Unfortunately, right now, it seems as if nobody in the music game is more willing to slap their name onto any given piece of merchandise than the rap duo Run The Jewels, whether it be a womans handbag or the quintessential date rape vibe douche bro tee, so they’re kind of leading the pack, as far as the high quality music outfit pushing confusing and seemingly unrelated products world is concerned. Lately, however, it appears that the post rock scene is dipping their toys into the left field merchandising game as well, but through more distant, outside collaborations. Back in April we reported that Iceland‘s Sigur Rós were releasing their own line of limited edition weed candies, albeit it of the somewhat fancy variety, and now it appears their Texan contemporaries in the dramatic build-up and spiritually uplifting crescendo game, Explosions In The Sky, are releasing nothing less than their own skateboarding shoe.
For whatever reason — most likely because I’m not a skateboarder — I just never associated post-rock music with the sport and, if I had, it would have been something more akin to Slint than anything built on as many big dramatic flourishes. When I was coming up, the skaters that I knew were listening to bands like Fugazi and hardcore, or even hip hop acts like Tha Pharcyde; something that either had some level of drive to it, or, at the very least, a rhythm and consistent beat. The sort of music that Explosions In The Sky create is, typically, much more drawn out… less urgent. Of course, that isn’t meant to imply that they don’t provide plenty of tension or a riveting emotional payoff. I’ve seen EITS before and they’ve impressed me as a live act, especially as an ideal project to see as the sun is setting behind them, with their epic sweeping soundscapes and erupting crescendos. When I consider it within that context, it really feels much less surprising that a new generation of skaters might embrace their work as a soundtrack for riding at dusk, coasting on powerful, shimmering, detonating sound.
When I was young, I also remember the first time that I ever heard of the brand, Emerica, when it appeared in 1995. “Etnies is now called Emerica,” someone would tell me, although, along with eS’, all 3 are just different extensions of the same company, Sole Technology Inc. Somewhere along the line, EITD joined that list of “E“s, as Emerica began including their music in their skate videos, specifically on 2013‘s Made Vol 1 which actually included 4 separate tracks by the group. Three years later, the follow up, Made Vol 2, included two more Explosions songs, as well as another pair from Scottish post-rock pioneers, Mogwai. In fact, now that I’m looking through some of these Emerica skate video soundtracks and noticing that that they include music from acts that range from Tortoise, CAN, Unwound, The Sea & Cake, and Roxy Music to The Locust, My Bloody Valentine, Lee Perry, and David Pajo (both Papa M and Aerial M), I think that I might have to go check some of these out. There was a time when skateboarding videos were an essential method for kids to discover new music and it’s great to discover that’s something that the industry — or, at least, Emerica — seems to recognize a value in keeping alive.
The band Woods has teamed up with the brand Habitat in the past to release their own skate decks on more than one occasion, but perhaps that collaborations was less surprising to me simply because Woods has always had their own very consistent and recognizable aesthetic to their artwork, which was then just being applied directly to the decks. Or maybe, I don’t really have much of a valid reason for why a lo-fi indie/psych-folk unit having their music appear in skateboarding videos and releasing album download codes with skate decks made any more sense to me than this would. Either way, in a new video supporting the shoe release, Explosions guitarist/keyboardist, Munaf Rayani, definitely makes his case for the product and partnership, explaining the bands history both in skateboarding, as well as with their Emerica collaborations.
As of right now, there are 2 styles of EITD shoes available through the company. The first is the signature WINO Cruiser, a web exclusive that features artwork from the band’s latest album, The Wilderness. That one carries an affordable $45 price tag. The second is an “Explosions in the Sky-branded WINO G6 in all black premium leather.” This one looks like the type of shoe that I’d decide to pick up as an alternative, if I was required to get a pair of black shoes for some restaurant job that I wasn’t really into and didn’t want to waste money on something that I’d never wear outside of work, except I wouldn’t, because they cost twice as much as the non-leather version at $89.99.
Both models are available now from the Emerica website. Check out the video below followed by a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates