Jose Pasillas of Incubus

Alternative Rock band Incubus was in town recently for a concert and thanks to FIJI Water, our editor Elliott Danker had the chance to have a chat with Jose Pasillas, the drummer of Incubus.

What Jose didn’t know was how much of a long time fan Elliott was. One of the things that really stood out, as you’ll read later on… how much these guys really appreciate the position they are in – making music and traveling.

Photo by Alvin Ho | Upsurge Productions

POPCulture Online: You guys have been in the business a really long time, especially when so many bands fade off or split up. Tell us your secret to your staying power?

Jose Pasillas: I don’t know if there really is a secret, I think for us we can appreciate the position we are in. We’re a group of friends who get to travel the world and play music and experience a lot of things that most other people usually won’t get to experience. For us to do something we are so passionate about and that we love and to be able to share it with other people around the world is such a wonderful experience and a rare opportunity.

We’re a band of 5 ‘brothers’ and like in any relationship we don’t always agree on things. We have our disagreements and ups and downs but at the end of it we are friends, we’re brothers and that being the core, we can see things through and we also really love what we do. That’s something we don’t lose sight of. We’ve done this so many years and anytime we take a break, we grow to appreciate each other and we do and create.

POPCulture Online: You guys have come back from a break and you’re going to release 2 EPs this year, tell us a bit about them? Why 2 EPs instead of a full album?

Jose Pasillas: We were talking about making music pretty abruptly last summer. We really didn’t have any plans so we got together in August and started talking about what we thought about making music. We literally within a couple of days of everyone feeling that that might be good, we took some time off to write music without expectations, you know just to see what we could come up with. We found a studio and things were gelling really well, we had a lot of material and as we were writing and talking about how we would release this material. If we would go through a label or independent and we got around to talking about releasing it as a few installations instead of a full album and that to us made sense.

I think it’s an easier way for people to digest a little bit of music as opposed to people just picking singles anyways because it’s very rare that someone gets a full record and listens to it from beginning to end. So it seemed for us that it might just be better in general to put out some music and then go tour for a bit and then continue that cycle. The more we talked about it the more it seemed like a good idea. We signed with Island Records and we told them our plan and they were totally on board. Everything happened really quickly but it was all in the right direction so it felt really good.

Photo by Lionel Boon | Upsurge Productions

POPCulture Online: Tell us more about the single “Absolution Calling”?

Jose Pasillas: Yeah that song came pretty quickly actually. We were in the studio (minus Brandon who was on holiday) and Ben just started playing this really cool rift. So I joined in and started playing a beat and then Mike came in and he went “Yeah keep playing that”

So we played it for a few hours and sort of made the body of it. And we’re always recording whatever we do. We mixed it and sent it to Brandon and he wrote the lyrics to it. As soon as he got back, that was one of the first songs we were ‘messing’ with and it came to us pretty quickly. We just jammed it for a day and then recorded it.

To be honest, a lot of times our music comes to us effortlessly like that. Other songs take a little bit longer but this one just happened to be pretty quick.

POPCulture Online: Personally, how has the band evolved over the years?

Jose Pasillas: I’m not sure. I can’t really be specific other than We’re all just evolving as humans. we’re just aging and evolving as people and as a group together and we’ve definitely seen that clear path that has led us to here and so we’ve always just acknowledged and appreciated where we’ve come from and what we’ve done. We always wanna tread new water and carve a new path for us. I think just pushing boundaries and pushing ourselves as musicians. And as a band, that’s just how we are just consciously evolving all the time.

The fact that we’re still a band, still the same group, growing together is just a natural thing for us. We’ve always tried to not repeat ourselves in the past and that’s our natural evolution. You don’t realise so much time has past. You know, Brandon is probably my oldest friend. I’ve known him 26 or 27 years. We’ve been in the same band with Mike for 24 years. No wait….I’ve known Brandon for 30 plus years now! Yeah exactly! That much time has flown by. It’s been a really cool ride and I’m very lucky I get to do it with these guys that I respect and love.

POPCulture Online: What about the fans, how have they changed?

Jose Pasillas: Yeah I mean they are growing with us! Especially in the United States because we spend so much time there. we see our demographics just growing with us and it’s really cool because we’ll see people in their 30s and 40s or even with their parents and these kids who were in high school now have kids themselves and it’s really cool that they’ve taken this journey with us.

Obviously we haven’t kept all of our fans with us. Some people now like other things but to see those who have stuck around grow with us, is such an amazing thing. We’re also gaining new fans, younger fans and that too is just as amazing.

POPCulture Online: Have you imagined that if you were not a drummer or a musician, what would you be?

Jose Pasillas: I don’t know man…..I mean I’d definitely be in the arts scene in some fashion. I’ve been painting since i was a kid and I still paint. I’ve always loved graphic design so yeah I’d be in the arts scene somewhere. Music is just the background to my life.

Rhythm is just in me, i am rhythm so maybe I’d play the bass but I’ve always fantasized about singing and I’ve got a horrible voice…haha!

Trust Fall (Side A) will be released on 24 Mar 2015

Images courtesy of Upsurge Productions

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