Ed Mason

Architects: Metalcore Was Never the Same

Architects returning to the States after six years? As expected, it was a huge, massive, colossal deal.

Even though Architects is proud of their UK heritage, they are a band that has influenced hundreds of American artists and groups. Their impact on the heavy metal scene here is undeniable, and even that feels like an understatement. When the band dropped “Nihilist,” every heavy artist on the scene tried to mimic it. When Architects released “Doomsday,” it became the new standard for how metalcore should sound. The cycle repeats and repeats. Architects have always been, and always will be, three steps ahead of their peers. 

On Tuesday, May 7, Architects headlined the gorgeous and musically-sound Brooklyn Paramount. Also as expected, it was absolute madness; fans had been waiting years for that moment it showed. The crowd was thoroughly connected and hyped the entire set as the band played a majority of songs off their last two albums, For Those Who Wish To Exist [2021] and The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Spirit [2022]. (Songs off of those albums made up 10 of 16 tracks in the setlist, and this was a genius move on their part, as well, because it showed fans how much the band has really evolved. It was almost like watching a whole new band as they went from old songs to newer ones.)

During the concert, the band had massive video screens behind them. As they were rocking out, visuals enhanced the energy and atmosphere, and this advance in production value for an Architects show also worked well for the new tracks at hand. It made every second of every song feel more cinematic. Now, the band has a single out now titled “Curse,” which was produced by ex-Bring Me The Horizon keyboardist Jordan Fish. With the Brooklyn show fresh in our mind and this single fresh in our ears, we had to get talking with Architects… and it was incredible to speak with Ali Dean (bassist) about everything that the band has been up to across the pond over the last six years. 

“Curse” is the new single and it was produced by Jordan Fish. Tell me about how that process came to be.

We’ve been feeling really excited about it. It’s a song we’ve been playing on the past couple of shows on this tour, as well, and it’s been really fun to get out there and play it for people.

We’ve known Jordan for a very long time; we actually worked with him before and he’s had input on songs before. It’s not a new thing for us to work with him, but he brought a bit more to the table this time. He co-wrote the song, as well as produced it, so he got a bit more involved. You can definitely hear his talents coming through on the song. It’s definitely elevated what we’re capable of to a new level, so it’s cool. Hopefully we’ll do some more stuff with him in the future!

It’s so cool to see because this was Jordan’s first full time production since he left Bring Me The Horizon. To collaborate with such long time friends like Architects, that’s got to be really fun to have that friendship continue. 

Yeah! Like I said, we’ve known him for a really long time, and I think we probably first met him in his early days of Bring Me The Horizon. We’ve always been an admirer of what he does. I think we have a good understanding of each other. He knows what we do well and he knows how to bring that out of us more. His feedback feels really valuable. We feel like he’s very much on our wavelength. He can certainly bring fresh ideas to the table, as well. 

“Curse” isn’t the only new single you guys have out now – you also have “Seeing Red.” Tell me about playing these two tracks live in North America. How has that reception been?

It’s been awesome! We’ve been playing both and “Seeing Red” is a song that we already played on our European tour that we did at the start of the year, so that was a bit more familiar with us. It’s always exciting playing it to a totally new crowd and it sort of feels like that (a little bit) for us in North America. We haven’t been here in so long. We’ve done three shows so far on this tour and the sing-a-longs have been huge for both tracks, which is awesome. You always want your new songs to go down well and we’ve been pleasantly surprised. It’s been awesome. 

It really has been a while since you’ve been over here in North America! The last time was 2018, so it’s been over half a decade. What did it feel like for you all to play that first show back on this side of the world?

Felt great! We started the tour in Toronto – that was somewhere we used to play quite a lot when we first started out in North America. We did quite a lot of Canadian touring, so going back there felt somewhat familiar. We just started the U.S. today in Boston, we got a show at the House of Blues tonight. I remember when we used to tour here years ago, we used to play a lot of the House of Blues on the touring circuit. It’s exciting to get back into it. Even just being back in America for a day, it feels really cool to be back here. To get back to Brooklyn tomorrow and be in New York, that’s definitely going to be a highlight of the tour. We’re very much looking forward to that. 

Do you notice any difference when playing in America versus playing in the UK in terms of the crowd? Are there certain songs that go over better on one side of the world versus another?

To be honest, because it’s been so long since we’ve been here, it’s going to be quite an interesting experience for us. We’ve grown quite a lot in the past five years in the UK and Europe and everywhere else we’ve managed to get to. Having not been to America for so long, it sort of feels like… not starting again, but it feels like we’ve kind of taken a step back. It will definitely feel like we’re going to have to work hard to make sure everyone remembers who we are. It’s been so long, but we’re excited for it. We know American crowds are always crazy. It’s going to be a really fun time. 

We have to give some special love to it. The Aquarian being based in New Jersey/New York, the Big Apple shows are going to be insane. The tri-state area just hits different. Tell me about tomorrow and the Brooklyn Paramount show – what’s going through your mind?

New York is always one of those shows on a tour schedule where you instantly pay attention to it when you see the dates come through. There are a couple of cities like that around the world which are the real stand out ones. New York is obviously right up there. I can imagine tomorrow is just going to fly by in a flash and we’re just going to have to take a moment and try and enjoy the show rather than getting caught up in it all. We love Brooklyn and we love playing in New York. It’s going to be awesome.

I believe the Brooklyn Paramount is a brand new venue, too! It only had a few weeks of shows.

Yeah! [We] obviously have not been there before, but we did Brooklyn Steel [in 2018] so I guess it’s not miles away from it. It’s cool! Always nice to go into a fresh venue and being there at the start of its story, and I can imagine it’s going to be a really great venue for years to come. 

When you played Brooklyn Steel in 2018, Holy Hell was the new record. You played a lot of that. Since then you’ve had two full length records drop. The setlist now has to be tough to make. 

Yeah, it’s a conversation that starts about six full weeks before a tour begins, and the setlist will still just so many times. You can’t get too attached to the first draft of it. You’re right – we’ve got a lot of material and a huge back catalog these days. We try and pay service to each record; it’s hard, though. We try and find a balance but then when you’ve got two new songs to add in as well as two new records worth of material… it is a balancing act. You’re always going to get some people that feel like they’ve missed out, but we try and put together the best setlist for everyone. It’s also one that we want to enjoy, as well. Yeah, it’s a balancing act and it’s definitely a tricky job for any band to get the perfect setlist, but maybe that doesn’t exist. 

You mention the balancing act. Architects is one of my favorite bands, but I imagine it’s tough to play songs off of All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us and then go right into “Burn Down My House,” you know? They’re musically so different.

Yeah, you can kind of sculpt the dynamic of the set, though. We do take that into consideration. You don’t want such jarring songs slammed together like that. We try and transition between songs in a caring way. When you’re headlining and you’ve got an hour and 15 minutes/20minutes, you can kind of play around with it a little bit and have a couple of moments in the set where you bring it down a little bit. You don’t want people to burn out too early. It’s a long night for people. 

That’s true! You don’t want the top 10 heaviest Architects tracks in the first half.

Yeah! You’ve got to pace it for people, for sure. 

I do want to talk about some of your own bass riffs on “An Ordinary Extinction.” I feel like the bass especially blows my mind on that song every time I hear it. Any insight you have into that track? I feel like your performance on that is stellar. 

Oh, thank you! That’s very kind of you. When we were making For Those Who Wish To Exist, that was one of the songs that was just written completely separately from each other. It was ideas getting sent across Whatsapp or whatever we were using. That’s one of my favorite tracks on the record and I feel like it slips past people a little bit. It’s a fun one. I love the synths in that track, as well. It was a really fun one to make. It was one in particular we got really deep into the analog synth world and had a lot of fun experimenting with that.

