Explosions in the Sky is an American post-rock band from Texas. The quartet originally played under the name Breaker Morant, then changed to the current name in 1999. The band has garnered popularity beyond the post-rock scene for their elaborately developed guitar work, narratively styled instrumentals—what they refer to as “cathartic mini-symphonies”—and their enthusiastic and emotional live shows. They primarily play with three electric guitars and a drum kit, although band member Michael James will at times exchange his electric guitar for a bass guitar. The band has later added a fifth member to their live performances. The band’s music is almost purely instrumental.
Originally called Breaker Morant, Explosions in the Sky was formed in Austin, Texas in 1999. Drummer Chris Hrasky is from Rockford, Illinois, and the rest of the band hails from Midland, Texas. The new name of “Explosions in the Sky” came from a comment Hrasky made in reference to the noise or sight of fireworks when they left KVRX on the night they played their first set and recorded their first track, “Remember Me as a Time of Day”, that would be released on a compilation. Their 2000 debut album, How Strange, Innocence, was locally distributed in the form of CD-Rs. Rehearsal footage is featured on the feature film Cicadas, which won an Austin Film Festival award. Performing at Central Park SummerStage on June 30, 2009
Explosions in the Sky quickly gained a reputation for themselves among other established bands such as Lift to Experience. Temporary Residence Limited signed the band on the strength of their demo after only half a listen; the demo was submitted by fellow Austin band The American Analog Set with a brief note saying, “This totally fucking destroys.”
They garnered a small amount of media attention with their second album, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever, due to rumors linking it to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The band denied any connection in interviews. The album art shows an airplane with the caption “This plane will crash tomorrow.” There were false reports that the last track was called “This Plane Will Crash Tomorrow” and that the album was released on September 10, 2001; the concept had actually originated in 2000, and the album was officially released on September 4, 2001. Bassist Michael James was detained in an airport as a threat to security, and had to explain why his guitar contained the words “this plane will crash tomorrow”.
The band released The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place in 2003 and is generally considered their most famous album. The album has been described as a concept album and was stated by guitarist Munaf Rayani as the band’s attempt at love songs.
After being contacted by Brian Reitzell, Explosions in the Sky wrote the soundtrack for the 2004 film Friday Night Lights. Despite having access to rare equipment in the studio for that project, the band kept to their songwriting style in creating original material.
Their album The Rescue was written and recorded in eight days as part of the TRL Travels in Constants series. As such, the album was originally only available at the band’s live shows.
Explosions in the Sky’s fifth studio album, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, which debuted February 20, 2007, exists as both a one-disc version and a two-disc special edition featuring remixes by multiple artists. The band began touring on February 19 in the U.S. and Canada.
On April 26, 2011, the band released their sixth studio album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.
They were one of the support acts for Nine Inch Nails on their North American leg of the Twenty Thirteen Tour in late 2013, alternating dates with Godspeed You! Black Emperor. On stage in the Webster Hall, New York City, 2007
Music styles and characteristics
Although the band’s music deviates from pop, Hrasky said that they have similar goals “like immediately grabbing your attention and getting to your emotions.” Rayani said, “We don’t consider ourselves post-rock at all; we consider ourselves a rock band.”
In a post-show interview clip on Austin City Limits, guitarist Munaf Rayani said about their status as instrumentalists, “I mean, I think we discussed singing for half a second, and then it just kinda, we just dropped it. We just didn’t go back to it because we were comfortable enough.” Drummer Chris Hrasky added, “I think we just liked the idea of a band that there was not a leader or main songwriter, everyone sort of collaborating and has their own say. I don’t think any of us want the sort of ‘leader role’, so a leaderless band is kind of the best option for us.”
In popular culture
Most notably, Explosions in the Sky’s music is heavily featured in the Friday Night Lights movie and television show. It is a common misconception that the band wrote and recorded the television show’s theme song. Instead, it is an original composition by W. G. Snuffy Walden. Music by Explosions in the Sky has been used in several television programs and commercials: “The Birth and Death of the Day” for the BBC documentary Lost Land of the Jaguar, All the Real Girls, Shopgirl, One Tree Hill, Love the Beast and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, as well as various songs for the PBS documentary The Street Stops Here. A number of One Tree Hill episodes are named after the band’s songs.
- The song “It’s Natural To Be Afraid” is featured in the narrative sports documentary series 24/7, “Mayweather vs. De La Hoya”, and was also used in the season 8 finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, “For Gedda (Part 1)”.
- The song “Catastrophe and the Cure” is used during the intro to Get Collins, an Irish documentary on Michael Collins and the film Kaboom by director Gregg Araki in which the male lead is also given a signed copy of All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone as a birthday gift.
