José Pasillas is the drummer and co-founder of multi-platinum alternative rock band Incubus and he took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a couple of questions as the band prepares to play Belfast’s Ulster Hall on Monday 10th September. There are still a few tickets left on the Ulster Hall Website
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Hi José, Thanks for the interview.
Its been a while since you have been back to Ireland and now you are coming to Northern Ireland too.
Yeah. Its been about eight years or so and we are really looking forward to it. We have been doing a lot domestically doing an EP and of course writing and recording the latest album. Its really great though to be getting back out again.
You released your eighth album recently, oddly enough called “8”. Compared to your previous releases how was it? How do you think it compares to previous albums? And do you think it’s a further development of the band?
Well, yeah. It’s a continuation of what we are doing, and we are really pleased with “8” and its great to think the fans think so too. We put a lot into it. Its my favourite album and has been a long time coming. I think it plays very well. Its definitely a step up and shows how we have developed and come together even tighter.
The album is full of fantastic tracks. Where do you get the inspiration from?
Well mostly the inspiration comes from each other. We bounce off each other’s contributions be it laying down a beat or bass lines or guitar and that sparks off the lyrics. I definitely get inspired by the others. It just seems to be a very natural thing now. Its an enjoyable experience too and hopefully you can hear that when you here the music.
Definitely. And I have to say I loved the video for Nimble Bastard. It was a perfect blend of cats, dogs, Rock and just plain upbeat fun.
Thanks. We had a lot of fun doing it. We just wanted to do something a little more light hearted and not too serious to let ourselves have a bit of fun. It was such a weird off the wall idea that just seemed to work. Sometimes you can take it all too seriously but we are a band who like to shake things up with a bit of a light take on things and we generally enjoy music. We were just spitballing for a bit of a laugh and were lucky enough to have a director who saw it too, took it and ran with it.
How did you find working with Skrillex on this album? Was it a meeting of minds?
Well, it was such a wonderful experience as Skrillex was just down at the studio as we were working on the tracks. He heard one of the tracks and loved it, so he asked if he could work on it a little. We all said yeah and off he went. In no time at all he was back after putting it through his computer and we listened to it. It was incredible the way he had remixed it so we talked and went back to him to see if he would like to do the same with the rest of the album. We were already really happy with what we had produced but when Skrillex worked on the tracks we were just amazed at the result. So that’s how it all happened. Naturally and organically. No trying to arrange things through intermediaries – it just happened.
I have noticed that you have been tagged and labelled into more genres and styles than you can fit into a warehouse. Do you just embrace this?
Incubus is a rock band. We don’t really get hung up on what other people use to label our music. We just see ourselves as playing rock. If they want to label us New Metal, or whatever, that’s cool. But it doesn’t really impact on us as a band. We are happy that people want to listen to our music. It also means we can be different in our approach to making our sound as we don’t feel constrained to any particular genre.
Its something I have noticed more and more where bands just say they play rock rather than define it down to a sub-genre.
Yeah. Its definitely a change and allows bands to widen what they do. Nowadays you can see that there are so many styles being mashed together to produce just great music. Who would have thought Incubus would have collaborated with Skrillex? Even though he has played his fair share of rock previously he has been firmly ensconced in the pop arena this past decade. He has an incredible way of working really fast on things.
You are hugely successful with selling over 23 million albums and you are a multi-platinum band. Did you ever think you would be where you are now?
Definitely not. We just wanted to play music and people seemed to like it. When we started out it may have been a dream but we never thought it would become a reality. So it is a dream come true and we are still humbled by it. We are so glad so many people enjoy what we do.
Thank you so much for your time. We are all really looking forward to seeing you play here.
It’s a pleasure and we are really looking forward to seeing you all in Dublin and Belfast.