Apart from Incubus, Brandon Boyd also makes beautiful art… he stopped by the studio, showed us what he’s been working on and we picked his lovely brain…
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m kinda trying to figure that out still. I kinda hope that I don‟t ever have a perfectly clear-cut answer because that would indicate some type of finality. You know, I‟ve talked to people about this idea of “making it” like people say, “you’ve made it!” and that actually kind of depresses me. Because it means that it indicates a finality, a goalpost that you no longer can go beyond. So I like to keep it sort of as wide open as possible in regard to what I do.‟ But in the interest of answering the question, [laughs] I do my best to be expressive and be truthful and have a truthfully expressive time while I‟m here on earth.
HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I have practiced a lot. But then again it hasn’t seemed like practice because I’ve also been very hell-bent on enjoying the things that I’ve taken on. There have been a lot of things that I could have done which I thought really seriously about and then I figured out that I didn‟t really enjoy them in the way that I would have liked to. So I think that I have been tenacious in my pursuit of happiness. And sometimes that in it of itself can make you kind of stressed out and unhappy because at a certain point you realize that this thing that you think you want so bad doesn’t add to your sense of happiness at all. And so it has been occasionally a process of peeling back a little bit from all the things I’ve been working towards. Sometimes I get to a place and I’m like, “Yeaah that’s not really adding to the quality of my life” so I peel that back a little bit, re-route, re-contextualize and see if that new direction works. And the things that I find myself continually going back to are: making music; performing music can be a beautiful experience and incredibly fun but it can also be really, really stressful and over thought. And um so it’s like a 90/10 split – which are good odds but painting and drawing and taking pictures is ALWAYS enjoyable. Writing music, recording music is always enjoyable. Doing those activities make me feel like I’m walking with the wind, petting the cat in the right direction if you know what I mean. Did I answer the question?
WHAT MADE YOUR TURN TO THIS DIRECTION?
I remember very distinctly when I was turning 15 (I’m almost 37 now) and I was starting to think about college, I was right around that age where you‟re thinking about what you‟re going to do after high school, etc. and I was presented with this opportunity to get a “real” job. During that time I had this very clear picture in my mind of me turning in the opposite direction and going completely into the clouds and disappearing into the forest somewhere and living this sort of ethereal life instead. But I knew that there were things that I could do that would sort of allow me access to the “clouds” but that would also allow me a way to optimize my experience here on earth. And so I pursued that. I remember very consciously turning in that direction and going, “I’m going to stay on earth, and I’m going to find some kind of happy medium or balance between that and living an expressive life” and part of that decision was deciding that I would be okay with being poor. I was going to stay here on earth and be happy no matter what even if it meant I had to be poor. And it’s so interesting because it was two or three years later that we were actually making money being a band, making music. At the time what was making me happy was making music and following that blissful “into the clouds” experience of making art through music I starting finding that earthly reward along with it. So ever since then that‟s the direction I’ve gone.
WAS THIS ALWAYS YOUR DREAM JOB?
Yes. Since I was a little kid. I probably freaked my parents out. They’d be like, “What are you going to do?” and I was like, “I‟m going to be an artist!” It was either that, or I was going to be Indiana Jones. Or I remember when I was like 6 I used to tell my pop I was going to be Peter Frampton.
HOW MUCH OF THE WEEK IS WORK, HOW MUCH IS PLAY?
It‟s about 97% play, 3% work. Most of my work is playful. I’m a very fortunate person, many blessings in my life. It‟s a matter of perception, you know?
HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION AND DO YOU FIND IT EASY TO STAY ORGANIZED?
[laughs] I’ll answer it in reverse. I’m an extremely organized person. In fact, I have a hard time creating anything if everything isn’t already organized prior to me starting. I have to organize things and make sure they’re in their place before I can start. I have these great holders for my pens, and the brushes, I like to have everything where I can see it. It’s a much more romantic notion when you walk into an artist’s studio and it’s a mess but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) that‟s not me, I’m super organized. And to answer the first part, I find my inspiration everywhere. That’s actually one of the center points for creativity, in my opinion. Learning how, if you don’t know how to innately, find beauty in everything. From the most mundane situations to the most horrific situations, to understand that there IS no such thing as “anything” there is only our perception. We view occasions, circumstances, objects with our experience. Our experience includes what we’ve been conditioned with, what we see every day, what we ate for breakfast, all those things. So by learning to find beauty in everything you’re kind of transcending all of those normalities. To be inspired means you really have to witness something beautiful, you know? So if you can find beauty in everything then there‟s never any shortage of inspiration. Does that make sense?
HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR WORK AND DO YOU FEEL IT DEFINES YOU?
My work is one of the most important things in the world to me, but that does not make it important. The real answer to that question is my work is really not that important at all. It’s just stuff. They’re just random interpretations of my experience here which is not important at all. However I have been blessed to have the experience that my work is seen, sometimes by a lot of people. And they have, a lot of those people placed importance on it or into it and that’s allowed me to continue doing it but I would never go as far to say that my work is important or defines me.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING THING YOU HAVE DONE WITH YOUR WORK AND WHAT IS A DREAM SITUATION YOU’D LIKE TO FIND YOURSELF IN?
I would be over the moon if I had the opportunity to continue to express myself. To be able to continually stay in process and have certain things go well enough that I was able to continue the process throughout my whole life. That doesn’t necessarily mean making tons of money, that doesn‟t necessarily mean becoming famous or more famous, any of those things. It just means that my dream scenario would be to continue to cultivate space and time to constantly be expressive (whether people pay attention to it or not).
HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE, WORK AND CLOTHING?
I don’t really. I’ve tried to before and I just end up sounding like an asshole. I like to wear clothes until they are kind of falling off me and then my girlfriend takes them and makes them look cool.
DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC DURING YOUR WORK DAY?
It depends. On a day like today, yes. We’re mixing right now so it’s the same song over, and over, and over again. That’s always a good way to tell if you’re okay with a song, is when you’ve heard it for the 100th time and you would like to hear it again. When I’m drawing or painting… occasionally I’ll put on music but I can’t really have music with lyrics. When I’m drawing I have to have instrumental or if there is a singer it has to be in a language that I don’t understand. Otherwise I get pulled in to what the lyric is. Most of the time when I’m drawing I like having the sound of silence. The sound of my dog snoring is super inspirational to me. There’s a gang of crows that hang out above my house and they kind of dance around on my roof – very inspiring to draw to as well.
WHAT’S SOMETHING SOMEONE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I was born in the pornography capital of the world. (San Fernando Valley). I have a weird vendetta against diamonds. [laughs] I‟ll never give a diamond to a girl, I do not believe that diamonds equate love. All I see is blood when I see diamonds. What else… I fear sharks. I surf a lot and I still fear sharks. I will probably never sky dive unless it was absolutely necessary. Like, the plane was crashing and there was only one parachute. I just see no good reason to jump out of a perfectly functioning plane.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY OR FOR US TO KNOW?
Let‟s see… it’s called Work Magazine. My work is playing. That’s about it.
SO IF YOU HAD A MAGAZINE IT WOULD BE CALLED “PLAY”?
Probably. But people would probably think it was some kind of different‟ magazine.
WELL IT ALL TIES IN SINCE YOU WERE BORN IN THE PORN CAPITOL OF THE WORLD, RIGHT?
Photos: Maggie Davis
Art Direction: Allyce Engelson
Interview: Alicia Cargile