|Dropped Frames, Vol.1
|Album by Mike Shinoda
|February - June 2020
|July 10, 2020
|Kenji Kobayashi Productions
Dropped Frames, Vol. 1, released July 10, 2020, is the first series of instrumental releases by Mike Shinoda of his CoronaJams music.
In March 2020, the global pandemic created by the COVID-19 coronavirus caused communities to quarantine at home. During this time, Mike Shinoda decided to start live streaming online and inviting fans to watch him create new instrumental music.
Mike began on March 17, 2020 when he did an Instagram Live about a song he was working on titled "Open Door. In this stream, Mike recorded guitar for the song and shared updates on the track. The next day he went online again and a fan in the chat asked him to create a song from scratch. He accepted and created what would become the first CoronaJam. So he decided to quickly mix the "Open Door" demo and text it to fans via the Community app, along with instrumental and stems but also the track he did earlier.
The streams were originally called "Beat Making Demos" but then Mike shifted to the tag "CoronaJams." In early June, he said that he stopped calling them CoronaJams, saying that he intended to keep releasing them after the coronavirus period eventually comes to an end. He did not give a new name for what he is calling them, so we will wait for the first official release before we rename the jams.
March 25th was the last stream via Instagram Live as on March 27th Mike shifted to Twitch, using Restream to also broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Periscope. When he shifted to Twitch, he started using a Streamlab extension which allowed fans to collect points during the stream, called "Shinodabucks", that can be redeemed to ask questions or request a style for the jam. When he got too many requests he started writing all of them on sheets he put in the "Bowl of Destiny", picking randomly the themes and sometimes choosing to mashup some of them in the same track. Other prizes were gradually added like the chance to request an art theme, get a Twitch follow or an Animal Crossing visite by Mike himself, choose a Twitch channel to raid or a sound/loop to use in the tracks.
At times, Mike has streamed calls with other musicians, such as Jason Butler from Fever333, Phoenix, Dan Mayo and grandson.
The stream on April 21st was a drawing stream done from Mike's iPad. He encouraged fans to color in his drawing and then tweet it back at him using the hashtag #CoronaDrawing. He later started doing more art streams, also drawing the album cover for the release.
On May 5th he added another stream category, doing for the first time an Animal Crossing livestream.
Mike's "CoronaJams" were based on unique themes or ideas that Mike is inspired by, or fan requests. The first theme-based jam was a "Hybrid Theory" style track, followed by the first fan request, a "Reanimation" style song. Another Linkin Park album was a theme, "A Thousand Suns". A lot of different genres were experimented, 90s hip-hop, electronic and pop from the 80's, symphonic metal, grunge, doo wop, pop punk, reggae, industrial, k-pop, traditional styles as well, like Indian or Mexican music, dabke or Italian neomelodic.
When asked about his process for this album, Mike said, "I've been letting a current of chance and curiosity guide me for the past few years. Those things were important to me forever, but even more so right now. And that plays into the interconnectedness of creating things on the fly. For example, on my channel, I let fans submit song style suggestions into a bowl, and I'll pick a few of them to mash up together. Often times, they'll submit things I don’t know anything about or things I actually don't like. On the stream, I've mashed up Kpop, melodic metal, horrorcore rap, video game music, country, and "a song in the style of the Pokemon Mew." Keeping an open mind to the styles and finding a way to make them sound cool to my ear is often a challenge, but it's almost always entertaining. And I learn a lot."
Sometimes Mike started with loops from other artists, like a jam from a Money Mark's Instagram post, some drums recorded with Dan Mayo or a beat created by Elise Trouw.
On April 29th, Mike revisited earlier CoronaJams from the original Instagram Live streams. As he began working through them, the recent files on his computer showed that he started giving names to some of the tracks. One of them, "King Paprika" was mentioned by a fan in the comments on June 5, Mike noticed it saying that he changed the title.
Throughout April, May, and June, Mike continuously went live on Twitch to work on songs. On June 26, 2020, it was revealed that he had already composed at least 47 jams.
