Brandon Boyd for Schön! Magazine

Brandon Boyd for Schön! Magazine

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Brandon Boyd certainly likes to keep busy.  It’s not been long since he returned from a two year world tour with his band Incubus; his third art book, So The Echo is released this month as is his first solo project Sons of the Sea.  I need a breather just from typing all that.  Having formed Incubus at just 15 with some school friends my initial thought was that maybe Sons of the Sea was Boyd’s outlet from the band, “In some ways, yes. But “outlet” suggests that I need refuge from the band. I do not. I only want to honour the process of art by remaining fluid and keeping my channels open.”  Boyd’s website describes his life as being characterised by creativity and self expression so it comes as no surprise that during his ‘downtime’ from his band, he’d form another one…I wanted to know how Sons of the Sea would differ from Incubus at all?  “I’d say the most stark contrast is in the musical backdrop. Incubus has moments of velvet but usually spins back into palettes of copper and dirt. Sons of the Sea’s aural backdrop is decidedly more velveteen and tastes of wine. This contrast entices a different lyrical and melodic response from me as a singer and word guy. The casual listener will see a distinct through line because of the familiarity of the vocals, but the more discerning listener will find an entirely new architecture to play upon. Either way, I’m thrilled if you listen to it!”

 

The philanthropist is passionate about helping the less fortunate and along with his Incubus band mates has set up a non-profit organisation called The Make Yourself Foundation which has so far raised in excess of $1.4 million.  Another clear passion is the environment. I asked what one thing we could all do to play our part, “One thing? Dang! Ok, shower with a friend (or friends), it saves water and you can finally reach that spot on your back that has alluded soap all these years.”  Nature is a common thread in a lot of Boyd’s art and music, “The Sea has been a consistent muse in my experience thus far and she is an apt metaphor for the Cosmos. So I guess you could say that these songs are literal sons and daughters of the sea; born of something greater.”

 

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Before doing the interview I listened to the EP – the standout track for me was ‘Come Together’, I particularly loved its simple artistic video. So which track does Brandon have a soft spot for? “There are indeed a few limbs on this album that are hanging dangerously out of the roller coaster cart. I’d say the tracks ‘Come Together’, ‘Lady Black’, and ‘Plus Minus’ are in the most danger of bodily harm though. I mean that in a good way…’Come Together’ is the tidiest, most concise pop song I have ever written and I love it for that very reason. I’ve never really written pop tracks like this but it wanted to be what it wanted to be and my writing partner Brendan O’Brien caught wind of that early on. He isn’t afraid of any genre of music, it would seem, as long as it sounds great! ‘Lady Black’ was the first one we wrote together for this project and was very much the seed song that enticed us into making an entire album. It’s like nothing I’ve ever attempted to write before and to stumble onto novelty after 20 odd years of writing is definitely something special. ‘Plus Minus’ is just a weird track that harkens me back to the days of Zeppelin III. Both Brendan and I agreed on numerous occasions that this was one of the weirdest songs either of us had ever recorded.”  Clearly not afraid to take risks and potentially alienate his Incubus fans Boyd’s main concern is that listeners are challenged by his new material, “Challenged in the way that it’s challenging to learn a new language; you’re mystified at first but allured, your brain wants to fall back into the one language you can understand, then after a new neural pathway is forged, it starts to flow! “Bonjour! Comment allez-vous? Tu es si belle. Est mon accent distraire? Rencontrez-moi pour boire un verre après le dîner. Votre peau est comme par magie. Je pense que Je t’aime. And viola! You are dating a French girl.” Keeping with the playful theme I asked Boyd what he would impose if he was King for the day.  He replied, “Greetings Mignons!! By Kingly decree, I hereby lift the grand illusion of Separation! Each and every one of you is connected to each and every thing that exists, has existed, and will exist! You are not alone, nor will you ever be! You are all King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Poet, Popper, Ditch Digger, Thief, Lover, Hippie, Punk, Rocker, Roller, etc, etc. You are the Universe becoming aware of itself looking onto itself, smiling and dancing the cosmic dance of eternity! This Royal Palace is now the community recreation centre and what was the Kingly bedroom will now be the ping pong tournament arena. Look into each other’s eyes and know from here on in that the light that animates you is the same light that sparked the whole Cosmic Shebang in the first place!  Then before leaving the Royal balcony, I’d kiss two of my fingers and throw a peace sign at the now celebratory crowd.”

 

Photography / Jack Waterlot
Styling / Beau Barela

 

Read the original interview in issue 22 of Schön! – See more here

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