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After two albums of risk, Architects are reaping rewards on the road

It’s been three years since Architects last toured Australia.

During that time, they released two records – 2021’s For Those That Wish To Exist and 2022’s The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Spirit. One album release is normally a momentous occasion for a band, let alone two albums, but the pandemic kept these two records largely trapped in a digital void.

Both albums were large departures from anything Architects have done previously. “We shifted the sound of the band massively,” guitarist and songwriter Dan Searle tells BLUNT. Both were also a success, scoring high numbers all over the world; however, without the immediate feedback provided by live shows, the response from fans was relegated to a space where, unfortunately, the more negative voices tend to be the ones with the most time on their hands.

Now that they’ve finally brought the albums on the road, those voices have been forever muted, replaced with a venue-shaking level of approval from fans. Architects are now headed to Australian shores, riding high atop a wave of confidence that comes with the realisation that their ideas work – and they aren’t mincing words about it.

“There were so many people along the way that heard what we had done before it came out and said, ‘Are you sure about this?’ Or, ‘Is this really Architects?'” Dan recalls of the writing stages behind both records. “We didn’t get to see how any of those songs translated in a live environment. You could see the numbers on the screen. But to be honest, it’s pretty devoid of any kind of feeling or emotion.”

Case in point: the For Those That Wish To Exist cut ‘Meteor’, a decidedly stadium rock jam with essentially reveries of what we could call traditional Architects; bouncing, rather than crushing. The song was care free as opposed to concerned, a point of contention for some of the band’s oldest fans. “I wrote Meteor”, Dan recalls. “I said, ‘This cannot go on the album. We will be hung, drawn and quartered for this. Our fans will be in the streets with pitchforks, baying for blood if we put this song into the world.’ The rest of the band disagreed…”

Now, the track has become a newfound favourite in their current live setlist. “It’s been one of the most validating things in my entire life,” Dan says of the track’s second life. “When we played that show the other day in Germany, 7,000 people were jumping up and down along to it. I was just like, ‘Holy shit, I cannot believe we got away with that.'”

The sweet is never as sweet without the bitter, and the band can’t help but recall the background radiation of online hate that surrounded both albums upon release. “We have taken so much fucking shit for writing these two albums. So much.” Dan says. “”RIP. Fuck this band. This band died with Tom.’ All manner of petulant, nasty, cruel things have been said about our band. But let me tell you, when you then go out and there are thousands of people singing the songs that are apparently shit, it feels fucking great.”

Rather than punch down at those who were wrong, Architects instead put their energy now towards those who were right: “It makes you trust yourself.”

This was certainly no guaranteed album of throwing all creative caution into the wind. The negative comments hit their mark – “I’ve doubted our band and I thought, ‘Wow, I fucked it and we’re over.'” Dan admits at times, he wasn’t even sure if the project could continue. “I still carry plenty of doubt.”

“Ultimately, this is how I put food on the table for my children. So I take it seriously. I don’t want it to implode. But obviously I felt that there was a fair amount of risk that we might fuck it. But fortunately, my anxieties, doubts have proved wrong and things are going better than ever.”

There was never much protein to the negative comments. Ultimately, For Those That Wish to Exist debuted at #1 on the ARIA charts, as well as several other international charts. The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Spirit followed suit by barging its way to the top. Though cold and soulless, the numbers were right. “There was an audience that was embracing it. But actually, what’s been surprising is that it’s a lot of new people.”

It goes without saying that this experience has reignited a passion for live performances for Architects, further buttressed by two years without them. “It adds a whole different dimension to what we do,” Dan says.

“I spend more time thinking about what the fans are experiencing, what it means to them, and trying to get a glimpse of that. Because it trips me out, and I’m sure it does to many artists, that there are people all over the planet that have their own relationship with these songs.”

“God knows how far to the edge of Russia and Asia and South America you can go and still find people out there who know these songs intimately and who have memories and feelings and experiences, emotions attached to songs and lyrics.”

Having been exposed to every other human’s waking thought for more than a decade now, it’s become natural to confuse the digital realm with reality. But we can look to Architects returning to the stage as a poignant reminder – indeed one much needed after the past 2 years – that online isn’t real life, and it’s certainly not a substitute.

“When you step into a real world situation, people come together for whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be music or something. It could be an Aussie rules football game. But to see people giving a fuck about the common cause and not caring about whatever bullshit differences they might have is such a powerful thing.”

Architects Australian Tour
Featuring Counterparts and Thornhill

Friday, February 17th
AEC Theatre, Adelaide
Tickets: Live Nation

Saturday, February 18th
Festival Hall, Melbourne
Tickets: Live Nation

Sunday, February 19th
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Tickets: Live Nation

Wednesday, February 22nd
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane
Tickets: Live Nation