Explosions In The Sky: Interview with drummer Chris Hrasky

For 10 years now, Explosions In The Sky have been the band at the forefront of the instrumental rock movement. Drawing inspiration from the likes of ’90s post rock masters Mogwai and Dirty Three, EITS took instrumental bombast to a new level with their second album, the paradoxically titled, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever. Swimming in reverb and distortion, the album’s back and forth exchange of raucous chaos and meditative beauty would set the standard for the group’s sound for years to come.

Five studio albums (well, sort of), one movie soundtrack, and countless tours later, EITS are still chasing their magnum opus. Still hungry and still speechless, the group is preparing to enter their second decade with a small summer tour and a new album with the makings of a symphony in it. Drummer Chris Hrasky was kind enough to share a few words with the AQ about the new album, the narrative arc of EITS, and much more.

Your music relies very heavily on dynamics and mood changes. As the band’s drummer, how do you feel you contribute to these changes?

I think in a real basic way, it’s knowing when not to play. That’s something I admire in drummers and musicians in general, the restraint, as opposed to people trying to impress with every little thing they do instead of serving the song.

But also just the way we write it’s a lot of us talking about things so we all contribute in that way in saying, ‘This part should feel like this,’ or, ‘This should happen here.’

While we’re on the topic of contrasts, what do these intense contrasts represent musically? Do they represent events, ideas, or anything like that?

We definitely talk about how a part should feel. We never really get anything specific like, ‘This is the part where the guy jumps off the cliff with a hang glider.’ We think about in terms of what makes sense, like what should happen next; like writing a story, but without any characters.

It’s like, ‘What is the next thing that’s going to happen that feels different than what’s happened before, but at the same time doesn’t seem like a left turn out of nowhere?’ It’s got to make sense.

That is honestly the hardest thing for us to do: These songs have all these different parts, making these parts different enough, but also making it make sense that they are in the same song. That can be pretty tough.

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