- In 2009, the song “First Breath After Coma” is used for the introduction of feature presentations on the television network, Versus. The song is also used in the trailer for the documentary Focus, directed by Steve Hwang. “First Breath After Coma”, along with “Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean”, were featured in the 2010 film Kalamity.
- The song “The Only Moment We Were Alone” is shortly featured in Michael Moore‘s documentary Capitalism: A Love Story. It is also featured in the 2008 film Sleepwalking.
- The song “Your Hand in Mine” is featured in the films Friday Night Lights, The Big Empty, Love Happens, The King of Staten Island, the TV series Prisoners’ Wives, the documentary Gideon’s Army and the Cerveza Pacifico TV commercial “Anchors Up”.
- The song “A Poor Man’s Memory” is featured in the TV show Blue Mountain State.
- The song “Glittering Blackness” is featured in the film Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
- The song “Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean” is featured in the film Lunopolis.
- The song “So Long, Lonesome” is featured in the 2010 film Last Night.
- The song “An Ugly Fact of Life” was featured in the film adaptation of The Kite Runner.
- The song “Human Qualities” is featured in the 2012 film This Means War.
- The song “Trembling Hands” is featured on the 2012 video game Major League Baseball 2K12.
- The song “First Breath After Coma” is used for an Adidas commercial featuring Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose, the end of the television series Doctors, the 2005 Israeli film Close to Home and in the first episode of John Bishop’s Australia.
- The song “The Birth and Death of the Day” is used in the final scene of the mountain biking documentary Life Cycles
- The song “Waking Up” was featured in the film Lone Survivor.
- The song “Postcard From 1952” was used in the episode “Chicago” of Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, and a snippet of the song is used in the Welcome to Night Vale episode “The September Monologues”.
- The song “The Only Moment We Were Alone” was used in the teaser reveal of Street Fighter V.
- Along with David Wingo, Explosions in the Sky wrote the entire soundtrack to the 2013 comedy-drama film Prince Avalanche, starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. The idea itself came when the band proposed working on a film with director David Gordon Green.
- The song “Remember Me as a Time of Day” was used in the 2015 film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
- Their song “The Birth and Death of the Day” was used at the end of the 2015 mountaineering documentary Meru.
- Their song “Logic of a Dream” was used in the trailer of the 2016 film Deepwater Horizon.
- Their song “The Ecstatics” was used in the 2017 film Power Rangers.
The Rescue is commonly referred to as Explosions In The Sky’s “secret album,” mostly due to the fact that since its initial limited mail-order only CD release in 2005, it has never been made commercially available on any format, in any store, anywhere in the world.
In 2005 – after having toured the world for over a year straight in support of The Earth Is Not A Cold Place, and scoring the major motion picture, Friday Night Lights – Explosions In The Sky took the year off to physically, emotionally, and creatively recharge. It was during this period that they decided to try making an entire album in a method that was totally foreign to them: Quickly, and loosely. They came up with the idea to compose, rehearse, record, and mix an entirely new song each day for eight days in a row. They kept the rules simple and strict: the song had to be crafted from start to finish in one day, and could not be revisited once that day was done. The band would produce, record, and mix everything themselves in their own homes, without outside assistance or interference. With such rigid parameters, the expectations were kept suitably low. The quality of the album that bloomed was startlingly high. The songs had a lightness and unruliness that starkly contrasted their catalog, while maintaining the same emotional resonance that had already become a trademark of their music.
The Rescue – Anniversary Edition has been beautifully remastered from the original 24-bit stereo mixes by Heba Kadry at Timeless Mastering. The vinyl lacquers have been cut by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. The record was pressed onto audiophile-quality 100% virgin vinyl at Record Technology Inc., and is packaged in a full-color jacket with a full-color heavyweight inner sleeve featuring the hand-written story of The Rescue, as told by the band upon its completion in 2005. This is the long-overdue, definitive presentation of a rare but requisite piece of Explosions In The Sky’s remarkable history.
released August 16, 2019
The members of Explosions In The Sky played their first show, at the University of Texas’ student radio station, on July 4, 1999, under the short-lived moniker, Breaker Morant. A year later, they recorded their first album, How Strange, Innocence, over the course of two days, and made 300 CD-R copies to sell at shows and give to friends in their hometown of Austin, TX.
In 2001, they signed to Temporary Residence Ltd., and released their breakthrough second album, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever, leaving the legend of How Strange, Innocence to proliferate on file-sharing and tape trading sites in a pre-iTunes and YouTube era.
Following their third album, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, the band released a single vinyl pressing of How Strange, Innocence as the debut release on a friend’s short-lived local imprint, Ruined Potential Records. Sold exclusively on a 2004 North American tour, the sole pressing of 300 sold out immediately, quickly becoming an urban legend for fans. Now, in honor of the band’s 20th anniversary, we are delighted to bring this treasured document of Explosions In The Sky’s humble beginnings back into the world.
