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Metal Monday: Intronaut Q&A

How many bands can you name that would be a perfect opener for Tool? Was Intronaut on your list? Well, they should be (if they weren’t, shame on you). Intronaut has been plugging away on tour since their release of Valley of Smoke in 2010, and now they’re about to head out on the road to open for Tool on the first leg of their 2012 North American tour. The band has some plans in the works immediately following the tour, so we got in touch with Sacha Dunable to find out more.

OS: Intronaut has toured with some serious bands since releasing Valley of Smoke, and you’re about to tour with Tool for the first leg of their upcoming tour. How would you describe things in Intronaut since Valley of Smoke?

SD: Obviously a lot of cool things have happened to us. I think that has been the same throughout our existence, it has sort of been like that where things come up and it gets cooler and cool. And that definitely motivates us too keep moving. Keeps morale high.
OS: What sort of things do you think will be the biggest takeaways from this short tour with Tool, especially since you’ve not really done many dates of this size/caliber before?

SD: We pretty much never have. I think that obviously one part of it is that it’s opening for a band that we’re totally into. I mean, opening for Tool is something you never expect to have happen when you start a band, so just on a personal level, I think that’s a pretty cool accomplishment. Then obviously playing in front of a bunch of people, hopefully maybe some of them like your band and you gain some new fans that way. I think we’re really just looking to go out and enjoy the whole experience. I can’t really see anything negative coming from it. All of the positive things that happen are just an added bonus.

OS: What of your stuff that you plan on playing do you think of will go over best with people who might not know Intronaut?

SD: We’re just picking a set that we think represents us best. Sort of a general representation, so we’re playing a lot of stuff from Valley of Smoke since that’s the most current release, as well as a few old songs. Songs that probably won’t get drowned out in a big arena, and songs we just like personally.

OS: In an interview with Lambgoat from December 23, you mentioned that after this tour with Tool that you’re going to take time to write the new album. What has your progress been so far in coming up with material for this album?

SD: There’s like five or six sort of rough drafts of songs where we have some ideas and some riffs put together as a song that we will get together in a room and refine and polish and iron out. So that’s where we’re at. We’ve got some ground work laid definitely, but there’s still plenty of work to do so we probably won’t be recording until after the summer I think.

OS: Could you tell us a bit about how Intronaut’s writing process usually works, both as a band and you personally?

SD: It happens a variety of ways. It can either come from us jamming in a room and having some ideas to work with, or one person’s little idea to build or sometimes going so far as demoing all of the semi-complete songs for the whole band to build on. So, it’s collaboration either way¦

OS: Where does the band’s heavy world music influence stem from?

SD: Everybody in the band is just into all kinds of music. Dave and Joe especially have some education, or have at least immersed themselves in, certain other types of, I guess, world music; Indian Classical stuff, and a lot of African stuff. So that will just come out and it’s fun to just try to integrate that stuff into a hard rock or heavy metal environment.

OS: Similarly, where did the ideas for “The Reptilian Brain” / “Valley of Smoke” come from?

SD: Before Dave even joined the band, he had been studying tabla for a few years so¦we were definitely like “We should have that in our music somewhere”. So yeah, The Reptilian Brain that was Dave and Joe, at least the beginning. The first part of that song was them, they wrote that together. All the percussive stuff that you’re hearing, especially the polyrhythmic stuff, that’s definitely a lot of Dave’s influence on the band.

OS: What are the chances of Intronaut including more stuff like that with the new material?

SD: Probably pretty good. I don’t really think there’s anything like that written yet, but it always finds its way in there.

OS: Who writes most of the lyrics for Intronaut, and where does the lyrical or thematic influence from?

SD: Most recently it’s been Dave. For the last record, all the songs are about a different historical tidbit or fact or event about Los Angeles, which is where we’re from. He and I researched some stuff that we would write the songs on. It’s sort of a loose concept album, but really more of a themed album. There’s no consistent story going through the whole thing. We just researched some pretty deep shit about LA, and I tried to go for things that people, even if they’re from here, wouldn’t really know about. We picked different topics for each song, and he sort of shrouded it in metaphors and whatnot, and made it into heavy metal songs lyrics.

OS: How about an example of what one of these songs is about?

SD: Sure, the song Above is about”I can’t say exactly when it happened, I think some time during World War II, shortly after Pearl Harbor”a military airplane deployment into the sky above LA to shoot down some mysterious something-or-other¦they didn’t know if it was Japanese planes¦or if was some UFO. There was also some speculation that it was some sort of weather balloon”but there was definitely some air combat going on over LA that sort of never got talked about, but it was in some papers and got swept under the rug.

The song Elegy is about when they were building one of the oil refineries down in Carson I think, which is south LA County, they dug up a mass grave that [had] probably like 100 people [in it], which was probably some tribe from like hundreds of years ago that were just demolished by something. Obviously we don’t know because it was a few hundred years ago, but people were just broken in half and shit and just thrown into a bit pit and buried, then uncovered a few hundred years later. So, you know, things like that, fun little happy events about LA.

Catch Intronaut on tour, buy their albums, all that jazz. At the very least, enjoy the video for “Elegy” below: