Meet Unleash The Archers! I had the pleasure to talk to Brittney Slayes, the lovely front-woman of the band, and got her to answer a few questions about who they are and what they do.
Tell us something about yourself and a brief introduction about your band mates.
Well Scott (drummer) and I started Unleash the Archers (UTA) back in late 2007, and since then have had quite a few member changes. Our current guitar players Grant and Andrew are old friends from back in the Victoria metal scene; we used to play with them when they had a band together called Archon Legion. In fact most of our early tours were with them *laughs* so when they joined UTA it was really a great fit, like they had always been here ;) We are currently on the search for a new bass player, but we have some great prospects and are very excited for this next chapter in the UTA family!
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
It has evolved a lot in my opinion! Our first guitar player was a great screamer, so every song featured screams just as much as clean vocals, but when he left they became less of a priority, and nowadays we have entire songs with no screams. We also used to be into Metalcore big time, and loved writing breakdowns and songs that played around with time signatures. Now we have more of a straightforward sound with a bigger influence on Traditional and Power Metal riffage. We also like to play a lot faster!
As you are a Canadian band (and seeing as bands from Canada are much better known for their extreme form of music) where did the Power Metal influence come from?
That might be my fault. It’s just that my voice and my vocal style really lends itself to Power Metal more than any other genre. I am also strongly influenced by Power and Traditional Metal vocalists like Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford and Geoff Tate, so naturally I like to reflect that admiration in my music. Grant, Andrew and myself are all into European Power Metal, so when we write together that tends to be the direction we move in. We all have our favourite genres but we also like to experiment, and we don’t let ourselves be boxed in by stereotypes or genre boundaries. We write based on how we’re feeling at the time basically!
How does it feel being a woman leading a band in a male dominated scene?
It’s nothing special really—there are lots of women in Metal these days. I don’t think I am an anomaly or anything. In fact the Metal world could do well to stop with all the singling out of ladies in Metal and just let us do our thing. We love metal just like you guys do, and we just want to play the music we love—we’re not doing it for special attention.
Do you think you can bring the same aggression and heat that a male vocalist can bring performing in front of a big crowd?
Yes of course I can! I slay *laughs*. Wow is this question serious? Being female is not a detriment! There are a lot of male vocalists that are total wimps, and a lot of female vocalists that can light your face on fire with their voices… Sex has nothing to do with talent! Wow.
What female-fronted bands are currently around that you think are dominating in todays metal scene?
Arch Enemy is absolutely killing it. Alissa (their new vocalist) is a fellow Canadian so I am totally biased, but I am just so fricken' proud of her! I love Huntress too, and I recently discovered this amazing band called Triosphere that is working on a new album that I am so excited for! I haven’t been this stoked to hear a new record in a long time!
How does it feel to be in a big record label like Napalm Records?
It feels great! We are so honoured to share a label with so many fantastic bands. We seem to be getting more exposure and opportunities which is awesome. Behind the scenes though, it’s basically the same old thing, just working away trying to write great music and book great shows!
Your last album "Time Stands Still" was well accepted and received many positive reviews from critics all across the world. How do you feel about it now? Was it successful or is there still a long way to go?
We feel great about the reaction to TSS, but there is definitely still a long way to go. Success in the music industry is difficult these days, but we are doing our best to achieve some level of recognition. We know that music doesn’t pay the bills anymore, but if the band could at least be self-sufficient that would be nice!
What is your favorite album among the three "Unleash the Archers" releases?
‘Time Stands Still’ for sure! We have worked so hard to get where we are today, and the growth in our sound is something we are proud of so I think our latest record is the best expression of where we are at as a band right now. I personally have come a long way vocally and have gotten way better at performing in the studio so TSS is the closest I have ever gotten to actually being happy with what I laid down. There is still a lot I would change and things I do very differently live, but it’s an OK record all in all. I’m super stoked to record the next album because I think we are just getting tighter and tighter and I love the direction we’re heading!
What are your future plans in regards to the band?
We are currently writing our next album as well as working on a new music video for TSS. We are also doing our best to book a tour over in Europe, and hopefully we will get down to South America pretty soon as well.
Do you have any other interests besides music?
I love movies, video games, books and comics! Scott and I just got a PS4 and have been spending most of our free time playing Fallout 4. I think I might grab the new Mortal Kombat as well, for a little more casual play. I also love cats. I have a Norwegian Forest cat named Cowpanda that is hilarious. Could never imagine my life with out him!
Let's do a fun question. Hypothetically if you were not a Metal vocalist, which profession could you see yourself doing?
Well I actually do have a day job, though it is just for necessity as music does NOT pay the bills in my world. But if I could choose to do something other than music I probably would be a mechanical engineer, and then I would try out for the space program and be an astronaut! I love astrophysics and all things science fiction so it would be rad to actually get up and out there among the stars! If someone offered me the opportunity to travel light years away, but in exchange I could never return to Earth, I would not think twice—sorry home planet!
Do you have a few inspiring words for the bands who are still struggling to make an impact?
Never give up. I know that sounds corny but it’s true. Music takes time and dedication and nothing happens over night, despite what it might look like. Get out and tour, work your ass off, always strive to get better at your instrument. Something will go the right way someday!
And last but not least, do you have a few words for our readers?
Thanks so much for taking the time to listen to me ramble! And thanks for your support! Check us out on Facebook for updates and tour announcements, we check it regularly so feel free to message us or just say hi! Also we have a merch site that we run personally and we’ll ship anywhere so if you want any UTA gear this is the place to get it!