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Legendary Californian-based alt/funk rockers INCUBUS are heading to New Zealand for two shows in early 2012. The band will perform in Auckland on January 31st and Wellington on February 1st on what will be their fourth tour of our country. Armed with a back catalogue of songs that we all know the words to, and their latest hit record ‘If Not Now, When?’ the INCUBUS set list promises to be awesome! NZRock caught up with drummer Jose Pasillas…

NZRock: I was reading some comments under a news story about you guys coming back to New Zealand. One person said they were stoked you’re coming and that they walked down the wedding aisle to ‘Drive’. Do you hear those sort of stories often?

Yeah I’ve heard that a couple of times and it’s really cool to know that people think of us in that sort of regard and want to have us in an important event their life. So it’s very flattering to hear that. We had someone propose to someone on stage at one of our concerts a long time ago. It’s just flattering to see that people can really think of our music as sort of a soundtrack to someones life you know.

NZRock: That brings me to my next question. The ‘Make Yourself’ album is almost a soundtrack to my last years in highschool and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of people here in New Zealand. Do you guys play a lot of tracks off that live?

Oh wow that’s great man. We touch base with every record so it’s been a fun yet challenging for us – to write a really exceptional set list because there is so much material. But we do touch base with everything. It’s pretty cool. We’re changing it constantly so I think everyone who comes out, we’ll be challenging them as well as ourselves.

NZRock: I wanted to chat with you about your latest album as well. I’m sure you get asked this a lot but obviously there was the five year gap between INCUBUS albums. Was it good for you guys to have that break?

Yeah I think it was just important. You know we’d been travelling and touring for so many years that we hadn’t really been able to enjoy ourselves at home. You know, just enjoy the fruits of our labours. So it was time for us to do that, and that we did and it was great. We all sort of did things on our own, grew up independently, individually, musically, artistically, everything. And so when we came together we were all refreshed and it felt great.

NZRock: You’ve really explored a whole new musical realm on the album, and Mike was doing some study of composition during your break. Did that attribute to it?

I think all of it sort of does you know. And I think it’s more of a sub-conscious sort of thing, but everybody just going out and doing their thing and living their lives and doing everything contributes to who we are as people and it’ll come out in the music. And again I think it’s more on a sub-conscious sort of level but all of it seeps its way through.

NZRock: That song ‘The Original’ starts getting pretty heavy towards the end, it almost sounds like something from old school BLACK SABBATH. Does that mean we haven’t seen the end of INCUBUS’ heavy side?

Definitely not, I think we showed a little bit of restraint on this record and I think we’re going to surprise people with music that we come up with in the future. We don’t know what we’re going to do, it’s challenging for ourselves as well. So we definitely have a lot more to give and it’s not all going to be on the softer side.

NZRock: What songs are you the most proud of on that record and why?

Hmmm. A couple of ones that really stick out to me are ‘If Not Now, When?’ the title track. To me I think it’s just such a beautiful song and it grows from beginning to end and it’s just striking. Also, just what the song means in general. I think’s prevalent to myself, to this day and age, to socitety, to whatever and whenever, to anybody. So to me that’s exciting and just love that song. ‘Friends And Lovers’ I love too. It’s such a fun song to play and it’s just got a really cool beat. Yeah, those are the ones I’ve been digging lately.

NZRock: You guys have worked with Brendan O’Brien on the last few albums. How did you end up recording in Nashville? That’s a long way from California!

Yeah you know he’s pretty familiar with the studio Blackbird in Nashville so he thought it’d be appropriate and challenging to us to sort of leave everything behind and focus on music so we did that and it was really fun. It was freezing cold and it was just fun. We did part of the record like that and then we did the other part here in L.A. So it was just fun for us to get out and have a non-distraction sort of few weeks and just focus on music.

NZRock: Mike has mentioned about recording or writing for an orchestral project. Have you guys thought about doing that for the INCUBUS songs at all?

Um not really but I’m sure at some point we’ll do something like that. We’ve played a few times with orchestras and it’s fun, it’s a great beautiful element to bring in. So who knows, Mike is really gifted with that sort of thing so I see more of it coming into our music and see us bringing that challenge into our music more in the future.

NZRock: Just as far as the future goes, and I know it’s really early to ask but do you have any plans new album wise?

You know it’s kind of really early in this record cycle but I know were always excited about music in general and there are always ideas floating around so I wouldn’t be surprised if new material comes out sometime in the new year.

NZRock: Last of all, here’s an old-school question for you. There were some songs that you had on your demos way back when you started like ‘Miss Bliss’ and ‘Damnation’ which I thought were awesome but they never made it onto an album. How come that never happened?

Haha! Those were sort of our earliest songs, they were just demos. Before we recorded ‘S.C.I.E.N.C.E’ we had ‘Fungus Among Us’ which again were just a bunch of demos. But those two tracks in particular were a little bit older. So there were a few, probably five songs that never really made it onto any sort of record but we have tapes of them and they’re pretty entertaining to listen to. But it’s kind of like looking at old pictures of yourself you know, wearing funning clothes and hairstyles and stuff. It’s entertaining but you’ve got to appreciate where you’re coming from you know.