INSPIRATION can come from the darkest places, and it’s fair to say Brighton-based metalcore band Architects are testament to the fact. It’s been a traumatic time since the 2016 death of founding member Tom Searle, guitarist and songwriter in the band and twin of Dan, their drummer.
Their new album, Holy Hell, is a brutal document of events, and singer Sam Carter isn’t hiding anything. ‘Tom was a great person and songwriter. We’re proud to talk about him,’ he says. But not everybody finds the topic easy to broach. ‘When we meet new people, a lot of the time Tom’s death is the elephant in the room. It’s unlike anything that’s happened in the world of heavy music before.’
‘There was definitely a time that we didn’t talk about it either, at our prerogative,’ says bassist Ali Dean. ‘The whole experience was very public. We went back out on tour quite soon after it happened; even encountering fans day-to-day was enough of a challenge for us, let alone baring our souls to anyone and everyone.’
The band released singles Doomsday and Hereafter to rave reviews. ‘It’s really encouraging,’ says Ali. ‘We’ve been so well supported, releasing this new music was so scary. Tom had been involved in Doomsday, but the album is more of a blank slate: Tom’s work is on there but to be working on this record as a band without him was nerve-wracking. Seeing people like it and that they’re stoked we’ve continued as a band meant the world.’
Stoked is the word. January’s arena tour is selling fast: to Sam’s amazement, standing tickets for Wembley Arena went in less than 24 hours. ‘The words Wembley and Architects together in a sentence is very strange for us,’ he says. ‘We’re going to have to put on a hell of a performance.
‘When we started out we didn’t have the money to do production. People don’t realise that even one burst of fire costs a s***load of money,’ he laughs. ‘It’s not like we’re sat at home in a luxury mansion: we take that ticket money and think, “Yes, let’s buy some lasers and fire for the show!” That’s where it all goes…’
That started at their landmark show at Alexandra Palace early in 2018. ‘We got a taste for it there, we knew we couldn’t go backwards,’ says Ali. ‘More fire! More lasers! As much as we can throw at it to distract people from the fact we’re getting older and can’t move around as much!’
As they burst out laughing, Sam sets the bar: ‘We want to be a baby Pink Floyd. We’re not subtle.’
Do they worry about containing their emotions while playing such personal songs? ‘It’s a definite concern,’ says Sam. ‘Some days are harder than others but I’ve started having counselling. The lyrics are intense but we’re lucky — if any of us are struggling we can turn to each other.
‘I’m ready to move to the next stage now, hoping for a different sort of experience performing them. Catharsis rather than grief. We’re not special for going through grief, everyone will experience it at some point in their lives. We just went through it earlier than we should have done.’
As they support each other, the band members will make sure that a beer or two to unwind is as rock’n’roll as it gets, keeping each other in check so nobody goes off the rails. ‘Our wildest backstage action is an argument over who’s cleaning the juicer or who stole my ginger,’ reveals Ali. Sam chimes in: ‘People expect a rock’n’roll lifestyle of drugs and drink and girls, but we’re just five sweaty dudes who fight over the last of the agave nectar and who left a sweaty gym bag on the seat.’
So there’ll be no diva-style requests backstage at Wembley then? ‘Nah, we’ll have spent all the money on lasers,’ says Sam. ‘Who wouldn’t want to see a British band play such a prestigious venue?’
‘I had that experience when I saw Spice Girls play there. I’ve got no shame in that,’ Ali reveals, straight-faced. Sam replies: ‘I used to do my hair like [Backstreet Boy] Nick Carter. I told people at school I was related to them and said they came to mine for Christmas. They’re going to be the secret act at Wembley. Did I mention I was a liar?’
Laughter, lasers, honesty and Floyd-inspired staging. They’ve come through it all bigger, braver and better than ever.
■ December 2, Concorde, Brighton, and touring in January including Jan 19, 2019, Wembley Arena, architectsofficial.com