This article is from Issue 52: July/Aug 2011

Explosions in the Sky

Having spent their entire adult existence together, Explosions in the Sky has seen their fair share of trends come and go. Still, from day one, the Austin, Tx.-based quartet has held fast to their sprawling brand of instrumental rock. Don’t call it post-rock though. While their sound shares common threads with the spiritual overtones of Sigur Rós, with amps turned up to an ear-shattering Mogwai 11, Explosions in the Sky are rockers—albeit with longer song structures and loftier ambitions than the average guitar slingers.

Now entering their second decade as a band, and third in life, the band—which includes Mark Smith (guitar), Chris Hrasky (drums), Munaf Rayani (guitar), Michael James (guitar/bass)—has moved past their basketball-playing, cash register-jockeying younger years, settling into their 30s with the advent of marriages, children and other adult responsibilities.

However, James maintains that the more their worlds expand, the more their dynamic as a band stays the same. “We each have our own places—no fraternity parties, no beer bongs at our houses to be found at all,” he jokes. “Having grown up over the last decade with each other, we still maintain a very tight-knit friendship between the four of us while also being able to grow into our adult lives. We’ve got the best of both worlds in that. We’re all still best friends. We see each other almost every single day; we’re a very important part of each other’s lives. We’ve just been able to merge those things together in what seems like a perfect and unique way.”

The secret to maintaining fraternal peace? “We’ve learned how to fight over the years. We still fight and argue and everyone tries to impose their will and get their way. But we’ve learned how to do it in a pretty constructive and even a friendly manner.”

If this sounds like a marriage, that might be the perfect analogy. James laughs at the idea the band could offer counseling to disconnected couples, apologizing for their story’s lack of drama. “Absolutely it’s like a marriage. I’ll say I don’t have any secrets. I don’t know if the other guys do. Not that I know. We’ve got- ten to the point where we’re incredibly open with each other about almost everything in our lives. We’re very much like brothers.”

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