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Explosions in the Sky

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Explosions in the Sky
From left to right: Mark Smith, Michael James, Munaf Rayani, and Chris Hrasky
From left to right: Mark Smith, Michael James, Munaf Rayani, and Chris Hrasky
Background information
OriginAustin, Texas, U.S.
Midland, Texas, U.S.
Years active1999–present
LabelsTemporary Residence Limited, Bella Union
MembersChris Hrasky
Michael James
Munaf Rayani
Mark Smith

Explosions in the Sky is an American post-rock band from Texas. The band is a quartet, composed of drummer Chris Hrasky and guitarist/keyboardists Michael James, Munaf Rayani and Mark Smith. The band originally played under the name Breaker Morant, then changed to the current name in 1999. They primarily play with three electric guitars and a drum kit, although James will at times exchange his electric guitar for a bass guitar and all three guitarists also add additional keyboard and synthesizer parts. The band later added a fifth musician to their live performances, largely to accommodate for these bass and keyboard parts. This role was occupied by multi instrumentalist, Carlos Torres, from 2010 to 2018, and reprised in 2024. The band has released eight studio albums to date; their most recent, End, was released in September 2023.[1]

The band has garnered popularity beyond the post-rock scene for their elaborately developed guitar work, narratively styled instrumentals – which they refer to as "cathartic mini-symphonies" – and their emotional live shows.[2]


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[3] or sight[4] 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.[3] 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.[5]

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."[6]

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;[7][8] 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".[3]

The band also received a considerable amount of attention playing before large audiences as the opening act of Fugazi's spring 2002 US tour in support of The Argument.[9]

The band released The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place in 2003 and this is generally considered their most famous album.[10] The album has been described as a concept album and was stated by guitarist Munaf Rayani as the band's attempt at love songs.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13] The band began touring on February 19 in the U.S. and Canada.[14]

On April 26, 2011, the band released their sixth studio album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.[15]

The band served as 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.[16] Following a period of seldom live shows across 2014 and 2015, the band returned in 2016 with their seventh studio album, The Wilderness. Two singles were released from the album prior to its April release: "Separation Anxiety" in January,[17] and "Logic of a Dream" in February.[18] The band toured extensively in support of the album throughout 2016 and into 2017, playing over 140 shows worldwide.

In April 2023, the band announced via their website their first North American tour since 2019. The tour was dubbed "The End Tour", leading to speculation that the tour could be their last.[19] On July 17, however, their official Twitter account announced the release of their eighth album, titled End, for September 15.[20] In a press release for the announcement, they explained that the title came from "the concept of an ending—death, or the end of a friendship or relationship", and does not imply that it would be the band's final album.[1]

Musical style and characteristics[edit]

On stage in the Webster Hall, New York City, 2007

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."[21] Rayani said, "We don't consider ourselves post-rock at all; we consider ourselves a rock band."[22]

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."[23]

In popular culture[edit]

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.

Band members[edit]

  • Chris Hrasky – drums[25]
  • Michael James – guitar, bass guitar, keyboards
  • Munaf Rayani – guitar, keyboards, percussion
  • Mark Smith – guitar, keyboards

Current touring musicians

  • Jay Demko – bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, percussion (2019–present)

Former touring musicians

  • David Wingo – guitar, keyboards (2013)
  • Carlos Torres – bass, guitar, keyboards, percussion (2010–2018, 2024)


Studio albums[edit]




  • "A Song for Our Fathers" (2000)
  • "Last Known Surroundings" (2011)
  • "Be Comfortable, Creature" (2011)
  • "Postcard from 1952" (2011)
  • "The Ecstatics" (2017)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hussey, Allison (July 17, 2023). "Explosions in the Sky Announce Album, Share New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  2. ^ Paper, The (March 17, 2007). "NPR Music". Npr.org. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Michael Chamy (October 24, 2003). "Born on the Fourth of July". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  4. ^ "Explosions In The Sky, 4 July 1999". KVRX. March 24, 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
  5. ^ "Explosions in the Sky". Muze. February 1, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  6. ^ "Explosions in the Sky > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved February 8, 2007.
  7. ^ David Frazier (November 15, 2002). "Post-rock explodes in Taipei". Taipei Times. p. 17. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  8. ^ Adam Mayle (January 26, 2005). "The day the music died an accidental death". The Black Table. Retrieved June 27, 2007. And the creepiest detail of all is that the record had a track that was titled, unbelievably, "This Plane Will Crash Tomorrow," which was subsequently removed from the album.
  9. ^ "Fugazi/Explosions in the Sky - International Ballroom". Gigposters.com. November 14, 2006. Retrieved February 8, 2007.
  10. ^ "Explosions In The Sky, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place". The Guardian. December 5, 2003. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  11. ^ "A Slice of the Shiny 15: Explosions in the Sky". A Slice of the Shiny (Podcast). January 22, 2007. Archived from the original on August 6, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  12. ^ Explosions in the Sky. "Friday Night Lights Original Soundtrack". Archived from the original on February 9, 2007. Retrieved February 8, 2007.
  13. ^ "Explosions in the Sky Album Details Surface". Spin. November 14, 2006. Retrieved February 8, 2007.
  14. ^ "Shows". ExplosionsInTheSky.com. February 3, 2007. Archived from the original on February 9, 2007. Retrieved February 8, 2007.
  15. ^ "Take Care, Take Care, Take Care". ExplosionsInTheSky.com. January 25, 2011. Archived from the original on November 22, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  16. ^ Minsker, Evan (2013). "Nine Inch Nails Announce Massive Tour With Godspeed You! Black Emperor". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  17. ^ "Explosions In The Sky: Disintegration Anxiety". Stereogum. Stereogum Media. January 11, 2016. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  18. ^ Reed, Ryan (February 29, 2016). "Hear Explosions in the Sky's Dynamic New Song 'Logic of a Dream'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 17, 2023.
  19. ^ "Explosions in the Sky Announce Tour". Condé Nast. April 18, 2023. Archived from the original on April 21, 2023. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  20. ^ https://twitter.com/EITS/status/1680930974832672770 [bare URL]
  21. ^ Billy DeFrain (October 15, 2004). "Explosions in the Sky to light up Sokol". Daily Nebraskan. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  22. ^ Juliet Eilperin (September 25, 2006). "Out of Texas, a Wordless Wonder". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  23. ^ "Austin City Limits". PBS.ORG. June 25, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  24. ^ "Cerveza Pacifico TV Commercial, 'Anchors Up'". iSpot.tv. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  25. ^ "Equipment - Explosions in the Sky". Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  26. ^ "Explosions in the Sky Discography". Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  27. ^ Colwell, Matthew (June 15, 2012). "Explosions in the Sky to score new film 'Prince Avalanche'". Alternative Press. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  28. ^ "IMDB - Explosions in the Sky Composer credits section". IMDb. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  29. ^ "Explosions in the Sky to Score Al Pacino Film Manglehorn :: Music :: News :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  30. ^ "Explosions in the Sky: Big Bend (An Original Soundtrack for Public Television)". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 19, 2022.

External links[edit]