It's been five years since Explosions In The Sky brought their genre-defining brand of emotive post-rock to UK shores, but this April sees the Austin natives are back with their most significant British shows to date, the climax of which will see them join a prestigious list of bands who have headlined the Royal Albert Hall.
When they announced the tour, and teased the prospect of a first new record since 2011's Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, on Twitter back in December, the band simply stated that they were 'coming out of hibernation', but when TG speaks to guitarist Munaf Rayani from his Delhi hotel room, he's reminds us that EITS have hardly been resting on their laurels…
"Since the last record we've done three film scores, but we've also been touring and seeing some places in the world that we've not seen before, like being in India right now," the softly spoken axeman observes.
"Meanwhile, for the last couple of years, we've been hard at work on a new record - writing, trying new combinations, new melodies, and we're pretty far along - hopefully some time early [this] year, we'll be able to show it to all you guys."
The record, The Wilderness, hasn't been announced when we talk, so Munaf is playfully evasive about the specifics, but he's excited to play some of the new material on their five-date UK tour.
"We've been playing this batch of songs for quite a while now, so now to have something new is pretty exciting," he enthuses. "We've always tried to make the show well worth the price of admission. We really believe in the music that we're playing, and hopefully relay that to audience and have them believe it as well, and then all of us can kinda experience this thing together. I feel like the things that we have been exhibiting all these years will be amped up that much more this time around."
© Matias Delacroix/NurPhoto/Corbis
Post-rock is a genre where timing and precision is paramount, especially when you have three guitar players on stage, but Munaf is adamant that the live experience should be as organic as possible, shunning the everytime nature of digital amps and effects.
"I much prefer to have those tube amps of ours," he explains. "I guess they do wobble out on us sometimes and we have to get them fixed, and we have to keep them warm and be nice to them - but that's all a bit of the excitement of playing live rock music."
EITS's live show has never gone down the route of multimedia bells and whistles to enhance proceedings, preferring to let the music do the talking, but it might not be so stripped back this time around…
"It's something we talk about often," Munaf confirms. "I don't think that we'll ever add things that are just visuals to just take over whatever it is we're doing, because I feel like we're quite lucky just to be able to play our instruments, rock out, and hopefully captivate. But to add a few other elements, maybe have some lights more choreographed, maybe try our hand at a few other production bits… who knows how it could level up a little bit."
Not many instrumental rock-bands headline the Royal Albert Hall, and the significance of this milestone clearly has Munaf excited.
"We love music, and we know what a room like that means and who's been there," he enthuses. "We're blessed to be invited in, or at least have the door unlocked for us to come in! Because it's a pretty large feat for us, y'know? It makes us count our lucky stars that, boy, for the kind of music that we play, to go into a room like that… we've done right by it, and more than that, music has done right by us."
Explosions In The Sky's UK tour begins in Glasgow Barrowlands on 19 April 2016.