How Strange, Innocence – Anniversary Edition has been beautifully remastered by Heba Kadry – with vinyl lacquers cut by Bob Weston – and packaged in an incredible full-color, heavyweight triple-gatefold jacket with matte varnish, heavyweight full-color insert, and custom vinyl etching containing the charming story of How Strange, Innocence in the band’s own words. This is the definitive sound, look, and feel of the album that started one of the most inspiring and unique careers in modern underground music.
released August 16, 2019
- Chris Hrasky – drums
- Michael James – guitar, bass guitar, keyboards.
- Munaf Rayani – guitar, keyboards, percussion, keyboards.
- Mark Smith – guitar, synthesizer.
Former touring musicians
- Carlos Torres
- David Wingo
Big Bend (An Original Soundtrack for Public Television)
2.Climbing Bear 03:18
8.Stories in Stone 02:36
11.Owl Hunting 02:15
13.Big Horns 02:11
16.Pallid Bats 02:56
17.Rains Legacy 02:28
18.Bird Family 02:09
20.Human History 06:07
Following nearly two years of global touring in support of their adventurous and acclaimed album, The Wilderness (2016), Explosions In The Sky paused on the future to reflect on the past. Celebrating their 20th year as a band with a pair of remastered reissues of early beloved classics – How Strange, Innocence (2000) and The Rescue (2005) – they embarked on a memorable series of anniversary concerts in 2019. It was around then that Explosions In The Sky was approached to craft the score to a new documentary about a place with which, as native Texans, they were very familiar: Big Bend National Park.
That documentary, Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas, premiered on PBS in the United States as well as on a variety of networks in other countries in early 2021. The hour-long film intimately follows the lives of native animals amid expansive aerial views of the iconic desert landscape that makes up one of the grandest natural wonders in the world. The band set these sights to an inspired, melodic, and meaningful blend of acoustic guitar, slide guitar, strings, piano, bells, and drums that feels as alive and diverse–and vast and lonely–as the place… more
released October 1, 2021
How Strange, Innocence – Anniversary Edition
The Rescue – Anniversary Edition
MANGLEHORN (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK)
PRINCE AVALANCE (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK)
TAKE CARE, TAKE CARE, TAKE CARE
ALL OF A SUDDEN I MISS EVERYONE
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
THE EARTH IS NOT A COLD DEAD PLACE
THOSE WHO TELL THE TRUTH SHALL DIE, THOSE WHO TELL THE TRUTH SHALL LIVE FOREVER
HOW STRANGE INNOCENCE
REVIEW: Explosions in The Sky says it all without saying anything
By Guilherme Schneider | @Jedyte
There is a famous phrase attributed to the French writer Victor Hugo that says: “Music expresses what cannot be said in words but cannot remain silent”. And that fits the instrumental music of Explosions in The Sky, a Texas post rock band that played at Circo Voador.
For those who don’t know it yet, Eits (as it is called by fans) makes a dense, traveling and inspiring instrumental sound. I find the perfect soundtrack to study, to concentrate. But it serves a thousand moments – it is not for nothing that their music integrates several soundtracks of films.
The Queremos people brought them back to the Circus, and the audience came along. Very crowded house, with the vast majority of fans trying to respect the ‘silence’ during the songs. In the absence of lyrics, the audience follows as they can, with clapping and a cheerful trance. The well-deserved cry of euphoria gets stuck in the throat until the music breaks.
The level of composition of the band is absurd. Songs like First Breath After Coma, Your Hand in Mine or The Birth and Death of The Day evoke all kinds of emotions. The front line with three guitars is powerful, highlighting the energy of Michael James. It gives the impression that everyone there has the competence to take on any instrument.
Except for the opening hello and the farewell, both pulled by guitarist Munaf Rayani, Eits really concentrated on music, with a lot of dedication, received in the form of contemplation. It is a band that says so much without saying anything. Without practically opening your mouth. And need?
Well, actually the quartet (who is accompanied on the road by bassist Carlos Torres), left to chat excitedly with the fans after the show, next to the stage. Friendly, they distributed autographs and posed for selfies.
The trapped scream finally explodes and the band leaves the stage after the beautiful The Only Moment We Were Alone without bis, without frills, and cheered like the instrumental rock masters. It was the end of a South American tour that went through Chile, Argentina before, and landed the day before in Brazil for a show in São Paulo. Let them come back more often to show that the sky is the limit.
Explosions in the Sky Setlist Circo Voador, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2015
Really a great band with a beautiful collection, capable of taking us to the ends of the universe in sound and precise arrangements, we look forward to your next stay here in Brazil and please consider Porto Alegre on this tour, a big hug to everyone.