Backstage at Rock City, illusions of the glamourous settings that all these famous rock star types are subject to can soon be shattered, thank God. The Incubus dressing room is a small non-descript place. Except it's now about to have yours truly attempt another Earth shattering interview. Or something like that.
It's the third night of Incubus first UK headlining tour, indeed their first headline dates outside of the states. The first night in Bradford surprised the band I think. The size and passion of the crowd. Indeed, all the dates appear to have exceeded expectations, being either sold out in advance, or selling out on the night. Tonight has seen as many people crammed into the smaller Disco 2 section of Rock City as there was a few months ago for the Tura Satana gig. Too many people. You end up not being able to see a damn thing. Still, it would seem it means it will be the last time the band need to play this smaller portion of the venue.
Entering the dressing room then, I'm greeted by DJ Lyfe, who soon leaves, Brandon, and his girlfriend Ginger. Following the introductions, Brandon puts me at ease about doing this thing. After the gig, Rock City has done it's division. Two parts become the Rock Night, while the smaller annexe, which just happens to be above the dressing room, becomes home to some kind of 80's like thing. I think. Anyway, lots of people going in that wouldn't be seen dead going into a Rock Club, but are happy to go into the annexe. In the dressing room tt makes for, at times, a noisy combination of 80s pop stuff, and current new metal. And also makes it sound like things are going to collapse at any given moment.
So anyway, we start this interview. Despite wanting to avoid as many cliches as possible, I still end up dealing in them, and ask the standard, 'so how's the tour going?'
This is the third show of our first tour, headlining tour, of the UK, and we really had no idea what was going to happen, that's why we booked these smaller venues to cover our asses. And all the venues have sold out, so we far exceeded any of our expectations. So it's been like, we can come back and do bigger venues next time.
The full length album, of course, is called S.C.I.E.N.C.E. I wondered if I was just being exceptionally stupid and missing something, or if there was a reason for labelling it in this way?
There's no particularly one meaning behind it. We chose the name S.C.I.E.N.C.E. because doing the album for us, took us back to like the time in school in science class when you mixed your first chemical compound and it exploded and you'd made something. Y'know, it was created by your own hands. And we called it S.C.I.E.N.C.E. as a result of those feelings being introduced to us. And the reason we made it an acronym was to make people think twice y'know. We don't have one set meaning on it. We actually encourage people to make up their own meanings and send them to the label.
Which is probably a bit different to what I anticipated. The lyrics to me indicate a little distrust if you like of technology, yet this is seemingly contradicted by the inclusion of PC-ROM multimedia work and the bands website.
Yeah absolutely, Brandon seems to agree with the questioning of technology. I believe deep down inside that technology can be very very beautiful and cool. If you combine technology with humanity, and with art, technology with a clear vision, instead of just going off and just like doing things not knowing where they're going to take you and fucking things up in the process. You know, there's certain technologies like cloning technologies, where they increasingly have the ability to re-create humans, and knowing the American government, they'll probably create, like clones that can fight, and they'd have a lesser meaning than clones that are created as slaves. There are so many things that most likely the people in power would do with certain technologies, and they already do do with them that's completely wrong and going in totally the wrong direction. Technology can be a very beautiful thing when used correctly, and that's what we're trying to do. We're into the computers, we use the Internet as a way to stay in touch with the kids who like our music. We have a website, and have many sub websites, which is like kids that just make their own. So it's (the album) called S.C.I.E.N.C.E. but it's sort of, like I said, back to the simple science, just pure discovery with humanity in mind. Because once technology surpasses humanity then we're like, just might as well blow ourselves up.
Now, it may just be that I have a strange mind, but I also think that I detect references within the songs and the lyrics, to such things as UFO's, and to the ideas of spirituality, which is something that I'm just trying to come to terms with, and develop an understanding of. So, do you have a strong belief in any of this, the spirituality ...
That's cool that you're discovering that. I've been reading about the Pleiadians and stuff like that. Probably the last 4 or 5 years, I've been introduced to a lot of the literature that may be considered new age literature, that's like the stuff that inspires my lyrics. I wouldn't like to say I have strong beliefs in anything, because I really believe that anything is possible, so I like to keep my mind open to any possibility. One of the strongest beliefs that I have though I think, is in extra terrestials because I've seen extra terrestials and I've been dreaming about them lately and like, for a good majority of my life. And it's just experiencing them. I've seen craft at like close distance, and with other people around. I saw them when I was like 13 years old, and you can imagine, it's very impressionable. And seeing them at such a very young age, and having verification right there of 4 other people and me going "look at that, what the hell was that?" Is it from another planet, or a different dimension. Who knows. That just kind of built things in my mind to help, right, wrong stuff like that.
