Bottomof The Hill Club in San Francisco, CA.
Interview of "INCUBUS"
In a small club in the industrialized section of San Francisco, I had the pleasure of interviewing a young band "INCUBUS". Based out of Los Angeles, they are a very innovative talented group of musicians that combined every possible definition of music.
Incubus has creative a powerful new sound. Label it as you will, rock, hip hop, jazz, rap -- these lads are going somewhere.
Their new album "S.C.I.E.N.C.E." (On Immorta1/ Epic) speaks for itself. It is experimenting to the fullest to achieve an original sound that catches you by surprise. They exploded on stage and consumed the audience with an over whelming variety of musical talents. With the exception of DJ Kilmore, the members of the band have been together since 1991. The band is composed of vocalist Brandon Boyd, lead guitarist Mike Einziger, bass Alex Katunich, drums Jose Pasillas and DJ Kilmore. This group Rocks.
Q: Was your new album "S.C.I.E.N.C.E" with its complex music changes, hard to record?
BRANDON: When we did "S.C.I.E.N.C.E.", we actually found it easier, because we used previous demos that we already had. It took about seven weeks to make.
Q: How did getting sign to record label come about?
BRANDON: We were approached by various labels and settled with Immortal, because they have the beauty of a small label, but the backing of Epic and Sony who have that power and girth to carry it on, and also 9' believe in us9~.
MIKE: Almost all the record labels knew we had been doing this for six years on our own. We put out our own CD and have been selling out clubs consistently for a long time. I don't think any of the record labels wanted to mess with that. They wanted to just keep hearing what we were doing, just on a higher level
BRANDON: During the making and actually recording the album, we only really saw our A & R guy (three times He came in, said "like good work guys" and bought us a pizza, and then left.
MIKE Yeah and we got to choose any songs we wanted on our albums and what order we wanted them in and everything.
Brandon: And we're showing them that that can worry. That we can be totally in control of miking
MIKE: It doesn't work for everybody but it works for us.
Q: I notice your songs "Vitamin" and "Idiot Box" capture the full potential of what your band can do.
BRANDON Those are the good versions of how we have always been. We used to have songs that had 300 parts and go on for 8 minutes. That was when we were young.
MIKE Yeah when we were younger we wanted to put our whole album material into one song. But now we have matured and know we don't have to do as much.
BRANDON I think the biggest influence on us was Binklefish,
who do go in many areas, as we do,
And their musicianship is incredible. They were influenced conceptually and what they were trying to do they would go basically on musical journeys in their music and they still do.
MIKE: I think back when we were really listening to them a few years ago, that1s when our music was going so scatterbrained. That's where we started. That's where we got our carbon base.
BRANDON: And then we went in our own areas where we would go off almost every song. Then there's that part where it breaks down and we do have a structure in every song.
MIKE: Call it chaos.
Q: Who has the jazz background?
ALEX: In school, I was in kind of a kickback jazz band. I didn't know how to read music and there were some people there that were serious musicians.
JOSE: It's more feeling than anything else is. There's less solidness and it's more groove and body. I think my main influences are Neil Peart from "Rush" and "Primus".
Q: Brandon, you come across with good vocal clarity, especially in the song "Anti-Gravitv". I think that makes your band stand apart from a lot of bands that are already in the upswing.
BRANDON: Thank you. Nowadays there are bands with a lot of screaming going on, and thats cool. But personally, for my taste, it's never spoken for me very well. As for the song Anti gravity", Mike came up with that catchy phase and helps out on vocals also I referring to guitarist Mike Einziger.
MIKE: Hey it's sounded a little like "Starsky & Hutch" T.V show!
Q: Mike I see you favor Paul Rood Smith guitars.
MIKE: Yeah, watching Santana when I was younger, had a big influence on me, and he plays a
P.R.S. guitar. Musically, I like Steve Vai and Bjork have influenced me also.
Q: I understand you did a little interview on seven string guitars with Steve Vai.
MIKE: Yeah, guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer from "KORN" and we met with Steve Vai for Guitar World Magazine and it went well. It was very exciting to meet Steve Vai.
