That CD found Incubus scaling back on the sonic density of "S.C.I.E.N.C.E." and finding a more melodic niche within a hard-hitting style that still drew strongly on funk and hip-hop rhythms and guitar-driven metal music. With Brandon Boyd asserting himself as a first-rate singer, rockers like "Nowhere Fast" and "When It Comes" favored melody over fury, and the group even delved into acoustic pop on "Drive," and some drum and bass tones on the otherwise hard-rocking "Pardon Me."
The move paid big dividends for the Orange County, Calif., band. "Make Yourself" became a multiplatinum hit behind singles like "Pardon Me" and "Drive."
The revamped musical direction was something that turntable artist and DJ Chris Kilmore said he and his bandmates (Boyd, guitarist Mike Einziger, bassist Dirk Lance and drummer Jose Pasillas) realized they needed to pursue well before actual writing and recording began on "Make Yourself."
"I think what it was was when we were touring behind 'S.C.I.E.N.C.E.,' it was seeing all these other bands out there who were ripping off bands like Korn and the Deftones and 311, bands that we enjoy and that we love," Kilmore said. "We would go out and do our own thing; we'd have to take local openers or some [band] we could pay, and they would just be ripoffs and not do anything new or creative or interesting. I think when we realized that and we went into the studio to write 'Make Yourself,' we said 'OK, let's not do that.'"
Now the process of creating its own musical niche has continued as Incubus rides high on the much-anticipated follow-up CD, "Morning View." The CD went platinum in just 10 weeks after its release last year, and continues to rack up sales behind the current modern rock radio hit, "Warning."
"I don't think it's similar at all," Kilmore said, comparing the two CDs. "I think if you listen to 'Make Yourself,' the [next-to-last] song is 'Pardon Me.' I think where 'Pardon Me' leaves off, that's where [the new album] 'Morning View' picks up.
According to Kilmore, if anything, "Morning View" brings more extremes into the Incubus sound. On the one hand, he feels some songs rock harder than anything the group has recorded before.
"'Circles,' it's extremely heavy," Kilmore says. "...also 'Blood On the Ground' is another really hard song. Those two together are like probably harder than any song we've ever written."
Then on the other side of the spectrum comes the song "Mexico," which was recorded live with just Boyd singing backed by an acoustic guitar and cello. "Just A Phase," with its gentle piano and strings, is another textured ballad.
Another goal, Kilmore says, was to try to bring some of the dynamics and flow of a live Incubus show to the "Morning View" CD.
"As far as our live songs, we're very concerned with taking people on a musical journey, keeping them interested," he says. "If you have one motion the whole entire time, no matter if it's everybody jumping, if everybody was jumping for the whole entire concert for an hour and a half, they'd get bored. We try to relay that into our albums, I think, as well. It's the same type of attitude. We really want to take people, I don't want to use the analogy of a roller coaster, but it's sort of like that. You have high points and you have low points...And that's how I think we look at this album, even more so than 'Make Yourself.' That's why we have those extremes." S
Incubus plays the Richmond Coliseum, 601 East Leigh St., on Sunday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or by calling 262-8100.
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