2014 could well be Architects‘ year. After almost 10 years in the business it seems that the success they’ve worked for and very much deserve is finally coming their way. We caught up with bass player Ali Dean before their show in Birmingham.
A: How are things?
BL: Good, how about with you?
A: Good, loads going on, but it’s all good stuff and we’re happy to be doing it.
BL: It all seems like things are moving in the right direction for you guys.
A: Yeah, it seems to actually be taking off a little bit now, which is good, after nearly 10 years.
BL: So it feels like the plan is finally coming together?
A: We feel like it’s going right. We’ve never not worked hard for what we are doing, but it feels like this time we’ve actually hit the nail on the head with the album and like we’re all just so excited to get out and play this stuff.
BL: I caught the live stream from Brighton on Monday.
A: How was it?
BL: Awesome. The way that you guys seem to be using the internet right now is pretty amazing, from the live stream, to the way you dealt with the leak of Lost Forever // Lost Together, and the controversy around Broken Cross you seem to be owning the internet.
A: Thanks man, we’re trying hard with it. We’re trying to stay connected.
BL: How did the hometown show in Brighton feel for you guys?
A: Absolutely terrifying. Hometown shows are always pretty nerve wracking anyway because you’ve got your friends and your family there, you sit there and you think ‘Oh god, my mum’s watching this!’ so that throws you off anyway. Then the whole idea of everyone being able to watch it on YouTube and even thinking about how it would sound and how it would look and the fact that we hadn’t really done anything like that before. We’re generally quite critical of our playing live. We did a Maida Vale session a couple of days ago, which actually Sam couldn’t do because he was having a few problems with his voice, but we were sitting down listening to that after we recorded and we were thinking ‘Fucking Hell we need to like to get it together a little bit!’
BL: The YouTube set sounded tight.
A: Thank you!
BL: I think the viewers peaked at nearly 8,000?
A: Yeah something like that, which is pretty cool.
BL: And I guess selling out rooms all over the country feels pretty good?
A: Actually, selling out shows is bizarre!
BL: I was watching One Hundred Days, and it seems that not so long ago that wasn’t always happening for Architects.
A: To be honest, looking back at the UK part of that tour, we were all talking about it earlier actually, and we were all quite surprised that we moved on from that and came back from that. Last time we were in a lot of the places we’re doing now it was like half the attendance and merch figures were so much lower than they are now. It is quite difficult, because we were all exhausted at the end of that, because it was such a long tour for us to do. Then to think that we’ve been putting a lot of work into this for many, many years and it kind of wasn’t really paying off at that point and now we’ve come back and we’ve done the new record and I think our attitudes are a lot better.
BL: Do you think some of the energy from having to rebound from a knockback like that went into to the new record?
A: Definitely. We definitely considered what we wanted to improve on when it came down to writing and recording the new record. We’ve learned from our mistakes, the album is written in a way that we wanted it to be more fun to play live and we want to have more crowd interaction, and to be honest it’s worked out that way really well. We’ve got a lot more energy playing, I find myself just loving playing the new stuff so much now, I just really enjoy it.
BL: So, have you seen any mid-week figures for the new record yet?
A: We are number 13 last time we checked.
BL: That must feel pretty special?
A: Some of the chart positions we’re getting around the world are blowing our heads off at the moment, I just don’t really understand. It’s a tricky thing the charts, because people seem to drop out a little bit after the midweek. We dropped quite a lot when we released Daybreaker, we kind of dropped out of the top 40 after the midweek so we’d really like to try to remain in the top 20 if we can, but we’ll see how it goes. Either way the reaction we’ve had from people, so many people are buying the album and showing us they’ve bought the album like at signings and tweeting stuff to us is awesome.
BL: Watching the Lamb of God documentary ‘As The Palaces Burn’ recently, Randy Blythe talks a lot in there about music making a connection with people and about it meaning something. From the lyrical content of your music it would seem that’s something that’s important to Architects?
