Incubus on New Album’s Inspiration: ‘We Live in Dark Times, My Friend’

"We live in dark times, my friend. So what we're doing as artists is acting as a mirror to culture."

By Jay Tilles

It’s been almost six years since Incubus released If Not Now, When? so it’s no surprise fans have been chomping at the bit to get their hands on the band’s recently announced eighth album aptly titled 8.

Fans are especially curious about the involvement of Sonny Moore – aka EDM superstar Skrillex. Guitarist Mike Einziger posted photos of the two together, leading fans to wonder if the album would venture off in an electronic direction. Although the band won’t say how Moore was involved, or if he was involved with the album at all. And, after hearing the first single, “Nimble Bastard,” fans’ fears have been allayed. The straight-ahead rock track harkens back to the band’s earliest and heaviest incarnations. The band is confident those who like the single will enjoy the album.

Although they’d been “messing around with a bunch of musical ideas” for the past few years, the album didn’t start actually coming together until about a year ago and only recently coalesced into a cohesive body of songs.

“It didn’t feel like an album until the very end,” says Einziger. “This was also the first time we’d worked with Dave Sardy as a producer.” The band says that Sardy pushed them harder than they’d been pushed, maybe ever. “Sardy really let me have it,” admits Boyd. “I’d gotten so accustomed—over the years—I would know what I wanted to do as a singer and the melody in my head and I would go into the studio and just sort of nail it in one or two takes.” Boyd sighs as if still feeling the pain from the recording sessions. “Dave had me do it in 400 takes and took 398 as the take.” Despite the fact that Sardy broke him down, Boyd found love and respect for the producer because he’s thrilled with the outcome.

Although fans have heard the first single “Nimble Bastard,” the question is, what does the rest of the album sound like? Boyd shares his perception of the record. “People have been asking and I say it’s dark and lovely.” Boyd and Einziger joke that the album should have been called Dark and Lovely instead of 8.

The album’s emotional content, Boyd explains, runs the gamut from good old-fashioned loneliness and isolation to paranoia, obsolescence, and aging. “But then there are also moments of pure unadulterated love and confusion.”

“We live in dark times, my friend. So what we’re doing as artists is acting as a mirror to culture here and there and hopefully offering little glimmers of hope through the joy in music we all have.”

8 is scheduled for release this Summer and Incubus will support the album with a 30-city tour kicking off July 6 at West Palm Beach’s Perfect Vodka Amphitheater, wrapping up at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre in October. Jimmy Eat World and Judah and The Lion will support.

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