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Incubus’ Chris Kilmore Talks New Music, Tour Life & How Streaming Services Changed Albums

Currently on their 20 Years of Make Yourself & Beyond Tour, Incubus’ Chris Kilmore stopped to chat with CincyMusic about new music, DJing, and more. This August, Incubus dropped their first single in two years, “Into The Summer,” following up their 2017 album, 8. Here, Chris reveals the guys are currently working on more new music, which will likely be released as a series of singles later this year. The Incubus DJ also talks tour life, streaming, and The Lost Boys, below. 

Incubus will be at Taft Theatre on Monday, November 11th

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So you’re currently on the 20 Years of Make Yourself & Beyond tour. What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about being on the road?

[Laughing] That’s a good question! My favorite thing is obviously playing shows. There’s nothing like it. My least favorite thing probably would be, you know, not being at home for a while. When you’re about to go out on tour, it’s really exciting. You’re like, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! And then about halfway through you’re like, ok can I go home?

The other thing I usually hear is all the fast food. 

Yeah, we eat pretty healthy. One of the things we try to avoid when we’re on tour is getting sick, so we always try to bring someone that can cook. The worst thing on the road is if you’re sick. That’s probably what I hate the most.

This tour marks a cool anniversary for you guys. 

Yeah, come out and see us because this tour is pretty special. It’s the 20th anniversary of Make Yourself. We plan on playing the whole album, front to back, plus some other songs as well. 

What are you guys currently working on?

We just had a single come out called “Into The Summer.” We have a couple more coming down the line. We have two already recored and then we’re gonna record one more, so we’re pretty busy. We’re always writing, and once we get a bunch of songs, who knows how it will come out. But the first one we wrote, “Into The Summer,” is out and there’s a video out for that, too. 

Whose idea was it to do The Lost Boys-inspired music video?

That was mostly Brandon [Boyd]’s idea actually. Everyone always has their own idea, so it’s about getting everybody on board with one idea or another. I’m glad everybody’s kind of realizing what it was, though. It’s a whole new generation now; I didn’t even know if people would know what The Lost Boys was. 

Has that ‘80s aesthetic been an inspiration in your upcoming singles?

Yeah. You know, we all grew up in the ‘80s. So yeah, there’s some really great music in the ‘80s. I’m definitely inspired by that a lot. I play a lot of keyboards now, so it kind of just naturally filtered its way in. 

What’s it like being a DJ in a rock band?

It’s amazing. I never thought of myself being in this position before I was in this position. I grew up being a DJ, and all you want do is block parties and scratch for hip hop guys. You don’t think about rock-n-roll. I’ve always had an open mind and at the time just thought, let’s see how this goes. 21— 22 years later, it’s really cool.

I read that you got your first pair of turntables on Christmas after making a bet with your dad. 

That’s true. I was bugging my dad, like every little kid does, I was bugging him for turntables. And they’re not cheap, you know, and I’m a 12-year-old kid, and I'm like, ‘Dad, DJs need two of these.’ Finally he was like, ‘Look, if you can save up money for one, I’ll buy you the second one.’ I had a little allowance and was mowing grass and stuff like that, so it took me a little while to save up that money. When I did, we went and bought the turntables, but it was really funny because we went to get them and they only had one turntable. So we bought one and I’m like, ‘Ok, you’ve gotta hold up your end of the deal, dad.’ Then Christmas came by and he got me the other one. 

There was about a six-year gap between your previous album and 8, are you looking at another few years before you drop your next album?

We’ll definitely be releasing something sooner than that. My opinion, personally, I think that we missed an opportunity with 8. I think that record is the best one we’ve written. It’s got all of our past records combined. It’s got some really heavy bars, some cool electronic parts, and it’s got that classic Incubus sound to it. But with our [streaming] format these days, you don’t listen to the whole thing. So I think, from that experience, knowing that the vast majority of our fans have not sat down and listened to that record, front-and-back, we’ve decided, in this moment, to just write music and put it out. So if that means we put out five or six songs, and then put out an EP after—bundle it that way—we just let those songs have a life of their own, and put out an album later. We’re very flexible in that sense, which is actually pretty awesome, because we can just do whatever we want, as far as releasing music. That song “Into The Summer,” we put that out the next day. It’s just immediate. 

The listening format is definitely different, and having a career as long as you have, you’ve seen it change drastically. 

I don’t wanna speak for people that actually do sit down and listen to a whole record. If you do that, I just wanna thank you, right now. Personally, I wanna thank you. 8 is a great record to listen to front-to-back.