Explosions In The Sky
Tue 6th Dec, 2011 in Features
Having released their latest album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care earlier this year, alternative rock group, Explosions In The Sky, are embarking on a world tour. They will be visiting Australia in December and have gigs lined up for Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, as well as a spot at the Meredith Music Festival.
FL caught up with guitarist Munaf Ryani to find out how he’s survived being in the same band for so long, how the Texan quartet found it Down Under the last time they were in Australia, and of course, their new album.
So you guys are from Austin in Texas. There is a pretty big music scene there. Is that where Explosions in the Sky first started?
Absolutely. We formed back in 1999 and started playing just in local venues all throughout town and built a following in the city itself. After that we then ventured out into the States and from there into the rest of the world.
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is your 6th album and arguably your most successful. It is also one of your most interesting with an array of fairly epic songs. How did it come about?
What we wanted to try and do is to keep evolving our sound even further and honed in on what we enjoying and how we like to play our music. So while it still has the same elements we’ve been worked on for years, we pushed it further and let it grow and kind of evolve into a newer version of our sound. It’s a bit of a risk by we are very luckily the response has been very strong and that people are being kind. So yeah we just kept on trying to write a better song than before. But such is always the case.
Many of your songs have a very haunting feel to them. Some critics have attributed this to the austerity of the Texas landscape?
I think that subconsciously that is definitely a place it comes from. But there are a number of other things inspire us as well such as, other art, literature and film. It is not as though we are particularly dark fellows but we get sad and we are affected by things just like everyone else. Luckily we are able to translate that into a melody. Growing up in Texas is definitely a huge part of it, but you know the world is ever changing and so is one’s perspective.
You were in Australia a few years ago on your last tour. How did you find being “Down Under”?
It was spectacular even though it was a bit of a quick trip. We were pretty exhausted and we only saw Australia in a blur. Especially since due to the size of the country we had to fly from show to show. We would play a show at night and then fly the next morning. So this time when we come out we are going to make sure we take some more time to relax and enjoy ourselves. Especially as we have to fly half the way across the world to get there.
Yeah, we are a long way from America.
Are there any experiences that stand out from your last trip out here?
Ah, no nothing too extraordinary. But I do remember just before one of the shows we were so tired because of all the travelling every day. It was literally minutes before we were supposed to go on stage and all four of us were asleep in the backstage room. We were just lying on the couches with our eyes closed when the tour manager just walked. He was going to say something but then realised we were all asleep and it kind of surprised him. I thought that was quite comical. We still went out there and played with absolutely everything mind you.
You’re playing at Meredith Festival this year. Do you prefer playing at festivals or your own shows?
Both have great pros to them actually. Our own shows are really nice these days in that we fill up the room with people who are excited to see us play and know the songs. It is a really nice feeling being able to contribute to that. But then there is the festival setting in which the crowds are usually a lot bigger and perhaps half or more don’t even know who we are. It is a great opportunity for us to make them know who we are and it a really good challenge. It feels nice to be able to make new fans in that sort of situation.
Explosions In The Sky have been together for 12 years now. What’s it like being in the same band for so long with the same group of people?
When we first started I was just 18. We had just written our first album and started touring as basically teenagers. But you know 12 years has passed and we are old men now. Just recently I turned 31 and I am excited by growing old. I think as you grow older hopefully you become more mature, hopefully you’re wiser and your words carry a little more weight. But now I’m in my 30s I look back and see that I spent my entire 20s in this band. But even if it were to stop today, when I look back on this time as an old man, I will be so very happy that I did not waste my youth.
It is unusual a group to stay together for so long without any breaks.
Absolutely. Especially considering it is with the same guys without any change as well. I mean we have been holding onto each other for a long time and music has only strengthened our friendship. We have been very lucky that the music has been written from and about our friendship. We knew each other long before we played any noted together. It’s amazing for us, this far down the line, that we are still this close.
By the sounds of it you guys are pretty good friends still then…
More than just good friends, we are like brothers, we’re blood, we’re family. And you know hiccups happen all the time and quarrels occur. But at the end of the day I know these guys would die for me. So yes, we are very close and I feel very lucky.
It seems so common for bands these days to have falling outs and arguments. It’s refreshing to hear you guys have remained so tight for so long.
I’ve noticed that too, you know. In the time that we’ve been playing there’s been a number of bands come and go and we’ve met bands where the members really don’t like each other. This used to be a surprise to us, but now it is more commonplace which is a shame. But I think once you start to play music for as long as we have and you acquire some sort of notoriety, then egos can swell and people can start to get funny. Once again, amongst the four of us, if ever anyone had an ego it was quickly extinguished by the rest. No man is stronger than the next.
So finally, you’re coming to Australia in December. You don’t have any shows planned for the West?
Last time we played in Perth and it was really, really great. But this time round we are weighted mainly on the east coast. But I hope that this is not our last trip to Australia and if we don’t see Perth and the West this time we’ll see it next time for sure!
Okay. Thanks for talking with me today and we’ll see you in December.
Thank you, I’m looking forward to it.
FasterLouder presents Explosions In The Sky Meredith sideshows:
Thursday 8th December – Forum Theatre, Melbourne
Sunday 11th December – The Metro, Sydney
Tuesday 13th Decembe – The Hi Fi, Brisbane