That's your shirt man some guy that's just wandered in points out to Brandon, holding up his shirt, which apparently he, er, kind of borrowed from the stage, and is now busy trying to get everyone, including now it's previous owner, to sign. It is! I know, you're going to sign it for me aren't you? he says as he settles into the nightmare from elm street chair. A chair from which, it appears, after you sit, there is no escape, and it slowly devours you, as you sink from view. Or something very similar. But there's no pen. One is eventually found, which doesn't initially work, but finally, the shirt is signed. Just don't wash it, warns Brandon.
So yeah, a lot of that stuff has inspired my writing. I haven't seen a UFO in, over a year. When was Hale Bop? Remember the comet, last year? he asks Ginger, who agrees. That was the last time that I saw one, at a place called Top of theWorld, near my house in the valley. There was this huge, just five lights. It was actually all over the news too. It was completely silent. Hale Bop was at the top, and we're trying to take pictures of it, and I'm like "Ginge, take picture of that". So she went over and left the shutter open, and what came out was just a streak across the sky, but it was 5 lights. And it was basically, like this big, covering the whole valley. It covered, what like 3 city blocks reckons Ginger. And we were like. "is it a blimp?" But then you could see it was flat, cos you could see the buildings. It was really cool.
Not normally a conspiracy theory sort of guy, but I wonder if he believes that the American government is guilty of trying to cover up reported sighting and meetings with extra terrestials. At this point Mike enters the room, the wonders of Rock City amusing him. THIS PLACE IS WEIRD. LIKE WALK INTO ONE ROOM AND THERE'S THESE OLD PEOPLE AND IN THIS OTHER ROOM THERE'S THE LIKE THESE GOTH PEOPLE, he says, before settling down to talk to the victim of the Elm Street Chair.
Yup laughs Brandon (about the conspiracy theory, not the people in Rock City). I think they say that if there was, then it's in the interests of national security. They basically seem to think that if they let a situation certification out into the open, like anarchy rules. But I think that maybe we need a little bit of chaos to round things down. I think a shock like that to the system, just if they basically let it out that yes, we've known about extra terrestials for years. The confirmation, it would in a sense be like when people first saw the images of the Earth from space y'know! That really started changing things, because people had not actually seen the world on which they live in this way. It actually helped people make another evolutionary step, because it showed there was a different version of Earth than people had seen. And if people are presented with facts like that, it would, in a sense, be another evolutionary step, because if they then told the children about this, they'd be even more aware, and possibly we could make contact and create like an inter planetary exchange thing. We can perform inter-planetary concerts!
A proper pen has now arrived, and so Brandon signs the shirt properly, though the way the chair is consuming the guy, it may all be a waste of time anyway! My train of thought on the conversation has broken a bit, so the safest thing is to return to the album. I know that makes all this disjointed, but hey! Anyway, the album kinda surprised me, in that it seemed heavier than the Enjoy Incubus mini-album. So I wonder if this was a deliberate move, or just that way things turned out?
I think so to, Brandon agrees on the heaviness aspect. It was a natural progression. First off, Enjoy Incubus was a collection of demos that we did, when we were basically in high school. That music was written between the ages of 16 and 18, so it was like a snapshot of us at 17, 18 years old, where the sound is similar but we're still in the developing period. So we put it out just so that we could tour. We got signed, and it was like "you can put out what you have and tour, or wait this amount of time and write and write, then tour early next year." And we were like, we wanna get started now. So we put that out even though it wasn't the most fair representation of us at that time, but it served its purpose. And then when S.C.I.E.N.C.E. came out, we could introduce a little bit more of certain elements. S.C.I.E.N.C.E. is a lot more representative of who we are right now and where we have been for the last few years.
There's a bit of an interlude. And they ask the name of the zine. A quiet murmour reveals Y.A.Z. I know, I need it needs a decent name, but I can't figure one. Help me out someone. Mike 's conversation with Elm Street victim is becoming increasingly loud, and talk Mike mentions that next time, they've been told they can play upstairs in Rock City. Which will come as a relief to anyone who was at this gig. It was packed. Just as busy as the Tura Satana gig before Xmas. I don't know what the deal is when gigs are booked, but it seems like a so-called name band can be backed to play upstairs, sometimes in the forlorn hope that they will sell tickets based on name. Maybe a band like Incubus they don't expect that. But then there's the walk-up on the night, which results in an overcrowded Disco 2. But they seem relaxed enough about the idea that maybe the promoters or whoever, didn't want to take the chance on putting them on in the big hall.
