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Intronaut Vocalist Sacha Dunable Discusses New Album, New Tour, New…Dolphin T-Shirts?

As one of the quickest risers in metal right now, Intronaut has been maintaining a very healthy fan base and a very solid discography. Recently, they added to that collection with Habiutal Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones), and apparently it was good enough to get a headlining tour with master instrumetallers Scale the Summit (which, by the way, comes to San Francisco on July 5th). Yours truly recently got to talk with the lead vocalist from the stoner metal outfit and chat about their newest album, their tour with Scale the Summit, and their latest additions to their shirt catalog.

What were you looking to accomplish with the new record?

Well, I don’t know if there was any one “goal” that we had in mind to accomplish necessarily, but I guess the thing that you’re always going for is to make a better record than the last one and to let ourselves evolve and progress into something new and fresh each time rather than putting out the same kind of record over and over again.

Habitual Levitations doesn’t feature the “growly vocals” that were present in your past records. What made you decide to do this kind of transformation?

Like I said, it’s just evolving as a musician and a person, really. Especially with the new record, and partially with the last, writing music where you’re just growling into a microphone after spending all of your time writing well thought out instrumental parts just seemed like it didn’t quite fit anymore.  The music isn’t really coming from an angsty place at this point, if that makes sense? It’s hard to explain to somebody that might not be in a band, but if you’re on stage screaming into a microphone, it just doesn’t feel as natural. Expressing that kind of angry, angsty side wasn’t what I was after, it just doesn’t feel natural anymore. Not to say that it will never happen again in our music, but while we were writing that record, that’s where we were all coming from.

How do you feel towards the reception you’ve received towards your latest album?

It seems fine, about the same as always really. Most people are into it, and there’s always some people who aren’t into it, which is to be expected if you’re changing things up from record to record. This time however there’s been more passionate hatred, and I take that as a good sign *laughs*. It shows that people care enough to say something negative about it. Everything else has been really good I think. I haven’t really noticed anything out of the ordinary as far as that goes.

You’ve always kind of been the “poster boys” for stoner metal. How do you feel about that label? Do you embrace it or try to shrug it off?

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I don’t really care. I mean, I would be lying if I said a lot of our music wasn’t written while under the influence, but personally I’m not what you would call a “stoner.” I think we’ve just played into that because we think it’s kind of funny, you know? It enables us to do ridiculous things, like a dolphin in a spacesuit smoking pot *laughs*. Also, when you’re on the road, you end up smoking pot with random fans. It’s just a good way to interact with people. So I don’t know if one would say we’re the “poster boys” for stoner metal, but we’ll play into it. It’s funny.

Is that why you guys made those shirts? I mean, I find them hilarious, but I really have to ask: whats with the dolphin t-shirts? 

*laughs* I don’t remember exactly where it started, but basically whenever we’re writing records, we’ll name our recordings in the hard drive with a joke title, and a few records ago one of those joke titles was “Barbecued Dolphin.” So, that became our funny little inside joke, and finally I just decided to ask this guy to make a barbecued dolphin t-shirt. He ended up flipping it around and turned it into a bunch of dolphins barbecuing, which is still to this day my favorite Intronaut shirt ever. We just loved it so much we started incorporating dolphin stuff into other things. This one time, we were playing at Budapest, Hungary, and this guy brought us this beautiful carved dolphin out of soapstone. And on this last tour, someone brought a dolphin glass pipe *laughs*. I don’t know, I guess it’s kind of become our thing.

Speaking of excitement, how pumped are you guys for the upcoming Scale the Summit tour?

It’s gonna be awesome man. We’re really excited to get out and do a real proper headliner, and we have Scale the Summit coming along too. It’s gonna be sweet. We’ve never actually played with them, I don’t think, but we’ve known them for a really long time. They actually used to live here in L.A., so we would always go to each others shows and whatnot. So we’re excited to be out with them. And then Mouth of the Architect, which is a band we’ve played with a couple times, and Joe, our bass player, actually filled in with them a few times over the years. So yeah, it’s gonna be a killer tour, for sure.

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What are your plans for the rest of the year, and what do you hope to accomplish as a band?

