If Architects’ 2014 album ‘Lost Forever // Lost Together’ propelled them firmly into metal’s upper echelons, it’s follow-up ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’, sent them stratospheric.
But less than three months after its release, tragedy struck. Band founder, guitarist and key songwriter Tom Searle passed away following a three year battle with skin cancer leaving the UK rock scene in shock.
Architects were sitting on the year’s best heavy album and about to embark on a tour culminating with a sold-out show at Brixton Academy... with a future suddenly very much in doubt.
Fast forward to now and finally, the band are starting to move forward. Clash met vocalist Sam Carter backstage at Alexandra Palace, just a few hours before the band walked onstage to play their biggest ever show in front of a 10,000-strong sold-out crowd, for a chat about their journey to get there, new music and overcoming grief.
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Architects are a technical metalcore band playing a sold out show at Ally Pally... that’s pretty crazy...
I think fans get a buzz of seeing us do well because they know how much it means to us but also it’s their community succeeding as well. They can see that they can do it. We’re just five blokes, we once got told we looked like five plumbers. People can take inspiration from it. I hope they do.
You never thought you’d play a venue as big as Brixton, now here you are headlining Ally Pally. Was this a dream for you or genuinely something you’d never even considered until now?
Tonight is the main event of our bands’ career. We came to see Bring Me The Horizon play here, me, Tom and Dan, and they came on and opened with ‘Doomed’ and these lasers went across the venue. I remember turning round like; “we’re never going to do this, we’re never going to be this big”. I can’t believe it’s actually real. I don’t know what 10,000 people looks like.
Do you feel this show is a celebration of perseverance after everything the band has been through?
Every night you realise the position Tom put us in leaving us with those records. There’s so many memories of that first tour [after Tom’s death]. Paris was the first date and we walked out on stage and the whole room was full of signs saying: we love you Tom. We wouldn’t be a band if it wasn’t for the support that people gave us. They really carried us through. There was one night in Nottingham where there was complete silence and I just started going, my voice just went when I was talking, and someone shouted; we all love you. It was like being punched in the chest.
After Brixton you weren’t confident you could carry on without Tom. What was it like walking on stage that night thinking; this could be the last time?
At that show I was just like, this could be the last time I do this, but I’m just going to go out there and put on the best show I can for Tom. We wanted to do the tour for Tom, to tour that album. The throwaway emails I have from Tom that are a minute and half of music that never saw the light of day, but still piss on everyone. The best shit. He had an ear and he was super self-conscious, but towards the end of his life I could tell he was proud of himself.
I remember when we finished ‘A Match Made In Heaven’ he was like; “this should win a Grammy”. He was almost like a Sir Alex Ferguson. He knew when to put his arm around you and be like; “that was really good”, or be like, “I know you can do better”. Which is why, moving forward, I think we all know how to be good songwriters. Because he taught us how without actually teaching us.
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You’ve nailed Ally Pally surely now the next step is arenas. Next time you tour the UK will it be Wembley?
I think it’s very much in our hands. I came off stage at Brixton and was like... Ally Pally. Tonight I’ll come off stage and be like... Wembley. Let’s see what happens tonight. The amount of production we’ve been able to have on this tour is amazing. We’re out of pocket doing this because we’re basically putting on an arena show in a non-arena.
You’ve said you felt you “pottered along for a decade” at a lower level then you just rocketed. What changed?
‘Lost Forever’. I remember Naysayer coming out and it just felt really different, the amount of views on the videos and the amount of people that were talking about our band. It felt like we’d taken a long time to get there because we needed to learn how to get there. We weren’t desperate for success so it was pressure free doing ‘Lost Forever’. Without knowing it, it was our make or break record.
Then it all kicked off especially in Europe and the UK then following up with ‘All Our Gods’. I think a lot of people held ‘Lost Forever’ in such high regard I don’t think they felt we could top it. So with 'All Our Gods' there was pressure because we were like let’s fucking top it.
For eight years we were such a musician band where every musician on tour would be at the side of the stage wearing our t-shirt and loving the band and then you’d look out in the crowd and be like, well no one gives a fuck. And then all of a sudden there was this change.
