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Architecture in Helsinki: Big Noise

"We started out as a super-quiet band playing a lot of theaters, and we'd freak out when everyone was talking over us," Architecture in Helsinki's founder Cameron Bird explains via cell phone from London. "We naturally got louder because we wanted to be heard."

But the excess of energy on Places Like This–the group's third, and much more rowdy, full-length–can also be attributed to Bird's recent protein high. "I started eating meat after being a vegetarian for nine years," he dryly admits. "Any vegetarians out there who are thinking about making the change, I highly recommend it."

A lot has changed for this Australian noise-pop collective since they released their finicky debut, Fingers Crossed, in 2003. Their sophomore release, 2005's In Case We Die, was critically lauded for its seamless blend of synth-heavy indie-pop and laid-back reggae. The record launched them into the spotlight, prompting numerous world tours and an expanding fan base. Now, with the release of Places Like This, the group is bigger than ever. "It's grown so gradually because we've never had major-label backing or shitloads of money to spend on videos," Bird tells me. "We've busted our asses touring, and it's been really satisfying."

Their busy schedule has brought them everywhere from Barcelona's Primavera Sound festival to a rare show in Malaysia, a country that had, at one time, banned rock shows altogether. "[We played at] this super-futuristic nightclub in the middle of Malaysia, where the big techno dudes like John Digweed or Carl Cox usually play," he explains, "We could've gone out and played one song for two hours and they still would've gone insane. It was really humbling."

With so much time spent on the road, managing their friendships has gotten easier. "We've become really aware of each other's mannerisms," says Bird. "Chances are that there's usually one of us who's having a shit time, but we get along really well. We don't have to avoid eye contact."

With more touring and an inevitable press frenzy following the release of Places Like This, the group will not be slowing down anytime soon. "We really want to perfect what we're doing at the moment before we move on to the next chapter," he says. Regardless, Bird's mind never strays from the next project. "It might be hardcore techno, or it might be a 48-piece folk record. If we ever did the same thing twice, the band would be over."

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