Brandon Boyd is a big animal lover. He has a great French Bulldog, who casually lumbers up to greet this writer as I enter the Incubus singer's comfortably zen and groovy home in Los Angeles. And then, there's the cat. She's a hairless type, like Mr. Bigglesworth in Austin Powers, who slinks over to you, sizes you up and then loves you for life. "She may not have hair, but she gets pretty warm," says Boyd. The cat likes to hang under his shirt, he tells me, as she simultaneously slinks beneath his loose tee. Boyd doesn't mind; he adores her, and gingerly coddles her like a child. "She's gonna have to get out from under there soon, because it's going to get really hot in about five minutes."
The 37-year-old artist (btw, he is painter, author and musician) is about to release his third book, entitled So The Echo, a cornucopia of paintings, drawings, photographs and personal musings. The book is quite beautiful, and is a work of art in its own right, revealing the inner musings and emotions of the man who has fronted Incubus for (GASP) 22 years. He's also started a new band called Sons of the Sea, produced by Brendan O'Brien, the music producer not only behind many an Incubus album, but the albums of The Killers, Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen. Here, Boyd talked about a few things on his mind, from public speaking to creativity.
"This is one of my deepest adult challenges. We had about 15 close, close friends over recently for my girlfriend's birthday and she sang and some people read poems and then someone suggested I sing a song....I just get really freaked out; it's a funny thing -- it almost feels hemispheric. When I write lyrics I indulge a certain sensibility that is probably close to an approximation of what I'm experiencing or reading; an amalgamation of my life in that moment. It's funny, I don't feel deathly nervous to perform in front of 50,000 people -- I actually kind of like it. But in an intimate setting, it's just different. It's almost like I'm indulging a different personality in me that doesn't feel appropriate to come out in casual spontaneous settings. Part of me wishes that it would!"
Understanding His Creativity:
"I'm very in touch with my sense of creativity and my drive towards it; it's the reason I'm here, and I feel blessed to do it. I'm just realizing that now at 37 years old. I've never once taken it for granted. Yet there's still always a vulnerability attached to it; and I've done 3 books and 9 albums and it just doesn't go away."
Why His New Book is Entitled So The Echo:
"The title is based on the Spanish proverb, 'As the call, so the echo.' I saw that quote somewhere years ago and then I actually wrote a song called So the Echo. I liked the lyric in the song and the melody, but there was something in it that didn't take it all the way and it turned into something that just drifted around for about 2 years. I found the saying quite beautiful, especially the second half of it. It has a beautiful economy on how it unfolds (his book)."
Creating Paintings vs. Music:
"The creative flow/experience is similar but not the same. I think the drive and the sense of where it comes from, is the same. Once you get past those moments of 'give me a pen and piece of paper to put this thought down' the process starts to vary. It's like having two different arms off of the same tree. Music for me invokes a much more emotional response, drawing a lot more on memories. With drawing and painting it feels more like a meditation where I get properly lost in it. I'm a little bit more of a scientist when it comes to writing music."
Brandon Boyd will sign copies of So The Echo at Bookmarc in West Hollywood, on September 18th at 5 p.m.
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