Intronaut has been an anomaly mixture of sludge and progressive metal since their beginnings in the early 2000’s and the group will be continuing this unique style with their upcoming album, The Direction of Last Things, which will be released next month via Century Media Records. Guitarist/vocalist Dave Timnick spoke to Metal Insider about the LP, post-metal, Between the Buried and Me, and more.
The Direction of Last Things will be Intronaut’s fifth album. What was your goal for the music when starting this album?
I don’t know if we really had a specific goal. Our approach to every record is to write what we want to hear. We have a bunch of different influences and there’s always specific things that draw us to particular bands and we mix those to create something. We’ve never thought about the record being heavier or having more clean vocals and we trust that enough people will respond to it.
The first single, “Fast Worms” has already been released and there’s a really nice balance between heavy and melodic jazz-fusion. Can you discuss the writing process for this track?
That particular song started with a riff from Sacha [Dunable], some of the faster ‘chugga-chugga-chugga’ stuff. Between Sacha and myself, we put together a skeleton of the song and then we all jammed it and everyone had their part. The clean section in the middle started as a joke when we had a call and response guitar part where we were playing the same notes but in different time signatures. And Danny [Walker] came in with the drums and Joe [Lester] found a way to halfway follow what I was playing and halfway follow what Sacha was playing. It doesn’t sound too chaotic because we were playing the same notes. I’m not sure if that’s from King Crimson or what.
Was there a specific lyrical message or theme you were aiming for on the entire album?
Not really. I’ve written the lyrics for the past couple records, so Valley of Smoke had a little bit of a concept and Habitual Levitations didn’t really. For The Direction of Last Things, each song is about something specific but there isn’t one underlying theme. “Fast Worms” is about Robert Durst, the real estate heir in New York. They just did a feature on HBO about him. They caught him on tape admitting that he killed his wife. It’s a pretty crazy story, so that song is loosely based on him.
The infamous Devin Townsend mixed the album. Can you talk about this choice and his contributions?
Our last couple records sonically didn’t sound exactly the way we wanted. We want our records to sound the way we sound when we’re playing live, which proved more difficult than we thought. We didn’t have a large recording budget and we had to record the album live in four days. I forget exactly how we arrived on Devin Townsend, but it seemed like the right thing to do. We recorded our material and just handed it off to him and trusted him and I think he did a great job.
To support this LP, you’ll be touring with Between the Buried and Me, Enslaved, and Native Construct, which is a great package. What is your relationship with these bands and what can fans expect from you live this go around?
As far as our participation in the show, we’ll be playing all new stuff. We’ve toured once before with Between the Buried and Me and it was great, so we’re looking forward to doing that again. Enslaved, we’ve never toured with, but all of us have been fans way back before they were progressive. I don’t know much about Native Construct, but their new album sounds really good. It seems like a really diverse package. Between the Buried and Me truly gets it as far as creating a package and bringing bands on tour that make for a good experience.
You guys have previously toured with Mastodon, Cynic, Animals as Leaders, Tool, the list goes on. Who else is on your bucket list of bands you’d really like to tour?
We did a tour once with Meshuggah, so touring with them again would be awesome. Even though we’ve done it, I hope to do it again. Maybe like Opeth, as they’re a band who I think it would make sense for us to tour with them and we’ve always been fans.
Intronaut has been labeled as post-metal throughout your career. So, what the hell is post-metal?
You know what, that’s a good question and if I had the answer, I would tell you. I understand the need to be categorized to a certain extent, but everything seems to be headed towards subgenres of subgenres. I once saw a description of us saying, “post-post metal (pre-metal?)” and I thought that made absolutely no sense, but I loved it. I think “progressive” makes sense because it refers to an all encompassing, non-conventional approach.
There’s been a lot of amazing releases this year and many more to come. For you personally, what have been some albums you’ve appreciated recently?
I really liked the last Cloudkicker record. I love anything that Ben Sharp does, he’s amazing. There’s a band that I just got into and they’re not metal, but they’re called Hiatus Kaiyote. Their new record Choose Your Weapon has been blowing my mind. The last Animals as Leaders and The Contortionist records were awesome.
After the album release and tour, whats next?
Well, right before this tour we’re actually playing two shows with Mastodon. They’re touring with Judas Priest. After the Between the Buried and Me tour, we might end up doing something in January or February. In March and April is when we’re going to be doing our headlining tour in the US and Canada.
What do you foresee for the future of the band’s sound; do you think with time, the band’s sound will head in a more melodic or jazz-oriented direction rather than sludge metal?
I think we’ll always carry aspects of the metal sound. Having the melodic parts will always be there to juxtapose with the heavier sounds. We never wanted to be one or the other. Those are just the two aspects of the music we want to hear.