On June 30, 2020 when announcing Dropped Frames, Vol. 1, Mike said on his Twitch stream, "Here's what's going on and what happens from here. I originally had this song and I said, "I want to put out this song." And then I started doing streams here on Twitch where I make a beat every day starting at 10am. And then I had all of these beats, so I was like, "Man I want to put these beats out. It seems like just fun." When I was in art school I used to listen to a lot of instrumental music when I was drawing or when I was hanging out. I was like, "Let me just put out this instrumental music." And there was a little bit of a moment where I was like, "Ah man should I put Open Door on it? If I put out instrumental music, should it only be instrumental on it, should I not put Open Door on it?" But I feel like Open Door really started the whole process. It went from making this track live to asking fans to participate on it to jumping over to Twitch and then making more stuff live and having the fans suggest themes and suggest genres and challenge me and all of this stuff. So it kind of all went together. So Open Door is the only track with vocals on my upcoming album. It's going to be an album in parts, in a bunch of volumes. Dropped Frames is the name of the album. Dropped Frames is a reference not only to the bad Internet connection that I've had but also the idea of like dropping music. So Dropped Frames comes out a week from Friday. Open Door will be on it. Other than that, it's an instrumental album. And then every so often, hopefully regularly, hopefully every month or so, if we can pull it off, I'll just continue to drop more Dropped Frames album. So the stuff I make on Twitch here every weekday, I'll mix it and I'll put it together, put it into an album, and this is volume one."
He added, "People have thrown together... I'll mash them up. One person redeemed horror movie hip hop and it's things like that with like Warped Tour, alternative, video game music, and my favorite was a song in the style of the Pokemon Mew. K-pop, emo, Michael Jackson, mariachi, Bollywood hip hop, I got a track from Money Mark who you guys know worked with the Beastie Boys. That one turned into a song that sounded like it was being sung by a chicken. We've done so many crazy things. And a lot of those inspired cool stuff that is going to end up on these albums. The first Dropped Frames on it next Friday is going to have twelve songs."
When asked if he was going to remix any of the songs, Mike said, "I probably won't make remixes of the stuff because I feel like the songs being instrumental is like... I don't know if I want to make remixes of them. Maybe we'll do something remix-y for you guys."
In March and April, Mike released several CoronaJams to fans for free - the "Open Door" demo, instrumental, and stems via the Community app (through WeTransfer links), a "Hybrid Theory-style" CoronaJam to the LP Underground, and a "CoronaVirus Jam 3.18.20."
On May 5th, Mike said he was going to release the CoronaJams on streaming services soon, but he has to go back and clean some of them up first.
On May 15th, Mike started drawing the album cover, putting a lot of references and inside jokes regarding the songs. He continued to work on the cover off-screen, saying that he didn't want to spoil the final result. He confirmed the release will be all instrumentals and he asked fans which CoronaJams should make the album.
On the May 28th stream, Mike gave an update about the status of the jams saying, "I am working on mixing and putting out some of these instrumentals from the live streams. It's been kind of going back and forth. I just want to set it up right so I can regularly put them out to you guys. There's like a lag time... I have to make them presentable and we have to deliver them, and then we can put them out. I'm trying to take that time and crunch it as fast we can do it. It's starting to look like around a month, or less... three weeks-ish to a month, maybe shorter. But we'll see how that works out. It's going well, you're going to hear Open Door, like a final version of that, you're going to hear some songs from the streams. And if in the first batch you don't hear one that you really love or whatever, it's gonna come later. I may not put them all out, 'cause they aren't all awesome, but I do want to put out the jams that have been created here on the streams. I'll put them out so you can listen to them on Spotify and Apple and all of that. You can make TikToks to them, or put into them in your Instagram. All that stuff, it'll be in the system. So there's that."
On June 10th he confirmed to have delivered the final master for the "first volume", saying, the next day, that he won't reveal how many tracks (and which ones) will be released. He said, "I'm not going to tell you which ones either. This is part of the artistic decisions that have to be made, this is what makes me happy is choosing the right ones and transitioning them and making a mix from one to the next, making a presentation out of it. You've gotta leave some of it to me. I'm not going to tell you which ones." He also did a poll asking the fans to pick one song to be released first on the second volume. The options were "Party Meow" (from the May 18th stream) and "Waltz" (from the June 11th stream).
On June 30, 2020, Mike announced the first series for release, titled Dropped Frames, Vol. 1, writing the following message in an email to mikeshinoda.com subscribers:
"In March, when quarantine began, I started creating music live online. In addition to bringing the fans together for a daily conversation, the live streams inspired dozens of unexpected genre mashups and theme ideas. I'm excited to announce the release of my first batch of these instrumental songs.
My album “Dropped Frames Vol. 1” will be coming out July 10th. Leading the release is “Open Door,” a song that started out as a challenge called #singopendoor and evolved into a track featuring 7 fans from around the world.
“Open Door” is the only vocal-led song in the album. In times like these, when so much is being said, I felt an album of wordless tracks might hopefully give fans a place of respite—a break from the chatter. Listen to them while you chill, while you work, while you paint, while you eat, while you play...wherever they fit into your life.
