It's been three years since Incubus were last on UK soil, but this September the genre-bending group are back and to celebrate we caught up with bassist, Ben Kenney to discuss his favourite things about playing here and the secrets of keeping a band together for over 25 years.
You’re coming back to the UK for the first time in three years, other than the shows, what are you most looking forward to?
I’m actually looking forward to having a few pints with my buddy George, in this pub we go to in London all the time haha.
What’s the pub?
It’s not really the fanciest of places; it’s called Shakespeare’s Head. It’s a tradition that we go after the show and just hang out.
Hang out, have some beers, have a good time.
Yeah! Catch up on things, tease each other a bunch, y’know, the good stuff.
Is it nerve-wracking coming back after so long away?
It’s not nerve-wracking, it’s really exciting, because the audiences out there have been so good to us over the years. It really feels like a second homecoming.
Do you have any favourite memories from touring the UK in the past?
I don’t have any bad memories, only really good ones. We’ve done a lot of shows at O2 Academy Brixton and they were always great. So many times it’s just been spot on.
That’s always good. The album came out last year as well, so you’ve had some time to play it and practice with it, are you confident now with performing it live, or is it still a bit scary bringing it to another country and seeing how they react to it?
All the kinks are kinda worked out on our end of playing it, so we can just sit back and enjoy it a lot more. I don’t think where we play it really comes to mind as much, once we’ve done it and we see the reaction to it, then we can absorb that and I don’t think anyone really worries about it too much.
And with eight albums to your name now, how do you pick the setlist? Do you ever argue over what songs to play?
There’s a lot of ground to cover and there are a lot of things that people are coming to see. There are a lot of older songs that people want to hear that we want to make sure we touch base with. We just try and make it as fun for everybody as possible y’know?
Looking back over your albums, is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Not really, no. I mean, there are definitely things that you learn from, anything that ends up seeming like a mistake ends up being a lesson. I think we put full effort into everything that we’ve done, so that’s not really anything to worry about.
You’ve been a band for over 25 years, what are the most important factors to keeping the band alive and happy for that long?
I think we have a chemistry, I don’t really know what the secret is but we just know when to push and when to ease off a little bit.
You’ve taken breaks over the years to focus on families, education and other projects, do you think those small breaks were necessary in order to continue with making music?
Absolutely. Constantly travelling and touring does wear you out and if you don’t take the time to rest, you’ll eventually crack and it’s happened to tons of artists before us, so we don’t want to make that mistake.
Have you noticed that having breaks has helped you mature as people and helped influence the outcome of your latest album, 8?
Definitely, because we get to get away from each other and get back into the real world. We can learn about ourselves and then be able to turn around and apply that when we get back together.
The album also saw you collaborate with people like Skrillex – looking ahead, is there anyone else you’d love to work with on future projects?
I can’t really think of anyone that I wouldn’t want to collaborate with. Personally, I’d love to do a tour one day with Florence and the Machine; I think that’d be a really fun time.
That would be amazing! That would be such a good tour!
I think so!
What’s next for Incubus then, have you started thinking about the next record and where you’re heading now?
We’re trying to figure that out. The landscape’s kinda changing for making rock records, it’s not like it was in the 2000s and late 90s, so we don’t really have the record label system that we used to have, and the radio and MTV and all those things, they don’t make a difference like they used to. So, we’re figuring it out, we want to make more music and we want to keep pushing forward, but we also don’t want to be making a bunch of records for no reason, y’know? Running off into the sunset making records that nobody listens to, we don’t want to do that haha.
Finishing things off then, if there is one thing you’d want Incubus to be remembered for, what would it be?
Having an awesome bass player! Hahaha.
I don’t know, I think just never quitting.
That’s a good one! Thank you for talking to us Ben and we’ll see you in September!
Want to experience Incubus' epic new album and classic hits live? Catch them at one of the following dates:
O2 Academy Birmingham: Tuesday 4 September SOLD OUT
O2 Academy Brixton: Thursday 6 September Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Brixton: Friday 7 September Buy Tickets
O2 Apollo Manchester: Saturday 8 September SOLD OUT
Want to keep up to date with all our interviews, features and more? Why not sign up to our newsletter?