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 or sight 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. Their 2000 debut album, How Strange, Innocence, was locally distributed in the form of CD-Rs. Rehearsal footage is featured on the short film Cicadas, which won an Austin Film Festival award.
Explosions in the Sky quickly gained a reputation for themselves among other established local 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."
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; the concept had actually originated in 2000, and the album was released on August 27, 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".
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.
Their most recent 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. The band began touring on February 19 in the U.S. and Canada. They played a shortened version of "Welcome, Ghosts" on the February 20 episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien. On May 10, they canceled the shows up to August due to a family illness. They performed on Austin City Limits on June 29, 2007. They acted as curators of the UK-based All Tomorrow's Parties music festival in May 2008.
Music styles and characteristics:
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." Rayani said, "We don't consider ourselves post-rock at all; we consider ourselves a rock band."
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 weren't comfortable enough." Drummer Chris Hrasky added "There were a couple of instrumental bands at the time that we were heavily into; Dirty Three and Mogwai; we were listening to those bands a lot. And I think we just liked the idea of a band that there was not a leader or main songwriter, everyone 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."