Incubus fans were among the masses disappointed back in March, when officials pulled the plug on the longstanding rock festival, Sonisphere. But the Californian quintet, who were billed to support headliners: Queen and Faith No More, were loathed to let their UK fans down. And within hours of the cancellation, filled the tour date with their own headline gig at London’s O2 Brixton Academy.
The band, who first met in high school 20 years ago, have released seven studio albums to date and sold more than 13 million copies of them worldwide.
Music-News’ Victoria Dillingham caught up with the charismatic frontman Brandon Boyd ahead of the band's gig at Brixton on Monday to talk about his latest projects. And to find out if the singer/songwriter-cum-author & artist might soon be adding 'father' to his never ending titles and talents.

Music News: It’s 16 years since you were first signed as a band and 20 years on from when you first started out together. How has the music scene changed over this time?

Brandon Boyd: “It really could not be any more different than it is today. I think the only one thing that has remained consistent, is people’s desire to listen to live music. It’s head-spinning just how much it’s changed. In some ways it’s easier now to promote yourself. I can remember me and my drummer drawing flyers for our gigs when we first started out. Then me and Michael, my guitarist would drop the flyers through every door on our mailing list. That said, people have much shorter attention spans (me included) now. So, it’s easy to reach out to more people, but harder to really ‘reach’ people, if you get what I mean?”

MN: You’ve become somewhat of a role model to young people over the years, first and foremost as a frontman and author, and more recently as an artist. How do you continue to be true to yourself in terms of the work you produce?

Brandon: “That’s a really good question. What I like to do is forget my responsibilities (as I like to think of them) and totally tune out to try and make sure I’m always true to myself and my creativity. And if there’s one thing I hope people, young and old get from my work it’s a sense of sincerity.”

MN: I understand your mother was an artist and you were encouraged to be creative from an early age. How do you sustain the same levels of creativity now you’re older?

Brandon: “I think my creativity for me is something that is constantly evolving. Even when I’m not creating something, I am going through the process. I might be in a stage of ‘absorption’ where I’m really listening and observing what I am experiencing. Or I could be ‘adjusting’ which is thinking and processing what it is I’ve seen or heard. Then there’s the state of ‘reverie’ in which I can look a bit like a zombie, and I’m making sense of everything I’ve taken in. And then there’s ‘light’ which is when it’s all gone through my own filter and I’m interpreting it all.”

MN: Who are your biggest influences at the moment?

Brandon: "I’ve been extremely lucky to have worked with lots of interesting and truly talented people. It’s hard to pinpoint anyone in particular. There are times when I hear or see others that are so much better than me and feel I’m not good enough at what I do. And other times when I feel humbled and lucky to have a voice to express what I feel. There are lots of turn-of-the-century (by that I mean last century, not this) artists that I’m really into. Also a couple of photographers, Helen Newton and Tasya Van Ree whose work I love and am following at the moment."

MN: What advice would you give to other musicians, looking to break out of music and explore other art forms?

Brandon: “I love talking to artists and musicians about my process and hearing about theirs. There are moments in any creative project where a person can feel totally detached, very alone and isolated. I’d like to tell people that we all go through it, it’s normal. And if you can push through and brave the moments of darkness, there’s a whole lot of light to discover the other side of it.”

MN: What’s next for you in terms of art work?

Brandon: “My 3rd book is now finished. It kind of follows on from the last, but it will also include some print-ink, water colour and photography pieces of mine. I’m hoping it’ll be out in the next 6-8 months.”

MN: And music?

Brandon: "I still write music and I always will. I don’t know if what I’ve written will form part of a new Incubus album or another solo album for me. We’ll have to see."

MN: Is it true that you named your knees and if so why?

Brandon: “Yes, the right one is called ‘Chet’ and the left one is ‘Garrison’. Why? I guess you could say marijuana has funny effects on people.” (laughs).

MN: Will LA always be home? Given your travels, do you think you’ll ever relocate?

Brandon: “I’ve spent most of my life in LA, so it’s very much home. But I’ve had dreams of a more rural life and I can see myself relocating to a home in the woodlands, maybe even on a farm. I’d love it, especially as kids come along.”

MN: Sounds like kids are definitely on the cards...

Brandon: “Yes. Very much so! I think having children is one of the most beautiful things a human can do. It’s what we’re meant to do after all.”

MN: If there’s one underlining message you’d like people to get from your music and/or artwork what would it be?

Brandon: "If there’s one think I’d like people to take from our songs, it’s the constant pursuit of a higher consciousness. If people get that from listening to my music, I will be ecstatic! I love the idea of being a participant of the evolution of human consciousness.”

MN: You’re renowned for your tattoos. All of which have meaning to you and I understand you let long-term friend and band member Jose Pasillas design for you. Given how much your fans must mean to you, would you ever consider launching a comp to find the best tatt designed by a fan and committing it to ink?

Brandon: “Haha, that idea has never come up. It’s a brilliant idea. I guess it could work. I tell you what, if we ever decide to do, it I’ll be sure to credit it as your idea and have the name ‘Victoria’ etched just underneath it.”

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