We’re working on getting more tours lined up. So we’re going to be touring more this year, and into next year, I’m sure. We’re already starting to think about the next record, but of course that’s going to take a while to get put together. As far as our goals, I don’t know man, we just want to keep doing this band. It’s just what we love doing. We’ve gotten to a point where it’s pretty much sustainable and we can hopefully just keep making records. Who knows what the future holds as far as the music industry goes, but I think we’re in a pretty good place. We have a nice small fan base that are devoted enough to help us do this. Hopefully for as long as we want to do it.

Intronaut are headlining a tour with Scale the Summit and Mouth of the Architect/Castle, starting in June. If you’re interested (which you should be) you can find more information here

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Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair, Sat May 4th

The annual Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair will be held in San Lorenzo Park at the Duck Pond Stage in Santa Cruz on Saturday, May 4, 2013 from noon-5:00pm. A cavalcade of local bands will be featured: Homefire, The Earl White Stringband, Bean Creek, and The Harmony Grits. This free event is presented by the Santa Cruz Bluegrass Society. They suggest that you bring blankets, low-backed chairs, hats and sunscreen in order to comfortably hang out on the grassy hill next to the pond. This year’s event honors the memory of Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs.

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Kevin Burke and John Carty, Sat April 27th

Two members of the traditional Irish music group Patrick Street, Kevin Burke and John Carty, will be performing as a duo on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 7:30pm at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, in Santa Cruz, CA. Both are outstanding fiddlers, Kevin with his distinctive County Sligo fiddling style that anchored the sound of the influential Bothy Band in the past, and John playing not only the fiddle, but tenor banjo, flute and guitar, and being a recipient of a “Traditional Musician of the Year Award” in Ireland. The concert is presented by the Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay

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Bob Brozman Drives Off…

“I play music that is the accidental result of Colonial exploitation.” That’s how Bob Brozman described his sound. Not unlike other ethnomusicologists such as Ry Cooder, Bob dug deep into the cultural understanding (or misunderstandings) of what is often called “world music” today. He exposed many to the sonic capabilities of the National steel guitar and is one of the better-known musicians to come from Santa Cruz. At an afternoon garden party decades ago, he shared with me the secret to ridding your yard of gophers (it involves beer). For his music, his humor and his gardening help, I continue to thank him. Bob Brozman passed away at age 59 on April 24th.

Bob performing “Death Comes A Creepin'”

KZSC presents… The UC Radio Network Conference

KZSC recently hosted the UC Radio Network (UCRN) student broadcaster conference, a mostly harmonic convergence of California college radio stations including KDVS/UC Davis, KALX/UC Berkeley,  KCSB/UC Santa Barbara, Bobcat Radio/UC Merced and others. We’ve never seen so many Warby Parker glasses and Yo La Tengo shirts in one place before. When you get a bunch of radio goobers together, you can only expect them to goober together. Special thanks to guest speakers medial law attorney Michael Couzens, filmmaker Eric Christensen (“The Cover Story: Album Art“), Eva Papp of Spinitron and UCSC Catering. Take a peek at some of the folks who attended and their opinions on how UCRN benefits college radio – which benefits you as a listener. Make sure to watch it in HD (no special glasses needed).

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Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac, Sat March 23rd

Traditional and contemporary music from Cape Breton Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada will be presented by the talented and humorous Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at a House Concert in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 7:30pm. Mary Jane is one of the few remaining Scots Gaelic singers on the island. and has studied and worked to preserve traditional songs in this endangered language. She recorded with fiddler Ashley MacIsaac on his double-platinum selling album. Wendy is an outstanding composer and fiddler of Cape Breton tunes, and has toured with the cutting edge Celtic band Beolach. While Mary Jane and Wendy have had successful solo music careers, they’ve been pals for a long time and recently released a critically acclaimed duo album that even the Huffington Post recognized as “irresistible” and which was also listed on a best of 2012 National Public Radio list. They’ll be joined in concert by guitarist Seph Peters and accordionist and percussionist Cathy Porter. For reservations and info contact Pippasiersema@yahoo.com or call (408) 353-4366. This house concert is co-sponsored by the Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay.