Texan post-rockers This Will Destroy You might well be modest, but their achievements sure aren’t. Their atmospheric epics have garnered widespread praise across the music world and are increasingly seaping into TV and movies. Having released their second album "Tunnel Blanket" in May which will see an Australian release via Hobbledehoy Records, we had a chat with guitarist Jeremy Galindo about film, drugs and black metal.
Hey man, for the sake of our readers please tell us your name, what you play in This Will Destroy You and a movie you wish you’d written the soundtrack for?
Woah man! That’s hard because there’s so many movies with great soundtracks I would’ve loved to have written for. I am Jeremy from This Will Destroy You and I would’ve loved to have written the soundtrack for Irreversible.
What tends to inspire you to make music, whether it’s other artists or otherwise?
I listen to a good amount of music. Film’s a big influence for me too. Some composers out there are some of my main influences for melody work. I’m sure there’s a giant list of bands and directors that have definitely put images or certain ideas in my head which I try and translate as well as I can to the guitar. My of my favourite composers is Gustavo Santaolalla, but I am also a big fan of classical music and love seeing that work well with certain films. Stanley Kubrick and his use of music has always been a big influence on me as well.
You released your second album “Tunnel Blanket” in May, which has just gotten an Australian release via Hobbledehoy Records. How have you found the response from fans and critics so far?
It’s been a lot better than I expected. I thought maybe it would be kinda 50% of our current fans would have gone with the new direction but it seems to be a lot better than that. Man some people, which is what I expected, are kinda missing the older sound. Nobody’s really saying that they are going to move on from it, a lot of people are still giving it a chance to grow on them and I think that’s awesome. I think it’s really an album that you have to give some time.
What inspired the name “Tunnel Blanket”?
It was an experience that one of us had on DMT. The death that surrounded us at that point I think did not help the trip. It’s kinda the visual that this person got during the trip was these tunnels.
Would you say that psychedelic drugs play a significant role in your music writing?
Um, a little bit here and there. We tend to use a little some things. Not every member but a couple of us like to write somewhat inebriated or just in a more chilled state of mind. There definitely were a few songs on the album that came from times that we were on mushrooms working on melodies and different effects. You definitely find some weird things. But most of the time we’re just smoking weed, getting a little slow and working away.
And can you tell us a bit about the album art?
Chris is the one who designs all of it. He really liked these light orbs, he had a book and there was a few pages of these orbs. I think it fits the theme of the album pretty well. But yeah that’s definitely his area of expertise, not mine.
The band chose to record the album with John Congleton, who’s done work with a bunch of pretty big bands like Modest Mouse, The Polyphonic Spree and Okkervil River. What do you think his expertise brought to the release?
He definitely has a lot of ideas. I’m sure we made quite a few changes in the studio just from stuff he would recommend to do instead of something we went in there with. The way he mixes always blows us away, he’s a master at that. It’s the third project we’ve worked with him on, the second album, but yeah he does bring a lot to the table, he has a lot of great ideas. We’ll probably use him again and he’s a really good friend now too, so that helps as well.
Has the writing and recording process evolved over the course of your career?
Definitely yeah. Especially with the member changes that we’ve had in the past couple of years, we don’t write the same way that we used to. We kinda work off loops or certain tones instead of somebody bringing in an idea or a full riff and building off that. Now it’s more building off of moods and tones and that’s been really interesting.
You may or may not be pleased to hear that dad really loves This Will Destroy You. Do you find that you generally appeal to a wider audience?
Yeah, definitely more in the past few years we’ve kinda seen a wider array of people at our shows age wise. It’s not as cliquey as it used to be in the beginning which has been great because it just gives more people an opportunity to hear our music instead of just inside one small group of people. We really enjoy that.
You’ve had great success with your music being featured in film and television. Particularly impressive is the fact that you and Aughra were the first western artists to be played on Chinese public airwaves. Most recently I heard “The Mighty Rio Grande” on the trailer for “Moneyball”. Could you have ever expected that your music would have attracted that sort of large-scale, international recognition?
No, not at all. Not the way it’s been. It’s been pretty mindblowing and some of it still hasn’t really sunk in. But it’s what we’ve been trying to do since the beginning, was working towards licencing and film scoring so we hope that it continues to grow and we can really start feeling more secure about making a career out of this instead of going until it dies. Having the opportunity to go and keep on doing this would be great.
Speaking of film, you have started up an independent film company yourself called We Tried Film. Can you tell us a bit about how that is going?
Yeah, we have five or six films slated for production right now. The idea of it is just to have musicians that have wanted to make a film or musicians that are highly inspired by film to bring projects in and we’ll give as big as a budget as we can for that to work. But right now we’re about to release a kind of live video that a black metal band did for Magic Bullet Records and we have our first actual production starting in February. It’s been really interesting seeing some of the people that want to get involved and we hope that it’s successful because I’ve been wanting to do that as well since I was a little kid. I’d love for it to work.
This Will Destroy You just wrapped up your latest European tour. How did that go for you? Any highlights?
It was probably our eighth or ninth time there. It turned out pretty good. It’s kind of a difficult time to tour over there because you have so many festivals going on and we were a part of a few of them. So we were just doing the regular shows in certain cities. It’s hard to pull a good turnout over there but it went decent and I’m sure we’ll be back with them in the next year or so to keep on building over there.
How to you generally find crowd responses when you play overseas?
They tend to be much more quiet and respectful that you’re up on stage and they’re there to listen. It’s getting better in the US too but in the US you get a lot more talkers and the crowd can get kinda loud. Overall over there it seems that music in general is just a lot more respected.
Do you have any plans to come visit Australia any time soon?
Yeah we’re definitely trying to get that happening by the beginning of next year at least. We really want to get there as quickly as possible.
What records tend to get the most frequented on your van’s stereo when This Will Destroy You are on tour?
Oh man all of us listen to a lot of different stuff. Whoever’s driving has control over it. There isn’t really any albums that anyone plays that would get replayed by the next person but when I’m on the road, at least the last time we were on the road, I was listening to a lot of a band called Velvet Cocoon and a lot of Ligeti. I’ve been listening to A Place To Bury Strangers a whole lot recently. So yeah, that’s probably what was mostly on rotation when I was in the driver’s seat.
Being so large your home state of Texas boasts a vast array of musical scenes, from southern rap to heavy hardcore. What’s it like in your town of San Marcos?
Yeah definitely. San Marcos doesn’t have that big of a music scene, it’s a smaller town of 45,000 people but they’re mostly all college students. It’s just all different types of bands that come out of there. But Austin is where we tend to play mostly and Dallas as well. Austin is very, very cliquey as well. People over there, you kinda get the feeling that they think they’re doing you a favour just by being at the show sometimes. It took us longer to get a steady audience in Austin than it did getting one in other cities outside of the state and even outside of the country. It’s a really hard market to break into but once you’re there it can be really fruitful.
So I assume you’ve played at South By Southwest?
Every year for the past six years I think, five years?
Word has it you can be found on occasion down at the Greyhound bus stop in your town busking. Do you still get time for that or are you too busy nowadays?
(Laughs) Oh I wish man, I wish. That was a very nice joke that my friends … I got mad when they pulled it off the Wiki page so quick but I’m glad that it still got around quick enough!
What does the rest of the year hold for This Will Destroy You?
Right now we’re just on a short break. We just got off two, two and a half months of touring and we’re just taking it easy, trying to reacclimate. But after that we’ll be working on some minor scoring projects here and there, working on music in general and getting the plan together for the next run of tours which will probably be spring of 2012.
Thanks again for your time, hopefully we’ll see you towards the end of the year!