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Unleash The Archers – Brittney Slayes and band are far from their “Apex”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, July 2, 2017 at 2:14 PM (PST)

Apex is choosing to accept your fate and make the best of it! – Brittney

Don’t be mistaken, the title of this article is not implying that Apex from Canada’s much raved about Unleash The Archers is a failure by any means, rather that it proves they have so much to give that they can climb the metal stairway to heaven immeasurably from here. Apex is already an album of the year contender to a few of my friends I have spoken with.

Formed in 2007, the power metal and thrash hybrid band eschew boring classifications and instead just boldly mold themselves into their own metal unit, a true heavy metal band like Judas Priest, Sister Sin, King Diamond, Accept, Huntress, Valient Thorr, Ross The Boss Band, Tower, The Agonist or any real deal blue blooded defenders of the faith out there.

Let’s catch up with vocalist Brittney, who I personally always say has some of the best pipes in the game these days, and get the scoop on the new album Apex.

Read onward BELOW!

 Hello! So, Time Stands Still was great but Apex might be even better! More dynamics, even more passion but also keeping the energy and a lot of the sound fans love. Did you call it Apex to challenge yourselves even harder to top it on album five to prove this is not your Apex? Haha.

Thanks!  So glad you’re liking it!  We actually called it Apex because it is crucial to the story line, and because it is one half to a bigger whole…  😉  Apex is the Immortal’s mountain, but it also the place he goes mentally to find happiness away from the real world.  It is like a dreamscape where he has complete control over his own life, contrary to how things actually are for him in reality; cursed to serve the hand of evil whenever he is awakened.  Apex is choosing to accept your fate and make the best of it!

How long did it take to compose this album? I think “Shadow Guide” and the title track are my favorites, though quite different in tone. “Apex” is almost power metal and would be such a huge song to see you play to a big crowd. Well, I guess you call yourselves Power Metal at times but I always think of UTA as more a classic heavy metal band with elements from different eras. But this song…it is almost like if Unleash The Archers made a Blind Guardian song or something. SO good!

I think of us just as Heavy Metal too!  When we really got down to it, it was about four months of pretty intense writing, but we had actually started brainstorming the album late 2015, because though Time Stands Still had only been out for 6 months we had had the songs written for it for almost two years by that time and were ready to write some new tracks (signing to Napalm pushed TSS back quite a bit, originally it was slated for an independent late 2014 release.)  We demo’d two Apex tracks in early 2016, sent them to Napalm, they said yep sounds good we’ll take em, and then we booked the studio time for December 2016. 

We toured throughout May and June so we actually couldn’t start solidly writing until July, and then we were on tour for all of November, so we had to have the record finished and pre-produced by end of October.  Because of our writing style, everyone has input on each song; we pick them apart pretty heavily, and everyone has a say in the arrangement, so eight songs in four months meant we were in the jam spot every night pretty much hahaha.  We shared a jamspot with another band at the time and we actually had to move out and get a place on our own the writing was so intense hahaha, we needed to be able to go in there 24/7. 

I had written out a chapter-by-chapter track-by-track for each song, explaining what part of the story it was telling, how it should sound and how it should make the listener feel, so having that as a guideline helped quite a bit.  Needless to say though, I wrote quite a large portion of my lyrics in Denmark during the boys’ sessions  😉

Can we discuss “The Matriarch”? I feel like a feminine energy and input is so important to human society around the world. The imbalance is not working. It is cool some metal bands even with no women in them such as Veil Of Maya are acknowledging the female energy. They had a whole album called Matriarch that was also good.

Ah that’s cool, I didn’t know that!  Yeah, right from the beginning I knew I wanted our villain to be female. I am not sure why but there is something about a woman in pursuit of power that just scares the crap out of me.  I find that women can be even more ruthless and cunning than men when it comes to ambitious endeavors, and I wanted The Immortal (our protagonist) to face a foe that would stop at nothing to achieve her goals, including murdering all four of her own sons  😉   This being the last villain The Immortal would ever serve (oops did I say that out loud?) it had to be one that would pursue him to the ends of the earth and beyond if ever he were to escape her clutches…

 How does it feel to have reached ten years as a band? That is not easy without a lot of love, blood, sweat and tears!

To be honest it doesn’t feel like ten years, it has gone by way too quickly!  And it doesn’t feel like a big deal because we plan on doing this for another ten  😉  I didn’t even realize it had been ten years until Napalm pointed it out when making up the press releases for Apex!  Looking back on all the bands we “grew up” with though, and seeing that maybe 20% of them are still around, it does feel like we might have accomplished something…  But who has time for looking back!  There’s a lot to be done, including the next record to write!

Grant and Andrew seem so locked in on “Call Me Immortal”. The whole band really. Did you know you were all getting great takes and basic tracks or is it hard to be certain as you are in the stressful studio moment trying to do justice to your vision?

Hahaha you know we always ask ourselves things like that when we hear a song that is just incredible, “man did they know what they were writing at the time?!” but I can honestly say that we were just so focused on getting ten songs tracked in three weeks that we didn’t have time to nitpick and perfect, we just did the best that we could and hope it worked out in the end!  When we were writing the song earlier we did feel like the track was pretty catchy, but that is about the extent of it, hahaha!

