Tickets are on sale now for the recently announced Incubus tour which will hit Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane in February next year. The band is touring in support of their latest album ‘If Not Now, When?‘ which was released a few months back. Deborah Konopnicki recently caught up with Ben from the band for a chat. See below to have a read and re-cap tour dates and details.
Hey Ben. How are you?
Good thanks, Deb! How are you going?
Great thanks! What are you guys up to at the moment?
Right now we’re in Miami with a day off. We’ve just played a concert over here last night, which went pretty well. We’re pretty much smack in the middle of our U.S tour!
How’s it been going?
It’s been going really good which is really cool. We spent so much time off that this tour is sort of us getting everything back together and getting all of the gears moving again. It’s been great. There were a couple of crazy, crazy crowds like Boston; they were the best crowds that we’ve ever had in Boston. There’s been a few places, like the smaller cities that we’ve gone through where the crowds have almost been intimidating because they’ve just been singing along and screaming all of the words and everything. It seems like everybody’s really happy that we’re back out doing stuff; we’re kind of vibing off that energy.
It’s been quite a while since you’ve toured around properly so would you say that it’s been a positive return?
Yeah absolutely. It’s been relieving and impressive at the same time. There’s all those people that still really care.
It’s recently been announced that you’re coming back down to Australia to play your first shows here in quite a while. The tour itself isn’t for a little while but how are you guys feeling about coming back down here?
I can’t wait. The last time that we were here we did a festival and I had a great time – we had a blast! I just have this need to be down there. I want to be down there as much as I can. Any excuse to be in Australia is pretty much enough for me!
Yeah, I actually remember watching you play at the Soundwave festival what feels like years ago. From memory I think that it was the first national Soundwave Festival. Do you have any fond memories of that tour?
Yeah! I had been following this band The Fall Of Troy for a long time and they were on that festival so I finally got a chance to meet the guys and hang out with the band. I became really good friends with some of the band and have made friendships that last till this day. That was really special for me to play concerts with these guys and get to know them. I really admire their music a lot.
Considering that it has been a little while since you were here last what sort of a reaction are you expecting from your Australian fans? It sounds like you’ve had a very positive reaction in the states; are you expecting the same thing down here?
I try not to expect anything. That way you’re never disappointed and it’s good to be surprised. We hope that everyone down there is still prepared and is still checking in with us, so we’re going to find out real soon. There are a few fans that show up online that show their support but it’s hard to judge things by what happens on the Internet.
You’re going to be bringing down your brand new record “If Not Now, When?” which was released in July. How are you feeling about that record at the moment?
It’s still a force. We’ve been playing a lot of the songs and right now it’s all about the concerts that we’re doing. The songs that we’re playing off that record are falling right into place at our concerts. They’re finding a home there and getting good responses. Everything seems to be moving forward nice and steady. We’re psyched on the record.
It was quite a break in-between albums for you guys as well. The band had a break and yourself and Brandon released solo records. How was it getting back into the record writing process with the band after such a lengthy break?
Well everything was cool but we had to learn how to make music together again. It came together relatively fast and with a lot of ease but when you spend so much time doing something and then you start up again you kind of have to get your footing and remember how important it was to people.
When did you feel was the right time to come back together? Was there a goal in mind in terms of when you wanted the break to end or did you just want to wait and see what was right when the time came?
We felt like playing it by ear and last summer it all came together. We don’t prioritize anything above the band but it kind of came to a point where we’d done everything that we wanted to do personally and outside of the band and everybody was like “Are you ready to do this? Yeah! Let’s do this!” Last summer we started jamming together.
Did you find that you were missing the outlet that Incubus served for you?
Yeah. For me, I’ve got a really cool situation where I can play with the guys and play a few shows and then I can go off and do my own stuff. It’s very intimate and very hands on and I kind of live in the two worlds. For me, the balance is about everything that’s going on. I can go from one thing to the next and I just feel like my life is moving forward and I’m doing the right things. If I had some time off from all of it then I think that I’d go crazy.
