Architects' Sam Carter
Published Jan 29, 2009The moniker Architects doesn't really stand out well in the heavy music scene since it can easily, and likely is, confused with the U.S. noisecore outfit Architect and a little further down the line, metallers Mouth of the Architect. So how does Brighton, England's premier metalcore band make them selves stand out? How does creating their best effort yet by finding the perfect spot that brings their technical ability in sync with the heaviest sound they have recorded sound? Sounds good already doesn't it? Hollow Crown is the pinnacle of Architects career - it focuses on more mature songwriting, blistering drums, and there is so much shredding that you'd think you just opened up a box of Shreddies and poured them into a bowl of holy shit.
Exclaim! shot the shit with vocalist Sam Carter over the phone while the band were messing around in a subterranean dressing room somewhere in Newcastle, England. Carter, as jovial as ever, was glowing about the crowds that have been showing up to their first headlining UK tour in sometime. He also had touched on the band's quasi obsession with reading their press, how they aren't just a haircut band and why a prank between him and Oliver Sykes resulted in death threats. Oh, we also managed to talk about Hollow Crown at some point too.
So what are you guys up to, I heard you're underground in some kind of subterranean room?
We're in a dressing room under the sea right now. We're actually in the basement of a venue and all the dressing rooms are down here, we're right at the bottom of this thing.
Where are you guys right now?
We are in Newcastle.
And you guys are out on your headlining UK tour now?
This is the first headlining tour you guys have done in quite a while.
It is, it is. It's definitely showing too. The shows are fucking crazy right now. Every night we think, "this show might be a bit shit" and every single night it's like, "this show is insane!" So far every single show has been amazing.
Good crowd turnouts?
Oh yeah, dude. We're not really a band that brings out that many people, we've always been a band that has never really had great pre-sales and people just kind of turn up but so far we've had 300 to 400 pre-sales each night. There have been loads of kids packing in and the shows have been fucking crazy. It's been blowing my mind, really blowing my mind.
You sound like you're glowing over there.
Yeah, we're having a really good fucking time man. Every show has just been amazing and beyond my wildest dreams. I never thought our shows would ever be this crazy consecutively, you know?
How long is this tour?
How many dates will you be doing in those three weeks?
I think we have two days off, so every other day.
So you guys are pretty busy.
You could say that.
I think I just did. So who's on tour with you guys?
We have Misery Signals and A Textbook Tragedy. We're good friends with the guys in Textbook after touring in Canada with them. We developed a good friendship with them since and we're all super close now. We just wanted to bring them over here and everyone seems to dig them. The way I see it is if you like Architects then you're going to like A Textbook Tragedy.
When you guys are headlining a tour how do you prepare for that?
Well, we rehearse a lot of our older songs cause we want to bring back a lot of the classics. We go out of our way to make a really strong set and make sure it's cool by rehearsing a lot. You have to make sure everything is perfect and songs are backed up encase someone asks for a certain songs, you really have to be ready for anything. Where as a supporting act you can just play all the new shit and be like, "hey, we're Architects, that's it." When you're a headliner you just have to work at it a bit more [laughs].
I'm assuming everyone is getting along and all the bands like to party after the show?
We're all sharing a bus together so there's 18 of us on there.
Oh, shit. [Laughs]
Yeah, it's a bit crazy, but it's good. [laughs]
That must smell wonderful all the time.
This morning when I woke up it smelled absolutely terrible. It was really really bad there were sweaty show clothes lying everywhere.
You guys are from the same hometown as Johnny Truant and what kind of relationship did you have with them?
Especially before I joined the band they were really awesome guys that took us on tour. Olly used to manage us for a while, back in the day, when we were first starting the band. They've always been great guys and always looked after us and definitely helped us to get where we are today in the UK. It's kind of cool, from our perspective, to now be bigger than them in the UK. It's a shame that those guys have split up because they were a really great band. We went to their last show and it was a really good show, so rest in peace Truant.
Architects have been around for a while now, what would you attribute the longevity of the band to?
Tom and Dan started the band when they were like 14 and then Tim joined and then they had Matt do vocals then I joined. I think it's that right now we have found they perfect balance, we all get on with each other and everything is great. We just love writing music and that's all we do, it's not about being a big band or having great responses each night where you sell a ton of merch. What matters is the five of us on stage having a good time, freaking out and just enjoy playing music. That's all Architects has ever been about and that's all Architects ever will be about: just playing music, it's never been about impressing anyone else or trying to make a record that everyone is going to like. It's always been about what us five guys in the practice room like and what we think is going to be good. That's all it's ever been man and hopefully that's all it will ever be.
How does Hollow Crown reflect on the band musically through maturity and ambition?
I think you can definitely hear the progression from Ruin and that's a year of our lives where we sat down and worked. It was a really exciting process because you know I had loads of time to work on vocals and get all the melodies right while we messed around on keyboards and drum samples. I think it's a massive step up from Ruin because we worked really our game on that record and it paid off for us. I'm really happy with it, I think it's our best record yet and I'm so stoked on it.
There really is progression since Nightmares.
Yeah, definitely. Nightmares, you know, they were a lot younger and a more technical band with a Dillinger worship trying to be as technical as they could. Ruin was a bit heavier and this record is a mixture of everything with the technical stuff in there, there's still the epic stuff and the hardcore side of it and the melodic side. We're just throwing it all in there and seeing what we can get away with, every response we have had so far has been so nice and it's awesome that so many people seem to be into it.
Why did you guys go towards a more accessible but heavy direction?
You know you can't be the same band forever - it would have been so easy to write another Ruin. After Ruin we wanted to work with the singing part on Hollow Crown and push that by writing some really fucking heavy riffs but not necessarily so technical but you know just more heavy. I think it was because we had lot more time to jam with each other and get used to everyone's sounds that things progressed. Before we recorded Ruin I just jumped in and had six weeks to do everything. This time I was there from the start and had the time to show the guys what I could do with myself and like get everything around. It really worked out because we all got to throw our ideas around and it seems to come out fucking great.
Did you guys have any problems while recording the record?
Well we seemed to change a song each week. We would write a song and then be like, "nah we can do better than that," or "oh no, we can change that bit with that bit." We wrote for a year and it was right up until the last week where we were like, "Alright finally, these are the songs we're happy with and we're not going to change them. Let's just leave them and not think about it until we're recording." We just tried to change riffs every second and other things we tried to constantly changing. The studio was quite stressful because we wanted to make this record stand out, but you know it all paid off in the end.
How do Architects bring their musical influences into your music?
I think from my perspective I'm into a lot of melodic bands, you know? I like to try and bring that side to the heavy side, you know? At the moment we all can't stop listening to Coldplay [laughs] and I'm sure if we went up to one of our fans and said, "hey listen to Coldplay," they'd be like, "I don't want to listen to Coldplay, why would I do that?" All of us really just love music. I like dragging influences from loads of weird things like lyrics. I like to delve into really weird places in my mind and try to get a load of weird stuff out. I really want to write positive stuff and if I'm pissed off about something I want to write about it in a positive way, you know? I feel like on Hollow Crown I've really stepped my game up lyrically and I think it's a lot better than Ruin. There is an old English styled theme on Hollow Crown why did you decide on that and is it related to any theme?
The title Hollow Crown is about how so many bands before us have got their lucky break and they sit on their high horse and look down on bands like us who have been working for years and years. They think that they're the kings. We've been a band that's been working really really hard for so long and we want that crown, we want that pride and we want to feel that. So many bands get their lucky break and we're like, "that's cool you can have your hollow crown and we'll just fucking work our asses off." That's where the theme comes from - the old English thing was that we wanted the album to look really classy. I want someone to pick it up and them to think that it looks like a really old CD and they put it on and hear it then realizing that it's not.
Do you pay much attention to the press and what they write about your band?
Yeah, we do, every magazine we get we read through it and every forum online we can hit up we'll go to. We see everything pretty much. For the most part we find the bad reviews funny and we find the good reviews totally exciting. We don't take the bad ones to heart but we completely appreciate a good review.
I was on your bands blog the other night and apparently Rocksound gave you guys an 8 out of 10 without saying anything good about the record. How does a review like that make you and the band feel?
[Laughs] Yeah. You know Rocksound have never even asked about us, it's actually a really weird magazine. It's more like we're not arty enough for them and we're a bit too heavy for them so I don't really care about that magazine at all. It's just really weird because they've always given us really bad live reviews and gone out of their way to take a dig at us, Terrorizer said we were a boy band and it literally said in the review, "Architects are a Brighton boy band," and it's like, "okay, what the fuck are you on about?" [Laughs] Another time people we're saying we all have haircuts and that we're leading the way for the haircut scene and we're like, "you've got a haircut." Do you know what I mean? Like if you've gone to a shop and got a haircut then you've got a haircut. Your mom's got a haircut, your dad's got a haircut and everyone else has got a haircut. I mean I haven't washed my hair in six days, if that doesn't mean I don't fucking care about my hair then I don't know what does. With magazines like that it's like, "okay take your opinion and shove it up your fucking ass. All I care about is playing music to people who actually want to listen, not talk about haircuts." The Kerrang! review we got was just fucking insane we got five Ks out of five and the review reads like an absolute gem.
So the prank between you and Oliver Sykes of Bring Me the Horizon where you filmed a fake fight and Sykes made himself look like he was beaten up, then the video went up on YouTube and apparently you got a few death threats, what made you guys do that? Did the reactions from fans of either band shock you?
We decided that we wanted to do this prank when we were really bored. So we decided to shoot this video in this car park in Germany then we put it on the internet and it turned into this big thing. Our record companies and tour managers were ringing us up asking us if we actually had a fight and the bus companies did the same. We had so many messages on MySpace and then we told everyone it was just a joke. They made us apologize to everyone it was actually ridiculous. Me and Olly are like best friends so it's cool. I got a shit load of death threats because everyone fucking loves Olly so it's fine. I got death threats from 14 year-old girls saying if I see you I'm going to fucking stab you with my eyeliner [laughs]. I think next we might film something like Olly and Sam's gay sex tape or some shit.
[Laughs] Well I think that may catch a few people's attention and possible provoke some eyeliner stabbing. Thanks so much for your time Sam it's been killer.
Thank you. Cheers and take it easy man.