Iconic multi-platinum Los Angeles rock band Incubus have announced their first Irish shows in over three years which will see them play the Ulster Hall and Bord Gais Energy Theatre this September.
Since their formation in 1991, Brandon Boyd [vocals], Mike Einziger [guitar, piano, backing vocals], José Pasillas II [drums], Chris Kilmore [turntables, keyboards], and Ben Kenney [bass] have consciously and continually shifted their perspective with each subsequent album. Their recent eighth full-length album, the aptly titled 8 arrived at a significant milestone for Incubus—releasing exactly 20 years since their major label debut S.C.I.E.N.C.E. landed back in 1997. Mark Millar caught up with Ben Kenney to discuss the latest Incubus album the upcoming Irish shows + Guinness.
Incubus is coming to play your first Irish shows in over three years which will see them play the Ulster Hall and Bord Gais Energy Theatre this September. Are you looking forward to playing to the Irish crowd?
BK: Yeah, I can't believe its only been three years I feel that its been way longer than that. I'm looking forward to playing in Belfast - I'm stoked.
The Irish shows follow some key UK dates and a massive summer of festival appearances across the US. Do you enjoy playing the big festivals?
BK: I enjoy it all - I like doing big shows and small shows and doing them at the same time because they compliment each other.
What changes about how you work together as a band from tour to tour? Do you have set rituals or superstitions that are now integrated into your routines?
BK: No there's nothing superstitious that goes on its just a bunch of surfers playing rock music, and it ends up being simple and laid back most of the time.
In your current setlist for the tour, what's your favourite to play out right now? Does it vary?
BK: We have been pretty much touring for about a year and a half now consistently so I like playing something different - every night something will stand out to me. I probably improvise the most out of everybody in the band and get to experiment every single night on stage, and it doesn't upset things too much. (Laughs)
It's wind down time after a show how do you unwind or recharge?
BK: The shows are always exhilarating to play so I will try and find somewhere quiet and relax and get my head out of the noise for a little bit and maybe have a beer or something. When we get to Ireland - as cliche as it is I'm looking forward to having a fresh pint of Guinness. Its the only place in the world where it tastes at its full potential - Guinness doesn't export to the United States very well. (Laughs)
You are well known as a fantastic bass player. What inspired you to pick up the bass?
BK: It just fits in between guitar and drums, and I already played drums and Id played the guitar too, so it was the one thing that connected drums to the guitar - it completed music for me.
Which track off the new album means the most to you and why?
BK: It does change from time to time, but the song that I always get excited about is Undefeated because its triumphant and I like that feeling these days. (Laughs)
What are you most grateful for about being able to be a musician every day?
BK: I'm most grateful because this is what I wanted to do all of my life - this is my dream. And I'm most thankful because I was fortunate enough to see it through and to have people around me that wanted me to see it through. I've got a great family, and I've got really great friends, and a lot of people believed in me, I'm doing what I dreamt about doing, and that's practically impossible, so I'm grateful for that.
Do you have a record that you always return to?
BK: Yeah there is a couple of albums that I've been listening to for years, and I still don't get tired of them - one of them is Place Without a Postcard by Midnight Oil. I've been listening to that record for twentysomething years, and I still get excited every time I put it on, and there's still stuff that I find that's new inside of it that I haven't heard before which is crazy after all this time. There's also I against I by Bad Brains its a record that gets me excited because I heard it at the right place at the right time when I was thirteen or fourteen years old, and I never get tired of that energy - Yeah, those records are top of my list.
What have you been listening to recently that you could recommend?
BK: There's this band from Canada called Papermaps and their album is called Confessions to Each Their Own Rapture. I've been listening to this record for a couple of weeks, and their songwriting just messes me up so much because they have so much talent. Each song is entirely different, and each song has this playful powerfulness to it where its like they know what they are doing and in complete control of it and they're just playing with it, and I love it.
Has the band been writing any new songs since last years eight album?
BK: Yeah, we definitely have ideas but we haven't actually started laying down stuff for a new recording yet. A lot of it is just voice memos on different peoples phones. We will be in rehearsal, and we will start playing something, and often Brandon Boyd will pull out his phone and record it while we are playing in rehearsal - he's probably got a few hours of that on his phone right now.
Incubus’ new live Irish show follows some key UK dates and a huge summer of festival appearances across the US.
Tickets for Belfast £42 including booking fee
Tickets for Dublin from €55.65 including booking fee
Tickets for the ULSTER HALL are available:
In person at the Ulster Hall Box Office
By Telephone: 028 9033 4455
Book On Line: www.waterfront.co.uk
In person: From 100 Ticketmaster Outlets Nationwide
By Telephone (24 Hour): Northern Ireland – 0844 277 44 55
Book On Line: www.ticketmaster.ie
Please note €1/ £1 from every ticket sold goes to the band’s charity foundation http://www.makeyourselffoundation.org/