Architects’ Sam Carter: The Stigma Against Men’s Vulnerability Must Change
Architects singer Sam Carter was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The frontman discussed the band's new album, Holy Hell, their first since the tragic death of guitarist and chief songwriter Tom Searle, and the emotions and hurdles that came up as the band made the decision to carry on. Check out the chat below.
The band suffered the unimaginable loss of guitarist Tom Searle shortly after the last album was released. How did making this new album, Holy Hell, help you cope with that emotional upheaval?
I think the main thing for us was having something to focus on that wasn't our own personal grief. Being able to put the emotions of grief into our music kind of helped us. [It was] kind of a distraction I guess of what was happening even though we were singing about Tom but it was just nice to have all of us together, focusing and starting all these new creative friendships. It was great, but at the end of recording the record that's when everything really hit me. I was able to actually stop and look back and everything was actually quite painful.
Tom was central to the band's songwriting. Without his input, what was the biggest shift you felt in the creative process?
Well, he wrote everything so, he was essentially Architects. The fact that we even have another Architects record is crazy. I think it was really when we started touring with Josh [Middleton] that we realized that everything is going to be okay. He is such a fantastic songwriter and such a fantastic guitarist that when he actually sent over a couple of the tracks that he had written that was like a massive weight being taken off our shoulders.
Sam, people often use music as a means to guide them through turmoil and grief. Through your own emotions, how conscious were you that Holy Hell could also be cathartic for other people?
I think the main thing for us was that we didn't have any records like that that would be there to help us through this situation. At the time I felt very alone. I was just opening up to [the] others and in particular with Dan and opening up to myself when recording the vocals. Playing the shows was massively important as well just to show people that — everyone in the world who has been to our shows is going to suffer grief at some time in their life. It's a given that we all die eventually. It is important that people can feel that they can be themselves, come and cry, come and be happy. If they want to use that as an escape or some kind of catharsis that's fantastic. We just want people to know that they are not alone in what they have been going through.
Josh Middleton from Sylosis joined Architects. How did his particular way of playing manifest itself on Holy Hell?
I think it was interesting for Josh because he has been for so many years of his life in a thrash band but I don't necessarily know if he was listening to a lot of thrash. I think it is just what he got into when he was younger — we have very similar music tastes. He was able to kind of get inside our heads. He had also been on tour with us for six or seven weeks. By the time it came to writing, we knew where we wanted to go and we also wanted to grow as a band as well.
We didn't just want to do All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us part two. He's just very creative. Dan [Searle, drums] really grabbed the reins and somehow managed to make this album. It's really crazy if you really think about it and you think about everything that we've been through. I don’t know how we have a record and also, I don’t know how we have a record that's actually good because that was the main problem. We just didn't want to release something that was good because we knew people would be like - sympathetic. We didn't want people to just like the record because they felt sorry for us or that it was like, an okay Architects record. We knew that we had to create something that was going to be massive. So that people would hear it and be like, "Holy shit how have they done that?" I feel that Holy Hell is that record for us now.
Holy Hell and the Holy Ghost documentary are about making the album encapsulating a very vulnerable time in your lives. How are you different now for the better having gone through that?
There's two ways to go through things, I think. One way is just feeling a complete loss, feeling completely devastated and not wanting to do anything. I think with us, we were so close to Tom and we really knew him inside out and if anything he used to call his cancer his teacher, his guru. He was such an incredibly positive person that if we didn't try and learn something from this, and we didn't try to carry on in the vein of Tom and his views on the world then we'd be shit friends.
Although it has been very difficult to get to that point, I feel like we're all at that point now where we learned lessons along the way of what to do and how to do things and how to express that vulnerability and when to speak to people. I think, especially I find in men there's a real stigma around being vulnerable and open and honest and even crying. I think that needs to change because suicide is one of the biggest killers in the whole world. If you don't open up about these things, I can completely see how they'd swallow you.
Thanks to Sam Carter for the interview. You can grab your copy of Architects' 'Holy Hell' at Amazon or iTunes and follow the band on Facebook to stay up to date with everything they're doing. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show here.
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