Brandon also asks how Coal Chamber were, saying that he's never seen them before. Well, to be honest, having seen them, <cough> a few times <end the cough>, they get a little boring. I was there mainly of course to see HWP, at least after I'd seen 1 CC gig.
We're good friends with Human Waste Project. It's just, they've got something, they're rad.
You may have seen similar to the next question if you've read one of the other interviews. But I'm going to ask it anyway here as well. The difference between American and British crowds?
The crowds here are so much more willing to accept. First of all they're more successful and enthusiastic, they jump more, which is a more successful crowd y'know. They keep the rhythm, and in the States they do that to sometimes, but a lot of the time there's a lot of like, machismo going on with big football players on the floor starting this pit. So what happens is this big gap opens up cos there's only a certain amount of people that wanna run around and punch each other, y'know.
It's a bit of a struggle, but evenutally the Chair gives up it's occupant who leaves the room, along with Mike, who sees the recorder and apologises for how loud they were talking. S'ok, I could hear most of it :)
So yeah, when we come over here, I think that we know the crowd are gonna be more enthusiastic. They sing the words here. But you never know, we haven't been home for 3 weeks and apparently album sales have been picking up pretty good back home, so when we start doing shows then who knows. But we love it, we love coming over here. A lot of bands really don't like it, cos they don't know what to eat, they don't like the exchange of money. But we've gotten this tour, and we've really learnt to like, appreciate the difference in culture, and the way the kids react to the band.
It's weird, I often find British crowds are pretty apathetic towards new bands, especally it seems, British bands. It's one of the reasons I've asked this question in a few interviews now. I dunno, maybe we just react to American bands. Anyway, on a similar vein, we talk a bit about the reception Far earnt at this very venue when they supported The Deftones back in October last year, and how, personally, I was (pleasantly) suprised at the reception.
They're going to go far (groan), hence the name. There's something special about that band too. Jonah gives off a lot of emotion on the stage. They're kind of a good match with the Deftones. I haven't seen the Deftones in what, 2 years. And that was only once when they were like, this big he indicates a not very big band! and they seemed tight, and I love their albums too.
Ok, I'm really taking up a bit of time, which I guess really he needs to himself, so we'll try and bring this to a finish, with some, possibly trivial questions. One that I've seen asked quite a few times on, shh, say it quietly, The Internet, is about They Guy that appears on the album sleeves. Who is he?
That guy is Charles Mulhorn (at least that's how it sounds, could be Mohorn, or something very similar). None of us know him. We got permission to use his picture and we understand that he was a top level CIA agent trainer. He used to train rookies, and so he was like a top level intelligence officer and his cover was being a model and actor! So he was very undercover.
Which is pretty different to the rumour that keeps circulating about it being Brandon's father. He's heard that one too. Hey, I don't know, he could have been winding me up for all I know. In a way, maybe I hope he was, just to preserve the mystery! Take from it what you will.
So, now a not so trivial one maybe. Now I have no real love for politicians, apart from thinking they're all lieing little runts. But this week has been dominated by the allegations of old Clinton doing this that and the other with anyone and everyone, and lieing to all about it. I wondered if Brandon thought he was guilty, and if, lets' be honest, American and the rest of the world even really cares?
I haven't really been following it man, we don't see much TV so it's difficult. But from what I've heard, but first of all I think that even though he's the President, he's still human, and if he did, then I couldn't care less. Second of all I think that if you want to be President of the United States, or to be, you have to be a power hungry murderer, probably. I don't know they guy, so maybe I'm just speaking y'know out of ignorance, but most of our Presidents have had hidden agendas . Y'know, I have a great deal of distrust for the American government, for some reason I always have, so, if he really did sleep with them, I couldn't care less. I was never really fond of any of our recent Presidents. I wasn't alive at the time, but the one President that seemed to strike something with me was Kennedy. He was one of the only Presidents who wasn't an initiated freeman, my level of trust is a little more in him y'know. I don't really care though. I sort of live on the outskirts of the American society, I'm not a patriot by any means at all y'know. But there again, maybe that's what true American kids are like today. They're anti-politics ad whatever. We're all a mixture of different races y'know and minds are opening up now. I don't know what that has to do with the President, but he's gonna get canned anyway.
Ok, finally, after a successful tour, plans to return.
May, is the immediate response, to do a tour and hopefully some festivals. After a warning that May isn't always the warmest month of the year over here for outdoor festivals, it's time to leave the guy in peace, and possibly the most disjointed interview I've done yet is over. And as I leave, there are still kids waiting outside to get the autographs.