With a name that evokes medieval imagery and a sense of urgency, Unleash The Archers formed as a band in Victoria, Canada in 2007 and have subsequently been developing a fanbase with the release of three full-lengths and one EP (Behold the Devastation--2009, Demons of the AstroWaste--2011, Defy the Skies--2012, Time Stands Still--2015) and by playing shows throughout North America. The band created a campaign on IndieGoGo to help cover the costs of their pro-shot video for "General of the Dark Army" which recently surpassed a million views on YouTube. The band's combination of mythic subjects, melodic power metal guitars, Brittney Slayes' traditional lead vocals and harsh, male backing vocals are the staple of their genre-defying brand of music. With the success of their latest album, the band has been slowly infiltrating worldwide markets. Their increased global presence and talent led to the band signing with metal label Napalm Records and shows in Japan and China this year.
Maximum Metal had a chance to let Brittney channel her inner Viking on a wide range of subjects covering the band's sound, the new album Time Stands Still and its songs, touring plans, social media, and some really fun stuff.
Read on to learn how the band evolved and worked through their obstacles, her vocal inspirations, Hottest Chicks In Metal and man nipples, the "incestuousness" of the metal world, her Gemini sides, how love stories suck, yummy pot pies, comic books, what pisses her off, what she'd improve about herself, and her true God of Heavy Metal.
MM: People try to classify the Unleash the Archers sound in many ways. What do you like to refer to it as?
Brittney Slayes: I've started calling it Battle Metal ;) Haha! To be honest I am pulling away from classifying our sound because we incorporate so many different styles. We play heavy metal, no need to pick it apart if you enjoy it. We are influenced by traditional heavy metal, death metal, symphonic stuff, melodic styles… We never limit ourselves when we write, and in fact on Time Stands Still we purposely tried to span several genres throughout the album. There are so many amazing bands out there, it shouldn't matter what type of metal they play or if it can be stuffed into a particular box.
MM: UtA has an old-school, NWOBHM, black outfits, leather and studs look. Has that always been the style or has it evolved over the years?
BS: It has evolved for sure, in fact the studded vests look was just one phase and we are starting to look into other styles that will fit with the next album. In the beginning we were all band shirts and blue jeans, then we streamlined that into plain black t-shirts, black skinny jeans and high tops. Then we started wearing the patchy/studded vests, and now I've got a kind of battle armour look going on and the boys wear black vests. I've got ideas for the next outfit… but it will have to wait to be revealed ;)
MM: You're influenced by bands like Iron Maiden, Lost Horizon, Iced Earth, etc. How do you differ from those bands?
BS: The harsh vocals are probably the biggest difference… We all have our own little flairs and touches that define us though. I mean you can hear the intro of an Iced Earth song and know it's them right away just based on the guitar style and choice of progressions/rhythms; it's the same with Maiden and Priest and so many others, they just have this way about them. Hopefully it will be like that with us one day, a particular guitar tone that sets us apart or a style or way of playing that can only be found on a UTA album.
MM: When did the idea for multiple vocal styles germinate?
BS: It was always going to be that way; it's the reason why Brayden Dyczkowski (2007-2013) and I started working together in the first place. We both were listening to a lot of the same music at the time, metalcore and deathcore and bands that had harsh verses with clean sing along choruses; we wanted to use my voice in conjunction with Brayden's screams to try something different. We wanted them both to be featured equally, it was never really Brayden as "backing" vocals, his voice was always just as prominent and we liked it that way. Now that he's gone the screams are sort of falling to the wayside, but change is good and we will just go where the music takes us.
MM: You're gaining more and more fans, yet offer up pretty much all of your older songs on YouTube. What's the strategy if I can listen for free?
BS: Really the YouTube is just there so people can sample it and then choose if they want to buy or not. I mean you're not going to go on a road trip and stream YouTube the whole way that would just be insane; too expensive on data plans ;) You buy the MP3 or the CD, depending on whether you have a CD player or an AUX jack right? So yeah I mean we want all of our music up there, money is nice but there are those that can't afford to pay so we try to have it everywhere. Often the fan that can't afford to pay for your music will save every penny and be the first in line at the merch booth when you come to town, so that's ok with me. :)
MM: I'm seeing where the Japanese release has an extra track "Stay Hungry" featuring Iuri Sanson of Hibria. Is that a cover of the Twisted Sister song?
BS: It sure is! You can't release an album in Japan without having a bonus track ;) So we quickly threw together "Stay Hungry", and Hibria were in the studio at that time too so we got Iuri to throw some guest vox on there. Hibria is HUGE in Japan, and having Iuri on there has actually helped expose us to way more fans over there! They are touring Japan right after us, but maybe next time around we can tour together and perform it for the Japanese fans; I think they would really like that.