Three of the twelve tracks— Open Door, Super Galaxtica and Osiris—are available now.
In his stream on Twitch announcing the album on the same day, he said, "This is my first instrumental album. This is also my first independent release. I'm releasing it just on my own without Warner Records. Actually, shoutout to Warner because they are helping support a little bit with a little bit of publicity. But other than that, it isn't going through their system, they aren't doing promotion or marketing or anything like that. It really is on me and you to spread the word. And that's it. All of the Linkin Park soldiers and super fans and stuff, I'm counting on you to help me out and spread the word. And that's appropriate because it's a weird kind of release, I've never done an instrumental release before. I feel like people are going to listen to it in a different way, right? While you're doing your work, while you're doing your homework, while you're working out, while you're eating dinner, while you're having a party, like it's a different kind of vibe. The two places I listen to instrumental music the most are when I'm drawing and when I'm cooking. Some of my favorite instrumental records are J Dilla's Donuts, one of my favorite ones is DJ Shadow's Private Press. I love Introducing as well, which is the previous record or two records before but people don't know about Private Press. A lot of you guys don't know about any of his records but DJ Shadow's Private Press is amazing. Ratatat, Flying Lotus, Prodigy, a lot of stuff that Liam's done that's been instrumental. I was excited to make an instrumental record especially because it seems to fit what we've been making here on Twitch."
When asked on July 1, 2020 if he was going to release "Dropped Frames, Vol. 1" in a physical format, Mike replied at length and said, "So here's the story with Dropped Frames. So Open Door started it and when I started putting everything together and realizing, "oh I've got all of these tracks that I made on the live stream", I realized that I wanted to put these out on streaming services juts for everybody to like enjoy them whenever they want. So I hope to have a volume two of this out a month after this one. So Volume 1 comes out a week from Friday, nine days from now. If you guys want to sing and rap over them, go ahead. I was going to put Open Door on its own and then I decided it should be part of the album and then I was worried since it's all instrumental, to put on a vocal song on it, I was back and forth and back and forth. But we decided at the end of the day with management and everybody to put it all together. And then probably the next release will be just instrumental. Super weird. I went to Warner basically, I looked at the metrics of how... this isn't going to be a number one album. This is a passion project, a fan project, something interesting to do. I don't know how many people are going to stream it. But what I do know is it's not going to be like a Linkin Park thing, even a Fort Minor or my thing, probably it's just a fraction as big as that. I don't know. But with that said, I went to Warner Records, actually my manager did to be totally honest, and asked, "Mike wants to just release this independently, can we just get an exemption and do that?" And when you sign a record deal, you have a commitment to a certain amount of releases. I'm not a free agent. And they said, "yeah, go ahead, this is just an instrumental release, it's fine." So I went and basically did a thing to just do streaming. I did a deal just to streaming. Let me put it this way, if I have some kind of sign from you guys, if Dropped Frames comes out next Friday and it does good enough then I'll think about doing physical CDs, vinyl, stuff like that. I've already done some merch, I love the merch, if you haven't seen that, head over to mikeshinoda.com to check out the new merch. I've got some tie-die shirts and hoodies with the dragon on it, with the mariachi on it. Dude you've gotta go check out the merch. Thank you for buying the merch, you guys are so great. But it came out great, that's one thing that's so cool about our art day but the stuff lends itself to a fun tshirt. It just looks good on a tshirt, that's cool. It's all about support, the more you guys support, the more you guys spread the word, get other people interested... treat me this is my first project, treat it like I've never put out an album before. I've never done an instrumental record, I've never done an independent record, so for all intents and purposes, this is a very different release."
He tweeted on June 30, "Just digital for now. If there's a strong demand for them in another format, we'll add more."
Mike celebrated the album's release with a listening party on Twitch on July 10, 2020. He tweeted, "Head over to Twitch in 1 hour to join the album release party. I'll be premiering the Open Door music video live on the stream"
Mike's artwork sketch for "Dropped Frames", Vol. 1" came on May 15, 2020. He said, "I asked you guys what you wanted to do today and the resounding response was art. So I'm down with that, we're going to do some art today. I've got my iPad out with ProCreate and an Apple pencil. There will be a little bit of sketching and re-sketching and removing and whatever." The very first sketch was a guy with a corona mask which was a request by Anna Shinoda. The second sketch was a chicken, after the Money Mark jam that Mike did, as the jam came on right when he was drawing the guy with the corona mask and inspired Mike to create it. Evel Knievel was mentioned when Mike finished drawing it, since it had the head gear on. Mike when drawing the biggest figure, the dragon, he said that there was a dragon on the LP Underground 8 Sweet Hamster Like Jewels From America! CD and that he drew dragons a lot as a kid. The dragon was for the soundtrack song, with Tom Nook from Animal Crossing holding the sword.
