Photos by Maclyn Bean.
Intronaut are set to release their newest album, the highly anticipated Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones) very soon. They recently did a few shows while trekking to Florida for their upcoming stint with Meshuggah and Animals As Leaders, and when they stopped by Tallahassee, I sat down with Sacha Dunable (vocals/guitar) and Dave Timnick (vocals/guitar) to discuss music, inspirations, and their upcoming new album Habitual Levitations.
DT: Next question.
Alright, so you guys are doing this mini tour before you go play with Meshuggah and Animals As Leaders, so what made you guys want to do a mini tour, like a little tiny headlining tour, for just a few dates?
DT: Well it’s not really technically officially a headlining tour, but it’s a string of headlining shows, because otherwise driving out to Florida to meet Meshuggah means several days of spending money and not doing anything.
SD: Yeah, we’re from Los Angeles so you know, that’s a long drive. It’s like a 40 hour drive. So we just figured [we’d] book, like, seven headlining shows.
DT: Get to warm up, make a couple millions of dollars really quick. So it’s no big deal.
How’s it going so far?
DT: Very good, I mean it’s been really good. The shows have been really good.
Are you guys excited to play with Meshuggah? I know I saw on Facebook Danny [Walker, drums] was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so excited to play with Meshuggah’.
DT: That’s really the only reason we’re doing the tour, just cause he really wanted to do it and we were like, “Fine.”
SD: I’d rather be at home working… but Danny really wanted to do the tour, so we said fine.
DT: I wanted to go to the Stone Sour concert.
SD: I wanted to sit on my couch and do nothing. I don’t have TV or anything, so I guess just sit on the couch and I’d be good to go.
Speaking of work, do you guys have jobs outside of the band that you do?
DT: Sacha, here, is a guitar wizard.
SD: I cast spells on guitars. [laughs] No, I fix guitars, I build guitars, or any stringed instrument, really. I just work on those and—
SD: I have not yet, but I will. More of a Western-stringed instrument specialist.
DT: Yeah, and Danny, Joe [Lester, bass], and myself all work in the restaurant and/or bar industry.
SD: Making bars?
DT: Yes… Making bars and restaurants.
So you guys just do that in between tours just to make some extra dough? Because obviously, with touring nowadays, you’ve got to live off nickels and dimes.
DT: Yeah, well, I mean we do that to…live, you know? All our jobs are not ‘extra dough’; that’s just how we pay our bills more or less. We don’t make real money with this music thing; it’s all for love.
SD: It’s getting better though.
DT: Definitely getting better.
Rad! So your new album comes out on the 19th of March, if I’m not mistaken?
SD: You are right. You are not mistaken; you are informed. [laughs]
And you guys released the single ‘Milk Leg.’ So is that a pretty good indication of what we’re gonna get the entire album, or is that sort of a “single for single purposes,” if you will?
SD: It’s just the song that we decided…somehow, we were like. “that’s the song that we’ll put out first,” you know? It’s not necessarily our favorite song on the record. I mean sure it’s a great song—
DT: It’s not that great.
SD: I mean, we wrote it, so it’s amazing, obviously.
DT: It’s tied for ‘Best Song Ever’ with every other song we ever wrote. [laughs]
SD: But no, not every song on the album sound like that. There’s a lot of songs that sound like other stuff.
Would you say it was more of a group effort? Last record sounded really rhythm-based; you guys turned up the bass a lot, as well as the drums, so is this one more of an ‘Oh, we’re going to have everyone hear their parts a lot more’, or is going to be similarly rhythm-based?
DT: I think that’s just Joe and Danny turning their tracks up when Sacha and I go outside to smoke a cigarette. [laughs] But the writing process itself is relatively unchained.
SD: Unchained? [laughs]
DT: Well, unchained and unchanged. We, as a full collaborative effort, wrote this.
So how many songs are going to be on the new record?
Are they all long songs like ‘Milk Leg’? That was around seven minutes or so, right?
DT: Yeah, there’s a few long ones.
SD: The whole record is a little under an hour. It’s not too long; it’s just long enough. It’s like 50-something minutes.
DT: It’s just long enough for us to reach the G-Spot in your ears. [laughs]
Speaking of reaching the aural G-spot, what are your favorite songs to play live? What songs do you just love to play? Give me a top three, or even your favorite ever. Although all your songs are the best songs ever.
SD: Oh god, favorite song to play? Hmm. I like…
DT: Right now I’m loving playing all the new songs, but that’s just because they’re fresh. But ‘Core Relations’ is one of my favorites to play live.
SD: ‘Core Relations’ is a good one. I don’t know, man.
DT: I just don’t really like playing any of these songs. I just did it for the money and the chicks. [laughs]
SD: Yeah, right now probably just the newer songs, but I mean we really like all of our songs.
How many new songs have you guys been playing on this run of shows?
SD: Five new songs. On these shows, at least. Once the Meshuggah shows start the set gets a little shorter and we can really only play a couple of them. Because people don’t know them yet.
SD: We want to give them something they know, too.
So do you guys have any different influences on this album? Like maybe you were kind of digging an artist and you kind of took something like what you heard and put it to your music, or was it the same Intronaut we got on the last record?
DT: No, but I mean we’re always trying to get into new music, and everything that we get in to always ends up being influential in some way or another. I know personally that some of this newer stuff that I have gotten in to that’s had an impact on me is like, this cat from Switzerland, I think? Named Nik Bärtsch—
SD: I thought he’s German, isn’t he?
SD: That’s true, you know. Like when we started writing, actually, we were all kind of, like, actively listening to stuff like that together, actually. That, and like, Steely Dan.
DT: Yeah, those are the two only influences on the new record.
SD: It sounds, well, that.
DT: If both of those had an illegitimate, immaculate conception of a baby. [laughs]
Now, I know Danny has his side project with Murder Construct. Do either of you have any recent side projects that you’ve been working on, or composing material for?
SD: Yeah, always man. Dave, you go first.
DT: I recently did a side project with Justin Chancellor from Tool. I played drums, which will be—if it hasn’t already been released to the public—released soon. It’s called M.T.void, and the album’s called Nothing’s Matter. Highly recommend checking that one out.
SD: It’s good; really good.
DT: And, Sacha, you have something going on as well.
SD: Well last year I put out a record with the band called Bereft. It’s doom metal, with just a bunch of buddies. My buddy Charles from Abysmal Dawn, and Derek [“Demon Carcass” Rydquist] who used to be the singer of The Faceless. And then Derek [Donley] from National Sunday Law, who also recorded the bulk of [Intronaut’s] new album.
Yeah, National Sunday Law are pretty good. I just started getting in to them.
DT: Oh yeah, they’re killer. Good friends of ours.
SD: They’ve got some sick stuff.
Speaking of, are there any bands that are just kind of coming out of the woodwork, that you think people should start to pay attention to because they’re going to become huge?
DT: Well, yes, but not because we think they’re gonna blow up, because there are some good bands that are up-and-coming that are definitely worth checking out. What was that first band…? Or no, what was that band that played right before us in Santa Fe?
SD: Oh yeah, this band called As In We.
DT: Right, As In We! They were very cool. There’s a band we played with last night called…what were they called? With a ‘T’?
DT: Transmuted. From Pensacola, Florida. They were pretty cool.
SD: But other than that, I don’t know…like who else…you play with bands sometimes so much that you kind of lose track. I mean, there’s a lot of good bands out there.
DT: Now, it might not be a new thing but I recommend everyone checking out Cloudkicker.
DT: I mean it’s just one dude. But I mean that’s not new at all. But we met that guy and he just gave us a CD at one of our shows; we had never heard of him then.
So he went to one of your shows and you got to meet him?
DT: Yeah, this was many years back, and he kind of just… was actually one of several people who had come up to us and given us a CD. But he was very cool about it and not like, “Hey man, take my band on tour!” He just gave us a couple of CDs and I remember we popped it in inside the van and we were all pretty blown away. Now, that’s not really a big secret, but I still recommend everyone check him out, for anyone who hasn’t heard him.
Yeah, he’s definitely awesome. Alright, so can one of you describe your new album in three words?
DT: Sucks out loud. Sacha?
SD: Really fucking good. So, as you can see, we have differing opinions on the record.
DT: Hence the creative process.
How do you feel about music, specifically the metal industry, today? It seems as if every single bands that comes out seems to have some sort of gimmick or something new that they’re doing, whether it be playing “djent” music, or—
DT: That’s not just metal, man. It’s all music, you know? Most bands usually kind of go with the sweeping trends, and whatnot, in any kind of music. You know, sometimes you get a band, in any genre, that are a musical act trying to do something a little different, so I don’t think it’s restricted to metal as far, like, you know, doing generic stuff, or popping up with a certain new trend or something. I mean that exists in all genres of music, I think.
I agree. It can get a tad convoluted. So for your new album you just released the album artwork a couple weeks ago. Was it the same artist who did the artwork for Valley Of Smoke?
DT: Yep, the same guy. David D’Andrea. Very cool guy.
So what’s the meaning of the title Habitual Levitations?
DT: We’ll just leave that up to the imagination. It’s whatever you want it to be.
Before we finish, I have a question about the lyrics. Sacha, do you write all of the lyrics, or some of them with help from the other guys?
SD: No, actually Dave writes most of the lyrics, at least for this and the last record.
Is there any particular place you draw inspiration from, Dave?
DT: Wherever there’s inspiration to be drawn. From the gutters of the back-alley brothels, to the gutters of high society cocktail parties. [laughs]
SD: From the gutters, though.
DT: It’s a lot of gutters.
SD: Just different gutters.
Alright cool! Thanks for doing this interview! Any final thoughts? Anything left you want to say about your new record and people checking it out?
DT: Buy our new record or the terrorists win. [laughs]
SD: Yeah, that’s officially what we’re going with.
Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones) is out March 19th through Century Media Records.