On paper, a collaboration between nautical-style footwear company Sebago and alternative rock band Linkin Park seems a bit unusual. But the two share a mutual friend, Brooklyn-based graffiti artist Stash, and from there, began to make beautiful music (er, shoes) together.
The final product — a black boot with stitching on each side and subtle Linkin Park logos — is cool enough for the sneaker-obsessed guys, but practical enough for the nights they’re on their feet performing.
We asked band members Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn to tell us a little about their creative process outside of the studio.
Metro: So how did this collaboration come about?
Joe Hahn: Stash was working with Sebago and we were talking about potential cool collaborations to do, and then he turned me on to Sebago. I was like oh, cool — [there’s an] awesome heritage to the company, really great quality stuff, so it seemed like a good match to try to do something.
Mike Shinoda: Joe and I have overseen our band’s merchandise for a long time, and the toughest thing for us is that usually that type of a thing has to be geared toward, like, the simplest version of whatever it needs to be. It needs to be the most mainstream, and the most simplified, and a lot of time the retailers are kind of dictating like what it needs to look like and everything. For us, I think that we’d been talking for awhile about doing a couple projects that were a little more higher-end or more like what we would personally wear, and so I think this is a great introduction to eventually future projects like this.
Did you guys approach this project the same way you approach songwriting?
JH: I think for this I was a little bit more involved in the design. I just wanted to take the most practical approach. The first thing was I wanted to make a shoe that was just a cool shoe and didn’t have, like, crazy things plastered all over it. I mean, there’s a lot of that stuff and that’s really cool, but this was more about practicality. So that got me thinking about who’s gonna wear the shoe and like, how does this fit into what we do? I started thinking about how we travel so much and the people on our crew, like security and our work crew — they [would want something] that they could just wear forever and the older it gets the cooler it gets. It’ll just endure.
Do you think your own personal style has evolved since you started Linkin Park?
MS: [Laughs] A little bit. I think the main thing for me is that when we started the band, I was just getting out of high school. Our first record came out end of the 90s, beginning of the 2000s actually, and you know, 12 years, 13 years, how much your personal style has changed. That’s the same for us.
JH: I think when you’re younger you want to create as much noise as you can, and be as loud as possible. I think we still have that in us but it’s more even-paced.
MS: It’s almost like it’s more cerebral now than it is like just [an] outrageous, in-your-face kind of a thing. And I believe that you really see that in the art that accompanies in the album, and you can hear it in the ideas inside the music. … It’s us, but a few years older and more hopefully more experienced.
It seems like you can take this boot from backstage before a show to a bar afterwards.
MS: When I was growing up, like in high school and whatnot, what was really becoming popular was that movement in hip-hop where everything started to get very militant, you know what I’m talking about? Like in the mid to late ’90s it was like Mobb Deep and Black Moon and all this stuff. There was a lot of cammo and a lot of New York stuff, and there’s something about that militant vibe that’s obviously kinda come back around, but I think what I like about this boot is that it’s got a tasteful spin on it.