** Decibel catches Intronaut wizards Sacha Dunable and David Timnick between mind-blowing jam sessions and trips to Jack in the Box. We kid about the Jack in the Box thing. Anyway, the California group are just days away from issuing their new album, The Direction of Last Things, on the Century Media label. And having spent large sums of time with Intronaut’s fifth full-length, we’re of the opinion that it’s yet again a mind-blower. From the innovative brutality of “Fast Worms” to the slick heavy prog of “The Pleasant Surprise”, The Direction of Last Things is an album that’s immediately incredible, but unfolds untold levels of awesome the more you’re with it.
What’s it mean to you to be labeled “progressive”?
Sacha Dunable: I think our definition of “progressive” has always been different than most people’s. I consider anything with an innovative spirit behind it to be progressive. It has very little to do with actual musical ability and everything to do with translating the insane noises in your head into music, and not deriving from something that exists already.
David Timnick: I suppose it’s supposed to have something to do with being musically forward-thinking. And I guess that is the word to describe us, but it’s a pretty vague term that usually just means complex music with odd time signatures, musical unpredictability, etc. Which is honestly pretty accurate.
After four albums is Intronaut more likely to meld genres or separate them into distinct and recognizable pieces?
Sacha Dunable: At this point, that is the last thing on my mind. We have been a band for over ten years, and at this point our influences have been mashed up in a blender for so long that I couldn’t even really tell you what they are anymore. All of that is just part of our DNA now, and Intronaut has become its own living, breathing organism that music flows out of naturally.
List three bands few people that have heard of that have and continue to influence Intronaut. And maybe why they rule?
Sacha Dunable: Cloudkicker, because he is our spirit animal; Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, because hypnotic polyrhythmic madness; Luisito Quintero, the underlying, subtle emphasis on groove and rhythm in our music comes from music like this. If you want to know why these artists rule, go listen!
Intronaut could go in almost any direction. Yet, you’ve chosen, “this is Intronaut at our most technical, brutal, catchy, and straight up fearless.” Most bands, historically speaking, don’t usually get superlative with their releases as they get older. What’s pushing you in the “most” direction?
Sacha Dunable: I really missed making records that not only thought outside the box, but also beat the shit out of you. On the past couple records, I think we were really exploring some musical aspects that were experimental, melodic, and less of a primal heavy metal assault. It’s all part of the creative journey, so I still love all our records and those parts of our musical DNA, but personally I thought it was time we took our musical evolution and made it do 100 push ups every morning.
Will the screams always be a part of Intronaut? Maybe the primitive side.
Sacha Dunable: I used to think that I wasn’t angry enough anymore to scream over our music, but we did what felt natural for this music, and honestly it’s just good therapy to yell into a mic until you’re blue in the face.
David Timnick: There weren’t really any screams on the last record, but this one has plenty! We like them. We hope you do too.
You recorded The Direction of Last Things over four days in a mostly live setting. Are you insane or were you trying to capture that which is lost with most modern-day recordings?
Sacha Dunable: Yes, we are insane. But really, we decided that we don’t need to spend three weeks in a studio obsessing over every minute nuance. The reality is that in that past, we’ve taken that approach, but then we go on tour and play all those songs tightly. So why not just write the songs, rehearse the hell out of them, and then just go play them in an awesome recording studio? Intronaut is an actual band who rehearses together regularly. We make up one collective musical brain. There’s no reason why we couldn’t just have someone set up some mics, hit record, and capture that. We ended up making our best sounding record in a third of the time.
David Timnick: Maybe a little of both! We really wanted to capture what we actually sound like, and we had been having trouble achieving that on our previous records, so it was time to try something different. We’ve always tried to be a true “live” band, so this approach worked out well for us.
What were the studio sessions like?
Sacha Dunable: Josh Newell is the most professional and reliable engineer in the game. Without him, it would have been really tough to get the record done in that short timeframe.
David Timnick: Long and stressful, but exciting! Our sound engineer and dear friend Josh Newell did an incredible of capturing our sound and dealing with our bullshit.
You worked with Devin Townsend on the mix. Were there any reservations by either party on how it would turn out comparatively speaking to the previous Intronaut albums?
Sacha Dunable: We wanted to try something new for this album, and had pretty much no doubt that Devin would do a great job with the mix.
David Timnick: One of the bonuses of tracking the album in four days was that we had more time and money to spend on good mixing. We didn’t doubt that Devin would do a great job, but he truly exceeded our expectations! It’s by far the best sounding Intronaut record to date.
The Direction of Last Things means?
David Timnick: It has to do with a. belief in the importance of the location and position of a body during burial. Metaphorically it can (and does) mean a number of other things, at least to me.
Do you realize you’re competing with Stratovarius for dolphin cool? You might not win.
David Timnick: …But we definitely won’t lose.
** Intronaut’s new album, The Direction of Last Things, is out now on Century Media Records. It’s available HERE on CD and HERE on vinyl. If heavy, progressive, thoughtful, and innovative metal is your thing and you’ve NOT heard Intronaut, well, get off your egg-headed ass and pick up a copy of The Direction of Last Things now.