Today we visit Birmingham Institute and the idyllic setting of an old school theatre. Upon approaching the main hall I'm greeted by Tom Searle (guitars). In between soundchecks we sat down with one of the 5-piece Brighton metalheads to talk about their tour, album, being vegan and skin cancer.
- So Tom, how are you?
Good, Yeah. Exhausted.
- What was your introduction to metal and hardcore music?
I guess Killswitch Engage, Poison The Well, Johnny Truant,… who are like our home time heroes growing up. Probably Every Time I Die are in there as well.
- What bands have you been listening to lately? Who should we be looking out for?
Oh god…. I tell you what, this is probably a really clique thing for someone in a metal band. But, I ’t find myself listening to an awful lot of metal… It's not that I ’t like metal. It's just I ’t think there are many good metal bands. But I really like the last Tesseract album, which I just got into way after it came out. I really enjoyed listening to that! That's a UK band that’s doing something different in their own way. So, yeah, those guys I think. I like lots of other music but I wouldn’t say that I have my ear to the ground or anything like that. So I can’t really recommend anything else, that I think anyone else wouldn’t already know.
- On your current tour, what has been your favourite place to perform?
Well… I love playing in Germany and Cologne in particular, It's just a great place for us for some bizarre reason. Germany is just fantastic. We played a really fun show in Amsterdam as well that had no barrier, it’s just people being mental, stage diving and generally just behaving like bizarre dutch people. But I would have to say maybe Manchester was just the biggest show we’ve ever headlined. Manchester was really cool.
- What was the strangest thing to have happened on the tour so far?
I ’t think that anything strange has happened on this tour actually? You feel like strange things must happen all the time, even from my perspective, but when we get asked this question, and we do get asked this question a lot, you just cant think of anything, I'm sure weird things have happened. You get into a routine where, you know, you just have a daily routine like anyone does in any job, and sort of bizarre things ’t really happen. We ’t tend to go out an awful lot, we pack up, get in the bus and go to bed. Because we got to wake up in the morning and load in again. So there isn’t much room for bizarre stuff, you know. So I ’t know, tough question. Shouldn’t be but it is.
- What have been some of your high and low points being on the road?
Probably… low points it all happened in America. We dropped off a tour last year in America. It might have been the year before that actually. But, you would have to say that’s a low point. Dropping off a tour is rough. But then, actually no. The dropping off was fine, the bit before when we were like "Are we going to drop off….?” “Yeah, no, yeah, no….?” Everyone was burnt and we were like "Shit!" But, we have had a couple of times in America where our band bank balance had hit zero and no one gives a shit and it's just hard work you know. Highs? Probably any time we get to tour in the UK or Europe; I mean we are going to play Roundhouse. I mean if that isn’t a high then I would have done something seriously wrong. Because, I can’t believe we are playing there. It's amazing.
- What are your hobbies outside of music?
I like exercising, I like cycling, but, really when I'm off the touring my hobby is to play guitar and write music. So, that actually takes up all my time. But, I ’t know maybe thats why we are still doing it after 10 years. Because it is our hobby. I'm a bit sad in that respect it's all music for me.
- What had the most impact on your decision to go vegan?
We were actually recording our album Daybreaker and we were living in a house all together just outside of Reading. In between we were just getting drunk every night and then we would all sit down and watch these documentaries. We watched ‘Food Inc’, theres another one ‘Food Matters’ and ‘Folks Over Knifes’, which is a fantastic documentary. And since then another documentary called ‘Cowspiracy’ which has just come out and is fantastic as well. We just watched that stuff, the information entered our consciousness, and we thought “well… we ’t really have a choice now”. You know, if you find out some things and ’t act on it then I ’t think I could look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day.
- Regarding Sam Simon, who sadly passed earlier in march 2015, what do you think his contribution was?
I would say this is almost certainly a question that Sam would be better off answering. He is the sea shepherd man. Not that I think they're pirates like some people, I absolutely back the organization, but, it's definitely a question for Sam.
