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I was happy to be able to interview a past Metal Maiden of the Month in Brittney Slayes of Canadian Metal Band UNLEASH THE ARCHERS.  The band is currently on a European tour and soon will be releasing their 3rd video from their last album TIME STANDS STILL and soon will begin recording their next album. Brittney took time out of her busy schedule to talk about all those and more.

Shimon Karmel Shimon Photo

Shimon Karmel Shimon Photo


THE METAL PIT: The band will soon be releasing your 3rd video from your last album Time Stands Still. What can you tell us about that? What song is it for? Your band seems to have 2 types of videos. Either Fun or Epic. Which does this fall under? Not to say that your Epic videos like General of the Dark Army or Tonight We Ride aren’t fun but at least your not headlining with a Sasquatch in those. 😉  BRITTNEY SLAYES:  Hahaha I would have to say it’s a bit of both… We had a lot of fun making it, I mean it was super hard work, long hours, but so rad, and I think the concept is pretty epic.  It dabbles in storytelling, includes some performance footage, has a great scene shot in the back streets of Vancouver; we are really exited to share it with everyone and close the TSS chapter of our lives on a high note  😉

Your soon venturing out on another European tour. How does touring there differ from touring in North America?  It’s pretty similar in that there is a routine; every day you wake up and drive to the venue, get ready, play the show, party the night away, then go to sleep and do it all over again in the morning.  The venues we are playing here are much more suited for touring bands, in that they have all the amenities you could ever need, including showers, big back rooms for eating dinner together, and even laundry.  So far in our career we have only ever toured the mid-sized bar scene, which never had any of that, although I am sure those venues exist just perhaps only in the large capacities.  Arenas and huge halls; here in Europe even the smallest bar we have played had at least a comfy back room complete with private washroom and shower.

Do you feel you’re maybe even more popular in Europe then are you in your homeland?  That is really hard to say; we love our Canadian fans very much, and they support us immensely.  Our shows at home are filled with friends and we always have an amazing time; nothing really compares to that.  Over here we do have many fans but this tour is more about reaching out to those that don’t already know us, trying to grow the fanbase 

I watched a interview you did with Mary Zimmer about what you do to warm up for a live show. What about after a show? Do you do anything special to your voice or is it just show is over, time to relax or party?  Pretty much that hahahaha… I try not to dive into the booze right away, I will continue drinking room temp water until the show is over.  I will also try to eat as playing a show drains you pretty hard.  Other than that I don’t party too much on the road in general but I will have a couple beers if the party is raging around me… Which seems to be happening a lot on this particular tour hahaha!  

brittney2When did you really learn that you need to really take care of your voice and warm up properly? In university for sure; I joined the UVic Chamber Singers and we toured all over the world together spending weeks on the road, and it was there that I realized your voice wont last if you don’t take care of it.  The other members all had great remedies and secrets and I just took the ones that worked best for me.

You have such a powerful voice and rank up there in screaming with the best of them. When you first started singing were you influenced by any specific artists/singers or just lots of different artists? Thank you    Yes definitely I would say first and foremost it was Brucey (Dickinson) from Iron Maiden that inspired me the most.  His stage presence and vocal style and lyrical content really speak to me and in my early years I would often watch live videos of him to see how he interacted with the crowd and how he moved around on stage.  When I finally got to see them live it was a dream come true.  I also love Geoff Tate; the way that man captures emotion with his voice is mesmerizing!  Also I studied his mid-range falsettos to learn how to do my own.  Lastly would be Daniel Heiman from Lost Horizon… That man has a voice like no other.  I worked very hard to improve my range to the best it could be so I could sing every note of his music.  He is also the one that inspires me to play around with songwriting; don’t just write the easy stuff, write what the song needs.

