With more than 20 million albums sold, American rock band Incubus released its eighth studio album, 8, this year, and will play the Santa Barbara Bowl this October during its worldwide tour. Upon the release of its 1999 album Make Yourself, which included the poignant hit “Drive,” the L.A. band garnered international commercial success. The perfect blend of melancholy, apprehension, and adept orchestrations, Incubus’s accessible rock is excellent for singing along to while driving or blasting while cleaning your house, and their softer tunes are ideal for working through angsty moments. In a recent phone interview with the Santa Barbara Independent, drummer Jose Pasillas shared how the new album came about and discussed the band’s dynamic as a whole.
Can you describe the genesis of your newest album, 8? We started working on an EP in 2014, so the idea behind that, which was Trust Fall (Side A) was to put out an “A” and a “B.” So we put out Side A in 2015 and toured that summer. And we just found it to be kind of difficult to juggle writing, rehearsing, and touring. We kind of did that on and off in 2015. At the end of that summer run, we were planning on going back to do a “Side B,” but we thought, why don’t we just put our efforts into doing a full record instead? So we started doing … 8. It took a good year. We approached it a little differently. We started with Mike [Einziger] and Brandon [Boyd] working together, coming up with a really solid foundation, like a vocal or a melody, and they worked in that form for six to eight months. And once they had a handful of songs, we started to meet as a band and rehears[e]. In 2016, we started putting the record together and recorded it. It took us more time, but it is one of my favorite records to date.
How has this year treated you, after releasing your eighth full-length album? There’s been so much excitement coming from within the band because the music that we put together for this album really excited all of us. This summer was amazing. So many people came out, and we had a successful tour.
How collaborative is the songwriting process for Incubus? Do you each write music on your own? For the most part, Mike will come in with a couple of guitar parts. There’s such a chemistry with us; literally put us in a room and we just start jamming. If Mike comes in with a couple parts, it’s easy for us to throw stuff on top and start crafting. For 8 specifically, we changed it up and started with a strong vocal and a strong rhythm. It happens in many different ways. For the most part, we are in a room, as a band, putting pieces together to formulate the entire song.
What are some of your most prominent musical influences? Musically, it’s pretty much everything I grew up listening to. My favorite way to listen to music is to shuffle [songs]. I also gain inspiration from painting and drawing and my family, the Santa Monica mountains where I live, and nature. It’s different for each one of us, for sure.
Incubus has performed all over the world. What was a highlight of your international experience? South America is fairly new territory for us. Going [there] for the first time, we played arenas, and everyone that came out to these shows, their enthusiasm was off the charts. Incredible. That struck us to the core. How did we not come to this sooner? We’ll be going back relatively soon.
Incubus plays Thursday, October 5, 6:30 p.m., at the S.B. Bowl (1122 N. Milpas St.). Call 962-7411 or visit sbbowl.com.