Since the March lockdown we’ve seen more of our favourite artists’ décor than ever before, with acoustic performances being beamed around the world from living rooms, bedrooms and even bathrooms. But as the year progressed and regular live shows failed to return, this performance set-up was no longer cutting it for everybody.
Enter Architects, who upped the ante significantly last month by putting on a frankly jaw-dropping livestream show from the Royal Albert Hall. The production and energy was top-notch as the legendary venue was given a haunting new feel by frontman Sam Carter, who screamed his soul into the rafters throughout the special gig.
NME caught up with Carter the day after the Royal Albert Hall livestream for the latest edition of our In Conversation series, finding out how the show went for him (it’s clear the singer had a big night given the delightfully stylish sunglasses he dons for part of our chat), getting his take on Architects’ new music and uncovering what makes him tick.
Here are five things we learned from our chat with Architects’ Sam Carter.
Performing at the Royal Albert Hall was a surreal dream
“I ended the night on the floor of my bathroom, just absolutely hammered,” Carter recalls with a smile. “It was amazing. I’m walking around with my head held high today – I don’t feel like I could fit through a door with the amount of nice things people have said. I’ve got a big head!”
While Architects played at the SSE Arena Wembley last year, performing in the Royal Albert Hall was next level, Carter says. “It’s such a beautiful venue, just to look at it. When you walk in the room, it feels special… there have been so many amazing bands that have played there. It was quite haunting because they have this set with lights on the empty seats as well. When it would go fully pitch-black and the lights would come up on the seats, it was weird — but it was really cool.”
Still, it was somewhat bittersweet for Architects to perform to an empty room: “I would love to finish the [album] cycle there if we can, with a full room of people — if the pandemic lets us.”
Architects are very excited to have Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil on their new album
Architects started work on their ninth studio album, ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’, in Bali, but the pandemic meant they ended up finishing the record back in their hometown of Brighton. Those circumstances did mean, however, that they were able to remotely secure some special guests for the album, including Royal Blood, Parkway Drive and Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil.
“Seeing [Neil] do live sessions and stuff that he was doing at home made us be like: ‘Oh, cool, he can record himself! Maybe if we ask him, he’ll be up for it,'” Carter recalls. “The energy that he puts into every vocal take is amazing, you can really tell he feels it. We just sent him an email [and] he replied straightaway being like: ‘I’m so excited. When do you need this? Like, what do you want?’ We were just like: ‘Fuck, this has gone really smoothly! OK right, do it now, before you change your mind!’”
The band are trying to quit fast fashion
Carter is vegan and a big advocate for helping save the planet from environmental disaster, with Architects working closely with the marine wildlife conservation organisation Sea Shepherd to try and make a difference. The frontman says the band are keen to make positive changes where they can, such as with their merch.
“We changed everything to organic cotton, organic tees and stuff,” he says. “I don’t want to just print 1000 t-shirts, sell 500-600 of them and then there’s 400 [shirts left that] no-one wants just sat there. The amount of water that goes into making shit, it’s fucking crazy. You want to see this change and you’re like: ‘We’ve got to start doing it ourselves.'”
Even Carter’s dad wants to know what “BLEGH!” is
Architects are renowned for their brutal screaming, and there’s a “BLEGH!” vocal noise in particular that’s become infamous among the band’s fanbase.
“My dad’s always been a fan of the band,” Carter says. “When ‘Animals’ came out, he was really paying attention to everything that people were saying. He was reading the comments and stuff, and he called me and was like: ‘What’s this “BLEGH!” thing that everybody wants you to do?’
A little fact about the noise blegh. I do enjoy doing it and I like how much people are into it but I don’t like it when people talk about weather it makes a song good or not. #ArchitectsRAH
— Sam Carter (@samarchitects) November 23, 2020
“It’s a noise that I made a few times,” he continues in mock exasperation. “And now people ignore the heartfelt lyrics and they want a fucking noise!”
Carter’s lockdown hobbies? Birdwatching and gardening, obviously
While many of us took up baking sourdough or banana bread during the first lockdown, Carter turned into a bit of a twitcher. “You can definitely tell I’m in my 30s because I love birds… two days ago I put a nice new bird feeder out, just being like: ‘Yeah, I’m gonna get them a new bird box!'” he laughs. “Just to [then] watch my dogs run out there and ruin all my hard work, being like: ‘Oh wow, there’s a jay! That’s crazy, what’s a jay doing here… oh, my dog’s scared it off’.
“At the start of lockdown I was like: ‘Cool, my garden looks fucking amazing.’ And then you come into lockdown two when it’s winter and [you realise] everything is dying because it’s cold. It’s freezing – I’m shaking watering this plant!”
Architects’ new album ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ is set for release on February 26, 2021.