Chris Kilmore, better known as DJ Kilmore, has been a fixture to California-based rock band Incubus as their turn-tablist for more than 20 years. I had the chance to virtually chat with Kilmore about his earlier life deejaying, starting out with Incubus and the social justice work Incubus has done throughout the course of the band’s career.
The Early Years
DJ Kilmore was born and raised in Pittsburgh by his adopted parents, who, from the start, nurtured his love for music. His father would take him on Sunday car drives, bumping music of Pink Floyd, Chicago, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. As a teenager, hip hop played a major role in his development in becoming a deejay, drawing inspiration from Jazzy Jeff, Beastie Boys, RUN DMC, Public Enemy and DJ Qbert.
A Move to Los Angeles
After college, Kilmore made his way to LA, landing gigs deejaying in the local scene and with his battle crew, Jedi Crew, and two other local rock bands, living paycheck by paycheck and doing it for fun. The opportunity to try out for Incubus came at a pivotal time for DJ Kilmore, where he was contemplating moving out to New York. He got a call from Incubus’ manager to audition to be their deejay and he tried out the next day.
“The lawyer called and Mikey called — that was on Friday. Saturday, I tried out. [I was] asked if you could do 16 songs on Monday, because we leave on tour for Tuesday. Did five gigs up and down the west coast and then three days [later], they went for Europe. They did 315 shows in a year.”
When he tried out, they were looking at a couple of deejays after another deejay was fired. Brandon Boyd was all about talking aliens, consciousness… the band’s management was looking for someone who can do the job, get along with the band members and create living in a van or a travel lifestyle consistent. Incubus was looking for a deejay who was able to think creatively. DJ Kilmore meshed right away and joined the band shortly after.
Creating with Incubus
Over the course of the 20 years touring and being in Incubus, Kilmore has enjoyed various aspects of being their deejay. Kilmore joined the band officially after touring with them on their album SCIENCE, being featured on their third studio album, Make Yourself. One of Kilmore’s highlights on making this album was the creation of “Battlestar Scralatchtica” with DJ Chemist.
One of the most interesting notes Kilmore made about his time with Incubus is the creative processes developing the music. When developing Morning View and A Crow Left of the Murder, Incubus rented houses in Malibu and Topanga, respectively. The ability to live, create and spend time with bandmates 24-7 gave Incubus members the freedom to create their own work in their own creative style. During the making of A Crow Left of the Murder, Ben Kenny made is musical debut in the band, forming the current members of Incubus today.
Incubus has always been a socially-conscious band, who donates their time to various causes through their 501 c(3) Make Yourself Foundation.
Incubus continues to do social work, producing long-lasting art and rocking on. To keep up with the latest Incubus news, check out their website and make sure to follow DJ Kilmore via the links below.