It seems like more and more bands today are having a hard time categorizing themselves into one of the established metal subgenres. If someone were to try to lump INTRONAUT into one of the pre-existing categories of metal, it wouldn’t be fair to them or their music. Sometimes subgenres just don’t work – or else they’re just getting stale - especially for bands that try to push the envelope. When you’re listening to INTRONAUT, you’re not thinking about how they’re an awesome prog or sludge metal band, even though they do incorporate elements of each. Instead, you’re thinking about how they sound like something totally new – and good.
Luckily, Sacha Dunable and crew are finishing up a new record that will be released sometime in the fall. If you’re the impatient type, or if you just need your weekly live metal fix, come out to the El Rey on July 22 to get a taste of what’s to come. INTRONAUT is heading out on the road with CYNIC, and this is the first show of the tour. CYNIC is great and all, but make sure to get there early to see the local guys kick things off up there. INTRONAUT certainly isn’t the average lackluster opener. Leave work early, skip dinner, whatever. Skipping dinner in favor of alcohol and metal might benefit most of you anyways. We have three pairs of tickets to give away for this show, so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here to snatch one up before they’re gone. The contest closes on Wednesday at noon. Winners will be notified that night.
In the meantime, here’s a quick Q&A with Sacha, who was nice enough to answer a few questions for us even in the midst of his tour preparations.
First and foremost, is there a tentative release date range for the new album?
I think Century Media went ahead and scheduled it for October 12th or whatever that Tuesday is. We're actually still mixing though so hopefully we won't have to push it back.
How does it feel to be almost finished with the third INTRONAUT studio album?
So far I feel pretty good about it. I'd just like to be done at this point. In a more grand-scheme kind of sense, it feels great to know we've come this far. It's hard enough getting a band together with capable people you can actually stand, so the fact that we've been able to release three albums and two EP's as well as play these songs in front of people across the planet is pretty awesome. I constantly stop and think about how we're some of the luckiest people in the world.
In terms of writing and recording, how were things different with Valley of Smoke compared to Prehistoricisms?
We took our time, both in the writing and recording processes. We spent probably 8 months letting these songs marinate and evolve before going into the studio, and even then booked more time than usual so we could relax a bit. I don't know if we really needed to take all that time, but that's the way it worked out due to everyone's schedules and energy levels. I guess you could say we weren't forcing ourselves to be inspired to write. We're probably all happier so far with this record than we were on the last one, where we took probably a third of that time do get it all done. I think that for the first time, we won't be listening back in a month wishing we had added another layer of guitar or played a drum part better in a certain spot, because we've really gone over everything semi-meticulously.
How has the band's sound evolved on the new record?
I guess we're just pushing what we know how to do a bit further, as we have with each record. The most immediately noticeable difference will probably be that we decided to start using our voices as a musical instrument a lot more, rather than just cookie monstering over everything. Dave and I also made a conscious effort to "play guitar" a lot more on these songs. People will notice a difference, for better or worse, I'm sure.
You're about to head out on the road with CYNIC and DYSRHYTHMIA. What are some of your expectations for this tour?
Pocket protectors, fanny packs, and t-shirts tucked into jeans. Aside from that, awesome shows and fun times. There are lots of reasons I think this is the perfect tour for INTRONAUT to be on. I think we'll be playing to lots of new people who could potentially enjoy our music, and the package is one that our current fans would probably be stoked to come out and see. In addition to that, we've been friends with the DYSRHYTHMIA guys for a long time, and the CYNIC guys all seem great from what time we've spent with them already. Everyone's down to earth, which always makes for good, mellow vibes.
What's life on the road like for INTRONAUT?
I can't really compare it to other bands since I've never done any extensive touring with anyone else, but in my opinion we still rough it pretty hard. You basically just get into a routine of sleeping four hours a night, driving six hours a day, eating Subway for every meal, and drinking as much as possible in order to not think about these three things.
What is your favorite venue in LA to catch a live show? Favorite place to play a show?
The Troubadour has always been my favorite place to see a show. Ever since I first started going to shows in the mid nineties, they've had the best sound, good vantage points, easy free parking, and it's a cool room. Though, for some reason I have never played there. Always wanted to. Spaceland was one of my favorites until they took away the smoking in the back room. The Echoplex is really nice, but almost too big. As for smaller bars, nothing will ever beat The Mountain Bar. I like having the option of having a separate bar if I'm not feeling a certain band. And Martin's free shows are the best deal in town. I hate playing there though. The loading situation sucks. I really miss that warehouse downtown with the skate ramp. That was one of my favorite spots too.
My favorite place of all time, both to watch or play a show, was the Knitting Factory. Whatever happened there, it's too bad they had to move out. I'm stoked to play the El Rey next week. That's another place I've always wanted to play. Other than that, I can't think of any place I love playing. I pretty much hate the hassle of playing shows when not in the context of a tour due to all the extra loading and crap involved, so unless its a super convenient situation it all sucks as far as I'm concerned.
Are you satisfied with the way the local metal music scene is evolving in LA?
Yeah, I mean I don't go out to shows quite as often as I used to, but there is much more of a community for metal than there was five or ten years ago. Before Martin/Ovrcast, Dan/8th Day, and Eddie Solis came around and started making cool shows happen, there was really nothing besides Hollywood crap. The only underground stuff happening was death/black metal bar or backyard shows, which are awesome, but thats all you get. The only place you'd get more interesting underground metal stuff before those guys was at a place like The Smell, who you could always tell we're really reluctant about it. Before that, I can't really think of any place since the PCH that really brought it as far as that grey area between straight up punk or death metal. So yeah, the fact that there are three promoters out there bringing cool bands to LA right now, I'd say it's a good time to be a heavy music fan in LA.
As for other bands in LA, there are tons I think are great. Probably tons I don't even know about at this point, but anyone playing shows and bringing out friends which in turn supports the whole cause, is doing something right. Ancestors, Black Math Horseman, Lightning Swords Of Death, 16... I don't know, these are bands who have been helping to bring people out to shows for years now, and they're good at what they do musically, so it sets the bar high, and you end up getting better and better bands because of that. That band Moab are sweet too. I just heard some rad stuff from Behold The Monolith as well. Who else? National Sunday Law (RIP), old school dudes like Exhausted Prayer, Upsilon Acrux, Harrasor, then the more death metal bands we go way back with like Abysmal Dawn or Dreaming Dead. I'm sure I'm forgetting some bands, and I apologize! I don't know, you have to love anyone who is dedicated to playing music that is generally not going to be understood by non metal folks, and who support some kind of "scene" or community.