If you have ever read any of my posts you know I’m a total junkie when it comes to intelligent well crafted music with a hint (or sometimes a lot) of heaviness and Intronaut are a perfect example of that intelligent heaviness. I have followed the band closely for a few years now and have been a big fan of the way they have been able to mix jazz-fusion type elements with heavy, technical metal/rock, but for me the band has created their best set of songs of their career with their latest album Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones). Intronaut has managed to keep all the elements that made them so great while also putting more emphasis on cleaner vocal styles and harmonies, something they had begun incorporating on their previous LP Valley of Smoke. So since the album is so amazing I had to get some more details on it and Dave Timnick (guitar / vocals) was nice enough to oblige with some more information before he and his band head out on their summer tour starting in June.
I read that you guys took almost eight months to write the new album, is this the longest you have spent writing a collection of songs? What’s your song writing process like?
Actually, the writing process was much faster on this album than on the previous ones. We were really feeling inspired this time around, and we were practicing/writing together like 5 times a week! The process itself is a combination of everyone’s individual ideas and a lot of jamming at the practice space.
You and Joe are both trained in musical theory; do you find that this causes you to over-complicate individual parts or songs? Do you ever need to scale song structures back or simplify things?
I don’t think having a background in music theory necessarily leads to overcomplicated music. Yes, Joe and I do have strong backgrounds in musical education, but I think that when we are writing for Intronaut, we are always trying to make sure that it’s about the music. We don’t have to search for simplicity. It finds us.
Habitual Levitations features more clean vocal melodies than previous albums. What is the reasoning behind the change in vocals? Any vocalists that inspired the new singing style?
I think that after Prehistoricisms, we really felt that screaming all the time just didn’t suit the music we were writing. I asked Sacha, “Can you sing in key?” He said, “Yes!” I said, “Me too! Why are we not using our voices as instruments??”
Our music focuses a lot on melody and harmony, so at a certain point we figured either we become an instrumental band, or we start using our voices with some sort of musical purpose.
It seems that as the band has grown that you have gotten involved more vocally with every release, has this changed the writing process at all?
Thank you for noticing! Most people still think that it’s all Sacha! The clean vocal thing was really how I started contributing vocally, beginning on “Valley Of Smoke”. I’m not much of a screamer, but vocal melodies and harmonies is more of my thing, so after we all agreed that that was direction we were heading in, I was able to start contributing a lot more. I also wrote all the lyrics for the last 2 albums, which makes the approach to writing vocals much more personal for me.
Do you have a favorite song off the new album or one that you’re most proud of?
Not particularly. I think that we are all very proud of the album as a whole, and we tried to write the album as one cohesive musical statement.
I’m currently obsessed with “Milk Leg”, especially the latter half of the song which to me has a really hazy jazzy vibe to it. What inspired this particular part?
I honestly don’t remember. It just sort of “happened” while we were all writing and jamming.
I saw that you posted a link to a review on the bands Facebook page that totally misunderstood the new album and gave it a bad review. Do you find a lot of backlash now that your sound has become less metal oriented? How do you guys handle criticism?
It wasn’t just a bad review, it was an AMAZINGLY BAD review! We thought it was hilarious. Criticism is just something that comes with the territory, so we try to pay as little attention to it as possible. We’re only concerned with writing music that we stand behind.
Yes, Sacha and I have already gotten together a few times and have started writing some new stuff. I don’t know what direction the band is headed, but we are definitely feeling more creative and inspired than ever before!
Seems like the band spends a decent amount of time touring overseas, do you prefer shows over there as opposed to the states? Are the crowds different?
I don’t think that one is necessarily better than the other. They’re just different. The hospitality and general subsidization of the arts is definitely better over there, but our shows are probably better here in the States, because we’ve done so much more touring here.
If there was one aspect about your previous albums you could change, what would it be?
Probably some of the guitar and drum tones.
Any memorable shows that stand out to you from all your years of touring?
Well, I got to do a duel drum jam with Danny Carey on my 30th birthday when we were on tour with TOOL, so that was pretty cool! Every one of those shows was like being in a dream. Also, Justin came out and played the song “Valley Of Smoke” with us, for the the one-and-only live performance of that song. Also, touring with Meshuggah was pretty fucking amazing as well!
Favorite song or songs to play live?
“A Sore Sight For Eyes”, “The Welding”, “Core Relations”, “Gleamer”.
So you’ve had the opportunity to tour with Tool and Meshuggah. Are there any other dream bands out there that you’d like to hit the road with?
We would love to tour with Mastodon again, and also maybe Opeth would be pretty damn cool.
Any new albums or artists out right now that you guys are really enjoying?
The Atlas Moth, Nik Bartsch’s Ronin, Cloudkicker.
Favorite album or artist of all time?
Come on! That’s an impossible question to answer! Maybe Pink Floyd?…