L.A. Prog merchants Intronaut have just released their latest album, Habitual Levitations. They’ve also recently completely a tour with Meshuggah and are about to embark on a headlining jaunt through North American. So all-in-all, things are going VERY well for the high-minded four-piece. We managed to get founding guitarist and current vocalist Sacha Dunable on the phone to answer a few questions about where the band is at in this whirlwind of recent activity.
Metal Blast: How did the process behind your latest album, Habitual Levitations, compare to that behind your previous effort, Valley of Smoke?
Sascha Dunable: It’s always kind of the same. We take forever to make records. We really took some time off, about eight to nine months, from touring. We just jammed four or five days a week for a super long time and we ended up with more material than we’ve ever had for an album before. We took the standard amount of time, about three months, to record. So the whole process took about a year, which is pretty standard for us.
MB: Over time you’ve gone from a progressive death metal sound similar to Cynic, into a more sludge-oriented sound similar to Mastodon. Was this development deliberate or did it just come naturally?
S:It was a pretty natural progression. We didn’t sit there and think “Lets sound more sludgey”. I think we sound the same as we always have. I guess it’s just a natural progression. If you’re a progressive band, you should evolve over the course of four records and two EPs.
MB: So you wouldn’t subscribe to that Dream Theater school of thought were the music is progressive in the sense of its technicality and intricacy, but that it always sounds essentially the same?
S: I guess not. I actually don’t listen to Dream Theater. I don’t really know what they sound like. But, yeah, progressive to me is more than just technical music. It’s actually about progressing and making something new.
MB: One of the things that people have noticed in the evolution of Intronaut is the increasing use of clean vocals. Why did you guys take this direction.
S: Again, it’s a natural progression. We’re spending so much time writing the music. On the last record we sort of half-way went there, but the idea was that we’re spending so much time writing the music and then just screaming over it. It didn’t feel right after a while: To be wasting that material when we could have been using two voices and melodic instruments in the mix. So we dabbled with melodic singing on the last record, and then by the time this one came around, that was just sort of what we did. Again, it just came naturally.
MB: I know that some of your members are involved with some death metal and grindcore projects. This question may not be best suited to yourself, but based on what you see and hear from your band mates, do you feel that the audiences that those bands attract are significantly different from the audience that is attracted to Intronaut?
S: It’s pretty different, yes. When we were first starting out, there was some overlap just because a couple of are members were in Exhumed. But at this point, generally speaking, I don’t think many of our fans are Exhumed fans or vice versa. There’s obviously some overall, I mean, I’m sure there’s some people out there that like both bands. But Exhumed is obviously more like an old-school Thrash/Death Metal band. I love that stuff but, with Intronaut, the whole purpose is to be the opposite of that.
MB: You’ve just come off of a tour with Meshuggah, how did you find the response from their crowds?
S: That was one of the more successful support slots that we’ve ever had. It was perfect. It was probably the best response we’ve ever had as a support band on a tour. Even though we’re not nearly as heavy as Meshuggah, it just worked. Having Animals As Leaders there too, with all the bands coming from a similar mindset, but still different enough, it just worked. I think the fans were all down with it.
MB: What can your fans expect from your upcoming North American tour.
S: I think we’ve picked some cool bands to come with us; Bands that we know and like. We’ll be playing a long set and it’ll also be a bigger, more elaborate stage production than what we’ve ever done. Ultimately though, they can expect to see us play.
MB: Any final thoughts for your fans?
S: Just thank you for always being there for us. Thanks for being awesome and always being supportive.