Q: What comes first, the lyrics or the music?
MIKE: Its different everv time
BRANDON: Most of time the music is layed down first, or when were jamming, it just comes out!
Q. I noticed on this album "S.C.J.E.N.C.E." alot of your songs have explosive chords changes.
BRANDON we like to confuse.
MIKE we don't do it intentionally. I just get bored playing the same chords over and over.
Q: You have this incredible energy that thrives in your music.
MIKE: Exactly, when we were younger we never fitted into any music scene. There was all these punk and grunge bands around and I love that kind of music, but we never fit into like those type of shows you know, so we just did are our own kind of shows.
Q: Do you feel that you're starting a new kind of music?
Q: Anything in the works, like new songs or videos?
BRANDON: Not imediately. Our "A Certain Shade of Green" video is going to be released in
March and we're too but with the touring right now to do new songs. We also have a new D.J named
D.J. Kilmore with us 4 weeks now, that's working in just fine.
Q: Can you elaborate on why D.J. L) is no longer with you?
BRANDON: What was happening with the last DJ was not necessarily ego. What it was, was there wasn't that energy anymore and the cohesiveness wasn't there and it wasn't there for about half a year.
Q: D.J Kilmore, why don't you tell us about yourself.
J.D. KILMORE: I am from all over the place. I lived in Pittburg, North Village for a while, and then I moved to the country, Byersburg, Pennsylvania. I went to college in D.C. for six years and graduated with a radio and film degree. I was scooping ice cream and on a whim drove out to LA with a buddy and 1 stayed and figured out that being a production assistant on a set is the worst job in the world, and it was taking time away from my turntables, which is my love. I don't know the other DJ, but as my standpoint as a DJ I consider myself a turntablist and that is basically a new term that has come up. The turntable is a technical instrument. I look it as an instrument. It uses tone patterns, rhythm patterns, drum patterns and things like that.
Q: How do you compare to other bands, like "Rage Against The Machine" and Primus" etc.?
BRANDON: Ideally, we sound like nothing you ever heard before. They obviously have obviously influenced us, as we have influenced them. We never denied it. It's good music and it had profound effects on us when we were youngsters.
MIKE: Of course we have respect for those bands like "Rage Against the Machine" and11 Primus". We started playing together seven years ago and those bands were just breaking into the mainstream and we couldn't help being inspired b' them
Q: Brandon, I saw a quote that you said "to be a good Christian basically means to give up the reins of your life and let some unseen force do it for you". Do you want to elaborate on this?
BRANDON: I needed to question it at a really early age. I grew up Christian as well, but I don't really consider myself Christian or I don't really consideration myself anything, but I am a spiritual person. Positively agnostic. I am not an atheist. I believe there is something.
MIKE: I think all of us pretty much believe that if you do we, and do well by others, the favors will return. You yourself are responsible for the situations that occur in your life in some way or another and everything happens for some good reason
BRANDON: You attract like energies.
MIKE: We all know that we aren't going to be doing this for the rest of our lives. This band, we keep ourselves away from things that are going to hurt us potentially or hinder our creativity.
Q: Do you feel the music is turning in any way? The way they label things like Alternative?
BRANDON: Punk will always be there.
MIKE: "Nirvana" was a band that came up with the term alternative. I think they basically came up with the term alternative because of "Nirvana". That was the first time I ever heard that term. "Nirvana" was one of our all time favorite bands and had influence on us. Everything that came out before that was land rocker or hard rock and they blew the door open for other types of music.
Q: I couldn't help noticing your jamming during your sound check. It was actually pretty good.
BRANDON: Something that we have gotten really good at is storing the ideas and come up with ideas during sound check: Mike comes up with a guitar rift in his head and I have melodies in my head. We don't have portable recording equipment, which we are trying to invest in. You need to get good at. You have a moment when you are really good and it is gone by the time you get a pencil to the page. We are things to get better at that.
Q: So that direction does you think you are going?
BRANDON we are just trying to continue to evolve. Moving in the same direction as before.
Q: SO what's next?
BRANDON: After this we tour on the West Coast. We have a European tour May and June.
by Randy Cohen
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