Gotcha! It stemmed from analog synths and from there you added the classic Architects sound?

That record was not exactly experimental, but we tried to push a few boundaries for ourselves, and that meant bringing a lot more electronic instrumentation: having the time to play around with analog instruments rather than digital. We’re always open to doing that since initially playing around with it.

What I like is that when you experiment on each record, it leads into the next record perfectly. It expands the universe. 

Yeah! We do tend to like, hone in on one element per record, and then we know we’ve opened that door and can go back there. We don’t want to stick on the same thing too long. Holy Hell was so orchestral – so many strings on it. We didn’t want to just do that again on For Those Who Wish To Exist. That’s when we started bringing a little more electronic sounds, and then moving on to Classic Symptoms, we went a little more electronic, I guess, and a little bit more industrial. Where do we go on the next one? Who knows!

We’ve got these two singles out, so are these stand-alone singles, or are they working towards a bigger release from the band?

They’re stand-alone singles, but they’re definitely really useful for us to figure out the process of how we want to work moving forward, and figuring out what we want to do creatively, as well, because we’re trying things that we haven’t necessarily done before. We’re enjoying it. We’re going to keep doing that. We don’t want to settle for too long. 

It’s a test for ourselves. We would never put something out that we’re not happy with. When we finished up with “Seeing Red” and “Curse,” we all knew instantly that we felt really good about it. We know when we’ve landed on something that is good for the band. It’s just getting that confidence in. You want to stand by your work. 

I do want to ask about the Architect’s ‘blegh’ sound. It’s synonymous with the band. You guys helped make it popular! I know when you first started it, it became a huge craze, and since then you guys have gotten frustrated with it. Where do you stand on it now?

Ehh… we’re never going to do it for the sake of it. When we do it these days it’s, “You know, that moment needs a ‘blegh.'” There was a time when, much like lots of things on the internet, there was so much noise around it. We couldn’t release a new song without people saying there’s no ‘blegh.’ There’s so much more to talk about than a fucking noise that Sam’s making. That’s not what our band is [Laughs] and that’s where the frustration stems from. It’s never going to go away for good. It’s such a strange thing that’s taken off of people. It just feels like there’s so much more to the band than a little noise. When it hits, it’s great, so I get why people like it. 

It is awesome, but I get it. Even as a fan watching the band, I feel people try to pigeonhole you with it sometimes. 

I feel like every band gets that.; you get shoved into a genre or a certain way of doing things. It’s just the nature of the internet. The reality is you get out there and talk to people – not everyone is that weird like they are on the internet. The real people out there in the world, they’re not quite so narrow minded with it. People are happier to accept your band for what it is. It doesn’t need to have certain opinions or be in a certain genre. If people know what our band is about, one thing they should know is we’re not going to do the same thing over and over again.

Ali, I want to thank you so much for talking with me, talking with The Aquarian. We’re thrilled to push these new singles, push the new show. My last question is during the For Those Who Wish To Exist record cycle, you guys got into Abbey Road studios and re-recorded the whole thing with these orchestral elements and this massive band. It sounded grandiose and just incredible. Are there any other records you either have planned or that you would wish to create with that Abbey Road treatment?

That’s a good question! I suppose probably Holy Hell would be the one. I feel like getting that treatment with the huge sort of orchestral elements on that record would be a really cool thing to try out. Yeah, probably Holy Hell, but maybe All Our Gods [Have Abandoned Us]. No – actually, I’m saying All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, because we dabbled with some orchestral stuff on that [Holy Hell], but I feel like All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us would sound crazy with huge orchestral arrangements all over it. That would be an awesome one to give the Abbey Road treatment. That would be amazing if we did it one day. Yeah, hopefully we’ll be able to make that happen. That’d be great!

Even just the last track, “Memento Mori” – hearing that with violins alone would just blow my mind! 

That would be great! If we’re ever working with loose ends, maybe we can put that together. It’s a lot of work [Laughs].