ET Canada‘s Matte Babel sat down with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda to uncover the inspiration for his new album, Post Traumatic, his first solo album since the death of bandmate Chester Bennington in July 2017.

“It started in a really dark place…” Shinoda says, mentioning that in the beginning, he wasn’t leaving his house because he felt claustrophobic.

“Having lost one of my closest friends and collaborators… I felt very lost,” an emotional Shinoda tells Matte, adding that finding his voice was also a battle he had to overcome.

“Life was difficult, music was easy,” he says. “We started talking about if we wanted to get involved with organizations that deal with depression and so on, you know?”

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Although he has never personally suffered from things like depression, he emphasized the importance of “taking the things he’s learned and sharing them with people.”

With mental health, he says he has learned that we should be treating it as a physical health issue.

“Sometimes you just have to feel sad,” he explains.”And you have to just wait until it stops happening. Right? I had terrible days. And now I have less bad days. And eventually, I will find a new normal.”

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Shinoda tells us that while meeting groups of fans could be scary he realized what a cathartic experience it was for him.

“I was a little bit apprehensive about meeting up with large groups of fans, because I knew that a lot of them would be crying and saying ‘I’m sorry,’ and me [asking] ‘Why — what happened?’ and I was scared of that until I did it.”

On whether or not he will be performing all songs on the album, he says, “I’m going to start by really going for it. And facing it head on and seeing what happens.”