What: Explosions in the Sky
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder, 303-786-7030
Explosions in the Sky are not the type of band to crank out a record just to have a new product, especially since they can tour endlessly on the strength of the old catalog.
That’s exactly what they did during much of the four-year break between 2007’s All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone and 2011’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. It took almost three years for the band to get back to writing, and when they did, they initially struggled to create something they were happy with.
“2007 to 2009 we were touring most of the time,” drummer Chris Hrasky said. “Then 2010 we just spent time writing songs. It was good, it was frustrating for a while it took us about six months to come up with something we didn’t hate.”
But Hrasky doesn’t see this as some sort of existential problem. Instead, it’s just part of the practicalities of being a band that’s been around for over a decade.
“We tour a lot and we don’t really work on new stuff on tour, and when we get home, we’re starting from scratch basically,” he said. “As we get old we’re slowing down with writing. [And] it’s not one guy who’s writing all the songs. We need to be isolated … it’s impossible to do on tour.”
The frustration and patience paid off. Take Care, Take Care, Take Care was another solid release, reaching #16 on the Billboard 200 and earning praise from critics and fans. It sounds like a return to the basics in terms of instrumentation — guitars, bass, and drums — but Hrasky said there are samplers involved, making the live show a new challenge.
“Well it’s definitely gotten easier to play it live,” he said. “I think last year, when we first started playing the new songs — I mean, it was fine, but it was weird. But the new stuff is a bit different from the old stuff and we had all these samplers on stage, and there was a learning curve with all that.”
Along with the new album, Explosions in the Sky released their first-ever official music video. It was worth the 12-year wait. he video “Last Known Surroundings” suits the epic instrumentals of the song, with trippy, illustrated visuals.
Whatever challenges come with Explosions in the Sky pushing past 10 years, overcoming boredom definitely isn’t one of them. Hrasky said a sense of wonder at their success keeps them on their toes tour after tour.
“We still enjoy it,” he said. “I mean, we still feel like we don’t totally know what we’re doing. Even though we’ve been doing this for so long, we feel like amateurs and we can’t believe people are coming to see us.”
The current tour, which brings Explosions in the Sky through Boulder tonight, has had the band on the road for about three weeks. They spent most of the past year touring with Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, though, and after some time off in May, they’ll hit the road again this summer in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Tickets are still available for the Boulder Theater, so go check out what is always an emotional knockout of a show.