He said that Boris (from "Ghosts") had to go on the sketch and took a fan suggestion for the look of Boris, with a sassy face. Mike said, "He looks like how I feel. I didn't sleep good last night. He looks like he got crappy quarantine sleep. He's dirty, his wife made him do a foot peel." Next, Mike added a Mexican mariachi guy named Julio based on the mariachi CoronaJam, "El Rey Demonio." Similarly, the Game Boy is because he used one to create "Super Galaxtica", but he edited a little because he didn't want to make it look it a lot like an actual Game Boy, likely for copyright reasons. He added a bowl because of his "Bowl of Destiny" on his Twitch stream that he picks fan mashup requests from. A cowbell was drawn due to a request in the chat for one.
Mike said, "Oh, I want to draw a couple of the classics. I want to put some of the classics on. Let's do some of the doodle guys, little robots, little skulls" and added the signature Fort Minor skulls. The next drawing, the cat, was random. Julio the turtle is from Animal Crossing. Mike commented, "What I like about the turtle, is first of all, that he yells at you. He hisses. I'll make him hissing. I like his stance, I like his little turtle stance. His legs are out like a bulldog. That little stance is the greatest."
He added Mrs. Oatmeal (From "Ghosts") in the sketch but didn't want her next to Boris. A duck was added because of the "Duckbot" jam; a treasure chest was added because the random chests that pop up on the Twitch streams which give fans more ShinodaBucks. The hamburger was random to give the top "something rounder, something to give more repetition of the oval shapes", but the three eyes on the hamburger could be to give it an alien-style touch because Mike always mentions aliens when he uses weird sounds in the streams. He called it a "three-eyed hamburger man."
The ghost was an idea to create something weirdly-shaped, but it turned out as "almost a ghost version of Boris." The toilet paper was a suggestion from the Twitch chat and Mike said, "We'll hide a roll of toilet paper over here. Quarantine toilet paper - love it." After that, he added a "son of a bitch" coronavirus with a "jerk face."
The bee on the artwork was a suggestion from the chat because of a recent jam Mike did that turned into "Doodle Buzz", with the buzzing synth. Mike said it was his take on drawing a crazy bee. And the Mickey Mouse was random, like the cat. Mike filled in the remainder of the drawing with more of his various skulls and related images.
|Shinoda Michael Kenji
|Freestyle w/ Game Boy sounds
|Bollywood Hip Hop
|El Rey Demonio
|Mariachi Hip Hop + Horror Movie Hip Hop
|Freestyle; Revisiting Panic! At The Disco jam
|Channeling, Pt. 1 (feat. Dan Mayo)
|Freestyle w/ drums by Dan Mayo
|Mayo Dan, Shinoda
|Freestyle w/ flute loop
|Freestyle w/ funny vocal samples
- Mike Shinoda
"Vol. 1" Tracklist
Cover with Kenji Kobayashi Productions
Artwork designs (June 10, 2020 via Twitch)
- Instagram: Mike Shinoda - Checking in / Bowl Of Destiny, June 5, 2020
- Spin: Mike Shinoda Talks Making an Album on Twitch and Life After Quarantine, July 7, 2020
- LPLive: "Buckle up... because Mike Shinoda already has 47 CoronaJams!", June 26, 2020
- Mike Q&A Summary 6/30/2020: "Dropped Frames", June 30, 2020
- LPLive: Mike Q&A Summary 7/22 and 7/23/2020, July 23, 2020
- YouTube: Mike Shinoda - Art day today-attempting to draw fans, pets, pandas and 90s graffiti, June 10, 2020
- YouTube: Mike Shinoda - Today's Mashup: License To Ill + Reggaeton + Tchaikovsky + ASMR! pt 2, June 11, 2020]
- Straw Poll: Mike Shinoda - Which Song?, June 11, 2020
- Facebook: Mike Shinoda - Dropped Frames Volume 1 /// Available July 10th, June 30, 2020
- LPLive: Mike Q&A Summary 6/30/2020, June 30, 2020
- LPLive: Mike Q&A Summary 7/1/2020, July 1, 2020
- Twitter: Mike Shinoda - Just digital for now., June 30, 2020
- Twitter: Mike Shinoda - Head over to Twitch in 1 hour, July 10, 2020
- Mike Shinoda - Drawing an album cover, maybe?, May 15, 2020