The Architects (formerly of The Gadjits,) hailing from Kansas City, Missouri are: Brandon Phillips on Vocals and Guitar, Zach Phillips on Bass and Vocals, Adam Phillips on Drums and Keenan Nichols on Lead Guitar. After pounding out three albums in a relatively short period of time via Anodyne Records, they signed with Skeleton Crew Records earlier this year. The Architects newest effort, The Hard Way is a bruising combination of Clash-esque punk and hard rock ala AC/DC. Glide had the pleasure of spending a few minutes with Adam Phllips at their very first Warped this year.
“The Hard Way” is seriously one of my favorite releases this year so far. You’re planning on releasing a video for “Bastards at the Gate” pretty soon; can you tell me anything about it?
It was so much fun to make – I love this video! We shot it in two days in West Bottoms, Kansas City, Missouri. The West Bottoms are architecturally really cool; it’s a big, old city; like a ghost town. There are a few shops down there, utilizing the space, but oh my God, you can do anything there; you can run around with booze and drugs in the streets, and you’re not gonna find a cop.
So you’d feel really at home in Asbury Park then, is what you’re trying to tell me?
Yeah, something like that, yeah (we both chuckle.) I don’t want to give too much away, but we’re basically tearing ass around The Bottoms; the video’s hilarious. It was really fun to make. We did it with this company out of Kansas City called Gnarly Enterprises – they’re just a bunch of party animals and punk rockers. They’re just so much fun, and that’s the way they make all their stuff, you know, they do lots of music videos and commercials, and different cool things – everything they do is just a lot of fun.
Any release date yet?
Adam: We’re trying to get it out really soon, but trying to handle business from the road is a little bit crazy. You gotta be in the cell phone kinda mood….In the case of running merch, we don’t have any crew, it’s just us, so sitting in a tent all day, you can’t find a wifi bubble or anything.
How is your first Warped tour experience going? Is everyone being nice to you guys?
Oh, yeah, yeah, I mean, we have a lot of friends out on this tour, so it’s really cool. There’s a lot of friendly faces everywhere we turn, and people we didn’t know, we know now. I’d say about 98 percent of this tour is super cool, super friendly – there’s a couple of people that like won’t talk or make eye contact (that’s a little weird.)
You kinda leave them to their own devices, I guess. Warped Tour is a communal affair, what’s that attitude about?
I don’t know! It’s so weird sometimes.
I’m sure it’s none of the veterans, is it?
No, there’s only a couple of weirdos (I can’t mention names). But everybody else is cool! From our older punk rock heroes to the metalheads to the rappers to the indie rock kids to the vendors to production. Everybody who’s out on this thing has to bust their ass to make it work, so we’re all in it together. Everybody is lugging all their gear up a huge gravel hill…
The bus is nine miles away…
Yep, the parking sucks, and it rains; it sucks for everyone. You know, if you see somebody that needs a hand, you help them out.
Unless it’s one of the snotty people; you laugh at them.
No, even them, even them! The Architects, you know, we’re a gentleman’s band, so we go the extra mile. We’re looking out for everybody.
Yeah, is everyone hearing that now? How do your folks feel about having all three of you starving to death at the same exact time?
They’re really supportive! They’re totally supportive of us starving; always have been. We started playing together when I was like ten years old, and from the time I was about thirteen on, very supportive.
Especially when you guys are being called “The Hansons of Punk,” that had to be much less of a problem for them.
(sighing) Oh God, that was terrible! They were really proud; they didn’t understand that that wasn’t a cool thing to be called.
(laughing) They were like “Yay! My boys made it!”
“My boys made ‘Spin!’” “But look what they wrote, Mom…”
You were like “No, Mom, you don’t get it!” Aw, Man. Was it difficult leaving Anodyne behind – because you were with Anodyne a long time; it was like a family there.
Yeah, no, Anodyne’s cool, we’re still all friends. Brandon is actually the label manager of Anodyne, so it really wasn’t like some big departure or anything. It was just, you know, we met Frank – we’d dragged a couple of our friends out to watch us play a show in Jersey last year, and they dragged Frank with them, so he saw the show. Not willingly – he was like, forced to watch the show, and he ended up really digging it, and he offered to start working with us, and we just wanted to go for it. We’d done a few records on Anodyne – and Anodyne’s cool, no complaints, but hell, I mean, if Frank wants to work with us…
Hey, you’re not stupid, right? To everybody that doesn’t know, Frank is the person in charge of Skeleton Crew, where The Architects now are. In your songwriting process, do you guys have any specific authors that you draw on, because I know Brandon likes to do literary references.
Adam: Yeah, you know, Brandon’s kinda wild in the way he puts these songs together. It’s really cool; not a lot of other bands do it the way that we do it. Like, for “The Hard Way,” we worked for a few months just writing cool music – just what we thought sounded right, getting some cool arrangements together. Zero vocals, no lyrics at all, just playing instrumentally, and we’re giving them names like “The Queens of the Stone Age song” or “Let’s do the Nine Inch Nails thing.” Doesn’t fucking sound anything like The Pretenders, you know, but “That Pretenders song…”
I think I know which one you mean!
That wound up being “Year of the Rat.” Doesn’t sound anything like The Pretenders, not one little bit, but that’s “The Pretenders song.”
I remember when it was being referred to that way, that’s really funny.
Yep, there was like “The Bronx song,” “The Pretenders song,” “The Queens of the Stone Age thing.” None of them sound anything like that – luckily Brandon actually wrote all of the lyrics and melodies and just dropped them on in the studio. We had never heard what was going to be sung over these tunes; we’d laid down all of the music and it was all done, and then we’re all sitting in the studio and Brandon was like “Alright, let’s lay down some vocals.” So we’re all biting our fingernails, squirming in our chairs “Oh my God, oh my God, what’s this gonna be like, what’s gonna happen?” He goes in there and the first song he sings is “I Carry a Gun.” When he came back into the room, he thought that we didn’t like it, because everyone was just…silent. We were all just looking around the room at each other, nobody said a word, and he thought we hated it. Finally, somebody broke the silence with “Dude, holy crap! That’s fucking powerful, Man, it’s really cool!” And he went “YEAH!” (Adam mimics the sound of the room exploding with activity: “Let’s shoot off the confetti can, get the party going!”) It was awesome.
It’s a great product, and everybody needs to pick it up like yesterday, because I know I’m addicted to it, so I think you will be too. Who’re you checking out right now today?
I don’t know if I’m going to catch their set times, but the bands that I really want to catch today are POS (kickass,) I want to catch Bayside (this’ll be the third week of the tour and I still haven’t caught a Bayside set; I’ve either been working behind the scenes or on the stage or at the merch tent, and I’ve missed their set every time, and everyone’s telling me that I’ve gotta go see Bayside.) I keep going to watch Gallows, because they kick ass!
Hmm, who else do I really love, let’s see: I kinda liked watching Black Tide; I thought they were pretty cool.
Fifteen years old and kicking ass all over the place!
Yeah, they’re pretty damned good! (at exactly the same time as I say it) Their drummer is an animal! Love it, love it, love it. What else is fun to watch, there are so many good bands: Big D and the Kids’ Table, Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, NOFX, Flogging Molly…
I cannot wait for The Souls to join up, that’s gonna be great. I’ve watched the AKAs almost every day of the tour, because they just do it for me, they really kick ass, and it seems like it’s getting better and better. Every day, I watch their set and they just get more and more revved up; I love it. I love watching those dudes play.