How Architects Are Still Celebrating Tom Searle With Upbeat New Album
Architects are on their way back with tenth studio album, The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Spirit, and despite that down-trodden album moniker, Architects frontman Sam Carter reveals that the record is a turning point in the band's career, moving away from the sorrow expressed over the death of bandmate Tom Searle to a more lighter and sunnier overall vibe.
Speaking with Loudwire Nights host Toni Gonzalez, Carter shares the toll that reflecting on Tom Searle with audiences took upon him as well as the band, and reveals the true turning point when they decided to move forward as they felt Searle would want.
The singer also digs into the pressures that come with recent success and why their expectations are tempered where chart placement comes with their latest album. He also delves into the evolution of their sound on the new record, discusses why the recently released single "Deep Fake" is one of his favorites and comments on how a visual change actually resulted in some backlash from fans, albeit backlash that he seems to be having some fun with.
It should be noted that this interview was edited for length and for clarity. Check out the full interview below.
I definitely want to talk about your band. But before we get into the music, I'm going to ask the most important question of the evening, which is: How is Sofia? We haven't had an Instagram update in six weeks. I know you got a new album on the way and a massive tour with Biffy Clyro, but priorities man, how is she?
I know she's the best. She's just got me under a Porsche. She gets exactly what she wants. So, she's good. I'm so happy that we managed to get the book out and tell her story. I just wish everybody could meet her. She's such a great dog, and she's got so much so much character. She's in a proper Ride or Die dog. Once you're in, you're best mates.
So, there is a bit of a pattern. Every time we speak a new album is not far away. Architects 10th studio album The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Spirit arrives Oct. 21. The band's previous record For Those That Wish to Exist debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. and Australia — Architects first album to debut that high. So are you feeling the pressure to recapture that success?
Yeah, do you know what, I really was until I started seeing who was releasing records on the same day and then all pressure was removed, because Taylor Swift decided to release her album the same day, and the Arctic Monkeys decided to release their record the same day. So, I'll be very happy with the No. 3 or more than that for the challenge. I just feel like sometimes you got to wave the white flag and just accept coming there.
I was hoping it was going in a different direction. Like if there were no strong albums and almost nobody's putting out music that day, but then you came out with Taylor Swift.
Yeah. It's a tricky situation. But I think we aren't a band that should probably ever have had a No. 1 record. I think the fact that we have done that is absolutely amazing and it's so cool to be able to say that for the rest of my life. It's an unbelievable achievement, and that is just so down to our fans, but it doesn't shape what we do and how we approach things.
So, we're just really grateful to have 10 records out. I think it's interesting to even be in a conversation of like, 'Oh, I wonder who's gonna get No.1? Arctic Monkeys, Architects or Taylor Swift. So, I'm happy with being the bookies' third.
You're in the mix. You never know. On a serious note, in 2016, your friend and bandmate Tom Searle passed away from cancer. The music since generally reflected what was going on within the band as it does. You said of the new record, 'This one is more of a party, we've got a good atmosphere. We're celebrating Tom rather than being too downbeat.' So, how did it become apparent as a band that it was time to have more of a party feel to the music? And how did that even change the vibe while you all were working on the songs?
It was around "Animals" coming out and playing shows around For Those That Wish to Exist. I think the thing with it was [we were] discussing Tom constantly. It's not an easy thing to do 24/7 and to open your trauma up to everybody for that amount of time. It became quite tiring and really just sad.
I think every time we would go onstage, I would tell a story about Tom, but I couldn't just tell the same story. I wouldn't want to do that, because I didn't want it to sound like I was reading a script. So, every night we were talking about Tom I'd be going into the to these traumatic memories and sometimes they're really fond memories and sometimes they were really hard memories.
But I would be telling the truth. It became a point where I spoke with Dan [Searle, drummer], and Dan had obviously seen that how much it was getting to me discussing this stuff onstage and he was like, 'You don't have to open up as much as you are if you don't want to,' and was like 'If you need to just not say as much and to get through the show and to have a good time and to be grateful that you're here, then you should do that.'
So, yeah, when it came into the studio and to live, as a sailor off the back of For Those That Wish to Exist, it was more like, let's just really enjoy this moment that we have. Let's do what Tom would want us to do, which was to not be sat around being sad and miserable. He would want us to go and live our lives to the fullest and to enjoy every moment, and I think that's what we want.
Music is an escape for people. You can have very traumatic experiences and come and enjoy our music and listen to the songs that are about these situations. But I also want you to be able to come and switch off and to let us be your Saturday night, even if it's on a Tuesday or Wednesday, come and have a good time with us and to forget about the stresses of the modern world, because there is a lot.
I want to make sure that people know when they're spending their money to come and see us we are putting on a show for you and your money is going to be given back to you in terms of our performance and hopefully being able to take you out of the stress of the world.
Thank you for that. So, the band's embracing more of an industrial and electronic sound. I guess that was the goal going in. How do you collectively decide on this one? Let's go that way. What brought about that decision?
Coming off the back of For Those That Wish to Exist are some of the latest songs that we wrote on that, like "Animals" and "An Ordinary Extinction" we were tapping into something that we hadn't done before, and it felt really exciting. Those were the songs that we were going back and listening to and being like, 'Okay, I feel like we've done something special here and something is super exciting.'
That opened the door to experimenting in this world and trying out new things. The record before, we had a lot of orchestral arrangements and [did] the whole record at Abbey Road as well and it just felt like a time to challenge ourselves and be like, let's remove the strings from this record. Let's go in and if we want things done, then we do it with any of the synths or sub bases, or any of the plugins that we're working with, and we spent days and hours rewiring old since into the back of different machines to try and get different sounds. It was super fun and a really great time to experiment with each other and just feel like kids just trying stuff. Just figuring it out, taking days to find the right synth sound, or the right kind of lead that we would put over stuff. It was just a good time to be around each other.
Architects, "An Ordinary Extinction"
You shared that the latest song, "Deep Fake," is one of your favorites, everything you love about the band. So, I'm curious, what are the things that you love most about the band?
I just love the energy that we get when we're together. Whether that's the energy of the passion or the excitement or the aggression, or whether it's also just like being able to punch you in the gut and make you feel completely miserable. I think there's different elements of the energy.
But what I like about our band is being able to do three completely different songs, but still have them linked together. Like how a sort of fast, punky song, like "when we were young," having that on a record alongside like, "Deep Fake" and "Tear Gas" and it making sense is so interesting to me and having people be like, 'Oh, all three songs sound the same.' I'm like, it couldn't be further from the truth.
But I think the thing was with "Deep Fake" is it feels really precise to me. It feels really like a moment and when you listen to it, you're just like, 'Okay, this is us, like peak Architects,' and I love that break down – slow fun, and so obnoxious — and I think really it encompasses what we were heading for on this record of maintaining being a heavy band, but being able to experiment and giving less to make those things more impactful.
I think if you take that breakdown as an example, maybe in the past, I would have screamed and shouted into it, and then screams all over it. But I think sometimes if you just leave a little bit of space and let the music do it, and then drop the screams and do the bits that are classically Architects where they need to be, it makes those bits more impactful.
Architects, "Deep Fake"
I saw you tweet something about this. Were people commenting on the fact you were wearing eyeliner in the"Deep Fake" video in 2022? Are people still talking about eyeliner?
I think these people are gonna be so annoyed when they start hearing about like Darkthrone and Mayhem and these black metal bands that have been wearing makeup for years, they're gonna be so annoyed about that. Or if they look at Ozzy Osbourne or any photos of him, they're gonna be really disappointed.
Yeah, people are outraged by it, and I find it so funny. I just think it's such a silly thing to be annoyed by and it really, really does bring out the worst in people. After being in a band for nearly 16 years, people change and people want to try out new stuff and a lot of the bands and things like that — the music that I listened to — is different to when I was a kid.
I'm really enjoying being able to wear different things and try out things that maybe I've wanted to wear for a while and was too nervous. And trying things like wearing makeup and a bit of eyeliner is really not the end of the world. I think if you look at most metal bands they do it. Yeah, I was surprised that people were so annoyed. But I think if you're not annoying people, you're not doing anything, right? You've got to wind people up.
I think it made your eyes really pop for the record. I mean, nobody asked me, but I think it did good things for your eyes. Okay.
Thank you very much. I wish there was more comments like that, you know?
There's a bunch of songs showcasing how versatile your voice is. Did the aggressive delivery like the screams, and I can only refer to it as the less softer delivery, the more singing voice? Did different variations of your voice develop at the same time and is there a preferred delivery for you?
That's a really interesting question. I think there was always something that came through every record. So, I always wanted to go into each record with something new, because I wasn't a singer, really, when I joined architects. I'd played drums in a bunch of bands and joined because I could scream, really. Throughout touring, you kind of get more time with your voice, you get to learn a few tricks, or you get to learn the way you would use your voice. If you were ill or something, you'd have to sing in a different way and it would open up different doors with different techniques.
So, I think every record, I've tried to bring something new to the band and to myself and to challenge myself, and I think I've always wanted to not be satisfied. Like I'm not satisfied by my voice. I don't think. I think a lot of people try blowing a lot of smoke at me and tell me that I'm great and stuff, but I don't believe it. I just want to keep pushing. I think one day I'll look back and go, I know you did really well, you did your best.
So, now I just keep trying to experiment and try new stuff. I think the good thing about our band is there's so many different sounds as you say, like even just thinking about "new, moral low ground." There's so many different things going on in different places, and I think for them to work it's nice to have someone that can do it all. I think I've always wanted to do that and just try and be the best but not actually believe it. Just keep trying, you know?
Those are the hardest workers. I mean if you think you're the best why even try? You're already there, right, so of course.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Why would you bother? I think there's plenty of time to look back at that when you're, you're a bit older and you're sat in a retirement home, I'll be looking back then go get a good job.
"Burn Down My House" deals with mental health and although these are Dan's words, is that something that you've struggled with your entire life? So, what conversations do you hope this song brings about? Humanity's mental struggles are not going away anytime soon, right, unfortunately, just getting worse. So, what conversation do you wish the song would spark?
I think I would like it to spark a discussion of just how people speak to each other and the way that people engage with each other. I think we're in a tricky spot, as I think as a entire planet, rather than just countries. I think we're at the point where that's happening. But I think we're all in it together. We're all struggling together and we're all going through different issues together when it's affecting us all in the long run.
But I think we need to start seeing each other like brothers and sisters, and that we are all in it together.I think the way people talk to people about anything, whether they disagree with you or disagree with other things or disagree with your taste in music, or what you wear — it's crazy to me, I just, I don't understand how you can be so angry to a stranger or to somebody that you've never met. I don't know how you can be so angry to somebody you haven't met. Hopefully the song just kind of lets people know that it's okay. Really, it's okay not to be okay.
I think that the big thing is you have to talk through it. I'm very lucky that I have amazing people in my life that I can tell these things to and be open with, but hopefully the song inspires some conversations with other people and their families and their friends and I think that the hardest thing to do is to open up that first time. But once you've done that, your life gets a lot easier.
Hopefully it inspires some conversation and people will maybe see that even if you looked at our band and thought, they're big, or they do this, and they must have it all figured out. They must not have a care in the world. You know, it doesn't matter if you're a superstar, all you have to do is look at people like Chester Bennington and the struggles that he went through. Nobody has it figured out, we're all just going through each day, learning and we just got to try and be there for each other.
Thank you for that. "Be Very Afraid" has my vote for the track most likely to make the crowd go insane on this record. Anyway, that's a part of the concert where I like get out of the way I go to the bar, like don't run into me, please. The song ends with birds chirping. I'm like, Okay, you got this skull-crushing track and then birds in nature and that's the last thing we hear. I was like, wait, what just happened here? What was that?
Well, it's pretty trippy. I think the idea of it came about, when we were in the studio, we were in there like in spring and there's this thing in the U.K. called the dawn chorus where all the birds wake up super early and they all start singing at different times and it sounds like an orchestra of different animals and species just going mad, and I love this so much.
I really wanted to get it on the record somehow, and we were discussing the possibility of it being underneath a song or during a song or maybe writing a song around it and in the end, I just thought, what better way to come out of something so insane, then it kind of sounds like taking your headphones out and you just been literally in the place where we were when we recorded it, because that's what we were hearing every morning. I think it's funny when you're so lost in a record and so deep in it, and actually, at the end of it for you to literally just be transported to where we were — that was just a recording on my phone. Like I literally recorded it on my iPhone one morning, and that's how the record ends, and I love that stuff.
Finishing the last record we had like a little locking groove on the vinyl so that it would just continue this little phrase over and over again. They inspire me so much with the little ideas that they were coming up with a little part of songs that they did in the '60s and '70s. Taking parts like that and ideas like that into what we do is super fun.
There are a lot of really well-known musicians featured on For Those That Wish to Exist. Last time we spoke you were hoping for a Phoebe Bridgers collab. I see that wasn't in the cards. Did you guys decide to not really go in the features direction heavy because it's kind of like been there done that?
Yeah, it was just sort of because we started working on this one so quickly after the other one, that it just felt like we would really just get this one nailed in ourselves. But I think definitely in the future. I think on the next record, I would absolutely look like again, like I'd love to have Phoebe, I'd love to have Hayley Williams, and they're both incredible musicians.
But I think yeah, I would, I would love to have a female vocalist on our next record. I think that's something that we've never done before and it would be something that I would like. The last record we had three blokes, and I I think it's time to mix it up a little bit and I think it will add a really nice layer to something we do to what we're doing. So, yeah, I think on the next record, we'll be having a few more collaborations for sure.
You guys should be here in North America touring. I know, I read that there are many logistical issues. So, now I'm like, wait, these were the rescheduled shows from 2021. So, have you not been able to tour the U.S. at all since the release of For Those That Wish to Exist?
No, and it's killing me. It's absolutely killing me. It's such a bummer. I think like both times, a lot of the first time we moved, we moved there, because there was still so much stuff going on with COVID, where it was like, we weren't sure.
Like, some states were having shows some states weren't. So, it was like, 'Fuck, this is such a big risk to go over there right now. Maybe your things aren't OK.' So, we pushed it, and pushed it back and then it turned out that everybody wanted to go to America at the same time, including the majority of our population. So, there were so many delays on different things.
Even now, you look and see like the drummer from Chicago, he couldn't make it to the first few shows of their tour because of visa delays or something. I think it's just difficult at the moment. But yeah, we will be back when the time is right, we'll be back. I think the best thing we can do is just hold off a little bit, get everything sorted, get this record out, and then be over there.
I was reading something you did a few months ago and you were talking about how the early U.S. tours were basically a money losing venture. Is that still the case? Because "Animals" was so big on rock radio, but you haven't even toured since "Animals" but I know you were picking up some momentum the last few albums. Is it still a money losing venture to come over here for you guys?
No, the things I was talking about were, like, really early on, we would do tours. I mean, like we came over to American, we had that one album out in the U.K. and we just kind of expected people to know who we were or support the band, and we didn't know the beast that is America, you know, how big it is. And how you almost start again when you go over there. We thought we had everything figured out in the U.K. and we will either go over there and then like two tours in you're like, 'OK, I'm completely broke, I've slept in a van upright for 8 weeks, and I'm fed up.' But then you look back. It's really funny, I talk about it all the time, the moment, I look back on those tours, they're some of my favorite memories of being in this band.
I think it was just such a brilliant, exciting time and just no cares in the world. It was just, you know, go on tour for seven weeks in America and just figure it out and we just figured it out together. It was like we just about have enough money to just about get enough fuel to get to the next venue and then we have just about enough money to get a couple of things to eat a day and it's amazing that we just kept going and kept going and eventually you see the fruits of your hard work.
We never gave up and we kept trying over there, and it feels amazing, especially the last one we did over there every night just felt so just amazing and wonderful because you know, it always feels better when you work for it. Everything in life was better when you put in a shift for it and you really want it and it really felt like on that last tour that we were really on the right path.
I really like America. I really liked being there. I think that people, a lot of the people are lovely. And, in particular, I love California. I love the West Coast. I've got so many friends over there, and I miss it. We'll be back soon and you'll be seeing a good day.
I know how important it is for you to lift smaller bands, right, like to use your platform that way. Last time we chatted you were very complimentary of Courtney LaPlante and Spiritbox. Who does 2022 find you listening to when wanting to spread the name of maybe someone who's not on our radar?
There's a really good band called Heriot, and I've only found out about them in the last half a year. Their last record is so, so good and I would love to do some stuff with that band.
The record is called Profound Morality, and it's just so full on. It's really, really intense, and really, really heavy. Kind of sounds like Nails. I think I'm trying to think of it as sort of, like Nails, Converge kind of vibe. I think that band's really, really special, and yeah, I think they'll do well. I've found that I'm really listening to them a lot when I'm running at the moment. I'm getting into them.
Heriot, "Profound Mortality"
Our thanks to Architects' Sam Carter for the interview. The band's new album, 'The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Spirt,' is due Oct. 21 and is available to pre-order here. You can also follow the band via their website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts.