Incubus back for more
By RICARDO F. LO
"We like it when our stuff sounds as weird as possible,” said guitarist Mike Einziger of the Incubus sound when the group’s second album, S.C.I.E.N.C.E., was released in 1997, six years after the Incubus was born.
The Philippine Star
"We like it when our stuff sounds as weird as possible," said guitarist Mike Einziger of the Incubus sound when the group’s second album, S.C.I.E.N.C.E., was released in 1997, six years after the Incubus was born. "When we signed our record deal and started working on this album, we were worried that someone would come along and tell us to hold back, and try and make our songs a little more palatable. But that never happened. They kinda just said, ‘Do whatever you want.’ With that kind of support, we just let everything kind of run wild."
More than a decade later, the Incubus is making the same "weird" sound and their fans just love it, letting things just kinda run wild.
Einziger and the four other Incubus guys — vocalist Brandon Boyd, bassist Ben Kenney, DJ Chris Kilmore and drummer Jose Antonio Pasillas II — have reached multi-platinum sales with albums like Make Yourself, Morning View, A Crow Left Of the Murder and, their latest, Light Grenades. Among the band’s most successful singles are Drive, Wish You Were Here, Megalomaniac, Dig, Anna Molly and Pardon Me.
The Incubus will be back for another concert on Saturday, March 9, at the Araneta Coliseum. Boyd was interviewed "live" on NU107 by deejay Jay Santiago last Monday, March 3, and Funfare sat in. (Thanks to Network Operations Head Cris Hermosisima for sharing the "exclusive" with The STAR, one of the sponsors of the Incubus concert presented by Smart Buddy with MTV Music Television).
Was there anything you didn’t get to do the first time you were in the Philippines that you want to do this time around?
Wow, ahhh...Unfortunately, the first time we were there we didn’t have any time off. This time around, I’m afraid we won’t have much time to spare. After our concert, we are going to catch the first plane to go to another place. One day, though, I hope to go back as a tourist with a camera and see as many places as I can.
We’ll jump back to your childhood. You grew up in Calabasas, California in the L.A. County. I read somewhere that your parents had experience in entertainment and they fostered your kind of development as an artist. Can you tell us what exactly your parents did?
"When they were younger, my parents performed in the local theater in San Diego, California, after they met. My mom is a singer, she was an artist; my dad was an engineer. But they were both into acting. They have definitely never been stage parents, though. I’m just very thankful to them that they brought me and my brothers up in an atmosphere that was conducive to creativity."
You are busy with tours. How often do you get to go home and how long do you stay?
"The shortest of our tours now usually lasts for five weeks. We don’t have to slug it out like we did when we were new in the mid-’90s when we were on tour a lot, like for two years straight. We’ve been home since November last year, so we guys do get to spend time with our families. Things have sort of normalized now. And we prefer it that way."
When people hear the Incubus sound, they know instantly that it’s unmistakably you guys. How do you maintain that distinct Incubus sound?
"I guess we try to employ formulaic songwriting technique as much as we could. But if something starts to sound familiar to us, then we usually back away from it. Through the years, even as our music continues to evolve, we try to maintain what you call the ‘Incubus sound’."
You said in an interview that you loved all your songs. But in another interview you said that it depended on the day — like one day, you loved one song more than the other. For today, Monday, March 3, 2008, which song is your favorite?
"I’d say Oil and Water. There’s a certain purity to it. Yesterday, Oil and Water like brought me a nice cup of coffee. Today, it’s in my good graces."
In another interview, you said that what makes a great love song is sincerity and you can tell if a song comes from a sincere person or not. What do you think is the most sincere, the most heartfelt and the most truthful song?
"From any artist? Wow, hmmmm... We are so lucky because our generation is exposed to so many different kinds of music. The first one that comes to mind is You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling by The Everly Brothers. Great song, great lyrics. I highly recommend it."
In the video for Anna Molly, there’s a shot that pans across the tattoo at the back of your head...
"Oh, I think that was four years ago...hmmmm, six months ago, my skin got all blotchy...well, a day will come when I have children who will look back to having a dad who was scary. He, he, he, he!"
Last year, we saw several movies about the great musicians of our time, like I’m Not There about the life and work of Bob Dylan (played by Cate Blanchett) and Across The Universe which features songs by The Beatles. If a movie were made about Incubus, what song title would you choose?
"What a great question! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Yes, it’s a really good question. But just for the record, I don’t think we have become that interesting in the sort of grand scheme of things...that a movie about us would have to be written. Perhaps one day, if we continue doing good work, maybe..."
Any actor, dead or alive, you would like to play you in that movie?
"Oh well...I just saw There Will Be Blood which has just won a Best Actor award for him. So if I have to give you a name, it would have to be Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s a really, really great actor; I have a great respect for him."
At the recent Grammys, there were some criticism when Amy Winehouse was showered with awards. Some people were saying that the Grammys was sending the wrong message to young people that the music industry celebrates "bad behavior." What’s your take on that?
"Hmmmm...If I know her music, she’s very talented. And if I know the Grammys, it celebrates talent...They give awards to people for their being creative and not for their behavior. I think it’s just unfortunate that, you know, she’s putting herself through...I wish her well and I congratulate her."
In still another interview, you were asked about marijuana use and, I quote you, "Yes, it does open creative parts of your brain, at least to me. But some artists use drugs and it becomes a crutch. Then, they have to rely on chemicals that ultimately ruin their lives." Why do you think it’s hard for some people to draw a line between recreation and addiction?
"Hmmmm...That quote is pretty much accurate. I mean, I can pretty much stand behind it...I’ve never really been into drugs. There were certain drugs that I knew but didn’t care to experiment with. You know, the guys in my band that I grew up with, we always have the same mindset, which is really cool. There are some things that we would try and other things that we don’t. I think my opinion was formulated by the experiences of my close friends who were experimenting with some things and never stopped until they died from it...So I think that wherever people are, whether in America or the Philippines, I think they should have the right to choose whatever is good for themselves, but what should be in place is research and education. People should be allowed to experiment...But the fact remains that, although some people can take drugs their whole lifetime and it’s fine. But not everybody can take drugs. Everyone is different from everyone else...their emotional background is different, their spiritual beliefs are different..."
Brandon, can you name three to five non-musical sounds, or noises, that you absolutely love?
"The first thing that comes to mind is rain, the sound of rain. There’s also the sound of wind coming through a cracked window. Yes, I really enjoy the sound of New York City during the rush hour, coming through my open window, sounding like a beehive, a human beehive. Then, there’s the sound of the ocean. And, five, I do enjoy the sound of my pet dog; he’s so gentle."
(Note: The Incubus Live in Manila, Light Grenades Pacific Rim Tour 2008 at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night, March 9, is another live concert with MTV Music Television presented by Smart Buddy, with The Philippine STAR among the sponsors. Tickets are priced at P4,410, P3,938, P3,360, P1,995, P945 and P525. For inquiries, call Ticketnet at 911-5555.)