Incubus rose to become one of the most popular alternative metal bands of the new millennium, setting themselves apart from a crowded field with a somewhat less negative outlook and tireless touring. The band was formed in 1991 in the San Fernando Valley suburb of Calabasas, California by vocalist Brandon Boyd, guitarist Mike Einziger, bassist Alex Katunich, and drummer José Pasillas. They were all tenth grade classmates when they got together. They existed as a band for some time before they gave themeselves a name and the band's name "Incubus" was only chosen when they were required to supply a band name for an upcoming show.

The band's early shows were frequently at nightclubs on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip, including such well-known venues as the Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy and the Troubadour. Their early funk-metal sound was heavily influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but broadened over the next few years to incorporate thrash, rap-metal, post-grunge rock, and grinding alternative metal à la Korn or the Deftones.

In 1995, Incubus added hip-hop turntablist Gavin Koppell (known by his stage name DJ Lyfe) to their lineup and recorded their first two-song EP, Let Me Tell Ya 'Bout Root Beer. This was followed by the independently released debut album Fungus Amongus. In the following year, Incubus signed a seven-record deal with Sony's Immortal Records, later to become Epic Records.

Incubus' first major-label release was the six-song EP Enjoy Incubus, which was released in early 1997 and consisted of previous demos that were revamped in the studio. This was created so the band could present a recording while touring with Korn in Europe. Later in the year, their first full-length album, S.C.I.E.N.C.E., was released. Incubus hit the road with a vengeance, opening for bands like Korn, Primus, 311, Sublime, and Unwritten Law.