I spoke to Brittney Slayes, singer from Canadian band Unleash the archers when they played the Craufurd arms in Milton Keynes.
You’re on tour with Orden Ogan across the UK and Europe. How has the tour been going?
It’s awesome, the shows have been packed, quite a few of them have been sold out. It’s been a lot of fun, they’re awesome guys so we’ve been partying and really getting along on the road, so it’s been fantastic and it’s been great to see a lot of fans that we didnt get to see on our last European trip.
How have you gone down with the fans? Obviously a lot of them are there for Orden ogan or Rhapsody rather than yourselves.
Actually we’ve had quite a few that came up to us and said “I’ve never heard you before, you’re awesome, I bought your CD, and I hope you come back so I can hear a longer set”, and we did also have quite a lot of returning fans. That was one of the big reasons we wanted to do this tour – to get a larger exposure to the fanbase in Europe.
It’s not that long really since your first ever UK show – end of November 2016.
Yes, almost exactly a year ago.
You’re ending your tour with a run of headline dates.
We’re actually done with the Orden Ogan tour now. They’re actually doing Manchester tonight but that was booked three months after the rest of the tour so we had all our UK headline dates already booked and didn’t want to cancel anybody, so we were unfortunately unable to do the Manchester date with them but we have six of our own headline shows through the UK now.
We knew we had a lot of fans here who have been listening to us for a long time, so we said “after the big tour, lets do our own little headline tour and see some sights.”
It makes sense – it costs a lot to come here from Canada so you have to make the most of it while you’re here.
It does. And try and see as much (at least of this country) as we can. Shows were pretty strict on the package tour, getting to choose how many dates or how long we stay for our part of the tour was nice.
It must be tough as a Canadian band with the huge distances between cities and probably the same for tours to the US.
It’s mostly visa issues when it comes to the US. They’ve got quite a lot of cities close together – we’ve done West Coast runs where you just kind of loop through all along the coast and a little bit inland and hit plenty of metropolitan centres, but yes Canada, you’re looking at minimum 15 hour drives between the big centres, so a big undertaking but that’s how we got our start, so we’re used to long drives and van life and the grind, so we’re not afraid to do it.
You’re over here touring to promote your fourth album, Apex. How’s the album gone down with fans?
Pretty well so far from what what we’re hearing. We get a lot of emails and facebook messages from fans and they seem to be really enjoying it. I’ve seen a lot of front-row fans singing all the words on this tour – that’s got to say somethign as well, when it resonates like that.
It must give you quite a boost when you’re on stage and see that.
Oh yes definitely. It keeps your energy up. It’s like this energy that bounces between, and if that happens the atmosphere is electric, but if you’re the only one giving it out it’s just draining. It’s nice when they’re singing louder than you are.
It’s ten years since the band started. Does it feel that long?
No, not at all. It really doesn’t. I totally forgot it was ten years till Napalm said “let’s do something for your ten year anniversary”. It’s been great. We take it one day at a time. We have goals but it’s not like we have to do this by that date or anything like that, just have the next thing we want to get done and we work toward doing it, and that’s how it’s been since the beginning.
The main thing is that you continue to enjoy yourselves too.
Touring is actually very hard on your body and emotionally. You’re away from your family and can’t really live a normal life when you’re on the road for however many months of the year, so bands that do it just for the money? I don’t understand that. We’re going to keep trying to do something new every year, keep it exciting and play for as many fans as possible
If you could support any band on tour, who would it be?
Iced Earth. I’ve been a really big fan of that band for a long time and they were a large part of my inspiration for writing concept albums and really telling a story with your music, so I’d love to be on tour with those guys and sing along every night.
What’s the hardest bit about being on tour?
Being away from my cat. He is this little cuddle monster that just loves people and wants to be around you all the time. He’s so frickin cute and loving and talks all the time – he’s such a big presence in our lives that not having him around is really sad.