A decade ago, Isis began life in Massachusetts; a few years later, Isis packed up and traversed the continent to Los Angeles. Their current cross-country trek, though, isn't behind their recent In the Absence of Truth; rather, it's to commemorate the band having reached the 10-year mark. "For me," says guitarist Michael Gallagher, "this is the longest time I've ever been involved in anything other than family." Isis was birthed with the potential for a wide-ranging sound in their bones, and subsequent albums have seen them expand; on their albums, textured, almost drone-like passages are interwoven with magnificently crushing ones.
Gallagher also releases solo work under the name MGR (singer/guitarist Aaron Turner does the same under the House of Low Culture banner). "[It] started out as wanting to explore more mellow, more ambient, texture-based things," Gallagher explains. "Isis certainly has that element throughout many of our records, but never done to the extent that I wanted to explore on my own. That's how it started; fortunately for me, it's turned into a different way of writing songs, and I feel that it's aided me in what I've brought to the table in Isis."
Conversing with Gallagher, the impression one gets of Isis is that of a deeply meticulous band. Asked about the process of looking back at the band's discography for the anniversary tour, he points out that it wasn't necessarily a re-evaluation of earlier songs.
"I think the name of the game was to find stuff that we still thought would move us and that people might actually want to hear." Isis audiences are wide in scope: from punks to textural mavens, from veterans of the metal scene to shoegaze revivalists. It's not every band that can bring together these elements, uniting them to witness music that's as viscerally satisfying as it is intellectually conceived. In the case of Isis, they've been doing this for a decade—and talking with Gallagher, that seems like the most logical thing in the world.