You’re always working on your own solo material so do you think that the break gave you the best opportunity to explore that side of you musicality?
Yeah! I knew that I had time and I was putting out records steadily for a while. I knew that was the best time for this to happen and everything just kind of fell into place.
Obviously musical influences chance all of the time. Did you see that you influences were evolving during the time off with the band? Was there something different that you were able to bring to the table this time around?
I think that just being older was the biggest thing. I think that being older and more opened minded. It’s kind of like we’ve done a lot of stuff and we needed something new to do. We needed some common ground where all of us couple get on board and get behind something and that’s just how it ended. We knew that we needed to find something to make ourselves happy. Doing the same old stuff would have never done that. We kind of went out on a limb and were like “I don’t know if anybody is going to like this but we’ll see!”
Your previous record “Light Grenades” was a pretty popular release for you guys. Did you go into the process hoping to do as well as that record did or did you understand that time had passed and there was a slim chance that people would have moved on from the band?
Yeah, you’re definitely aware. The band has changed; every time that we put out a new record kind of has a different sound and a different feel. We’re definitely lost a lot of fans with every record but at the same time gained a whole lot of fans with every record. It’s just part of the course at this point. I bet that next time we put out a record there are going to be people that love this record that are going to be like “Why doesn’t this new record sound like the old record”? We always have a way of justifying it within ourselves. I mean, we’re getting older and getting into different stuff, you can’t stay in one time period forever.
The process was one that seemed to be quite rewarding for you. You all went into the studio with nothing written or recorded and just went from there. How did you find it all? Did everything click quite fast when you decided what kind of record you wanted to write?
We had no idea what we were even doing. We were just making music and wanted to be very ignorant about the nuts and bolts. It ended up that we were just putting stuff together in the studio and our producer Brendan O’Brian gave us a lot. Like “Let’s do this hear, let’s try this” and that kind of stuff. Before we knew it, we had a record! We had a completely new, different record that was done! We decided to step away from it and let it be.
Did you find that it was a fluid process or was it forced at any point?
It was strange because it happened very quickly and seemingly easily. We were just getting back on the saddle and that was just what was happening. It was kind of very quick and new.
With the title “If Not Now, When”; is that a reference at all to the time that you took off as a band?
It kind of is. That song had come together and I think that Brandon had written those lyrics and everyone in the band including the management was just feeling that idea. I mean, if not now, when? All though life we have these moments where my next decision could be the best or the worst. I’m going to trust my gut and go with it. I’m not going to go through life wondering about it.
Do you have a favorite track from the record?
“The Original” is one of my favorites. We’ve played just about every song live now and when they’re in the right place, when they’re stuck in-between the right two songs it’s like a real magic moment. The record was very build in the studio as well. A lot of it came together in the studio. A lot of it was just jamming together and jamming it into existence. We had to learn how to play a lot of these songs on stage. It was fun and it was daunting at times.
So did you find that they changed quite a bit from the studio to a live setting?
Absolutely. “Switchblade” is very manipulated and cut up in the studio. It’s very built in the studio from that ground up. That song in particular, when we started playing it over and over again it started to become a different thing and feel really good.
Just finally for today; what can Australian fans expect to see from you guys when you touch down in Australia early next year?
Well we’re older but I’m kind of running out of using that as an excuse (laughs). We’re doing this U.S tour and blowing out the cobwebs. We’re pretty much back on track and especially the last two weeks of concerts we’ve been having some of the best concerts that we’ve ever had. We’re killing it right now so by the time that we get back down there we should be pretty focused and really be giving the best concerts of our lives I think. I just can’t wait to come back down there and play some shows for our fans.
3rd – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
6th – AEC Theatre, Adelaide
8th – Festival Hall, Melbourne
10th – Convention Centre, Brisbane
—> Tickets available Now.
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