“Sons of the Sea,” the new musical project from Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd, hits Irving Plaza this week. We had a chance to discuss the album with Boyd, along with his thoughts on reteaming with legendary producer Brendan O’Brien and the differences between recording with Incubus versus going solo.
What were your intentions with “Sons of the Sea”? Is it a new band or a solo record?
It’s one of those things that I didn’t really know what it was going to be. The intention is for it to be a very kind of open-ended musical project. The album part of it was very much a collaborative effort with [producer] Brendan O’Brien. The two of us kind of, in private, got to go sort of nuts in the studio and come up with this sort of oddball pop.
What was your collaboration with O’Brien like?
I had a ton of musical and lyrical ideas that I brought in. And then Brendan would sit with a guitar or a keyboard and kind of create music around it. Then there were moments where we’d meet up and he’d say, “I wrote this thing on the piano last night” — case in point, the song “Space and Time.” It immediately sparked these musical ideas and melodic ideas. That’s how you know when something is going well, when you hear it the first time and ideas start to arrive.
Is there a freedom in recording solo vs. conforming to the Incubus brand?
I wouldn’t even call it freedom. I definitely feel a sense of freedom when I write songs in general, whether it’s with my friends in Incubus or on my own. I think the main difference when I’m writing songs away from Incubus is, I’m not running them through four or five other ears or filters. With “Sons of the Sea” and my other solo stuff, it’s a lot more singular (laughs).