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Thursday, January 6, 2022

The Boo Crew Talks Ari Aster, ‘Evil Dead’ and Horror Memories With Singer Brandon Boyd! [Podcast]

Horror, paranormal and the occult seem to be themes that weave in and out of the work of Brandon Boyd, visual artist, best-selling author, and singer. Aside from the fact that his multi-platinum band Incubus shares its name with an ancient demon, it might not seem so glaringly obvious thru the band’s catalog of some of the biggest modern rock hits of the past two decades. However, it is certainly there. His debut art show in 2008 was inspired by a fascination with spirit photography. In 2013 he curated an exhibit of spectacular hand-painted horror movie posters from Ghana. One of Brandon’s new singles Pocket Knife, from the forthcoming solo album  Echoes and Cocoons, due out March 2022, tells of his real-life A Nightmare on Elm Street 3-like abilities to control his dream demons with an antique pocket knife he keeps underneath his pillow.

Bloody Disgusting’s Boo Crew spent some time with Brandon to talk about growing up in the aisles of video stores, The Evil Dead, Victorian seances and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre-obsessed guitar god Buckethead, among many other things.

I grew up here in Los Angeles but I grew up kind of like, in a rural part of LA in the Santa Monica mountains. We had no television reception and no cable, but we had a TV and we had a VCR. We were allowed a weekly ritual of renting a movie or two,” Boyd tells us.

“What we had in my house were movies. Almost exclusively movies. There’s quite a few that were my original, highly influential films, you know the ones that kinda like, if I was heading in a certain direction they knocked me off in another direction. One of them is The Shining. I remember seeing that way too young and it absolutely f*&#ing destroyed me. I was terrified to walk down hallways, you know what I mean? I was looking over my shoulder and peaking into dark rooms expecting there to be people dressed as furries, performing fellatio on bartenders and I don’t know, that movie really messed me up. I remember seeing it again in my 20s and being struck that it was still disturbing but then I started to hone in on the acting and the shots and the general sort of filmmaking of it. Then I watched it again in my 30s and I’ve watched it again now in my 40s and it’s become one of my favorite films because of the kind of impact that it had. I’ve seen it now at four different iterations of my life. Roughly speaking the halfway point of my life… I’m blown away by this film.”

Boyd continues, “Another one was Rosemary’s Baby. That one really disturbed me from a young age but then, saw it again as a young adult and then as someone in my 30s and then now in my 40s. They don’t make films like this anymore, there’s so much sort of…I still love horror films… sci-fi films… but very rarely do you get ones that kind of haunt you in the ways that films from that era do. They stick with you, not because of something that jumps out at you… though that’s fun and everything but it’s more like the psychology inherent in the plot and the deeper levels of poetry that was speaking thru the filmmaking.”

Brandon reflects on some more recent cinematic experiences that have managed to capture this feeling. “I haven’t seen this film I’m about to mention in a couple of years though I’d like to watch it again because I remember it did have an impact on me, but The Others.”

“I loved the kind of dreamy sequence it was able to portray with the continual fog and the continual darkness and the kind of… the stress of the unknowing, like why are they there? It’s like they’re living on an island and where is everybody and this whole thing… and it goes into a borderline gratuitous twist at the end which I found fun at the moment, I’m not sure how well it holds up now but I’ll get back to you on that. Another one even more recently./ .there were two that really had quite an impact on me. It was Ari Aster’s two films Hereditary and Midsommar. Hereditary I left it kind of disturbed but also kind of blown away that Ari Aster had made the decisions that he made. There is this one sort of gripe I’ve always had with horror films and that there’s usually some kind of not so subtly veiled catholic propaganda, which is fine because where we’ve grown up in a Judeo-Christian society, it’s like there are certain psychological precepts that are set in stone in our culture, that’s fine. Something that I’d always wanted to happen was I really wanted to see the bad guy win. I really wanted to see the demon persevere. Let’s see what happens with a little more sympathy for the devil, right? So that’s one thing about Rosemary’s Baby that I always loved was like, oh wow… they didn’t wrap this back around and have it be “yay everything’s fine now!” it was like oh shit, she’s gonna be Satan baby’s mom. I’ve always loved that about that film and so Ari Aster comes along and oh shit, the demons win.

“It’s an interesting, once again, psychological take on human beings because we are so fallible psychologically and spiritually speaking and we so often, it doesn’t get talked about as much, but so often the demons of our lives, the sort of devil on your shoulder so to speak, kind of wins a lot of the time. But in films and in storytelling we want to kind of wrap it around to be a happy ending and that’s not really always the case. So it’s interesting and it’s courageous from a filmmaking perspective as far as I’m concerned… To walk away from a film and be truly surprised especially when now with so much kind of pandering that happens in the marketplace, it was refreshing.”

Amidst the horror film watching, painting, writing, and preparing for some upcoming live dates scheduled with Incubus this Spring, Brandon’s been tirelessly working on a new solo album. Its first tastes comes in the form of two songs, the just-released Petrichor and Pocket Knife. The latter a dreamy swash of the collision of melody and prose unique to Brandon Boyd.

I used to have terrible dreams when I was a child when up until the point when, I don’t remember exactly how old I was but I was young enough that I was still in that highly impressionable stage and my mom really just without any pomp or circumstance around it she just said, “oh honey you’re having bad dreams well just do this next time you are in your bad dream, just look at your hands and then open and close your hands. If you can do that then you can have control over your dreams and if you don’t want to have bad dreams anymore you don’t have to”, and I was like, “oh…thanks!” So I go to bed early that night and I will never forget this but I remember the dream too,” Boyd tells us. “It was a witch or something. Some type of a scenario where there were people in dark robes coming towards me or something. The sky was going grey and there was this foreboding feeling, I must have been six years, seven years old or something. It occurred to me, in the dream that oh, and I looked down at my hands. Then I opened and closed them and I was like I’m doing this. Woah! I’m dreaming. I’m doing this. I looked up at the things or whatever they were that were pursuing me and I was like “NO!” They all just went <poof> <poof><poof> poofed away and I’ve literally never had a nightmare since.”

For more with Brandon Boyd, including the art of horror movie posters, his Evil Dead obsession and much more, check out The Boo Crew Podcast Episode 286. Available now on Apple, Spotify and everywhere you get your podcasts!

Follow Brandon Boyd on:

Instagram: @brandonboyd
Twitter: @mybrandonboyd

Follow The Boo Crew on:

Instagram: @talesfromtheboocrew
Twitter: @talesfromtheboo


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