MM: Speaking of Japan, UtA recently finished a mini-tour of Japan and China, correct?
BS: Yes we did! Signing with Spiritual Beast has worked out well so far! Two shows in Japan and seven shows in China. We are so fricken excited. And hopefully this is just the beginning! The potential here is immeasurable; one day we'll fill stadiums! (the power of intention right?!) \m/
MM: The new release "Time Stands Still" just came out across the world. You're all stoked like a jedi with a new lightsaber, I bet.
BS: Even more stoked than an ewok with an android! This album has been so long in the making, finally having it out just means we can move on with our lives! Put that chapter behind us and focus on the future :)
MM: Since the band has self-produced their own albums, was there any pressure at all when creating "TSS" to make something that would break big?
BS: Nah. We had originally planned to release TSS independently just like all of our other albums. Napalm contacted us literally right as we were heading into the studio, and we had already told ourselves that the expectations of others no longer mattered; we wrote TSS for ourselves and we going to put everything we had into recording it. Sure, being in the studio and knowing that the potential to be signed was there was a bit intimidating, but we were so ready to record this album I don't think anything could have stopped it from coming out the way it did. If Napalm didn't like it we had a smaller label that was very interested and we might have just gone with them, or released it ourselves again. Honestly, we were so done with thinking about the future we just focused on making the record as best we could.
MM: You recently signed with Napalm Records. Did Napalm have any say on the new album tracks, layout, or production? Was it all done by yourselves?
BS: They had no say in anything whatsoever. Basically it was done exactly the same as all of our others; independently. The only thing they did was make us record that bonus track so they could sub-license to Spiritual Beast. From speaking with other bands on Napalm though I don't think they really say too much in the way of recording the albums, they give complete creative control to the bands. Which is awesome! Let them take care of what they are good at and we'll take care of our part. ;)
MM: Your old covers had a distinct fantasy look on each release where the new one has an explosive color scheme. Was that the band's idea to change it up; what was behind that change?
BS: Yup that was all us; we just wanted something more vibrant was all. Scott actually came up with the concept, and we all added bits and pieces to the idea. Then we sent a mock-up to JP (JP Fournier) and he ran with it, creating what you see today :) It is very symbolic of the way we were feeling at the time… UTA was breaking free of the chains of expectation and creating a new world under a new sun!
MM: Dio had an album mascot named "Murray". Is there a name for the monster on the new cover?
BS: Hahaha no not really; we call it the balrog ;) We've never had the foresight to create a mascot unfortunately but we do have this awesome t-shirt design of a sasquatch playing the guitar; he can be our mascot! Bigfoot hahaha ;)
MM: One of your main songwriters, guitarist Brayden Dyczkowski, left in 2013. You've said before that, "Brayden provides this sort of concrete foundation that helps define our sound." Did that foundation change for the new album?
BS: Sure did. It's a new foundation but it's just as strong ;) Grant and Andrew are a writing team, like Lennon and McCartney or Richards and Jagger. They have played music together for many years and have come together once again as the writers behind UTA. As TSS was written partially with Brayden and partially with Andrew it was still quite choppy; parts and pieces from here and there. We even used some old Archon Legion riffs that never came to be (Grant and Andrew's band from years ago, where we originally met them). This is why we are so excited to get back home and into the jamspot this winter to write the new album all together. It is going to be amazing. I love Grant and Andrew's writing style, so easy to put vocals to, and Scott has some new drum techniques he wants to try out, so it is going to be a very positive and creative writing atmosphere.
MM: Some of your past songs like "General of the Dark Army" have a grim narrative. The songs on "TSS" seem to be overall positive and hopeful. Was this intended or did it come about naturally?
BS: I know this sounds corny but I am a Gemini through and through; there are very much two sides to me, light and dark. Sun and shadow. Good and evil… I love to write in both styles. Sometimes the song comes to me and it is all darkness, and sometimes it is all light. Sometimes it is a bit of both. The riffage speaks to me and tells me what to write, tells me what to make the audience/listener feel. From there I come up with the story and find the vocabulary to express the emotion. So, I suppose the answer is no, it was not intended, however that being said I have already begun writing for the new record and I think you will see my intention very clearly on this next one ;)
MM: You've said before you were a History major. Did that bleed into the new release?
