Incubus singer Brandon Boyd on his newest act, Sons of the Sea

Brandon Boyd Credit: Brian Bowen Smith
Brandon Boyd is back with a new album and book.
Credit: Brian Bowen Smith

Brandon Boyd’s artistic range extends beyond Incubus, the band that made him famous for hits like “Drive” and “Wish You Were Here.” He’s written two books — with a third about to be released — consisting of his drawings, photos and lyrics, and he’s also into painting, opening his first solo show in L.A. five years ago. His latest non-Incubus venture is Sons of the Sea, his solo music project that leans pop and, as Billboard writes, has elements of the Beach Boys in it. Sons of the Sea’s debut album is being simultaneously released with “So the Echo,” Boyd’s third book, which is pages of his ink drawings, watercolors, collages, photos and writings from the past four years.

Even though he’s a certified rock star, Sons of the Sea marks Boyd’s second foray into putting out a debut. He released a four-song EP over the summer because of the music industry’s changing nature. “I needed to put a foot in the pool before I jumped all the way in,” he tells us. “It would be foolish to put all your eggs in one basket.”

And its not just album formats that have changed since Incubus hit the scene: Promotional techniques are a whole new ballgame in the advent of social media. When the band was getting started, Boyd says he “would draw flyers, make Kinkos copies, go home and lick stamps” to get the word out about upcoming shows.

But despite its capricious landscape, Boyd says one thing hasn’t changed about the industry: the nerves that come with releasing a new project.

“Whether they’re with the band that I grew up with, or this new project, or whether it’s the book, there’s always this feeling of vulnerability,” he says. “It’s this thing where you’re about to show your hand to the world. Fingers crossed, I hope everybody likes it! Here I go! It’s that kind of thing.”

The end of Incubus?

Despite Boyd’s solo projects, he assures us that there’s no end on the horizon for the group that started his trajectory to success. In fact, he’s they’re touring with the Dave Matthews Band in South America later this year.

“Incubus is still very much a band. We’ve been a band a really long time. I think in order to remain a healthy family and a healthy artistic project, we need to stretch out. Everyone needs to spread their wings individually, and I think it will only positively inform our process as a band when we come back.”

On resilience

Having been in the industry for nearly 20 years, Boyd’s seen many reviews of his work — good and bad. But he’s learned how to not let the negative ones slow him down.

“I’ve had to develop a little more of a resilience, I guess you could say. Truth be told, it’s a good education, just to be able to filter. Just because someone has something unpleasant to say about what you’re doing, doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re doing is bad or wrong. It just means that they didn’t see what you were seeing or hear what you were hearing at that moment.”


Brandon Boyd appears at Barnes & Noble Tribeca (97 Warren St.) Monday, Sept. 30.


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