A: That’s exactly what we wanted to do. Tom has taken the lyric writing responsibility pretty much on the past couple of records and it just seems a bit stale when people constantly want to write about themselves, I know that sounds insensitive. It’s so much easier for people to relate to your band when they can relate to the lyrics. The stuff we talk about, everyone can get involved with, whereas if it’s stuff just about your ex-girlfriend or something it’s like ‘I’ve heard all that before’.
BL: You guys cover some pretty contentious stuff, topics like religion, cancer and whaling — those are some pretty big issues you’re tackling.
A: We take our music writing very seriously and we put a lot of time into it, we really want to have the lyrics be part of that as well as in the past they’ve not always been too directed to anything, so it’s nice to actually have a little bit more focus in that sense. With actual lyrics that people can relate to.
BL: You said that Tom has taken responsibility for writing lyrics; do you all as a band contribute to the concepts and topics?
A: The themes that the lyrics discuss are generally all shared by all of us. Sam’s very enthusiastic about Sea Shepherd, the song ‘The Devil Is Near’ is about that. It’s issues that we can all personally relate to and discuss together. Like ‘Broken Cross’ being about religion and that sort of thing, we all have pretty similar opinions to each other. It is generally representing the thoughts of the whole band.
BL: We were just talking with two of the representatives from Sea Shepherd outside and they were saying how much the support means to them.
A: It’s nice to be able to help out in that way because we’ve got a platform to be able to say what we want to say and to be able to help them out as well and to bring them to other people’s attention. Whether people agree with what they are trying to do, or don’t agree or don’t care, just to put it in people’s faces is all we want to do really, and if they can rustle up a bit of cash too then that’s even better.
BL: As a band you’ve always said that what you do is about fun, happiness and passion, tackling the issues that you do through your lyrics, is it always easy for it to be fun?
A: We don’t really take ourselves too seriously as a group of people. It’s quite a weird conflict at times, because our music is very serious and the lyrical content is very serious but, you know, we’re just four very ordinary guys that just take the piss a lot and don’t take ourselves too seriously. We do try to get that side of ourselves across because you don’t want to come across as aloof and moody and angry at the world too much because it’s difficult for fans to interact with people like that.
BL: I think that certainly came across in the ‘One Hundred Days’ documentary, you just being regular guys and the reality of being on tour and having to get through the times that aren’t quite so good.
A: That’s the thing, I think the idea of that film was just to show people exactly what being in Architects is like, there was no intention to try to push the band in any other direction, we weren’t trying to say we’re ‘Oh, we’re huge’ or show off or anything.
BL: I think it would be difficult to show off when you’re showering in a plastic bin.
A: Exactly! [laughs] That’s the way that it’d always been for our band, well it does seem to be on the up a little bit now, we had so many highs and lows in the band and I feel like the film kind of expressed that, with stuff like showering in the bin and the Warped Tour show in London being the other end of the spectrum, we just wanted to show people that are interested in our band exactly what it can be like. It’s all over the place.
BL: So, you have two more shows left in the UK for this tour?
A: Southampton tomorrow, then London the day after.
BL: Will you guys get a break before Europe?
A: No, we go straight to the mainland from London, there’s about a month of the tour left. Then we have a week at home, and then we’re actually doing a little show for a record shop in Kingston in London.
BL: Then that brings us to festival season?
A: Before that we go to America with Letlive. for a co-headliner. I don’t know why it’s a co-headliner because they’re going to absolutely smash us every night, but… just stoked to tour with them because they’re such a great band.
BL: As a battle of the front men, Sam could have his work cut out for him [laughs] but Sam’s stage craft is looking great.
A: They did Warped Tour with us last year.
BL: Has Sam been practicing his climbing?
A: I don’t think he’s going to go for that much of the competition between him and Jason, but he’ll certainly keep him on his toes, which is good!
So stoked for that, then festival stuff coming up. We’ve got Reading and Leeds and quite a few in Europe and then the rest of the year, which I can’t really talk about yet. It’s going to be an exciting year for us. We’re looking forward to getting around to see how the record is doing.
BL: Thank you very much again for taking time to talk to us, best of luck with the new record. Have a great show tonight.
A: Thanks man, appreciate it!
Interview – Steve Kilmister
Live photo – Steve Gerrard