BS: Absolutely! That epic battle mentality of the past within Viking culture or the medieval times…for sure I was channeling some of that when writing this record. Or the glamour of piracy showed up a bit in 'Hail Of The Tide', that kind of thing. For the most part this record was very focused on current times and struggles of the modern world, but underneath the narrative is the story of warriors rising up to stand side by side and overcome evil, however it may manifest itself.
"That epic battle mentality of the past within Viking culture or the medieval times…for sure I was channeling some of that when writing this record...underneath the narrative is the story of warriors rising up to stand side by side and overcome evil, however it may manifest itself."
MM: All of the songs, to me, seem to flow like the narrative of Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey" where a hero(s) ventures out from home, overcomes obstacles, and eventually returns victorious. Was this intentional?
BS: Not at all! But now that I know this narrative style exists I just might have to start incorporating it into my writing! It sounds pretty cool and definitely like something I might be good at so I'll have to do some digging to learn more.
MM: Talking about some tracks, you've mentioned before with us that "Frozen Steel" was inspired by George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" and the metalheads of Canada. "Hail of the Tide" came from a Scott Lynch book and was about heading to Vancouver Island to play. Did any of the other tracks germinate from specific media?
BS: The only other song that was inspired by a book was the title track, Time Stands Still'. The part about abandoning the sun came from the fact that I was reading 'The Book of the New Sun' by Gene Wolf. It was such a rad series and had a great little twist that I loved. It gave me the idea of UTA leaving this sun "the current state of the music industry" behind and finding a new sun "where the artist can flourish independently". I know, we chose this life, we play music because it is what we were meant to do, I just wish it could go back to the days where I could actually make money at it, and not have to work 40 hours a week at a day job that is so completely the opposite of fulfilling hahaha ;)
MM: I'm glad to see "Test Your Metal", a really fun, wind-up hard rock track you've done live, made the album. Given it's difference from the other tracks, which feel more "metal", was it ever thought to leave it off the record?
BS: I think we did mention leaving it off once, or making it a bonus track or something like that, but then we decided we just liked it too much and didn't care if some trolls might say that is doesn't belong. It is way too much fun to play, and it follows the theme of the record. We had all always wanted to write a classic, traditional heavy metal track in the vein of early Priest or Maiden where the chorus is the title of the song and it repeats over and over and is super simplistic. So we did!
MM: The lyrics for "Crypt" are somewhat obtuse. Can you explain what the crypt is symbolic of?
BS: The van in the middle of the 28 hour drive from Winnipeg to Toronto… On the North highway… The chorus is the gas stations stops when you get to stretch your legs and see the sun for a second. hahaha ;)
"It's not everyday you get the chance to dress like the person you feel you are inside." --Brittney
MM: Who's the adversarial figure in "No More Heroes"?
BS: Ummm… Not sure if I'm gonna get in trouble for this one, but it's about record labels and how everyone thinks they are so important and how you are basically nothing in the music world until you have one… It's just so stupid! Why does no one listen to you unless you have a label behind you? Booking agents, big webzines, print mags; none of them want anything to do with you… Then you sign and all of a sudden you are worth talking about. Yeesh, I could talk about this all day but then I really will get in trouble so I am going to stop now!
MM: "Dreamcrusher" seems to be the epic heart and message song of the album. The harsh vocals note "the world is a dream crusher" while you're giving the motivation to "follow your soul onto hope" and to "rise up and resist". How did such an epic track get pieced together?
BS: When we first sat down to write this record we agreed we were not going to rush anything, and that we were going to let the songs come naturally and basically write themselves, and Dreamcrusher is the epitome of that strategy. It is very dynamic, and goes through many emotions both lyrically and musically. It was almost like it just wanted to go on and on and never stop and the record could have just been this one song that went on for 40 minutes hahaha but we didn't want to do that (maybe someday!) and so eventually we had to put a plug in it to stop the creative juices from pouring out hahaha. I guess that is what happens when you put you whole heart into a song, it just works. :)
MM: Assuming it's for the band and for all of us, is the real dream crusher the external world or the internal doubts within us?
BS: Both. The external world that creates unreasonable expectations, and then the inner self applies the pressure to meet them. Basically, "Dreamcrusher" is a call for all musicians to leave that way of thinking behind; let's stop putting this insane pressure on each other and ourselves and play music because we love it! Let's support those that work hard and give them the recognition they deserve.
MM: The title track "Time Stands Still" is rather victorious. How was it chosen to be the album title and who was it written about?
BS: It was actually written specifically knowing it would be the title track, it was the last song we wrote, and we wrote it all together in the jampsot just off the cuff. It started with Scott's drumbeat, he just played it over and over again and we all came up with the vocal melody for the chorus together. We knew we wanted it to be a very Manowar-esque track, with a medium paced tempo and a vocal-centric melody. It was a lot of pressure let me tell you! To come up with something that could hold your attention as well as be catchy enough for anyone to sing along with… I really enjoy that track though and it ended up being one of the ones I am most proud of.
MM: Fellow Canadian band Crimson Shadows joined in on the new release with some vocal chants on a couple new tracks correct?
BS: The Crimsy boys lent their manly voices to the gang vocals in "Tonight We Ride" and "Dreamcrusher" on the demos that we recorded back in 2013. We had some members of my old choir come and do the gangs on the actual album… But I think we might have kept the old CS tracks and added those in to add some oomph if I remember correctly! So, yeah, it should be their voices that you hear on TWR and DC! Just love those guys. I mean, we really love them, they are just so awesome and so kind and funny and would give you the shirts off their backs and they really deserve all the great things that are coming their way.
MM: Commentary out on the Interwebz is putting your vocal performance on "TSS" up there with power metal greats like Michael Kiske, Mr. Dickinson, and even Ethereal Magnanimus (Daniel Heiman). How's it feel to be in that company?
BS: It's all very surreal, it's more than I ever could have dreamed… I mean I look up to those guys so much and to even be included in the same sentence as them is such a profound honour… I will have to keep working my ass off and release some killer records to become the legends that they are, but I am ready for the challenge!
MM: Were there any extra songs written that didn't make the cut for the CD?
BS: Nope! We had started writing some other stuff but decided we would save it for the next record and held off. What you hear is everything we had in us at the time! We literally gave you our all!
MM: Is there another video being considered from "TSS"?
BS: Yes, we do want to do one more video for TSS, but the idea and the track are a secret ;)
MM: Indiegogo is an interesting way to connect with a band. You had a successful video campaign for "General of the Dark Army". Any plans for another campaign? I might wanna bid on an autograph, custom phone call, or some used video swag.
BS: We have been discussing another campaign as an option to fund the next video, mostly because so many people have asked for us to do one! I just love that fans want to donate and to be a part of the whole process, it just makes my heart explode ;) It is definitely a possibility… We really need a new van for touring though so that might be another reason to do a campaign as well, and probably the more fiscally responsible choice!
MM: You hit some really high notes at times on "TSS". Can you say what your vocal range is?
BS: Not a clue! To be honest I've just always known I was a mezzo soprano and I never bothered to figure out how many octaves I can hit or whatever… I mean it varies too sometimes… When I'm in awesome shape and have been playing non-stop I can hit 4 octaves, but when I've been sitting around on my butt doing nothing I lose a bit on the high and low ends. Some guy apparently fully analyzed my range on TSS though and you can see his findings here: [link] Not sure if that includes the harmonies though, 'cause if you listen closely that is where I do my highest stuff.
MM: You've slowly been touring out of Canada and into the rest of North America and Mexico. Would you say the Mexico/South American market has taken to the band based on the melodic power metal influence or are they just rabid for all things metal?
BS: The second one I think; touring bands rarely come there except for big festivals so they were just stoked to have some new metal in general. We have yet to hit South America but it is definitely in our plans. The people in Mexico were so kind and inviting, and I think it's safe to say further south would be no different. Such great people! We have made many friends down there, and we hope to make many more!
MM: You're about to do your first nationwide tour of America with Brazilian band Hibria. What can we expect from UtA on the tour?
BS: This is actually our third time in the US, but this one isn't quite nationwide for us I don't think seeing as only Hibria is going to western dates. We came in 2012 but played very few shows, I think it ended up being 8 shows and a LOT of driving… We played down the West coast, then into Mexico, then back up through Texas, over to Atlanta, up to MN and then over to NY before heading back home through Canada. In 2014, we did just the West coast and central western states. This will be our first time thoroughly hitting up the East coast though so we are very excited.
Playing live is what we do best, it's fast and fun and (hopefully) entertaining. Lot's of high kicks and choreographed stage moves. hahaha!
"Often the fan that can't afford to pay for your music will save every penny and be the first in line at the merch booth when you come to town..." --Brittney
MM: You've been known to do some cover songs live 'esp Iron Maiden. Any in the coming setlist?
BS: We did Maiden the last time we came through, and as you mentioned above we did Stay Hungry on the Japanese edition of TSS, so the next record will have something new. Not sure yet, suggestions will be duly noted!
MM: Doing a little research, I found that Hibria's latest self-titled studio album will be out on Test Your Metal Records out of Canada. My initial synchronicity shock settled when I saw TYM Records was founded by Grant Truesdell of... Unleash the Archers!
BS: Got that right! Grant has fully immersed himself into starting up the TYM label in Vancouver that caters to helping international bands gain some recognition in North America. He has signed some pretty amazing groups so far, and more are to be announced. It's just in the beginning stages but he has a lot of great ideas, and I think he is really setting out to create a label that works in the best interest of the bands at all times. It's not about money; it's about growing the metal scene and supporting one another.
MM: You've mentioned Jill Janus of Huntress as a recent female that blew you away live. Were there any female vocalists from the past that had an influence on you or did you lean mostly toward the male greats?
BS: In my life, I have mostly been influenced by male vocalists… Jill Janus is one of two female vocalists that have recently come to my attention, the other being Ida Haukland of Triosphere. I admire their strength, and their willingness to do it their way; forget what's popular or what others expect and slay some face. They are both very powerful vocalists, and they have definitely inspired me to try some new stuff on the next record ;)
MM: Brittney, you're also featured on the Disforia track "Lunar Sunrise". How did that come about?
BS: I commented on one of John's facebook posts about something… can't remember what, and then he replied back with something about working together on a track, and then voila it happened just like that! I also did some guest vocals on a Dire Peril track called "Queen Of The Galaxy", a band which John is also now singing for… Ahhh the metal world in all its incestuousness! (<-- that is not a word, I made it up)
MM: Who else would you like to work with?
BS: Being such a sucker for the clean/scream vocal combo, I've always wanted to duet with Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy, previously of The Agonist, which is a killer band from Montreal, Canada. She was the first female vocalist to inspire me, not vocally (I can't scream for shit) but just as a fellow Canadian in the female-fronted metal world. She has done so much and come so far and I can't help but look up to her. :)
MM: You play serious power metal, but seem to have a good sense of humor as a band, so changing pace a little bit for some fun... Can I just go ahead and proclaim you the Nicest Person in Metal?
BS: Hahaha awww ok yeah sure! Although I have heard that Rob Halford is pretty nice ;) God, I hope I get to know for myself one day!
MM: Ever consider dropping the stage name to use your real name or have your real name changed legally to your stage name?
BS: Nah, too much paperwork ;) I'll probably continue to do my best to be known as Slayes in one world and Hayes in another, with a little crossover in between I suppose. Again being a Gemini and all, I am perfectly comfortable with having two sides to my life.
MM: As your audiences are getting bigger, do you find that your stage wear is getting more elaborate and embellished?
BS: It's actually money that has the most to do with it hahaha, I have a good job that leaves a lot more room to have some fun with my extra dollars. Being a warrior of the north comes with its costs; I've got plenty of armour, I think the next purchase might be a sword worthy of the stage ;) Also, who doesn't love a little cosplay?! It's not everyday you get the chance to dress like the person you feel you are inside.
MM: Is spandex ever going to make a comeback for stagewear?
BS: It already has! On me at least… The boys, not too sure… I think we'll stick with skinny jeans for now… But heck yeah take a look at Striker, they have the best tights! Black Milk baby! I think it is: www.blackmilkclothing.com
MM: Has the band considered wearing some warpaint, corpsepaint, or mud onstage?
BS: Totally… I would love to get done up Braveheart style, but the makeup I do now is annoying enough as it is… Maybe the next outfit might call for some warpaint. Corpsepaint wouldn't really fit the music I don't think, but I do like it and think bands that use it look rad!
MM: Do you know the difference between a pauldron and a spaulder?
BS: I know they both protect the shoulder… They are worn on the sword arm, and some reach up to protect the neck as well. That's about all I know!
MM: Your Twitter handle is BrittneyPotPie. What's that about?
BS: Chicken potpie, done well, is like the best thing on earth. Seriously, you get some quality roasted chicken, lots of fresh veggies in a buttload of gravy, light and flaky puff pastry toasted to perfection in an oven… Mmmmmm I'm already drooling… We have a ferry that takes us over to the island and whenever I'm on it I always get the potpie 'cause they make such a good one! Like, the best chicken potpie I've ever had, and that is saying a lot. Aw man now you got me craving potpie!
"Love stories suck." --Brittney
MM: What exactly were you singing into in the cave scene of the "Dawn of Ages" video?
BS: A big stick with a moss ball stuck on top. Hey man we had a sasquatch demanding we re-enact our music video for him so we worked with what we had! It was that or death by furry bigfoot fists!
MM: Who would be the last band standing in a drinking contest between UtA, Disforia, and Crimson Shadows?
BS: The boys in UTA would probably disagree with me but I would have to go with Crimson Shadows! Those boys really know how to hold their ale let me tell you! Such a great time every time we get together and the drinking always goes into the wee hours of the morning, but I have to say it's most often those bearded heathens welcoming the sun when all is said and done!
MM: What's out there that could turn up to embarrass you--maybe a home Christmas video of you singing "Here Comes Santa Clause" or a school pic with an 80's Wham UK "Choose Life" t-shirt?
BS: Hahaha to be honest I don't think there is much out there that would embarrass me; I mean we all did stupid things in our youth and wore stupid stuff, but to be embarrassed by it? No way. Judge me all you like by the past; the only thing that matters is what you do with your future!
MM: Select one: 1. You get to leave Earth to visit an alien race for a week. 2. An alien race visits Earth for a week. 3. An alien race probes the rest of the band for a week.
BS: Definitely #1! Oh man what I would give to explore the stars! To leave this crappy planet behind and find new worlds and beings and civilizations! Even just one moment of anti-gravity hahaha that would be rad too ;) But yeah I would have no qualms whatsoever with leaving the earth behind completely, one week would not be long enough in the slightest.
MM: Would you like to perform with holograms of any deceased metal guys? If so, who?
BS: Dio would be cool… If I believed in Hell or Heaven I would say that he's the guy I would like to meet but seeing as I don't, I guess preforming with his hologram will have to do!
MM: You read a lot of Sci-fi/Fantasy and write lyrics. Got a book idea in ya?
BS: Several. I have about 6 on the go right now. I think I really just need to sit down and focus on one, but I have so little time… Too busy doing interviews! ;) No, I'm joking, but really someday you will see a book on the shelves written by me, that's a promise.
MM: Apparently, you're a big comic book fan. Which books would you like to recommend?
BS: Right now I am reading East Of West, Y: The Last Man and Saga. All of them are great. Just started the enormous Witchblade collection as well, so we'll see how that goes. Think I might start getting into some Manga as well; saw some rad stuff over in Japan that I am going to try and get my hands on in English.
MM: Which upcoming films are you more excited to see. 1. Deadpool 2. X-Men: Apocalypse 3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 4. Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice 5. Fantastic Four 6. None of the Above
BS: All of them! Although I have heard that F4 got some pretty horrible reviews, I'll still watch it. I never listen to other people's opinions when it comes to movies. I know what I like and I usually know after watching a couple trailers if a movie is something I will like. Except when sometimes trailers change the actual story and make it look like it's about something it's not. Like one time, with a movie I can't remember, the trailer made it look like it was a rad action flick but it turned out to be a lame love story and I was pissed. Love stories suck. Love stories weaved into action movies suck. No one has time for that shit.
MM: Complete the association: Ronnie James Dio is to the metal horns as Brittney Slayes is to the ____.
Metal claw! AKA the invisible orange!
Editor Note: *64 metal claws counted in "Tonight We ride" video (plus/minus one claw)
MM: Complete the sentences:
-- The ____ album is secretly hidden behind my toilet.
I think Dookie by Green Day would be most fitting.
-- My fellow band members would probably say I'm ____ to work with.
I think they'd say I'm OK to work with. I have a pretty set vision for this band, but I am also open to the thoughts and ideas of everyone else and will work with anyone that has the successful future of the band at heart!
-- It's good to keep your expectations ____.
Non-existent. No expectations means no disappointments. Just do your best and be happy with that.
-- I would like to see ____ play a ____.
Danzig play a flute… Because wow, that would be awesome.
-- In my past life, I was ____.
A Viking. Of course.
-- ____ should never have been as popular as they were.
The Kardashians? I mean, what do they do? Shop? Ugh I don't know just don't even get me started hahaha.
-- ____ was the coolest metal band to ever exist.
Don't think I can really say this without having actually met them and talked with them, but Manowar is pretty fricken cool! There is just no one else out there like them!
-- The best pot pies are made with ____.
Love! Wow so corny… But true!
-- I got 99 problems but a ____ ain't one.
Bitch? It's why I'm in a band with boys! HA!
MM: Off your head, and without cheating, can you name a hard rock/metal band for each letter of your name?
B- Blind Guardian R- Rush I- Immortal T- Tyr T- Triosphere N- Nightwish E- Edguy Y- Year Of No Light
S- Sabaton L- Lost Horizon A- Angra Y- Yngwie Malmsteen… (I def asked for help on this one) E- Ensiferum S- Soilwork
MM: Has Brittney ever (Yes/No; explain if wanted):
Been to a comic convention: Yes! FanExpo in Toronto! And If I wasn't always on tour when it happened I'd be going to FanExpo in Vancouver every damn summer! Been to a Rush concert: Nope… Should though, being Canadian and all… Been to a Voivod, Anvil, or Helix concert: Nope, again, I think I may have failed at being Canadian… Sent flowers to a guy: Hell no. Been on Canadian TV: Yup. Lots when I was in choir. We'd do Christmas specials and stuff. Been snowboarding: Of course! Used to go every other weekend in high school! Then it got boring. Googled your name: Who hasn't?! Fired a gun: Plenty! Got my gun license and everything. Plinking is way too much fun! Scott and I always talk about moving to the boons one day so we can have a shooting range off our back deck hahaha! Eaten moose meat: Yep! Scott's dad brought one down two seasons ago and our freezer was full of it for months! Makes great sausage ;) Met Tom Green: Nope. And from what I've heard I wouldn't want to… weird guy… Been arrested: Nope. Been in the back of a cop car plenty though. Been to Japan: Have now! Drank Labatt Blue: Totes! It's pretty good actually too :) Danced on a table: Oh god yes. And speakers and bars and stages and whatever else I can get up on, it's better than dancing with the sweaty horde below! Streaked: Nope, and never had the urge to neither. LARP'ed: No! But I would love to! Ate poutine: Of course, but to be honest it's not my favorite… I like my fries plain! Kissed a Mountie: No… Why, is that a thing?! Passed a little gas onstage: Hahaha oh god no not yet! One day I'm sure I'll eat a meal before a show that doesn't quite sit right though hahahaha. Wrote to a celebrity: No… Never really thought about it actually… Do you think if I emailed Jason Statham and asked him to marry me he'd write me back? Tried on a bigfoot costume: Hahaha nope but I know someone who has! ;) Visited a fortune teller: Ooooh I've always wanted to! But no. Bought a Nickelback CD: Ugh are you kidding?! No. LARP'ed in a bigfoot costume on Canadian TV while Tom Green ate moose meat and drank Labatt Blue with the Trailer Park Boys at a Rush concert: Hahahahahahahahahaha well that would be a good time wouldn't it?! The answer to that one, is definitely no.
MM: Does anything piss you off?
BS: Yes. Lots. When people are mean to my friends. When assholes win. When people that don't deserve it get what they want. When people drive the speed limit in the passing lane… Oh yeah that one REALLY pisses me off! ;)
MM: It's said that bands have to effectively handle the Music and Business side of the industry. Now, it seems that the Social side is also a requirement. UtA has a dozen social media accounts and band members have individual accounts. Has the internet generation made it an expectation to interact with fans on social media?
BS: Having active social media is a must, absolutely. If you want to be successful you have to cover all your bases. Why wouldn't you want every platform available to reach out to potential fans? Sure we play metal because we love it, but at the end of the day the fans are what keep us going and without them we'd be nowhere. Sometimes fans can be a little too demanding, I will say that… I've had people message me on facebook and then straight up be pissed at me for not replying right away, like, excuse me?! You think I have time to sit on the internet all day and wait for people to massage me just so I can be there to answer back right away? Hell no. If I am online and you message me I will do my best to answer but most of the time I am on there because I have work to do… something to post or a show to book or shit to sort out, never to laze around and waste time unfortunately… Though if you want my attention really all you have to do is send me a cute puppy video or a montage of cats ;) Haha!
MM: Along with that comes how much of yourself to put out there and how much to not put out there. Can you be yourself online or do you have to carefully consider your audience to leave out what you feel may offend or not meet image expectations?
BS: It's sad to say, but yes I do censor myself. Mostly because I don't think people have a right to know my true opinions if they are not standing in front of me ready to debate the rights and wrongs and pros and cons of said opinions. I love a good argument, and I don't mean an emotional blowup between two uninformed drunkards. Fight me with facts and valid points and if you are right I will concede to you. Come to me with flimsy hearsay and internet bullshit and I will rip you apart!
MM: The UtA website has basically turned into a portal for your social sites. Which of those would you say has been most helpful with spreading UtA to the world?
BS: Facebook is a great outlet for communicating with fans and for keeping everyone up to date on everyday UTA activities. It's probably the most useful on that side. YouTube has probably been the site that has exposed us to the most people and gotten our name out there in the wider world. Bandcamp is where we see the most of our funds come from, so if any readers out there purchased our music from Bandcamp, thank you! We see more of the cash from that site than any other. Second is probably Amazon and iTunes. Having our music available on those sites is really important. Now is the age of online shopping!
"The music industry is full of obstacles, and there are still plenty in our way...but we'll get past them sooner or later" --Brittney
MM: Can a modern musician really create an old school, "rock star mystique" when anybody can go to their Instagram and see pics of their tomato garden and pet cats?
BS: Hahahaha that's a really great point! I mean, I am sure if you wanted to you could come out of nowhere and really work hard to create that kind of mystique by using social media to your advantage. Personally, I like people to know who I really am, if I could be closer to my favorite musicians by knowing what they did on a day to day basis, I would!
MM: I'm assuming you get the majority of the attention within the band. Any hard feelings from the other members or is it just the price of being the frontperson?
BS: I'm not really sure. I mean they don't say anything, but I guess maybe it could be there, underlying a bit. I always do my best to include them in every way possible, but being the frontperson in a band comes with it's own responsibilities, and if that is what they truly wanted then they would have done it. Does that make any sense? Being the face of a band is not easy, the attention is negative as well as positive; while they may not get as many adoring fans they also don't get nearly the same amount of trolls, so I count them lucky!
MM: Along with your singing, there are plenty of comments online about your good looks. Would you be averse to being in a "Revolver's Hottest Chicks In Metal" magazine or would you see it as contrary to the image you want?
BS: Nah, I'd do it, but I'd have to insist on being fully clothed and in a situation that I felt comfortable with. I don't think there is anything wrong with a calendar, so long as it is showcasing the women for their talents not their "assets".
MM: Lzzy Hale of Halestorm recently said "So, guys, I challenge you: take some shirts off, will ya? We wanna see some man nipple." In this post-grunge era, would you like to see male musicians go back to more charismatic, larger-than-life personalities?
BS: If you've got 80's party lifestyle era in mind when you say that then I would say no--loudmouth, drugged up, self-absorbed assholes are not what the world needs, but a "Revolver's Hottest Guys in Metal" calendar??!! YES PLEASE. I mean it. I want one. It should come out at the same time as the women's. And actually have hot guys; don't put them in there because they're famous or metal icons or whatever. HOT GUYS. With long, flowing heavy metal hair and toned, tattooed bodies…. Mmmmm… OK wait, now I am just a hypocrite aren't I?! The women's calendar has to showcase talented women but the men's should just be hot eye candy… Hmmm… Oh, isn't objectification fun! No, but seriously it's about time we turned the tables a bit and had some calendars and webpages that focus on the hot guys in metal instead of always the hot women ;) Bring on the man nipple!
MM: What kind of plans do you have for the next couple years with the band?
BS: We are aiming to release another album at the end of 2016, but that is super tentative right now. We also would like to play some European festivals, and some South American ones and Asian ones ;) Touring new places is our highest priority, I think. Want to get over to Europe and the UK, as well as South America and would love to get to Australia. Would love to tour the US with a bigger named band as well and see if we can broaden our reach. We're always looking for fun new things to do as well so we'll see what we can come up with for the next music video.
MM: As a band, what's been the biggest obstacle to overcome?
BS: The music industry is full of obstacles, and there are still plenty in our way. Right now, we are looking for a booking agency that will take a chance on us and bring us over to Europe, but they all seem to be pretty ignorant of us. We'll figure it out. We always do. We wanted to tour the US and we figured that out. We wanted to tour Mexico and we made that happen as well. We were just in China and Japan, I mean, who ever thought that would happen. So yeah, obstacles keep on coming, but we'll get past them sooner or later.
MM: As an individual, what would you like to improve about yourself?
BS: There's so much. I would like to be a better singer and a healthier person (I like candy way too much) and I wish I tried harder with my appearance hahaha I am definitely a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl but sometimes I see these girls in their little skirts and their perfect hair and I'm just like, ugh, I can't be bothered to try that hard in the morning! I have very little compassion for people as well… animals will steal my heart every time, but people? Nope. Very little patience for those that are ignorant or cruel or egotistical. You made your bed, now lie in it. Oh god see?! I am a horrible person hahahaha.
MM: And to finish off, who is the true God of Heavy Metal that you'd like to split a potpie with?
BS: Bruce Dickinson! Man, if I could just talk that guys ear off for one night… I just know I would learn so much from him. I think he and I have very similar tastes when it comes to hobbies and interests outside of music, I think we could have a really great time over a steaming potpie ;) Hahaha! Ahhh one can dream…
UTA Members: Brittney Slayes - Vocals Scott Buchanan - Drums Grant Truesdell - Guitar, Vocals Andrew Kingsley - Guitar, Vocals Kyle Sheppard - Bass