The Destroyers

I ask Robi Gonzalez to finish this sentence for me: “If it doesn’t destroy you then…”

“Don’t do it at all,” he responds. 

Gonzalez plays drums with This Will Destroy You, and the notion of pushing things to the limit governs every aspect of his life, from his time as a professional snowboarder to his career as a drummer. 

“I like that it’s so physical,” Gonzalez says of his instrument. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. “I’m a very active person, having grown up in the outdoors. I get stir crazy just sitting around.”

Earlier this year, the Texas post-rock quartet released New Others Part One. In October, the band surprised fans with a second installment of the record, New Others Part Two. Both albums are verdant examples of the post-rock style: instrumental, moody, atmospheric and dynamic. 

Gonzalez says the decision to release New Others in two parts was simple. The band simply had too much material. Try as they might, they could trim the music only down to an hour and a half, he explains. 

“We’ll split it up in two and let’s try this other record,” Gonzalez says of the two-album decision. “They’re meant to be played together, start to finish,” he says. 

Plus, dropping a surprise album seemed a nice treat for faithful followers of the band.

No question, either edition of New Others is music arranged for a rock band, but the sound is something more akin to neo-classical, film scores or even ambient electronic music. 

Post-rock bands love to push the electric guitar to the limit, acting less as a vessel for melody and more a bludgeoning battering ram, alternating between loud and quiet, with plenty of what’s in between. This Will Destroy You is no different.

For his part, Gonzalez appreciates the physicality of playing drums, as well as the stripped-down intensity of playing music without a singer. 

Throughout both albums, his percussion stands out: sometimes a dry drum kit, other times deep and cavernous echoes. 

“It’s very primal, expressing the same sort of feelings without words,” he says.

With no singer, Gonzalez puts more of himself in the music. “Because it all matters,” he says. “People are listening to every single note that everyone is playing.” 

“A song with vocals has lyrical content,” he continues, and song form. With a singer, “You kind of have to strip some things down and give room for other things. This way you don’t.” 

“I feel a deeper connection, like I can say more.”

This Will Destroy You plays with Eugene’s This Patch of Sky 9 pm Saturday, Nov. 10, at WOW Hall; $14 advance, $16 door, all-ages.