Back in April Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda created a few waves when a Noisey interview was published, in which the singer condemns indie-pop. While discussing his motivation behind Linkin Park's new album, The Hunting Party, Shinoda explained that he was reaching for something different, and then he mentioned a few names. The Noisey quote heard round the indie blog-o-sphere: "There's so much stuff that sounds like Haim or CHVRCHES or Vampire Weekend that I'm full. The thing I'm hungry for is not that. I turn on the rock station in L.A. and it sounds like Disney commercial music." And so sound the drums of war...
In an interview with Joiz at France's Open Air St. Gallen Festival, the ever level, wise, and lovely CHVRCHES was asked to respond to Shinoda's comments. Multi-instrumentalist Iain Cook was quoted by multiple members of the press as calling Shinoda a "pointless dick," and lead singer Lauren Mayberry's mild jab at the nu-metal rapper went viral yesterday when she called "bullshit" on Shinoda's comments, saying that it's not a "coincidence that he's got a record to sell and he mentions several bands everyone is writing about... They've been on the radio for how long, and I just don't listen to that radio station. That's a smarter move than saying something for a tagline."
Yesterday Shinoda took to his own blog and made a swing and a miss effort to be diplomatic. He began by condemning the press for "sensationalizing" his and CHVRCHES' comments, effectively accusing the journalists involved of stoking the fires of an imaginary feud. He pointed to the misquoting of Cook — he had not in fact called Shinoda a "pointless dick," but had said of Shinoda's comments that "it seems like a pointless dig." Cook's misquote however, as Shinoda pointed out, took off in a number of headlines: "I learned a new term this year: 'click bait.' Click bait is when someone titles a piece in a sensationalized way in order to get more clicks." He points to his interview with Rolling Stone, published the day after the Noisey piece, in which he clarified his previous statement, "I like indie music. I like indie pop. But at a certain point, I feel like that box had been checked and checked again."
Is it possible that these two artists have figured out that they are in fact on the same side of this war? After all, while Mayberry and the CHVRCHES crew were less than forgiving of Shinoda's careless comments to Noisey — "If we're going to get into it I don't really like being called a corporate sell out by the man that wrote the music for the MTV VMAs," true Lauren, true — they did flow in the same vein as Shinoda's attempted media wary sentiment. In the same interview given to Joiz, Mayberry said multiple times that Shinoda's comments could have been taken out of context. "Maybe the journalist picked that out as a tag line, you can never know." Exhale... It seems we may have a moment of clarity amongst click-driven bloggo bullshit.
Then Shinoda went on to stoke the fires of the feud. He blogged, "There's a lot I could pick apart about the CHVRCHES interview; after all, the group's singer criticized me for 'saying something that would become a tagline' by saying something that became a tagline." It seems someone's only been reading the blogs. In the video interview Mayberry posits a similar theory of sensationalist journalism that implies your absolution: strike one. Also, um, which part of her comments have become a tagline? I thought we agreed it was Cook's misquoted "pointless dig": strike two. Then came his extremely passive aggressive summation: "A big thank you goes out to CHVRCHES and all the bands whose names I've mentioned, for helping us find direction with this album. Because sometimes, knowing where you don't want to go is all the direction you need."
Strike Three. Shinoda, you dick.
I cannot express my disappointment more clearly. CHVRCHES is a band that throughout their light-speed rise to indie-pop stardom, a genre that is often criticized for its levels of authenticity, has remained thoughtful and wise. Granted, their response was tinged with bitterness, but in fairness you condemned an entire genre as unoriginal, and lacking due to over-saturation. What we almost had here was a real conversation about responsible journalism and gossip-gardening. What we are left with is an example of inarticulate carelessness.
If you want to stick it to Linkin Park, you can simply enjoy CHVRCHES concert below: