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WLM Interviews: Brittney Slayes of Unleash The Archers

May 30, 2017
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We recently had the opportunity to speak to lead singer, Brittney Slayes of metallers, Unleash The Archers. A smart minded individual, check out what she had to say in regards to their latest album, their upcoming tour as well as the cool concept of the album, sage advice for young bands and much more! 

A BIG THANK YOU to Brittney Slayes, Unleash The Archers and Jon Freeman.

We are joined by Brittney Slayes, lead vocalist for Canadian metallers, Unleash The Archers, who are set to release their fourth album titled, Apex, via Napalm Records.

I just want to thank you so much Brittney for joining us here and taking time out of your busy day to talk to us. How’s everything going, how’s life been?

Uhh pretty busy (haha), not gonna lie. I wouldn’t wanna have it any other way, busy is a good thing so, yeah it’s great.

That’s good to hear you guys are keeping busy. So you guys are ready to release your fourth album, how does it feel to be releasing your fourth album this far into your career?

I mean it’s great, it’s just another record. If you really think about it we are probably gonna make many more, so just treating it the same way, waiting to hear what everybody thinks and just writing and doing what we love. So yeah, I mean we’re really excited to do what we usually do and tour the heck out of the album then head back to the studio and do another one!

That’s awesome, yeah that’s definitely the life of a rockstar right there.

Haha, well I don’t know so much rockstar but musician for sure yeah. (haha)

That’s all great to hear and I also wanted to congratulate you guys, the band, so you guys have been around since 2007 so about a decade now, if I’m not mistaken correct?

Yup, yup since 2007 that is correct.

A decade of Unleash The Archers, so congratulations!

Thank you.

So being a fan of the band I am wondering as I’m sure everyone else is wondering, what can the fans expect on Apex? Anything new? Anything familiar? Is there a theme? What can we expect with the new album?

Yes, there is a theme and it’s actually a full on concept record. Ten tracks that follow this main character who we call “The Immortal” and what it is, is that he is this tool basically for our antagonist whom we call “The Matriarch”. She’s awoken him from this spell that he has had cast on him and is using him to find her sons. She has four sons and she needs them to kill them in this ritual to attain immortality, which is the jist of the story. So this is our first time attempting a full on concept record with this lineup and I think it went well. We wrote everything together and did a guideline which I wrote out beforehand which just explains all the tracks and explains the storytelling and how they should all sound and feel. We do a lot of what we always do which is blending genres and just playing fun, fast music with catchy melodies and choruses and just more of that. We tried a couple of new things, ‘False Walls’ is kind of a mid-paced track that’s a little more vocal-centric so we’ve never done that before and yeah, we basically had these ideas that we wanted to incorporate in the album. We were like, “This time lets do a song that’s based around triplets or this time let’s do a mid-paced kind of song or this time we want something that’s just uber heavy and continues the same guitar riff throughout kind of thing. So we’ve had these themes that we latched onto and tried our best to incorporate into the record so it is still that same melodic power death sound we’ve always had, probably just a little more polished is all.

I’ll admit I was taken offguard with the single, Cleanse The Bloodlines, and just the epic sound that it has and the music video itself is pretty epic. Growing up, music videos were the only way to get access to new music for me at least so I always love watching a band’s new music video. You guys definitely have the best music video of the year in my eyes.

I know you talked a little bit about this but would you mind sharing what the title of the album refers to?

Well, it’s a place and state of being as well, an emotional state of mind. So what it is, literally a speaking, it’s the mountain where the immortal sleeps and where he lives his life. So he sleeps for thousands years at a time and what better way to protect yourself during those thousands of  years than inside of a mountain which takes millions of years to build and then to break. That’s kind of his home, Apex, but it’s also this state of mind that he enters when all is said and done and he’s killed tens of thousands of people and he’s brought these four sons back to the matriarch to die and he’s just kind of like “oh that was a really hard one” but now he’s just back home in his mountain and he can relax again and he can find a sense of freedom when he’s asleep and dreaming. So Apex is kind of that place where he goes in his head to find happiness and but it’s also a sense of accomplishment perhaps and a culmination really of the record and of him as a being and it’s just kind of something is coming to ahead. I can’t really talk too much about it or else I’ll give away all the secrets but, yeah it is all things really. It’s a choice so, even though you’re going through a lot of shit, you gotta find your Apex”, you know what I mean?

Yeah, yeah of course. I know you said you didn’t wanna share too much but I just wanted to add that I think the fans are in for a major treat when the album comes out.

Awesome yeah that’s what we’re hoping for!

With the new album, I have to ask as I’m sure others have probably asked, what are your touring plans in support of Apex?

Well, our first priority is to hit up Europe just because we’ve only ever been there once before and it was a bit of a smaller tour so we’re hoping to get to more places this time around. So we’re making sure that we’ve got something solid for Europe as a number one priority and then number two is The US and North America. We are going to try and hit as many cities in The US as well, so we are just trying to coordinate that with Europe and make sure that we can get as many cities in both places as possible which is quite difficult when it comes to scheduling and that kind of thing. We didn’t want to just headline on our own because we can do that at any time, you know we wanted to hop onto something special and broaden our fanbase and get out there to people who don’t know who we are so we are trying to do that. It’s just a lot of logistical nightmarish paperwork and whatnot so we are working on it. But if everything goes as planned we will definitely be in The US this fall, fingers crossed.

Awesome, good to hear! So as previously mentioned, Unleash The Archers has been around for a decade so what is it that keeps you going as an artist especially after all these years and all these albums, what is the spark for you that makes you continue to pursue music?

For me, it’s a way of life. I would probably go crazy if I didn’t have some musical outlet (haha) so it’s something that I am always going to do and why not let that something continue to be Unleash The Archers? I also just have this urge to tell stories, they’re always stewing in my mind so music is kind of that outlet for me as well, just come up with these crazy ideas and what better way to put it out into the world than to put it through music, through a song so that’s something personally. But also we signed a record deal so (haha) so we got two more to go.

Well, there ya go, haha. You can be honest (haha). So this being a male dominated industry do you see being a female as having a disadvantage or do you feel it’s pretty fair? How do you feel about that?

No, I think it’s fair, yeah. I mean I don’t feel like I struggle any more than anyone else or get more perks than anyone else. I think it’s going pretty good. I mean there was some hiccups there in the beginning like the very, very beginning where it was kind of, you would be judged immediately based on the words, female fronted, being said anywhere within the vicinity of your band or having a picture with a female in your band but honestly I think the whole scene is so past that so I don’t think it’s an issue anymore. So yeah, I think we are in a good place.

What was it that made you pursue being in a metal band or music in general? Was it an album? A friend? A concert? What was it that made you pursue music?

Well I have always been a musician for a long time and I started singing when I was very, very young. There were pictures of me when I was 6 years old with my dad’s old SM-57 in my hand like on our fireplace, pretending I’m on stage so I think it was kind of meant to be. But yeah I’ve been listening to metal for a really long time and Megadeth was the first heavy metal band I really got into when I was young. I think ‘Countdown to Extinction’ came out when I was 8 so that was probably the beginning for my love of metal. But it wasn’t until University when I started dating Scott actually and he was in a metal band I would go to their shows and I’d listen to them jam and just hangout with him when he was writing his parts. I would just love the whole environment and just the way you feel when you’re creating music together with other people that are just as passionate as you are and I was just like, I wanna do that I think that would be super awesome. I looked around the Victoria area for other bands that were looking for other musicians and tried out a couple of things but it wasn’t really quite right so when Scott’s band broke up I said, “Why don’t we try something”, and the guitar player in that band who was Brayden, one of our founding members was totally down with it as well so the three of us started Unleash The Archers and we all kind of just went from there and learned together and yeah it wasn’t until I was fully immersed in the independent band scene that I realized that, that was what I wanted to do because all my life I was in choir and musical theatre and that sort of thing my whole life so I was listening to metal but never creating it.

Did you guys think you would get this far into your careers? This is your second album on Napalm Records, which of course is one of the biggest metal labels in the world, did you guys think you would reach this state?

I mean it was always a hope, always a goal. But I never really, you always wanted it but it was never an expectation I guess you can say. It was never like a, that’s where we should be kind of thing. When we first started we had a lot of people say, Oh my god you guys are amazing you should be signed we’ve never heard anything like this, but that’s just friends and family that are around you and I think one of the biggest things you can do as a young growing musician is do not believe the hype. Just work hard and do what you do and people are gonna butter you up all the time and it’s not about them or their opinions or where they think you should be, it’s about growing and figuring it out on your own. I was never personally saying to myself, if we never get signed to any label we never really made it. So it’s just another step in the game I guess.

Sage advice I think a lot of bands could use for sure. Are there any artists or anyone you or the band would like to tour with?

Yeah, I’d love to tour with Iced Earth. I just, I would love to sing along to their music every night from backstage. When I first heard ‘Crucible of Man’ I said, THAT, now THAT is a concept record. It’s just so cool and Matt Barlow is such a crazy awesome vocalist and I mean, Jon is just a wicked writer in general. I think he does all the lyrics so yeah I think it would be such an honor to tour and share the road with those guys for sure.

Well, hopefully that comes true for you guys in the future!

So I like to ask what an artist’s favorite whatever is, pretty simple as I think it shows an artist’s personal side than the ‘businessy’ side as I like to call it.

So what’s your favorite color?

Black

Favorite food?

Uhh, Ice Cream? (haha)

Favorite drink?

I like tea, I like Chai teas.

Favorite book?

Oooh, uh that’s uh hmmm…I really loved The Black Company Series by Glen Cook, had a great, great time reading those books.

Favorite Movie?

Willow

And if you could have any superpower, what would you like to have any why?

The power of flight because goodbye. (haha) I would just be flying everywhere. I am constantly looking at the walk ahead of me and being like, man if only I could just fly up there to my condo that’d be so nice but yeah no, I think flight would be incredible and I actually dream about it all the time. Constantly, I am flying in my dreams so right there for sure.

Do you have any advice for those looking to pursue a career or life in the music industry?

Do what makes you happy not what everyone else thinks. When it comes to making music, if you’re writing songs for someone else then you’re not gonna be happy and you’re not gonna enjoy playing them live and that’s gonna come across and there’s that lack of passion. So don’t ever try to live up to anyone else’s expectations but your own and even then try not to have crazy expectations, just play music, do what you love and write songs that you love and are proud of. Don’t listen to the naysayers, for god’s sakes don’t ever listen to what those horrible people have to say because when it comes down to it, the only opinion that ever matters is your own and you gotta be able to take care of #1 sometimes there.

What’s the hardest part of the industry? At least what do you think it is? Is it touring? Writing an album? Dealing with people? Anything else?

I mean, I guess the hardest part is being noticed and getting to that point where people know who you are and are willing to give you a chance. Even where we’re at we still just get ignored by people because they don’t know who we are. I think that’s probably the worst and it’s just so much about who you know and what connections you have and if you don’t have any then it can be really disheartening so you just gotta get out there and work your ass off and eventually something will stick.

It’s good for you guys who have made it this far because you always hear those stories where a band or artist try to get into the industry and they think it’s so easy and they go at it for a few years and sometimes just flat out give up so it’s good to see talent like you guys making it at this point.

Yeah and so many people think it’s, you start a band, play a few shows, and eventually you think you’ll get signed which is not the case. These bands that are getting signed have been around for years and they’ve been working their butt off for a long time and there’s no such thing as overnight success. You work for a long time so just stick with it, so if after two, three, four, five years you feel really disheartened, if you can keep going, do it because it takes time for sure.

Well, thank you so much for sticking it out here on this interview. There’s one more question for ya, which is, as you know the name of our website is We Love Metal, so the last question is, why do you love metal?

Ohh, just because it’s so powerful. There are so many different genres that match any mood that you feel. If you’re pissed off, there’s a song for that, if you’re upset or sad theres a song for that, if you’re feeling elated, there’s a song for that and it’s just so versatile and it’s just so powerful and filled with amazingly talented musicians. There’s no phoning it in, in heavy metal, well real heavy metal I suppose, there’s some fakers out there (haha).

Definitely for sure! Well, Brittney Slayes, I just want to thank you for joining us here with We Love Metal dot com and this being your fourth album, I think you guys are destined for success if you haven’t gotten there yet. We will definitely see you guys on the road and once again congrats on your fourth album release Apex!

Cool, thank you so much for having me!

Related Articles: Unleash The Archers – Time Stands Still | Unleash The Archers – Demons of the Astrowaste | Helion Prime



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