When Brandon Boyd looks back on the making of Incubus’ new Epic album, “Morning View,” the band’s frontman says he’ll always see it as an unforgettable experience shared with his best friends.
Over a period of six months, Incubus’ five members — Boyd, joined by guitarist Mike Einziger, bassist Dirk Lance, drummer Jose Pasillas, and turntable artist Chris Kilmore — lived together at a Malibu, Calif., beach house where the set (released Oct. 23) was written and recorded. The lifestyle, Boyd says, was something out of a dream.
“Every day, we’d wake up, eat breakfast, sit in the sun, and then walk into the living room, pick up our instruments, and play sort of at our leisure. We’d do it every day because we wanted to. It couldn’t have been any better.”
Boyd continues, “Recording and writing music in rehearsal studios, which is normally where we would have done it, is the antithesis to creative energy. There are no windows. There are gray padded walls. When you want to take a break, you walk out into like a back alley in an industrial area of some kind. Then you can hear the crappy cover band next to you. You have to wait for them to stop in order to demo anything. It’s actually quite depressing.”
The Malibu environment, on the other hand, lent itself perfectly to creativity. From its opening strains to the closing chorus, “Morning View” melds hard-rock slashes with melodic ballads to create a multi-tiered listening experience.
“I Wish You Were Here,” the first single, embodies just such a duality with its edgy guitar riffs and poetic lyrics. Boyd’s opening lines — “I dig my toes into the sand/The ocean looks like a thousand diamonds strewn across a blue blanket/I lean against the wind/Pretend that I am weightless/And in this moment I am happy” — longingly and effectively evokes a timeless moment.
One of Boyd’s personal favorites, “Just a Phase,” is an unpredictable track with multiple tempo and stylistic shifts. He says that the song “very, very, very much rekindles the energy of that house because it’s a moody piece. The way it changes time signatures brings me back to that house. It’s an important song on the record.”
Boyd also points out the importance of the last track, “Aqueous Transmission,” because it sums up the album as a whole. The song’s Asian cultural influences and lilting lyrical delivery is offset by a closing chorus of frogs recorded near the Malibu house.
Jock Elliott, director of marketing at Epic, believes that Incubus has continued to define its own rock format with this album. “It’s one of the best albums I’ve heard out of a young band. It’s a rock album that’s eclectic. There’s no song that you skip through. It’s not cookie-monster rock.”
Fans searching for the new album in stores can look the image of “Chuck,” the mustached man who has appeared in some form in all of the band’s previous album materials, dressed as a hot dog vendor on a life-sized bin in retail outlets.
To introduce the album, Incubus performed on a live radio broadcast that reached 200 stations nationwide via Westwood-One on the album’s release date. The gig at Sony Studios in New York came during a brief break in the band’s three-month national tour.
In conjunction with the tour, AT&T Wireless has set up a contest where those purchasing a wireless phone and activating service online, can win two VIP passes to one of 30 Incubus shows. The tour is set to last through Dec. 1 in Los Angeles.