 I always tell people that you, Brittney, have maybe the best range and make a lot of singers look like they are barely cutting it! Do you ever do anything unhealthy ever or is your throat chakra regularly doused with unicorn mountain spring water? I feel like you must not smoke cigarettes, haha. My dream would be for you to do a duet with King Diamond.

Wow King Diamond, hahaha that would be sweet!  He would totally kick my ass though hahaha.  To be honest I do my best to take care of my voice but I have my vices just like everyone else.  I enjoy a cigarette now and then. I love ice cream even though it makes my vocals phlegmy and I push it on stage sometimes when I should be taking it easy. I have my rituals and I never do anything that will destroy my voice but I sure as hell don’t treat it like a fragile object that needs to be kept locked in a glass cage  😉  It sucks on tour when everyone is partying till 8am and I have to go to bed, but it is way more important that I put on a good show for the fans that have come to see us, they deserve to see me perform to the best of my abilities every night!  The partying for me just has to wait .

How was the experience making the “Cleanse The Bloodlines” video? It looked like you all really got into it. It is kind of funny when the bird flies away and the wing hits that lady in the face, though. That bonfire in the video is huge! Are you fans of the movie Ladyhawke? I love it. Also, I was wondering what this song was about as the title could be misinterpreted negatively. But of course I highly doubt you meant it to be about ‘racial purity’ or something.

The video was a stressful yet amazing experience in 3° Celsius weather in the middle of a raptor sanctuary in central BC, but I think it turned out alright .Working with Sabre (the gyrfalcon) was so incredible, he was absolutely adorable, and I can not believe I was given that chance.  Yeah casting (when the bird lifts off from your arm) is extremely difficult; given that we had one day to get all of the narrative shots done and that Sabre is a wild animal that did not always want to do what he was told, that was the best shot we could get at the end of the day.  The two of them were standing so close together, because of how the shot was lined up, so he didn’t have much room to spread his wings; inevitably one of them was gonna get smacked hahaha  😉  No I have never seen Ladyhawke, I’ll have to check it out!  And yeah I was a little bit worried about the title but then I decided I didn’t care what people thought.  If someone doesn’t want to take the time to read the lyrics or even listen to the song (it’s pretty obvious if you focus on listening to what I am saying) then their opinion doesn’t matter anyways.  In the song The Matriarch is asking The Immortal to bring her all four of her sons, so she can kill them in a ritual to achieve immortality; she is erasing her bloodline entirely, but ‘Erase the Bloodlines’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it  😉  I knew our fans would know it was not about racial purity, they know I write fantasy and that we would never, ever write about something like that… and we write our music for them, not the trolls so, yeah.

How does it feel to have fans and other bands give you respect or tell you what songs they are responding to inside? It must be motivating, no? Or do you kind of just keep your goals constant and the praise is nice but not a factor on if you will continue in your vision?

It is amazing hearing from our fans that a particular song has moved them or motivated them or affected them in some way, it reminds you that what you are doing isn’t just about you, there are people whose lives you are influencing with your music.  At the same time though, you have to remember that we are the ones playing these songs night after night, so we do tend to write music that we find fun and entertaining, otherwise I think we’d be such a bore live hahaha!  Songs like “Dreamcrusher”, (which is one of my absolute favorites), even though very rarely do people come up to me and tell me that one is their favorite, we will still play it live, because damn is it ever fun, and it makes me smile!  The energy from a crowd is contagious, so I think it goes both ways, and that if we are having fun up on stage, then the crowd will too!

Have you found it harder to travel since America has such a stupid new President? Hahaha. Please don’t say you like him. He is such a fool. But really, I know it is a hard time for touring bands to get visas or deal with a lot of extra fees and bullshit.

We have not toured the US with Trump in power yet, but we are about to, so we’ll find out then I suppose.  I am not too worried because we have had several friends head down there with their bands and been fine, so long as you have your paperwork in order you’re ok.  It’s those that try to play down in the US on a visitor’s visa…  I mean like, why?  Just do the work; take the time to get your shit sorted and you will not have to worry in the slightest!  Don’t try and slip the system – seriously just don’t, I don’t want to hear anymore of this “but we weren’t getting paid” bullshit; you’re working, the US has strict laws about foreign workers, so do the damn paperwork.  That being said, Trump is just a face, yeah he’s got a pretty dumb one, but the strings are being pulled by others and these bills and executive orders are not his doing, they are being put into motion by players a lot more powerful than a failed reality TV star with bad hair.  It doesn’t help that he just does what he’s told though, and is completely in favor of ruining a lot of things (pleeeease don’t get rid of NAFTA!) because the president actually does have a lot of power if they decide to use it.  Regardless, I try not to pay too much attention to politics, or real life in general hahaha. I like my head where it’s at, up in the clouds daydreaming  😉

What are you looking forward to most about the rest of this year?

Touring!  Man I can not WAIT to hit the road in support of Apex!  We’ve got Europe sorted and are now working on the US.  It’s unfortunate but it looks like we may have to push the US back to spring 2018, but we are coming no matter what, and we are going to try and hit as many cities as possible.  Then after that we will turn our attentions to South America, Australia and Japan!  Then… we hit the studio once again!  Songs and lyrics are already in the works for Apex’s sequel  😉

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