I’ve wanted to see Architects live for many years now and our paths have always lead us in opposite directions from each other for some reason. I write this with a bittersweet sentiment as I finally got to see them last week here in Toronto, Canada albeit without the legend that is Tom Searle. (Rest in peace big man. You’ve left us with something that’ll never go away). I’m not going to bang on about this or pretend like I knew him (or any of these guys) but the band, music and words he has helped create and leave behind him on this planet is something I live for. Not just in a “thank you for the music” way but in creating something that resonated with me so deeply it stirred thought and action in my own life.
Architects and the message they have has affected my life and way of thinking so profoundly in the last few years of my life that I’ll never truly be able to put it into the words I’d need to communicate to you the actual affect. I’m just going to have to assume you know what I’m talking about. Every last note, every last word… they all hit me like a ton of bricks.
So to be able to finally see them but also have the opportunity to photograph them (thank you to Alan and Jonny for making this happen - you guys RULE) on top of it was more than I could ask for. I took advantage of our “3 song rule” and got the hell out of there and back to where my brother stood so I could truly enjoy the experience that is seeing a band you love live and in the flesh.
Thank you to the guys in Architects for keeping it lit and playing these shows. It means more to us than I’m sure we could ever say. Much love and respect, Fiaz
My initial reaction, the overwhelming thought that consumed me when I gazed down from the air, on the sheer size, the staggering, sprawling metropolis that is Mexico City, was how sad I felt that I wasn’t going to be able to explore a little more than I’d like. But then it hit me, I was here for a completely different purpose. GOJIRA.
The excitement building up to this moment is something I cannot contain. It’s not often I get to combine the three things I love most on this Earth. Work, travel and music! I generally let my images do all the talking but here now I feel compelled to write a few words.
First and foremost, I must extend my thanks to Gojira’s Tour Manager, my friend Taylor Bingley, for his ceaseless efforts and hard work in helping make this happen. He is the nuts and bolts that hold together this Heavy Metal train and keeps it rolling. And, to the incomparable Paul De Maio, whom I met on this day, ever grateful am I for his hospitality and kindness, sage like and earnest, friendly and engaging, kick-starting the cultural exchange with the brothers Duplantier wandering freely through an historic part of the city on show day. Arriving into Mexico City late the first day meant there was just enough time to meet everyone, have dinner, then retire to our respective rooms after a manic day of travel and sleep deprivation. This is the consequence though, the exhaustion. It matters not, the sense of purpose of being here in Mēxihco with Gojira and the crew keeps my mind sharp and my senses alive.
On show day, Paul took us to Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución), the Metropolitan Cathedral, and Plaza de las Tres Culturas annexed by the Ancient Aztec City of Tlatelolco, Aztec ruins on which these buildings were built. Truly fascinating to be standing there, observing such profound history. We strolled the seemingly endless streets that were a cacophony of shouting, car horns, hordes of people, army, police and every colour and smell one could possibly conjure up in the mind.
Imbibing the vibe along with the magnificently clear lighting and warm sun rays we chat and stop for the odd photo opportunity. It really is great to see everyone again, and to be doing some work together in a place we are all experiencing for the first time.
After a tasty lunch of local authentic Mexican eats like tacos and spicy tamales, hosted by Paul, we head back to the venue as it’s nearly time for soundcheck. Regardless of the people involved, we’re all here because of that one thing we all have in common, the MUSIC. The very instant those first notes jump out at me from the PA and already I can’t wait for later. Gojira create a sound that connects with my soul on a level not many things I’ve encountered in my life have or ever will. I’ve come a long way to find myself standing here in Mexico with these artistic behemoths.
See, one must realise, whilst I am a huge, huge fan of what Joe, Mario, Jean-Michel and Christian create, I connect with these guys on an artistic level where there is a mutual respect between us that is something one cannot put into mere words. It truly is one of the precious things in my life as it doesn’t happen often for me. So, for this child from Africa, all the way, way away from Bulawayo and my years growing up in Matabeleland, it is all the more special for me to have a medium with which to translate some of my experiences with other people who love this music, this band. To find myself standing there, imbibing it, soaking it up and pouring it back out through my camera… A tool that helps translate my mind’s vision.
It’s never enough, but, I hope it’ll do for now.
Here’s to Gojira, all their people, and all of us, the fans.
Credit goes to my friend Joost van Hasselt for his assistance and amazing wordsmith skills.