Opening his Twitch stream on Thursday, April 22, Mike Shinoda was radio silent for about the first five minutes as he tried something new with his audio after recent issues with the sound cutting out in the last few streams. Taking a slight detour to do some online shopping and talk about the traditional greeting for Ramadan, which some of Shinoda’s Twitch community were observing, Shinoda then transitioned to the main event of the stream, namely the live production of a new track. First, Shinoda played the original version of the song submitted to him, titled “Nowhere Else” by Noah Khorey. After playing the original demo, Shinoda walks viewers through the instruments and vocals Khorey included, as well as the different ideas he had for which direction to take the song.
“ … I feel like a demo establishes a certain energy about the song and you can choose to just follow that vibe and that energy, or sometimes it’s nice to just question it … when you guys see me work on a song for two hours and basically get to a point where it sounds like a real song, it may make you wonder, ‘If you can do that much in two hours, then what are you doing when you work on a song for six months?’ … if this was a song in a folder of songs I was working on for an album, I would look at different presentations of the song that were not this aesthetic, if only to question which one is the best presentation.”
Shinoda started production by first looking at Khorey’s multiple guitar tracks. He described one of them, which was labeled “pluck guitar,” as being a little under produced and sounding like an 80s ballad, compared to the first guitar track, which sounded like it came off a song from an emo band, such as Jimmy Eat World. While Shinoda praised the unique sound this gave the track, he also questioned how to produce this song without using that familiar blue print and making it a throwback song that sounds as if it was produced decades ago when that style was most popular. Shinoda also commented on another track comprised of various instruments including a sine wave sub-base, a piano, a distorted choir, and a keyboard string, which while again sounded interesting, also stamped the song with a specific sound that could easily limit it to a certain box.
In an effort to try to expand the song beyond its original form, Shinoda played a few different production directions he prepared ahead of time. Each version created a very different backdrop and gave the song a distinct feeling; the first idea gave the track a more modern, slower feel, which the second leaned more R&B. While some viewers suggested mashing up the various ideas, Shinoda was hesitant as they sounded so different, suggesting he may be able to put one in the verses only before deciding to try and mash them up with Khorey’s encouragement.
Taking a short break from the instruments, Shinoda ran Nectar, a vocal assistant program to help mixing Khorey’s vocals. Taking away a slight distortion present on the vocals, and applying other effects, Shinoda began moving the vocal tracks around in an effort to strengthen their sound. While doing this, he discovered that Khorey changed some of the lyrics in the chorus, meaning he couldn’t copy and paste the vocals from the first chorus to later choruses. Wrapping up production, Shinoda went back to the instruments, recording more keyboard, figuring out which notes and chords would sound best, and making more detail-oriented changes. Finishing the track between streams, Shinoda played the final product for viewers to hear on the next day’s live stream on Friday, April 23.
“ … if you take the exact same piece of audio and you repeat it twice, then it just gets louder. You know how with some of these I’ll play guitar and that will be the left track, and I’ll play it again, the exact same thing a second time and put it in the right side? So if you take the same audio and split it left and right … then it’s going to end up being mono … because it’s exactly the same. So the reason I have to play the same guitar twice is because the actual waveforms are different and then you can split it. So if he [Khorey] performed it once, you can’t copy it left and right. If he performed it twice, then you can copy it left and right and it’ll be stereo.”
Noah Khorey is the lead vocalist of Colony Collapse, a metalcore band located in Denver, Colorado. Highly dedicated to the band, Khorey followed his original band mates, Jaxon Stunden and David Shimenko, to Denver to continue working with the band after Stunden was able to find a drummer and second guitarist in Mason Kolodziej and Keenan Goodwine, respectively. Colony Collapse already had one EP under their belt from 2016, What Weighs Us Down Keeps Us Grounded. With new members added to their lineup, the band was able to come out with multiple other singles, such as “How Far Is Home” in 2018 and “Head of Clouds” in 2019, all available on multiple streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and and Deezer. Most recently, Colony Collapse dropped another single titled “Class Cult” featuring artist Unwrthy, a song dedicated to tackling the topic of white supremacy and violence against people of color, with all proceeds donated to M4BL, NAACP, and ACLU.
If you weren’t able to see Noah Khorey’s “Nowhere Else” be produced live by Mike Shinoda, you can still watch the Twitch replay below! Make sure to check out Khorey’s music, as well as Shinoda’s previous production sessions. And stay tuned to Shinoda’s Twitch channel weekdays around 10 a.m. PT for more production live streams!