Incubus Interview With Brandon Boyd: Reenergizing The Past, Present And Future

Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd didn’t really need to discuss how his group’s latest release, Monuments And Melodies, a greatest hits collection, charted at the number five position on the Billboard Top 200. Although that type of quantified adoration would delight any singer, Boyd seems more attuned to the messages delivered by his muses than stats and figures. “It really comes from nothing,” admits the Calabasas, CA, singer. “If it was anything it would be this fascination with the process of creativity. It’s a very interesting feeling that is evoked, and one that I have learned in my advancing years to follow. When I start to feel it, I’ll grab a paintbrush or I’ll grab the guitar, and let it do what it wants to do.”

Fortunately, Boyd together with guitarist Mike Einziger, drummer Jose Pasillas, and more recent coconspirators, DJ Chris Kilmore and bassist Ben Kenney have been letting their instruments do what they want, and contributing to the universal soundscape for over a decade. Boyd recalls a show that would particularly strike the interest of fans in the area, WSOU’s Boat Show, which Incubus headlined in 1999. “That could have so easily been one of the weirdest, worst shows and it ended up being really fun. That was like a Gilligan’s Island adventure, it was super memorable.”

Fast forwarding the calendar 10 years, and Incubus is headlining two evenings at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall. They’ve documented the details of what’s transpired over that span of time with the Vault. With the physical copy of Monuments And Melodies comes a code that allows you to download extra rarities such as mp3s and videos.

Boyd, who’s also a painter and author, discussed one of the new songs from Monuments And Melodies, “Black Heart Inertia,” and how it, along with many other of his lyrics, emerges as a tool of empowerment for the human sprit.

Lyrically ‘Black Heart Inertia’ is very positive. Would you say that’s your biggest challenge as a lyricist, to maintain a level of optimism?

Thank you for noticing. I appreciate that. No, actually I wouldn’t say that I have a good handle on what the biggest challenge is. Being a lyricist in and of itself is sort of a challenge, and that’s why it’s sort of interesting and continually fun. I mean, it’s never an easy thing to do. Sometimes things will just flow out and make sense right away, and sometimes they are more laborious and don’t make sense until years later. That being said, I am not consciously, most of the time, trying to portray a positive message, I think that it’s something that pushed through unconsciously. Like a lot of other things in the scope of the creative experience. It’s something from deep within, so to speak.

The video is one of the funniest and well-scripted ones that I have seen in a long time. Who came up with the concept?

Thank you. That was a little brainchild of mine. The director, Petro, and I got on the phone together, and I had liked what he had done previously, mostly because he didn’t have one definitive thing that he was good at. He’s good at adapting to different artists and artists’ styles, and he had written a treatment prior to the one that ended up being the video, and I wasn’t crazy about it. So I got on the phone, and I told him that it would be really fun to do like a comedy of errors and he was like, ‘Yeah, that’s a cool idea.’ Then I was like, ‘Let me call you back.’ I started getting an idea of the basic, rough draft of the video that you see emerged in about a half an hour, and then he and I tweaked it for a couple of days, and the rest is history as they say.

It seems like you were making fun of yourself in a way.

Absolutely, the most fun of all.