Architects continue their ascent as one of metal's bigger modern bands, but long before writing brutal riffs for Architects and Sylosis, guitarist John Middleton was getting his start with grunge.

The guitarist tells Loudwire's Gear Factor that he first picked up the guitar around the age of eight. “Around that time, my friend gave me a cassette tape and he was like, ‘Check out my brother’s band.’ But it wasn’t his brother’s band, it was Nirvana. It had like, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ ‘In Bloom’ and then he had some Prodigy songs on there. I think he was trying to convince me that all those bands were his brother’s band. I kind of half believed him.”

Turns out Nirvana was quite huge in young Josh's world, as he eventually learned to play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on guitar and played the song unaccompanied at a high school event. "That must have been tedious for people to watch,” he adds.

When asked about his first riff, the guitarist says, “I don’t know if I’d classify this as a riff, but Radiohead, ‘Street Spirit,’ the picking thing. That was one of the first things I learned and it’s still kind of tricky.”

Josh reveals that he struggled early on with his bending technique and sweep picking, but he later mastered the latter and credits a Metallica favorite for really paving his path musically, adding, "As soon as I could [play 'Battery,'] the world was my riff oyster."

Having shown the riffs and solos that helped shape his playing, the guitarist turns his attention to his favorite Architects riffs. He opens with "Mortal After All," reflects on the ease of coming up with the "World Beggars" riff, and admits that while he views it as a "meathead" riff, he loves playing "Modern Misery" live.

Middleton also serves up two newer riffs from the upcoming For Those That Wish to Exist album. First up is "Animals," the last song written for the new album, and the main riff to "Black Lungs," revealing that he used his octave pedal to make it sound a little more quirky.

For Those That Wish to Exist is due Feb. 26 through Epitaph Records and you can pre-order your copy right here (As Amazon affiliates, we earn on qualifying purchases).

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