It was recently the 10 year anniversary of your breakthrough ‘Hollow Crown’. Would you ever revisit any of your albums in full?
I don’t see that us as that band. Also it would never be the original line-up, it would never be what it was. I love ‘Hollow Crown’ because I was a really angry 18 year old that didn’t know how to look after his voice. And that was part of the charm to it. I recorded the vocals to that album in 14 hours. On ‘All Our Gods’ I was recording vocals for seven weeks. The innocence of that record is what makes it beautiful, and the anger.
No one wants to see fucking ‘Dead March’, no-ones wanted to see that for ten years, no one wanted to see that when it came out! No one wants to see ‘Every Last Breath’, no one gives a fuck about that! Tonight is a celebration of all those records. Playing ‘Early Grave’ at Brixton was cool but we’ll never do it in full. For me personally it shows a lack of satisfaction in what you’re doing now if you had to go back.
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You worked closely with Corbyn during his 2017 election campaign. What was that like?
He’s the best. He’s the man. He was so close to being on stage with us tonight. Like so close. There was a meeting within Labour about him being on stage. Not everyone thought it was a good idea but I love the fact that that is even a possibility. To be in a position as a band where you can give a politician a platform to speak to 10,000 people!
You’ve said that sonically, ‘All Of Gods Have Abandoned Us’ was a refinement of ‘Lost Forever // Lost Together’ and now you’re moving onto new ground. What direction is the new music going in?
We’re not going to do ‘All Our Gods Again’. We can’t, I almost feel like it would be insulting to Tom’s legacy to try because it would be us imitating Tom. But there’s a bunch of songs Tom had written that we’ve kept. Before what we’re writing now, he wrote everything. It’s hard to be like OK where do we take his band now?
Like I said, he would send us stuff and there’d be a minute and a half of music. Now how do you turn that minute and a half into a three minute song? That’s what Dan did with ‘Doomsday’. A lot of people don’t know that came from a snippet on email from Tom. The end of the song with that big scream where the snare changes, that’s what it initially was.
‘Doomsday’ was a massive success for us. It’s our most successful song and I fucking love it but there’s no way we can do 11 songs of it. It’s not us. It was right to have that song be melodic and be heartfelt but we’re a good heavy band. We want to do the best album for Tom. Obviously we want it to be successful and our fans to enjoy it but the real question is, would Tom like this?
We were talking before he passed away about how we wanted to take things, he was always saying, bio industrial: industrial, heavy electronic stuff but with disgusting guitars. So there’s bits on the record, even incorporating into the live show now where Ali (Dean, bassist) is playing synths and electronic sub bass. We want to push the boundaries of this scene but not move away from it.
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What is the new album about?
It’s going to be a really relatable record. A lot of it’s going to be about grief, the different stages of grief. Dan was writing lyrics straight away. And also an overall look at the world. It’s pretty bleak but I feel there’ll be a bit more light.
What’s it like to know you’re influencing a generation?
The thing that makes me more proud is influencing people’s attitudes and changing things within the music industry, what people eat, their ethics and the way they think. There’s going to be 10,000 people in that room tonight and I know for a fact no one is going to harass a girl because I would fucking kill them. I know for a fact that the majority of people in there are going to think Jeremy Corbyn is the man. Some people in there are going to be vegan because of this band. I like the thought of making a difference.
‘All Our Gods’ focused on your disillusionment with the state of the world. What’s keeping you awake at night now?
Oh yeah if we thought the world was fucked already… The thing that keeps me up at night is hoping everyone else still has fight. I’m inspired every day by Sea Shepherd, by other animal rights activists, by the people at the NHS march today.
I want tell kids in the crowd you are surrounded by 10,000 people that feel the same fire that you do. Do something with it. Don’t just sit there and be a keyboard warrior. Also if you see harassment, racism or homophobia, don’t be a sheep that turns around and does nothing because the world is full of them and that’s not going to make a difference.
If you see someone being racist, be like: fuck you! I know it’s confrontational but otherwise nothing’s going to happen. Unless that change happens and people actively step out of this box or phone or whatever they’re in, you’re not going to make a difference.
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Words: Danni Leivers
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