The bassist for Architects details his productive daily practices and his comfort with playing a supporting role within the band.
Ahead of the band’s highly-anticipated release of their ninth full length studio album, Architects bassist Ali Dean checked in for a conversation with Craig Reynolds on The Downbeat podcast.
The self-professed “worst person from the band to talk about the album,” the self-deprecating sense of humor set the tone for a lively discussion between the two musicians that would touch on the significance of the For Those That Wish to Exist album… eventually.
5:27 – The first beer is cracked
After a brief exchange, some polite catching unto begin the conversation, Craig gets settled in and helps himself to a hazy pale ale. The discussion bounces back and forth about Craig’s two-day attempt at a dry January. Dean gave a bit of insight to his small social bubble of the lockdown and how dry January was a bit of a gargantuan feat given the turbulent transition from 2020 into 2021.
11:40 – Dean’s daily agenda
The musician shared that his daily routine in the midst of lockdown typically includes waking up to do the audio version of “doom scrolling” by listening to the news. He then follows that up with some levity in a few episodes of ‘It’s Alway Sunny In Philadelphia’. Dean’s in the middle of season 5 and for some reason just recently started watching the show. Then, Architects’ related stuff… naturally.
17:30 – The five-point program of productivity
In an effort to preserve some mental stability and avoid coming apart during such bizarre times, Dean established a daily plan of five exercises in productivity designed to stay sharp. The musician practices learning German. He tries to set aside time to meditate, properly. He reads 30 minutes a day – something equally entertaining and challenging.
As an avid runner, Dean continues to get his stride in despite a brief layoff due to “Covid sadness”. Dean shared that the last month has been more indicative of the kind of training he aims for with his running.
HIs fifth and final item on the agenda is to sharping his musical skills every day. Working on a piano, Dean shared that just a half an hour of changing chords on the keys is a challenge both mentally and physically.
33:33 – “Spheres of Madness” and the pursuit of Decapitated
Decapitated is still not available via streaming platforms and both Reynolds, Dean, and the rest of the world’s metal fans are pretty bummed about it. Both solicit anyone selling Decapitated on vinyl to shoot them a DM.
45:00 – The genesis of Yam fries
The guys spent some time discussing the lone remaining member of Architects that has yet to sit in on The Downbeat in Adam Christianson. Known affectionally as “Yam Fries,” Dean explained the start of th nickname. In 2012, (apparently well before the great Sweet Potato boom according to Reynolds), Architects were in China on tour and sitting down to dinner with the promoter and a translator.
Playing it safe with the meal and just asking to have tofu, vegetables, and rice, Christianson opted to be direct and speak to the waiter at the establishment who spoke no English whatsoever to ask specifically for “Yam Fries.” laughter ensued. The name stuck.
1:00:00 – Reynolds almost joined Architects… almost
Back during the personnel shift of Architects in 2012, Reynolds had a few go-rounds at filling in on bass for the band. Dean had come into the fold and the thinking was, maybe Dean would fill in on guitar and Reynolds could learn how to play bass. That plan never came to fruition.
1:07:00 – Another beer is cracked.
Dean breaks open another amber lager. There are shots of tequila suggested. The conversation has become a bit of a Zoom happy hour at this point.
1:11:43 – Dean understands his role
Over an hour into the discussion, there has yet to be any in-depth discussion about the record. Dean confides that when doing promo for any record it is a bit difficult for him to speak about something he does write. He certainly has input and plays on the record, but he is always honest and aware enough to know that the frontman and the songwriter responsible fo the music are the ones best equipped to speak about the record they created.
Dean would go onto to share that the dynamic of his role within the band is best suited to him because he just isn’t much of a fan of being in the spotlight – even for a second. He punctuates that thought be kind of half-jokingly pondering if he should go seek therapy for his distain for the limelight.
1:21:55 – Clocking miles
Dean is a passionate runner. It’s such an important part of his life that he aims to run a marathon, 26 competitive miles, at least once a year. Explaining his commitment, he shared stories about staying on his training despite being hungover while on tour, and encountering dangerous wildlife like snakes while on a run.
Dean signed up for this first marathon while the band was recording ‘All Our Gods have Abandoned Us’ and confided that there was a correlation between the stress of the studio and the release found in the run.
1:33:55 – The vaccine
It’s unavoidable. Every conversation in the last year eventually touches on the pandemic. Reynolds explained his frustration with the decision makers that have access to an effective vaccine but aren’t sharing it on a global level. It seems to suggest that this is not about public health, it’s about turning a profit.
Listen to the complete podcast with Ali Dean of Architects on The Downbeat Craig Reynolds.