Unleash the Archers is a female fronted, melodic power metal band hailing from Vancouver, BC. Since forming in 2007, UTA have released three self-produced full length albums and one EP. While the band is generally defined as power metal, UTA’s music seems to span many other metal genres. Unleash the Archers have shared the stage with many great metal acts such as 3 Inches of Blood, Dismember, Leaves Eyes, and Blackguard. Over the last five years, the band has accumulated a vast following, and a recent North American tour allowed them to bring their sound to the US and Mexican masses.
Who is Unleash the Archers?
As of now, the only original members are myself (Brittney Slayes, vocals) and Scott (Buchanan) on drums; we started the band together back in 2007. We’ve got Grant Truesdell and Andrew Saunders on guitars; both are known from their old band Archon Legion. For bass, we finally just found someone that we think fits in perfect, Kyle Sheppard, and we announced him the day of our Wacken Battle, March 30th.
Were you all friends before UTA? How long have you known each other?
Scott and I had been together for a while before we decided to start UTA, and we actually met Grant and Andrew through the metal scene in Victoria and became close with them through playing shows and touring a bunch together. When we lost Mike in 2010, Grant was an obvious choice for us, and when he was more than willing to join the team we knew it was fate! We just lost Brayden in the fall of 2013, which sucked, but we had Andrew jamming with us not a week after and it just felt right. We have all been friends for years now, so it was so easy, so comfortable. Finding a new bass player was a whole different issue (hahaha) but we got that sorted eventually.
Who/what are UTA’s biggest influences/inspiration sources?
I think it’s safe to say that we all find inspiration in the greats, bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio… Grant, Andrew and I are all huge into bands like Lost Horizon, Angra, and Helloween. Scott is a big supporter of Woods of Ypres (RIP David) as well as Thrawsunblat and other similar black metal bands. We’re all over the map I guess!
How did you decide on the band name?
Well, it was difficult, that’s for sure. We all wanted something different. We couldn’t agree on one particular style and so it took about three months of emailing back and forth, throwing names out in silent moments at jams and having everyone think on it for a second, then decide against it. Finally when we were pretty sure we were never going to find the right name someone blurted out ‘Unleash The Archers’… and when we all didn’t hate it, it stuck! I love it; being a history major it really speaks to me. I love the medieval imagery, and I think it captures the energy of our sound as well.
What is the writing/creative process like?
Creative freedom is very important in this band. No one person has control; it is very democratic. If someone writes a part and we don’t all love it, then it gets re-worked, but we also don’t shut someone down if they want to try something new. Usually, Grant or Andrew will come to us with a riff or a set of riffs and we’ll jam it out, see how it feels. If a vocal line comes easy to me I’ll start putting lyrics to it. Sometimes they’ll put forward entire songs and we’ll change bits here and there, sometimes we’ll build the entire song together from one simple melody. We don’t really have a ‘process’ I suppose, except for the white board is really handy. We name our riffs and sorta piece them together like lego, so that when we’re jamming along we can look up at the board and remember what comes next… Oh the ‘November Rain Riff’ right yeah OK… (hahaha)
What are some of the highlights of UTA’s career so far?
Touring North America was insane, so fun and so tiring and so challenging, but I am really glad we finally did it. We love to tour. The road is the best place ever because all you have to focus on is the next show, nothing else matters. Just play your best and slay as many faces as you can and then move on to the next town. I can’t wait to hit the road in support of the new album; it’s gonna be such a blast.
What challenges has the band had to overcome?
The biggest challenge just recently was losing Brayden I’d say. He was so important to us both musically and personally and I knew that the first time we played without him I was gonna look over at his mic and feel a bit of an emptiness when he’s not there… But Andrew is a very talented guitar player and a great guy and I know he belongs with UTA so I’m sure we’ll always miss Brayden but all things fade with time. (Sorry about that – hahaha – got a bit sappy there…) But yeah, other than that I think our biggest obstacle has been pinning down our sound; we have always been a band that likes to mingle Death with Power with Blackened and Thrash but I think this new record has narrowed it down and is really going to showcase a more focused sound. Don’t get me wrong, we still have lots of different elements on there, but I think you can honestly say we play Metal on this record plain and simple.
What is UTA up to now? Any upcoming shows or releases on the horizon?
March 30th was the night we played our qualifying Wacken Battle show, so we were so stoked for that. [That Wacken Metal Battle Canada performance earned them the wildcard position at Vancouver’s semi-final scheduled for May 3.]
And then on May 11th we are direct support for Primal Fear on their Vancouver debut so that is also going to be frickin’ amazing. Most importantly, however, the entire month of March we are in the studio recording our next full-length release, which has a tentative early summer release. We’ve got nine brand new, soul-crushing songs that I think everyone is really going to like. I may be wrong but I have never been so excited about new material and I can not wait to share it with everyone!
Where has been your favourite place to perform?
Our hometown of Victoria has always been good to us. Our home away from home in Edmonton has some of our best supporters as well, and then our show in Culiacan, Mexico was really mind blowing.
What advice would you give to other young musicians trying to make it in the music world?
Tour!!! Practice every night! Play to a metronome to get tighter! Always be writing!
What would you say is something surprising or entertaining about UTA?
Our live show I guess. It’s really important to us that we are fun, fast and entertaining up on stage; we want everyone to leave the venue remembering our name and the best way we know how is by creating a lasting impression. The worst thing ever is to look out at the crowd and see the light of a phone reflecting off someone’s face as they would rather read their texts than watch you play, and I fight to make sure that never happens. Connecting with the crowd is so important to me; I want to look into the eyes of each and every person there and have them know that I see them, that I am watching them, and for them to realize that in that moment, I am truly playing just for them.
Unleash the Archers discography
Defy the Skies (July 2012)
Demons of the AstroWaste (May 2011)
Behold the Devastation (August 2009)
Unleash the Archers online