Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Incubus

Photo by Kayley Luftig

During their latest visit to Toronto, AMBY sat down with Mike Einziger and Jose Pasillas of Incubus to discuss playing in Moscow, their Make Yourself Foundation, trust falls, and favourite dance moves. Enjoy our exclusive interview below:

AMBY: Welcome to AMBY and thanks for speaking with us today. You’re currently touring North America. How has everything been treating you?

Mike: ​It’s been amazingly awesome and fun!

Jose: ​It’s been fun. We’re only a week in so we’re still trying to learn the songs and play better… But we’re getting there.

Mike: ​It’s fun to tour with our friends. The Deftones are our old buddies and we’ve been playing shows with them forever and we also love their music. It just makes things better to be around people you enjoy being around.

AMBY: Do you guys sit and watch their set every night?

Jose: ​Yea, everyone’s watching everyone. It’s got that kind of barbecue-ish vibe.

Mike: ​It’s like summer time and rock ‘n’ roll summer camp.

AMBY: Just playing in the backyard with thousands of other people.

Jose: ​With a little bit better sound system.

AMBY and Incubus: [laughs]

AMBY: You guys recently played shows in England, Switzerland, and visited Moscow for the first time. What was the experience like of playing shows there?

Mike: It was really interesting actually because we’ve never been to Moscow or Poland. We went to Tel Aviv, and we’ve been there before it’s just been a long time since we were there. So hitting up some newish spots for us was fun! It keeps it interesting definitely! It definitely felt like in a few of those places we were playing to audiences who didn’t really know our music that much. We don’t get to be in that position quite often which is cool to feel like we’re reaching out to a new audience.

Mike: ​Particularly in Moscow and Poland; but, we played for some big audiences out there because we were opening for Muse.

AMBY: That’s awesome!

Mike: ​Yea, it was cool.

AMBY: Did you have any time to explore the cities while you were there?

Mike: It depends if we have a day off. Usually it’s city to city. In Warsaw, we had half a day so we got to walk around a little bit. In Russia we had a few hours. So we try to go to the hot spots.

AMBY: When you do have time do you look for restaurants or sights to see? I know that you were at some of our bike paths yesterday.

Jose: ​Kind of all of it. We try to explore as much stuff as we can and we usually go out to dinner. So we try to find places or local restaurants that we’ve never been to.

AMBY: You’re doing these special meet and greets throughout the tour. What are some of your most memorable or bizarre fan encounters?

Jose: ​We got naked today. It was a little weird but we all got used to it.

Mike: ​I made a few people uncomfortable. No charges were pressed or anything like that!

AMBY: [laughs] That’s always good.

Mike: ​At least it’s all out in the open.

Jose: ​He was freshly manicured so maybe he wanted to show it off or something like that. But it was nice.

Mike: ​No, we’ve had a foundation for the last twelve or thirteen years called the Make Yourself Foundation and we do these VIP experience tickets and do signings and things like that before the show. We donate all the money to charity. A lot of other bands do it now but they keep the money, which is cool ,whatever they want to do is cool for them. We’ve been doing this now and it at least feels like something we can be proud of for doing this a long time. We’re able to generate a lot of money doing it so we feel like it’s a win-win for our audience and for us. It’s a good vehicle for us to give back to charitable causes and things that are important to us.

AMBY: Absolutely. I’ve been following Make Yourself Foundation and you guys have done some amazing stuff.

Mike: ​Thank you. It’s nice to hear that.

AMBY: The Bots are on this current tour with you – they are an amazing emerging duo. Which other artists would you recommend our readers give a listen to that you’re digging as of late?

Mike: ​I’m like the worst person to ask for things like that. I just listen to Jimmy Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

AMBY: Some of our listeners may not listen to those so those are good suggestions.

Jose: ​I like the new D’Angelo record but that came out like two years ago.

AMBY and Incubus: [laughs]

AMBY: People are still talking about it!

Mike: ​It’s an awesome album.

AMBY: On the music front, you released your Trust​ Fall (Side A) EP earlier this year. When it comes to the title, what is the significance of Trust Fall for you both?

Mike: ​There’s a video on YouTube of a guy running up and trust falling on people kind of out of nowhere and going, “Trust fall!” and seeing if people will catch him. Half the time, maybe less than half, I don’t even know what the ratio is; but, he falls on his head a lot. All you have to do is watch that video to understand what we’re talking about.

AMBY: So that’s where it came from then?

Mike: ​I don’t know if that’s where it came from but that’s what I’m saying.

AMBY: Your latest record If Not Now, When? came out back in 2011. Are there any plans to release another album, or is the band focusing on singles and EPs from now on?

Mike: ​We were talking about putting out another EP hopefully later in the year but it doesn’t look like we are going to be able to pull that off because of the touring. We thought we’d be able to this touring and recording thing side by side but it’s a little more difficult to do that than we had anticipated. It doesn’t leave much time for us to get in the studio and work on music, so we have a lot of material, more than an EPs worth of material. We’ll see what happens. I think ideally we’d rather put out a full album so I don’t know yet… It might mean people will have to wait a little longer but we might be able to crank out a full album. We’ll see.

Jose: ​Somethings coming and we definitely want it to be just right. So it’s a lot of music to play with.

AMBY: There’s a song on the new EP titled Dance Like You’re Dumb. Tell us a bit about the track.

Mike: ​That song is very different when you compare it with anything we’ve ever released before. It’s a very upbeat, sort of fun, chaotic, cartoon-like song [laughs]. I don’t really know what to say about it. It’s fun to play live! When we play it live the audience really responds to it, IO think because it is such a different sound for us.

Jose: ​I think it sort of speaks for itself in the way that you are letting go and not really thinking about anything. Just dance like you’re dumb.

AMBY: Do you guys have a favourite dance move?

Mike: ​Be a spaz! That’s the moral of the song. The outlining message is just to be a spaz.

AMBY: Yea, just do it. Any favourite dance moves at all?

Mike: ​The typewriter.

Jose: ​The worm.

AMBY: You good at it?

Jose: ​Pretty good at it.

Mike: ​He’s good at it.

AMBY: I won’t make you do it [laughs].

Jose: ​Thank you. I don’t want to pull a hammy.

Mike: ​Definitely not before the show.

AMBY: Lastly, what’s the best part of being in Incubus? You guys have been together for basically forever.

Mike: ​Not having a real job.

Jose: ​The catering is pretty good too.

AMBY: What’s your favourite thing from catering?

Jose: ​Well, they have bacon wrapped chicken right now that’s pretty awesome.

AMBY: That sounds so good.

Mike: ​Well if you wrap bacon around anything it will be awesome.

AMBY: That’s true.


Thank you Incubus, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Kayley Luftig (@TheKayls) and Alicia Atout (@AliciaAtout)

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