Interview: Architects

Architects

Brighton’s ARCHITECTS have been recording music since 2006. Think about that for a second. That very same year showcased records such as Define The Great Line, The Red Tree, and The Black Parade, and it’s why years later, it’s refreshing to see the foursome introduce a full-length that’s restless, defined, and on the verge of turning a very tight corner. For all things alternative, that pivotal point in time can leave a band stranded before they even rally an attempt. It’s also one that can force them to play to 200 instead of a 1,000. “After we released The Here And Now, we were really worried about whether people still liked our band anymore and if we had made a massive mistake,” says vocalist Sam Carter. “It wasn’t until after we recorded Daybreaker that were realized people had our backs.”

Carter’s well-known for being outspoken – his Twitter feed is practically an elective on global concerns – and it’s that attribute that’s stoked an urgency in Architects’ Lost Forever // Lost Together (out March 11th). It has its aggressive tendencies and it’s soaked with melodic impulses and a rough exterior, and all of the above suit the quartet’s shift from Century Media to Epitaph and New Damage. As the frontman informed us via a phone call, they eliminated fears, adopted a technical focus, and stuck by a “no gimmicks, no bullshit” attitude to “come out on the other side”.


Given the changes you went through with a new record in 2012 and the touring you did in 2013, was it a challenge for you as a vocalist to keep up in fear of “burning out”?

I think it was for all of us. Before we went into the touring cycle for Daybreaker, we were really unsure of where we were going but we knew we had this great record underneath us. During the 100 Days Tour, we pretty much toured everywhere possible and I don’t think we realized how much fun it was going to be. Every night was really cool and we started to have a new found appreciation of how lucky and how fortunate we are to be doing what we do. To have been able to do an “almost” world tour at 25 is pretty crazy and we’ve been doing this for nearly ten years.

It’s crazy to think how far this band has gone, from like the small shows we used to play in Brighton to now playing in places like fucking Bali. On that tour we did The Opera House in Toronto and that was crazy for us because I remember we played shows there as support for The Holly Springs Disaster – like on the first tour we ever did in Toronto. So to be able to headline… convincingly enough it nearly filled out and it was amazing. That whole tour was enlightening… it made us appreciate what we have.

That’s awesome because you’d think something like that would be incredibly exhausting.

At the end of it, we were done. We were really tired but every show was fun and we probably could have stayed on and done a little bit more. It was a really good time.

It must be a really good feeling to return home after something like that.

It was nice to be able to put your feet up and not have to wake up and look at a day sheet to find out what time load in is. It was weird. I was going to get my tour manager to print up a sheet for home, like so I could wake up at this time, make breakfast at this time (laughs). I miss the schedule.

As an artist, you’re always aiming to improve with each new release. Do you think Lost Forever // Lost Together represents a natural progression or do you truly feel as if it’s exponentially better than anything you’ve previously released?

I think it’s definitely unlike anything we’ve ever released. It’s something we all put 100 per cent into and it’s the first time we all felt the need and want to do better than before. After releasing Daybreaker and it being such a good record, we went into the studio and we knew we had a tough thing on our hands. We all got our heads down and did the best we could, almost going mental at the same time because we were tracking all night (laughs).

Like we would sleep a little bit and then start again. I think it’s always important to progress and do something different because no one wants to hear the same record twice, and I think as a musician, you always need to up your game. With this record… it was really thought out. I knew I had to up what I was doing vocally too. I had to keep it interesting and as a result the songwriting was above anything we had ever done before. We definitely went out with the goal to smash anything from before.



In your eyes, what makes Lost Forever // Lost Together unique?

I think the thing we wanted to do was write a really heavy record, but not have it be chuggy and boring, and like everyone else’s “breakdown” record. We wanted it to be interesting and clever, and have layers to it. We wanted you to be able hear something different every time you listen to it and not just have someone shouting at you for 45 minutes. That way the people can kind of go through the record with us – from start to finish – and really get into the vibe of the album. I think we have achieved that because when you put the record on there is a definite vibe that runs throughout the whole thing. It isn’t just a load of songs put together; it’s a whole piece.

Do you hope it finally overshadows your fan base’s obsession with Hollow Crown?

Yes! I really do (laughs). It’s always funny to see because people really do go on about that record. But when we play some of it live, the songs from Daybreaker go down better. I don’t know why everyone has this obsession with Hollow Crown. It’s almost like a cool thing to say, “Oh, I liked Architects when they released Hollow Crown” (laughs). Hopefully this one will make people realize we’re alright still. It’s funny that you mention that because we do see it. People are always like, “It’s not like Hollow Crown” but this time, we put out “Naysayer” and “Broken Cross”, and people have said it’s better. It’s a nice feeling so fingers crossed.

You mentioned you worked around the clock to produce this album. Surely that was really tiring for the band, but did that complete immersion contribute to a better LP overall?

Yeah, for sure. We would get up at nine or ten o’clock, have breakfast, and then just go straight through until two o’clock at night. We’d go to sleep in the studio, wake up and do it again. Being in Sweden as well, we were away from all the distractions of home, so we just put our heads down and worked on it. Even after that, we were drained, so we did that Protest The Hero tour and we had to drop off just because we were so exhausted. We really did put everything into this record and when we went back out on tour half way through, we were just fucking fried. We just couldn’t do it so we went home and relaxed, and now we can’t wait to get back out.

Was it a conscious decision to work under pressure like that or was it spontaneous?

I think it just happened because we were there to record the album and we just wanted to hear the finished product. We loved the songs so much that we just wanted to have them finished and have them on our iPods (laughs). We were just smashing through it as quickly as we could without rushing it. It would have felt like a waste of time if we were just sitting around doing nothing with this amazing studio at our fingertips.


