Despite an admitted allegiance to the Family Values tour/Ozzfest aesthetic, Incubus DJ Chris Kilmore tells Billboard.com he could care less about the nu-metal movement from which the group was spawned. He points to the choice of “Nice to Know You” as the next single from Incubus’ recent Epic album “Morning View,” which offers a more refined approach toward the craft of songwriting.
“We want to keep it pretty much rock based, that’s where our roots are,” Kilmore says. “For example, releasing ‘Nice to Know You’ is a good decision or maybe ‘Circles’ or something like that — more rock-based songs, because there are definitely pop songs on ‘Morning View’ that could actually go to pop radio. That’s where I think if you get into that genre — pop music — you have to have a very solid base to stay there or else you’ll just be popular for a minute and then be gone.”
As evidenced by “Morning View” and its ubiquitous lead single “Wish You Were Here,” the Calabasas, Calif.-based band is intent on creating textures and movements based more on passion and emotions, and less on the angst of the day. This lightening up of material began on 1999’s “Make Yourself” and its subsequent tour, which included two Ozzfest stints (“We got to show our diversity to a lot of screaming, drunk mullet-heads with no teeth,” quips Kilmore).
Fans feeling abused by this obvious new direction may want to invest in the band’s 1997 album “S.C.I.E.N.C.E.,” which Epic has re-mastered and will re-release Tuesday (Nov. 20). The original version never made a dent on the Billboard charts, but has gone on to sell 370,000 copies in the U.S. since its release, according to SoundScan.
“We try to be different from [newer hard rock] bands intentionally, because a lot of what is out there is pretty much crap,” Kilmore says. “There are good bands — Korn, Deftones, and even Limp Bizkit. Limp Bizkit came along and they are good at what they do, but they sort of followed the steps of the Deftones and then blew up on top of that. I think a lot of bands saw that and said, ‘Oh wow, if we just make this style of music this way like this, we’re going to sell a lot of records and make a lot of money.’ And because of that, I think that makes that category and that genre weak.”
The band hits Seattle tonight (Nov. 14) and wraps its latest round of North American dates Dec. 1-2 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Hollywood, Calif. As firsthand witnesses to the destruction of Sept. 11 and one of the first bands to play in New York after the terrorist attacks, Incubus isn’t letting the uncertain international picture stand in its way. So far, seven European dates are confirmed after the new year, beginning Jan. 14 in Wolverhampton, England.
“We’re taking the stand that we’re not going to let some idiot who just wants to kill everybody affect our lives,” Kilmore says. “We’re just going to keep doing what we do, and hopefully, everything will be alright. I think it gave us an all-new perspective on the power of music and how it does help people get through bad times. Music is a universal healing agent.”