- Let's talk about your current album ‘Lost Forever Lost Together’. Whats your favourite song of the record personally? What was the hardest song to write lyrically?
Favourite song…. I mean the great thing about the album is I’m pretty happy with quite a few of them, which hasn’t happened very often for us. But I really liked Colony Collapse because it's a bit different, and it was one that I wasn’t sure if we were going to pull off. I didn’t want it to… I ’t know, be tasteless? But yeah, so Colony and writingwise lyrically probably. C.A.N.C.E.R because I was writing about getting skin cancer. So, maybe I had to think a little bit more about the sort of direction and message that I wanted to put across. Because everyone knows someone that has been affected by cancer and I didn’t want it to be like hopeless or insensitive or make out that my life or situation was terrible and unmanageable because so many other people have it worse. So just in that sense I didn’t want to take out the honesty from the song, I wrote it over a period of time but some points I was just thinking about how I was going to die. So, I didn’t want it to be too morbid and you know Sam’s singing it! So it has to make sense. It can’t be all is me.
- What is the significance behind the title of ‘Lost Forever Lost Together’?
Kind of a couple of things, when we were in the studio we were all just working really hard, putting a lot of pressure on ourselves like we always do. We definitely felt like we did fuck this one up…., that was it! So everyone was really struggling a lot. Myself and some of the other guys in the band have a hard time with anxiety. But sort of the experience going through it didn’t feel lost or the future felt uncertain but we were sort of all in it together, as a band. But also it sort of reflected nicely for me on a larger scale with some of the themes on the record. We kind of live in scary times I'm sure people felt like that in the 1920's as well…. Although, they had two World Wars. So, I'm guessing it was full of hard times. I’m sure people have always felt like that, but with the damage we are doing to the environment. Even things like Fukushima leaking 7000 tonnes of radiation. No, the radiation increased 7000 times the other day. Anyway, there are all sorts of terrible things, fish stocks going in the sea, it's scary, but we all carry that together and I think that was the kind of direction we were thinking of.
- You have achieved a lot as a band for the past 11 years, what is your ultimate goal?
Thank you. I have no goals or ambitions in terms of success, ticket sales, album sales or any of that stuff. I just want to write records that me and the rest of the guys are proud of and believe in. I think if we have any goals I suppose they'd be more creative or artistic ones which are sort of intangible and impossible to describe. So yeah, I think it's to do it as long as we enjoy it and do it for as long as we believe the band can offer something that we believe in, and that is a hard challenge. You know, we've done six albums and that doesn’t happen every time sometimes you go in and think you've got it and you come out and it's not right and you think "Damn!" On to the next!
- If Architects could be remembered for one song, which would you choose?
You know what, maybe we haven’t written it yet? I should probably say the song I’m most proud of which was ‘Colony Collapse’. But, I was really happy when we released ‘Naysayer’, because it felt like it represented how the band was that we wanted it to be, to come out with something that is not completely uncompromising. But, its an embracive song that I think no one expected us to do. I was so stoked to get to put that out and for that to be the first thing, and obviously its a lot of fun to play live. Also it's not too hard to play. I fucking hate all the fucking hard shit. So yeah, ‘Naysayer’.
- What’s next after your current tour, what’s next for Architects?
Bits and bobs really we're at the end of the cycle. We're going to headline in Australia, doing a run in Russia, we're doing some festivals. Not to down play any of those things, especially going to Australia is great, but it is kind of odds and ends. We're just focusing on moving on to writing the next record and hopefully going on to record that at the end of the year which I'm sort of bracing myself for right now. The thing is, I want to say this is great, you look forward to doing it for so long, big headline tour, our biggest ever but then you're on it and actually I feel a bit of the weight of just it all. Even having a show like London, we play to 3000 people but that’s not like going skiing or something it’s not a holiday. It can be really exhilarating but it's also really scary actually. So, I'm almost looking forward to going home and going "Thank fuck nothing went wrong". That’s if nothing goes wrong.
- Well thank you Tom for speaking to the readers of RMP and all the best.
No problem, thanks mate !
– Carl Battams