Rough, Red & Raw: Architects of Sound talk being absurdist icons

Brisbane trio Architects of Sound
Image: Metro Arts

I sat down with The Architects of Sound to learn more about the queer, absurdist evolution of the Brisbane trio ahead of their upcoming show – Rough, Red & Raw. 

The Architects of Sound defy the title of ‘musician’—instead, they proclaim themselves as a collective of “pretentious, deadpan art clowns” whose goal is to satirize the music industry beyond recognition.

Where do we draw the line between art and reality? What does it mean to parody a music industry which has already become a parody of itself? What makes gout so sexy?

I chat with Sarah, Sampson and David to find out all the answers.

“Eurovision on a shoestring budget”

My first encounter with one of this trio’s members was at an underground queer party in Brisbane, where Sarah Stafford was harnessing the magic of green-screen to levitate a champagne glass to her mouth, before later hover-boarding across the stage at break-neck speeds.

When I ask the group if this is the collective absurdity we can expect in their upcoming show their response is, “Oh God yeah!”

“It’s ingrained in almost everything we do,” Sarah tells me.

David expands upon this, explaining, “We kind of look at ourselves as a bit of an absurd satirical band lampooning the insanity of the music industry.”

“We try to create concert experiences that need a little bit of contemporary theatre,” he goes on. “We like to think of almost all of our shows as Eurovision on a shoestring budget”.

Outside of The Architects of Sound, each of the members pursue their own niches of performance art, in ways that are so uniquely queer whilst also so ingenious.

So when the three triangulate their visions through The Architects of Sound—it’s lightning in a bottle.

“We all bring those energies into the room and so it’s kind of magic when we’re creating together,” Sampson tells me.

Sarah goes on, explaining that even though their individual projects have the same satirical vibe, collectively they produce something special:

“It’s always absolutely filthy, but also weirdly PG. Like it’s sexy, but talking about gout. Completely absurd and somehow really relatable.”

Humble beginnings

After over ten years of flying their freak flag, reflecting upon their first shows comes as a nostalgia trip for the three friends that make up The Architects of Sound. 

“We met on a show we were working at uni. And for some reason, one day we were just walking around singing ‘Shitty Ballsss, Shitty Ballsss,” Sarah explains.

“I went home and opened up GarageBand for the first time in my life, and wrote a song called Shitty Balls and sent it to David and Sampson.”

“Then we sent back a song called Puss Puss,” replies David. 

Sarah goes on to explain that they kept sending each other funny songs, until eventually she just began telling people that they had a new band called The Architects of Sound. 

“We eventually landed a gig at someone’s album opening party,” David explains.

“They asked us to open but we only had two songs and the concept of a band. So we went away and wrote six songs together in a weekend, and that was our first ever set.”

“And two months later, we landed a gig at Woodford!” Sampson tells me.


The trio’s first album, Holy Trinity, came about in a natural progression for the group.

“We were just sort of parodying what a band would do, so the next step was to realease an album,” Sarah says.

And what an apt title, as Holy Trinity truly takes the listener through a spiritual, almost religious experience of spoken word mixed with post-electro dream pop.

Their next project, ARTFAP, promises a much more ambitious exploration for the group.

“We do have some foot-based stuff, as Sarah mentioned earlier,” David says.

“We’re exploring dubstep for the first time, trance, and country music as well—a real smorgasbord of sound,” he goes on.

“We’re really just doing God’s work,” Sarah adds.

What to expect at an Architects of Sound show?

After touring their show all across Australia, there isn’t much that The Architects of Sound haven’t seen.

“Brisbane has always been so open and welcoming to our silliness. I think that Brisbane really gets our humour,” Sarah says.

“But it’s so funny, taking the show to other cities with a lot of different crowds and it can be a lot of work.

“I think it’s too intellectual for them,” Sarah jokes.

“The show really acts as a mirror to the audience,” Sampson continues.

“We’ve had audiences love us all around Australia, but I think the ones that have the most fun are the people that are ready to have a laugh at themselves and at the world around us without taking it too seriously.”

So if you’re an open-minded culture vulture looking to take a peek into that absurdist mirror, be sure to check out The Architects of Sound upcoming Rough, Red & Raw on the 6th of April.

Get your tickets now!

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