The confessions of Architects’ Sam Carter: “I was a little sh**head. I wanted be annoying and in people’s faces”

Architects singer Sam Carter
(Image credit: Press)

Sam Carter is one of the finest vocalists of his generation. As frontman of Architects, he’s turned “blegh” into a cultural reference, and transformed pain into catharsis for legions of fans. With a No.1 album under his belt and a massive arena tour with Biffy Clyro exposing Architects to new audiences, the sky’s the limit. But how will Sam fare with your questions?

Metal Hammer line break

Blackpool or Brighton: which seaside is more overrated, and why? Jim Richards, Facebook

“They are two places that are really close to my heart in a weird way. My nan’s from Burnley so I would go up there as a kid. Brighton is probably overrated. It’s fucking busy. It’s great. But Hove’s better. I’m Hove ’til I die.”

If you could have a real-life Pokémon, which would you have? MaggotStitch, Twitter

“There’s a Pokémon that looks like my dog. [Googles a picture on his phone and holds it up] Fennekin looks a bit like Sophia. She’s a Romanian rescue dog, so she’s like a million different breeds, but she genuinely looks like a fox.”

How do you cure a broken spirit? Louise Waring, Facebook

“We’ll see in a year or so! You have to be able to laugh at your situation if you can. I’m not saying everybody can, but you have to be able to find light in the dark.”

Ten years on, how do you view [2011 album] The Here And Now, and do you think you will ever properly revisit that material? Michael Collins, Twitter

“I don’t think we’ll revisit it. I always thought it was alright, I just think the jump from [previous, critically lauded album] Hollow Crown into that was just way too much for people. I remember speaking to Tom [Searle, late Architects visionary and guitarist] before the record came out and him being like, ‘I’m not into this, we shouldn’t have done this.’ At the time we were in a massive Pink Floyd sort of world. We really liked a lot of Coldplay records that were out at that time as well, trying to blend it with bands like Comeback Kid and Foo Fighters. You know, I listened to it the other day and was like, ‘I get what [the guys] were going for.’”

Are there any songs you find too emotional to sing live? Fran Large, Facebook

Memento Mori [from 2016’s All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us]. We always said that we would never do the full song live because it was a song that was so important to Tom. It wouldn’t feel right doing it without him. It’s a lot to take in, very thought-provoking.”

Architects

(Image credit: Ed Mason)

Do you have any plans to do live shows with an orchestra, like the Abbey Road For Those That Wish To Exist recording? LukeisOnFire, Twitter

“Yeah, I’d love to do that. Just being in Abbey Road was insane. I wish you could bottle all that emotion up because it was so special. We were in the room with all these insane musicians like, ‘Don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up.’ You won’t see it, but we did Black Lungs and then I just panicked and ran out the room.”

Hammer: Really?

“Yeah. I was like, ‘Nope, fuck this.’ I was nervous, my voice tightened up and I couldn’t sing. It was the first time I’d been in a room with that many people for a long time. Then obviously there’s cameras and lights in your face. It was the first time performing for a couple of years and the vocals in Black Lungs were terrible. I was crying my eyes out because Abbey Road is an important part of my life. I was like, ‘I’m fucking this up for myself and for everybody else.’ Our manager put a gin and tonic in my hand and was like, ‘Just have five minutes, you’ll be fine.’ You can kind of hear I’m still a bit nervous in Black Lungs and then as we go through the record, I feel more comfortable. I never told anyone that but yeah, I freaked out, got scared, cried, had a gin.”

Your sound has evolved many times. Is there anything you still want to try but haven’t had the chance? Aimee Lynch, email

“Architects will always evolve. I’ve no idea where we’ll take the next record. Every idea that’s flying around is different to what we’ve done before and whatever we’re doing now. We always keep it pretty dark, we won’t be releasing a pop punk album any time soon. I dunno if it’d ever work, but I love Bob Dylan and The Beatles… that psychedelic world. I’d love to do something like that eventually.”

Hammer: Have you ever thought about doing solo stuff?

“I’m so focused on Architects I don’t ever want to be looking elsewhere. After the last record I messed around with some friends, and we started on some stuff but it’s never anything serious. Who knows? In the future it could be a fun thing to do.”

What needs to happen for Architects to do a happy song? Jo Fleischer, Twitter

“Man United to start winning the league. Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister. The whole world to go vegan. Complete world peace.”

Was it a challenge joining a band that already existed? Did you have your own style at first, or were you trying to keep up what Architects were doing before you joined? David Haze, Facebook

“Thanks, David. Not many people realise I wasn’t in the original [line-up]. Thanks for ruining the myth! I joined on their first UK headline tour; I came onstage and sang the last song [with previous vocalist Matt Johnson] every night, so they were introducing me as being the new vocalist. I was a little shithead. I was just so full of energy. I wanted to climb and jump off shit and be annoying and in people’s faces.”

Hammer: How did you develop your distinctive singing style?

“Pronunciation is a big thing. I don’t want to just sound like a monster, because I’m passionate and annoyed and pissed off, but I’ve always wanted you to hear what I’m saying. I’ve also looked after my voice. I’ve always done warm-ups and been very strict in that I have a tea before going onstage.”

Do you agree with Willow Smith that metal has been gatekept by old white men for too long? St Eve, Twitter

“Yes. For years I wanted to wear a little bit of make-up, express myself and put on a show. But I didn’t do it for ages because I was like, ‘People are gonna take the piss out of me and I don’t want that.’ And then they did. Not only were people horrible, they were using homophobic slurs as an insult. I felt like this scene when I was growing up and when I was in school was such an inclusive scene for the outcasts. How did it become this world where it’s like, ‘You can’t do that if you’re a woman… You can’t do that if you’re gay’. Like, what the fuck? There’s a lot of gatekeeping around artistic freedom.”

Would you do another collaboration with Oli Sykes from BMTH? Eleni 57, Twitter

“Yeah, Oli’s great. He’s so driven. I’d love to collaborate with him again.”

Who is the maddest band you’ve toured with? Sarah Hayes, Facebook

“Crossfaith. We toured with them and they were party animals. Jack Daniel’s all day. They try to get you to start drinking and you’re like, ‘Nah, man, I’m going for a run. It’s not even 5pm.’ If I don’t eat before I drink I’ll be sick. I remember leaving venues in the van and some of Crossfaith were climbing up and dancing on the roof. They’re fucking great people, but my god.”

What do you think it takes for a British band to break America these days? Derek Dolorosa, Facebook

“Sorry, Derek. You’ve got about 15 years’ worth of touring to get that going. It’s the place that’s took the longest for us. We’ve gone there and lost so much money, but those tours are two of my favourite memories. If you wanna do it, don’t give up. Just keep going.”

Do we need a Warped Tour equivalent in 2023? Who would you book? Ben Willis, email

“I don’t know if we need that to come back but us, Bring Me, Turnstile, Bury Tomorrow, While She Sleeps, Heriot, Loathe… The list goes on.” 

The Classic Symptoms Of A Broken Spirit is out now via Epitaph

Danniii Leivers writes for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, The Guardian, NME, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and more. She loves the 90s, and is happy where the sea is bluest.