoda then mashed them together, live, in one track. The stream essentially became a new instrument.
Three tracks from Dropped Frames, Vol. 1 are out today, including “Open Door” and two instrumental tracks “Super Galaxtica,” which stemmed from a Nintendo Game Boy sound, and “Osiris,” which features a “nasty flute loop.” In making “Open Door,” he received hundreds of user-generated vocal submissions, and ultimately incorporated seven for the final recording. Buoyed by a hard-hitting bounce, he rhymes with intention as the track collides with a call-and-response with fans on the chorus.
“Dropped Frames is just as much about the live channel as it is about the ‘album’,” he explains. “The collection of songs is a highlight reel of the tracks I make on the channel, but a big part of the experience is the stream itself. When I start, I usually have very little idea of where it will go. What comes out is a product of the viewers’ suggestions, my spur-of-the-moment ideas, and whatever inexplicable magic is floating in between.”