Your vocals seem to really change between your last 2 albums. I have heard that you took what you do live with your vocals and transferred it to what you do in the studio? Can you elaborate on that and how it has helped you? Or what it did to change or improve on your vocals?   (This question is courtesy of new writer Jessika Knoop)  Well, the truth is that in the beginning I was very naïve in the studio, I had no idea how to perform in a little box the way I perform on stage, I could never convey the emotion properly as I was too busy worrying about timing or pitch or tone…  It wasn’t until Time Stands Still that I finally said ‘screw this I am going to make a record that I can be proud of’ and really concentrated on the delivery instead of perfection.  Which is what a live show is about anyways.  When I get on stage it’s just me talking to the crowd, telling them stories, and the energy they give back sort of catapults between us and makes the show more electrifying.  I really invested my heart into the tracks on TSS and I think that comes across much clearer than on the last albums.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the songs from Behold, Demons and Defy, I just couldn’t do them justice in the studio.  I know so much more now than I did back then, about personal expectations versus outside influences, and can proudly say that the studio is a much more comfortable place for me then it was when I was young 

 

What is the best tips you can give young people wanting to sing like you? My advice would be to sing everywhere; in the car, in the shower, at home, at work (if you can) and listen to bands that you love and try to emulate what they do.  Don’t ever push it, but with time and practice you will eventually begin to pick up on things, and your voice will become accustomed to certain ranges and styles.  Also don’t be afraid to get lessons!  Even just a few can help 

In a few months the band will record a new album. Has the band worked on this yet like with song writing or anything or do you just do that all once you get to the studio? We have everything written except for a few parts here and there, and everything is pre-produced to perfection so that we can maximize our time in the studio.  You pay by the hour, and we don’t have a lot of money, so we have to make every second count by being more than ready to lay our parts down.

 

Has the way you write songs or the way the band records changed much since you started?brittney3

Not too much really, we all still have a say in how each song turns out.  We help each other with our parts and make suggestions.  We tell one another when something sucks or doesn’t quite fit.  Being honest with one another is extremely important, because if you let something slide it’s just going to bug you down the road, and create an animosity that doesn’t really exist.  We have recorded with a different engineer every record so each producer kind of has their own style, but for the most part we lay down drums, then guitars, then bass, then vocals, and that’s that!

What was it like appearing on the Vivaldi Metal Project?  It was such an honour!  So many amazing musicians were involved in that, and Mistheria did such a great job coordinating it all.  I was of course so stoked to share a song with Fabio Leone, even if we recorded oceans apart, it was still something special!

  Canada seems to be producing some amazing female Metal Singer in the last few years with people like Kobra Paige, Alissa White-Gluz, Priya Panda and yourself. I think a great tour would be your 4 bands playing together. Like the Canadian version of the Big 4!!! 😉 Do you find yourself following those bands just because your all Canadian vocalists leading those bands? Yeah we all know each other or are at least aware of one another hahaha, I mean you can’t not, the metal scene in Canada is not huge  😉  I have nothing but love for all those girls and wish them all the best, but for the most part I just concentrate on what we’re doing and keep my eyes on the future!  Managing a band is super time consuming so I barely have time to answer all the band emails/messages/comments etc; let alone scroll through anyone else’s hahaha  😉  I would love to share the stage with any one of them, I think we Canadian’s need to stick together out there!  

Outside of singing and Metal what is your biggest pleasure or hobby?  I basically have three main hobbies: reading, watching movies and playing video games.  Lately I have really been into reading comic books and graphic novels so most of my spare time goes to that, but I try to watch at least 3 or 4 movies a week and hopefully when this record is done I will have more time for gaming!  Been missing it a lot lately.

  Who is your favourite Metal singer of all time?  Wow that is such a hard question.  Like honestly I really hate to have to decide!  I am in to so many bands right now, and there are some that will be my go-to’s forever, just amazing voices that I can never get enough of you know?  Hmmm… If I had to absolutely answer with one person I would say Daniel Heiman, but if I were to only listen to him for the rest of my life I would be missing out on so much greatness  Best Metal album of all time? Painkiller

How tired are you of hearing questions about being a female in a Metal Band?  😉  (this question shouldn’t count as one of those questions. haha)  Hahahaha pretty tired actually, yeah.  It’s not something that is special, I am a metalhead just like you, doing what I love, listening to the music I love, playing music I am proud of.  It’s not a thing  😉

 

Thank you Brittney for talking to me. I hope you have a very successful European tour. Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview!  We really appreciate the support!  Hopefully we can talk again soon when the new record nears completion  😉  Thanks!  \m/