“We wanted something a lot more energetic, aggressive and way more rocking…” - hmv.com talks to Incubus
It’s been six years since their last LP If Not Now, When?, but Incubus are back now with a new album, this time simply titled 8, it being their eighth album and all.
We spoke to drummer Jose Pasillas about making the album and the big role Skrillex played in bringing the songs to life...
How did you want 8 to move on from what you’ve done in the past?
“Our last record was a much slower, more sombre record and this time we wanted something a lot more energetic, aggressive and way more rocking. We’ve definitely achieved that, and then some!”
Can you talk us through the writing of this album?
“We started writing about two years ago. We started writing first for our EP, Trust Fall (Side A), and the plan was to do a Side B and a Side C, but we found writing music and touring too difficult. So after we got back from tour we decided to work towards a record and Mike (Einziger, guitarist) and Brandon (Boyd, vocals) started on that. They came in with a string of ideas and then that got thrown into the melting pot, then we went back to the music we’d written for the EPs, clipped and took away the best bits and that all became 8…”
You worked with Dave Sardy and Skrillex on the album’s production, how did that work?
“This record came together in phases. First Mike and Brandon got together, then we got together as a band and put the songs together, then Sardy came in oversaw that, he refined what we were doing and when we recorded he was there pushing and challenging us, acting more like a traditional producer. It wasn’t until after everything was done and mixed that Sonny came in.”
And what role did he play?
“He took one of the songs and sprinkled a little bit of his magic dust on it. It was nothing major, he refined ‘Familiar Faces’, he clipped it and made it more concise, we loved it and after he’d worked on it we put it on the record and it really stuck out so we asked him to go and remix the rest of them! He really took the mixes to the next level!”
Sounds like quite a unique process, you guys must be used to working with one producer for the whole duration of making an album?
“It was completely unexpected but wound up feeling much more natural. He just asked us if he could mess with the stems of the song and he just came back an hour later with an amazing mix. Seeing how someone from a different world approach our music was a really eye-opening experience, he’s a total genius.”
What kind of album do you it is lyrically?
“I think Brandon’s focus is very current, be that personal or political. There’s a lot of focus on how connected we are as a race, and yet never more disconnected. There’s government, how it treats us, how we’re bent and not broken, but there’s a lot to think about. He touches base with a lot, it’s a very weird time for the world.”
When did you decide to call the album 8?
“There were a handful ideas, but I think Mike and Brandon came up with it. It’s a record that’s really invigorated and inspired us and we wanted a simple title.”
You’re eight records deep now, how are you going to pick your live setlist with all those songs?
“It’s very difficult to write a setlist now and we can’t please everyone, but are we able to use the data we have. If you use any of the streaming services then they can tell you, in any city, what song most people are listening to, so we’ve played with the idea of digging into that. We’ll practise 70 or 80 songs and then see how we work it down to 20 to 25 songs. We’ve been playing this whole record and it’s been really fun in rehearsals, but we can’t do that on tour.”
When might we see you back in the UK?
“Not this year. We’re doing a summer run, heading down to South America, we will be back, but we want to spend some time in Europe and we’re looking at the start of 2018.”