Architects - Vans Warped Tour


Lost Forever // Lost Together is louder and seems somehow angrier and more outspoken than your previous releases. Did any recent experiences with the band contribute to that?

We realized that we wanted to get that aggression back and even the angst that we had on Hollow Crown and on Daybreaker as well. We really wanted to take it up a notch and be angry, and be a technically-heavy band because that’s what were good at and that’s why people stood up and took notice of us in the first place. We wanted to show people that we could be that band and just have a really fun, aggressive album to tour around in the next year. I honestly can’t wait to start playing while jumping on people and climbing up shit again (laughs).

Have you ever felt the need to push yourself because of what other bands around you are doing in the studio and on-stage?

Yeah, because I think we’ve always been very conscious of making sure that whatever we do in the studio is something we can pull off live as well. That’s something we’ve always wanted to nail. As a live band, we’re always pushing ourselves, even if we run around for the whole set. I’ve climbed up things and done a front flip and we still won’t feel like that’s enough. It’s nice to have that desire to do better because it keeps you on your toes. There’s nothing worse than going to see a heavy band with a frontman who just stands there. In my opinion, if someone is singing aggressive music they’re supposed to be annoyed and they’re supposed to be getting their point across, and they can’t just be standing there squatting like some kind of monster. You have to be pissed off, you know?

Drew from Stray From The Path and Jason from letlive are both amazing frontmen. Touring with Jason all summer on Warped Tour was like a lesson in how to be a frontman every day. It was great watching their set and seeing his real emotion coming through. I think the best way to perform live is just to be honest and true – no gimmicks, no bullshit. Just go on-stage and yell about the things you’re annoyed about and hopefully you’ll connect with people.

Many bands choose not to explain their songs, leaving them open for interpretation, yet Tom posted a very straightforward explanation of “Broken Crosses” on the band’s Tumblr page. Why did you guys deem this response both necessary and important?

We’ve done it before with “These Colors Don’t Run” and I think it was important for fans to know that we weren’t just going out there and bashing Christianity or religion as a whole. The song itself is directed to the outward fundamentalists who endanger peoples lives or are filled with hate – those nasty people who don’t deserve the air that they have. I think it was important to let people know that. There are a lot of friends of ours who are Christian and a lot of other people that we know are Christian, including some of our fans. We are not just pointing at them and saying, “Fuck you, he doesn’t love you”. It was a massive thing and we didn’t realize how much controversy that song was going to produce until we released it.

We just wanted to let people know that unless you’re a Christian who really hates gay people or you’re in some kind of religion that thinks war is acceptable because of the God that you believe in, we don’t want you to get upset by it. Unless of course, you are those people because then we do want you to get upset by it. That was the important thing. We didn’t want people to think we were just jumping on the trend of going out there and hating on God, and having upside down crosses everywhere because that’s very “cool” right now. We just wanted to say that we had written a song that held a lot of knowledge about the subject instead of just saying “I hate God”.



Have you ever found it difficult to balance certain topics in the material you write, making sure subjects such as religion and politics don’t outweigh the personal side of writing?

We’re living in such a scary world especially given the stuff that’s going on now and the politicians that are in charge of these countries. You have a crazy mayor in Toronto who’s running things, the guy in Australia is a fuck head, David Cameron is a fuck head, Obama is a fuck head. It’s important to write about things that spark a debate and spark a conversation because I don’t believe that we, as a whole group of people, have enough say nowadays about the things that happen in this world. I think it’s a scary time right now and I think the more bands speak up about these things – like politics, the environment or religion – it’ll help people understand where they stand in the world.

That’s important. It’s almost like education for hardcore kids and kids that like heavy music. At school, you don’t get taught about things that are going on in the world like environmental crises or how corrupt politics are. You’re just told things. You take that home, revise it, go back to school, and that’s that. With hardcore music you’re forced to hear these things you need to answer. There’s only so many times you can write about being in love with a girl or a girl breaking your heart or how much you love your friends. We’re in a world now where it’s important to write about things that are relevant and can actually change peoples’ perspectives.

With you guys arguably being at the top of your genre in the UK and even Europe, what sort of challenges have you faced going from a fairly unknown act to a household name?

It’s really flattering that you say that, but I don’t know how true it is (laughs). It’s cool to have some recognition now. We never really know what to expect from UK and European shows, and we’re always shitting ourselves wondering if they’re going to be any good. It is really cool though as we’ve been doing this for ten years and not a lot has changed. We still live at home with our families and are very lucky to have the support we get from them. We’re all very grounded, none of us think were rock stars by any means. It’s kind of cool to be known as a band that does well, but it’s also cool to have kids looking up to you, thinking they can do what we do because we’re just normal human beings. I think we’re quite vocal about that. We’re not in this for any fame or money because neither of them have come yet (laughs). We just want to play music. To have people like us and come to our shows is incredible.

What was the biggest fear you faced as a band and how did you overcome it?

I think touring America was a pretty big fear for our band. We tried so hard when we first went out there but we were continually losing money. We tried everything we could to do well out there. I think once we realized that we didn’t really care and that we just wanted to go out on the road, it became just another place we could tour. The Here And Now was also a big thing to come out of. It created a big, big pressure on us to release Daybreaker after because it had to be a great record. It was, so now we’re here with an album that we love and we’re all really good friends and honestly, we couldn’t be a tighter group at the moment. We’re just really flattered with how everything is going. People are being so supportive of us right now and they want to talk to us and do interviews. It’s really flattering. We’re very fortunate to be in the position we’re in right now and things couldn’t be better for us.

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