In Opening Track, we take an early look at a forthcoming record that we’re excited about. Today, we check in with Chris Hrasky of Austin post-rock instrumental outfit Explosions In The Sky, which releases Take Care, Take Care, Take Care April 26 on Temporary Residence.
Why we’re excited: It’s been four years since Explosions In The Sky’s previous (and most popular) record, All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, and in that time we’ve shed a lot of tears listening to the group’s music while watching Coach Taylor’s kids go through the hard knocks of that game called life on Friday Night Lights. (At least we think we’re listening to Explosions In The Sky; the show’s theme song is actually a rip-off of the band’s score for the 2004 film version, though other EITS songs have been used in the series.)
What we’ve heard: Drummer Chris Hrasky admits that Explosions In The Sky albums “tend toward melodrama,” which works great when sound-tracking an acclaimed TV drama, but was something the band shied away from when making Take Care. “To us, the songs feel a little less obvious” on the new album, says Hrasky, who describes Take Care as being more “mysterious” and “unsettling.” It’s an effect EITS worked hard to achieve during the sessions for Take Care, which got off to a frustrating start in 2009. “We spent eight or nine months trying to write stuff, and couldn’t come up with anything we liked. It was pretty discouraging,” Hrasky says. “We wanted to write something that was surprising. That’s always the worry with instrumental music. We get it all the time: the songs all sound the same.”
Conceding that there’s “some validity” to that criticism, Hrasky says the band set aside months of work “that sounded like watered-down versions of what we’d already done,” and took some time off. When EITS reconvened, “the floodgates opened.” When they finally settled in with long-time producer John Congleton, the band committed to making Take Care in a different way than past EITS efforts. Instead of recording the songs live with minimal overdubs, the band opted to make “more of a studio album,” deciding “early on that we weren’t going to worry about replicating these songs live,” Hrasky says.
The band ended up recording Take Care at an 150-year-old pecan ranch in West Texas owned by a big music fan with his own pet raccoon and—perhaps more importantly— a high-class studio. “If you’ve ever eaten pecans, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten them from this place,” Hrasky says of the ranch. “We’ll probably record there again. We like to get away form home and be a little bit isolated, sort of like a weird camping trip or something.”
Have a listen: Per usual for an EITS record, Take Care is composed mostly of long, winding epics. An exception, the relatively compact three-and-a-half-minute “Trembling Hands,” can be downloaded for free at the band’s website.