• BEST IN STATE—Senior Courtney Schoen Lewis was named Best PR Student in Utah. Story

The Architects embody punk-rock spirit with gusto

April 17th, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life

By Max Parker Dahl

SALT LAKE CITY — The Architects are a grounded group of polished men and musicians; savoir-faire in matters of business, music, touring, and family matters. Naturally– members Brandon, Adam, and Zach are brothers. With guitarist Keenan Nichols, the Architects have toured with Warped Tour, Valiant Thor, Flogging Molly, and are currently skirting around the country with My Chemical Romance and Neon Trees. In short, they are the greatest band you haven’t heard yet … where have you been?

“It’s all we’ve ever done since we were kids,” said bassist Zach Phillips. “We’ve been playing together for 15 years? Eighteen years? It doesn’t matter after a certain point.”

It is futile to categorize bands in narrow genres, and The Architects have outlasted the death of so many, it would seem silly to lump them with bands that will disappear and take their genre with them.

The boys embody the punk-rock spirit. Their gusto is evident in every aspect of their musicianship. Fiercely independent and disenfranchised by the lure of fame, they self-produce their music, promote and book their own shows.

“It’s mostly word of mouth, the old fashioned way,” Brandon said. “We don’t have any handlers or managers to book shows for us. It’s not like we have some moral compunction about a record label paying a bunch of money putting us out on a specific tour. We end up playing a bunch of shows, and a promoter will pick us up, they end up giving us more dates down the road.”

The Phillips brothers and Nichols understand the nuances of being in a band; together in a van, for months and months of touring, obnoxious habits that must be dealt with, problems that arise.

“We are in a rhythm, if anything upsets that rhythm I don’t know what would happen,” said Zach. “It’s all I know, its life. I have done a few gigs with other bands, and its cool, but there is something way cooler playing with your brothers.”

“We have been writing music together for so long we fight like brothers we get along like brothers,” said Brandon. “If our next tour, if we were in a bus with a full crew, didn’t have to think about economizing our energy, I swear we would fight a lot more.”

The four are able to complete each other’s sentences off stage and build off each other’s energy on stage. It seems they intuitively know each other’s next move.

“There is a language and a chemistry,” said Zach. “For example, the language of music as a classical musician would know it, compared to the language of music when you grow up playing rock and roll music with your brothers. If you are outside of the fold, it doesn’t make sense the way we talk about how we do what we do.”

The Architects have released four albums, and play a healthy mix from older albums, as well as their most recent release The Hard Way. The songwriting is relevant and refreshingly devoid of formulaic production garbage. The riffs are original are catchy, bouncing around your brain for days. You being to ask, ‘Why HAVEN’T I heard this before?’

Brandon’s voice is full and at time straining like Foo Fighter’s frontman Dave Grohl with Joey Ramone echoes. The songs are anthemic and mix rock solos and punk style. The Hard Way begins with “Year of the Rat” and builds with excellent, original tracks. Notable standouts “Death Rides a Horse” is a rollicking cowboy of a ballad with a hook-riff to draw you in, “Bastards at the Gate” at the front-end of the album seems inextricably connected to “Big Iron Gate” and the struggle against various gatekeepers (speculate away). Other songs to investigate “Pills” “Don’t Call it a Ghetto” from previous albums.

Influences for the Architects were diverse but surprisingly consistent, “whatever Brandon had in the tape deck is what we were listening to,” Adam said.

Their work ethic of bootstrapping from writing to recording to touring is what drives the men of The Architects.

“The first 6 years we would punish ourselves,” said Zach. “I would drive 19 straight hours, play a show and get back in the van and drive another 8 hours. We weren’t didn’t even think about it, like ‘maybe we should rotate drivers more often’”.

“Now there is a two tank rule, once you burn through two tanks, you should stop driving,” said Nichols. “If you get close to your third fill up, you’re way overdue –but that’s still like 7 or 8 hours or every 6-800 miles.”

Experienced bands are always prodded for inspiring advice to pass on. The advice that came overwhelmingly and in unison was “Stay in school, say no to drugs.” The sage council from the lead vocalist Brandon is some of the more premier advice to consider.

“We were playing a club show three or four years ago to nobody in New Jersey,” he said. “Frank from MCR and our friends the Bouncing Souls were there. That’s why we’re here today. That’s it. You never ever phone it in; the night you phone it in is the night it counts.”

He also asks bands to maintain a proper perspective and enjoy the little moments (like being able to drop a line in the water fishing during a tour). Don’t become obsessed about merchandising or equipment. Be smart about getting into a record label deal and crunch some figures on how much it will actually benefit you.

“There is no magic piece of advice, there is no golden bb. If you want to do this, then do it. And over time, your life will reveal itself to you. Whether or not you are going to do it, never stop writing songs; write songs and play them for people. Don’t get distracted, keep your eyes on the prize; songs and people. Songs, people, songs, people –that’s all there is. You juggle those two balls, because those are the only balls you get. Do that, and If you end up loving it, you’ll know it. Otherwise…see you back on campus.”


Tags: , ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.