Few DJs have matched the success of Incubus DJ Chris Kilmore. His band has sold more than 13 million units worldwide and topped the Billboard album charts with its most recent effort (2006’s Light Grenades). We caught him while he was recording the band’s next album in a Nashville studio.
How have your studio contributions changed over the years? It has definitely evolved since my first record with Incubus. In the past, before we would play a lick of music, I would make my own scratch records. Clearing samples wasn’t something I wanted to deal with, so all the sounds were original. My approach was kind of like… here’s a scratch record. Now, it’s how do I fit this into the music? Nowadays, my approach is a lot different.
How’s that? Serato changed my life. When it came out, I was like… sweet. I don’t have to wait for these records to come back from the plant. The recording process and the preparation became one. I used a lot of analog synths on the scratch records, so I started playing them in the studio and made digital scratch records for the live gigs.
Have you totally given up using vinyl? There is nothing that sounds better than a good piece of vinyl, but… onstage? Yes. Serato in Relative Mode means no skipping. In a rock band with a singer [Brandon Boyd] who occasionally catches “The Holy Ghost,” Serato is a lifesaver. But I love the sound of vinyl over MP3s. I mean, who doesn’t? My record collection at home is a little over 13,000 records, but that’s where they stay—at home. Like I said earlier, Serato has totally changed the way I approach DJing. There is nothing like performing a battle routine on old-school vinyl, but with a little getting used to, you can do the same routines with Serato and not wear out your records learning it.