“Unleash The Archers” INTERVIEW by Keith Clements
Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, how are you guys doing?
Doing very well, thank you! Things are super busy at the moment but we love it.
“Apex” Your upcoming album is scheduled for a June 2nd release, how is the outcome of the album? Are you happy with the whole process? Any hic-ups along the way?
Yeah we are pretty satisfied with how everything turned out, the record and the artwork, and the reaction so far has been positive. I think we still have a lot of untapped potential and that our best is yet to come, but everyone performed to the best of their abilities and we gave each track as much time and attention as we could to make sure they turned out just right. There will always be little things that I wish I could change; words I wish I had used instead or sections that needed a bit more time in the writing phase, but all in all it went smoothly and I’ll probably never be perfectly happy with anything we create anyways so no point in nitpicking at it now!
This is your second full-length album since you signed up with Napalm Records, how do you feel about “Apex” when compared to the first one “Time Stands Still”?
We were still playing around a lot on TSS, writing whatever we felt like at the time and letting the songs lead the way. On Apex we had a clear vision to follow, being that it is a concept record, and I think that helped to make the album more poignant, more cohesive. Each track has a very specific purpose, it’s own part of the story to tell, and so I feel it is the first time we have ever truly written an album, instead of just a collection of songs.
The band started in 2007 and you dropped your debut in 2009, in a span of 8 years how have you progressed musically and as individuals? How are you handling the fame?
I have learned so much about my own voice, about how to perform in the studio with the same passion as playing live. Our music has progressed from a death metal-centric sound to head in a more traditional heavy metal direction. It feels a lot less like throwing riffs together and more like arranging music, actually writing. As the years go by you begin to truly know yourself and your bandmates and the tighter you become the better you play together. The time has passed so quickly, it really does feel like just yesterday we were moving into our first jamspot and were so excited to create music together! Nowadays, well I don’t think we are famous in any sense of the word. We are still just a bunch of musicians stoked to share our ideas with the world. It’s life as usual for us so, I’d say we’re handling it ok.
According to you, which is the best record you have released to date? Or does each album mean different things in different ways?
Yeah I can’t honestly say that any of them are the best, they are each representative of the band at a particular moment in time and we would not be here without having created every one of them. They were necessary steps in our evolution, expressions of our musical selves frozen in time… They are all good in their own little ways, I mean there are still a thousand things I would change on each one but that’s what makes them so important, they are lessons, personifications of the learning curve we experienced and are continuing to experience!
“Unleash The Archers” what was the reasons and/or scenario to come up with this name?
Oh goodness it’s not a good story in the slightest, we honestly just could not agree on anything else! It took months of back and forth-ing to figure it out. We had a word doc about thirty pages long with name after name listed on it, and when it came down to choose one we still couldn’t decide! Then someone mumbled, “how about Unleash The Archers?” and we didn’t all hate it so, it stuck! To be honest I like it, I think it matches the urgency of our sound, and the imagery it conjures is rad! When people ask about the name I always say, “Imagine standing on the ramparts of your castle, and the barbarian horde is rushing at your walls, what’s the first thing that you do?” And of course they know exactly what to say!
Could you tell us a bit of history on how it all began as a band?
All through university Scott (drums) played in a death metal band, and I used to go to their shows all the time and loved supporting him and the band. When we graduated the band broke up, so Scott and I started UTA with his old guitar player Brayden (founding member, but no longer with us now). We found another guitar player and bass player online and by the end of 2007 we started jamming together. We toured Canada many times, then finally got the paperwork together and toured the US a bunch as well. Even made it through Mexico a couple times, which was rad. We had built up a pretty solid North American fan base when Napalm got in touch with us, right as we were about to release Time Stands Still as our third independent full length. We decided to hold off on the release and signed with Napalm instead; needless to say it’s been all systems go since then!
Nikko is the 4th Bassist for the band, Can you tell us the reason for a frequent changes in the bassist?
Obviously it’s because bass players are weird… Haha no but really, we lost our original bass player when we moved over to Vancouver from the island where we had started out. He stayed on for a bit but didn’t like the big city very much, so he left us in 2012. Our second bass player left us after about a year to join another band, not sure why but we just wanted him to be happy so no big deal. Our third was actually the drummer in another project and drums were his true passion, so he left us to focus on that. Now we have Nikko and we hope he wants to stick around, but we’re pretty used to rolling with the punches so we’ll just keep on doing what we do! Scott, Andrew, Grant and myself have been friends for a very long time and are all on the same page when it comes to UTA so, I’m happy as long as they are happy.
Have you ever thought of touring to different countries rather than the regular countries you often tour, there are lot of people out there who would love to see the band?
Absolutely! We will tour anywhere! I mean that. We love to tour, we’ve been super proactive about hitting the road ever since our very first western Canadian tour in 2008, so if someone is willing to bring us there, we’ll go. It’s not just about grabbing your gear and showing up though, and it’s not just about having fans there, a lot of hard work goes into booking tours and making everything happen, and it’s got to be taken seriously by everyone involved otherwise shows are cancelled and bands end up stranded and things can go very wrong. You have no idea how much money we have to save up to be able to survive on the road for months at a time… Bills keep coming regardless of who you are or what you do so we are always extremely careful to plan everything down to the most minute detail. But hell yeah if the road is open we’ll drive it!
How does today’s political and religious landscape affect the band and your writing, maybe even as people in the world of 2017?
Though I may be influenced subconsciously by the current political climate I try my best to keep the lyrical content free of any kind of social commentary whatsoever. Music is for escaping the real world, not dissecting it! At least in my opinion… I had quite a lot to say, figuratively, about the music industry on Time Stands Still, if you can read between the lines… But for the most part I like to write sci-fi and fantasy stories with my music, so the world could be in the middle of WW3 and I wouldn’t have anything to say about it. I stay away from religion completely because I don’t believe in it really so, why sing about it? I used to incorporate some religious elements into my music, like the notions of hell or sin or the after-life, but now I just avoid it as I find there is no point in perpetuating a mythology that encourages segregation, discrimination and misogyny.
It was a pleasure to have you with us, thanks for giving us the time and opportunity, Would you like to share a message to the fans and readers of our publication?
Thanks for taking the time to hang out with me and to learn a little bit more about UTA! If you would like to say hi or chat then reach out on Facebook, we always answer our messages, and if you are interested in our old albums or t-shirts or anything like that we have our own web store and I package the orders myself! Lastly feel free to check out the singles for Apex up on Napalm’s youtube channel! Hope you like what you hear. Thanks a bunch! – Brittney Slayes
Keith Clements/MHF Magazine