SILVER TALON – A Talk With BRYCE R. VAN HOOSEN (Lead & Rhythm Guitar)

Posted on January 01th. 2019

Questionnaire by Stefan on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM


Silver Talon is an American band that originated from the demise of another formation called Spellcaster. Their first achievement has been released in the form of an EP entitled “Becoming A Demon”, who received a high rating from me. Their way of traditional US Power/Heavy Metal really fascinates me, the last days this EP was played several times a day. What the further plans are and much more I would like to know during the next conversation with  Bryce, founder guitarist of the band.

BRYCE R. VAN HOOSEN

Stefan: A warm welcome here at MTI Bryce, thank you for your willingness to contribute to this story about your newest band Silver Talon. First and foremost I would have liked to know why Spellcaster has stopped its activities.

Bryce: Unfortunately the situation had been headed that way for a number of years. Creative differences and egos were essentially tearing everything apart. It culminated one day at practice when our singer almost got into a fist fight with drummer Colin Vranizan. After that our singer quit, and we decided to formally dissolve Spellcaster.

 

Stefan: Can you clarify what kind of metal band Spellcaster was ? And a word about the released material I consider worth mentioning?

Bryce: We started out as a pretty standard issue throwback/speed metal band. Then we formed into a bit more of a dark/traditional metal band that still had modern influences. We did 3 albums – the last of which was released via Prosthetic Records.

Stefan: There was immediately an agreement that four members of the band would continue, albeit with a different name whose meaning I want to know?

Bryce: Yes – we basically said ‘this sucks, but there’s a huge opportunity here to start over.’ We chose the name Silver Talon as it was suggested to us by Dan Cleary from Striker. He said something like ‘if I ever started a new band I would call it Silver Talon.’ Hopefully we got permission to use it. If not, sorry Dan!

 

Stefan: What are the proposed ambitions that you want to achieve?

Bryce: Same ambitions we’ve always had – to make a name for ourselves and become a well respected name in the genre of heavy metal. Hopefully we can do this fulltime and start paying our bills with it!

 

Stefan: You had to search for a new singer who was found by the name Wyatt Howell. If you want to know my opinion about his singing qualities, I can tell you that he is delivers an outstanding job. I want to describe him as the perfect singer for a US Metal band. how did he get along with your band, what does his musical background look like?

Bryce: Yeah, Wyatt is awesome! He used to be in a band called Santifyre in Eugene, OR (about 3 hours from Portland) and they were kind of the go-to opening band in Eugene. There are not many places to play between Portland and Sacramento or San Francisco, so to have a solid band in Eugene with a bit of a solid fan base was a huge incentive to stop there. I think Wyatt realized that there are not many opportunities in Eugene, so he decided to move to Portland. Around that time he sent us a demo recording and we knew we had our guy.

Stefan: By the way, what does your (and the rest of you fellow Spellcaster band members)’s curriculum vitae look like?

Bryce: I’ve done Spellcaster and a local King Diamond/Mercyful Fate tribute band called Lucifer’s Child. And in fact, guitarist Sebastian Silva and drummer Colin Vranizan are both in that as well. Bassist Gabriel has since left Silver Talon to focus on his project Idle Hands, which Sebastian and Colin are also in. Sebastian has been in a bunch of local Portland bands as well. And Wyatt’s best known earlier act is Sanctifyre.

 

Stefan: At some point the time had come to record a first pair of songs, in which way are they created, who takes the lead?

Bryce: I typically take the lead. I’ll basically write all of the riffs and do the majority of the arranging. Then I bring it to the band and we jam it and make any little changes we need to. Wyatt will also work on the vocal melodies after I send him demos for the songs. From there we record drums, and I’ll record guitars and keys at home. After that we’ll record vocals and send it off to be mixed.

 

Stefan: Textually speaking, which topics are discussed?

Bryce: Anything from sci-fi heavy metal monsters, to dragons and war, to driving fast cars, to demonic possession. We try to add a bit of a human element to all of that though.

 

Stefan: A first full EP has already been delivered titled “Becoming A Demon”, a high quality workmanship for anyone who feels addressed to the almighty US Metal ! Who do you want to mention as the most important people who have brought this CD to reality?

Bryce: Of course Zack Ohren, our mixing engineer and all around great guy, plus Justin Shturtz for the great job mastering this, Alex Reisfar for the badass cover art, and last but not least, Jeff Loomis for agreeing to lay down a solo on our cover of Battle Angels.

Stefan: Do you agree with the words I have written in my review for the EP? Please speak honestly and freely brother.

Bryce: It was a great review and I really appreciate how much you enjoyed the release, so I can’t disagree there! Hopefully the full length will not disappoint either!

 

Stefan: What/which song(s) do you prefer – why?

Bryce: I really like playing Speed of the Night – I think the opening guitar piece really grabs the listeners attention. Devil Machine is classic and fun to play as well. I think Cold Embrace has the strongest chorus, and it sounds really epic and big when it comes in. I think that track might be my absolute favorite on the record.

 

Stefan: If I follow my own heart I must say that there are no bad moments to experience, everything sounds blissful in my ears, and I say that out of honor and conscience ! But if I have to mention one single highlight I would go for the Sanctuary cover ‘Battle Angels’, featuring guitar wizard Jeff Loomis ! Who came up with the initiative to give this great and legendary Sanctuary song a second life?

Bryce: When we released our first demo, Devil Machine, we got a lot of comparisons to Sanctuary. Sanctuary and Nevermore have always been a huge influence on me, and that’s something I have in common with Wyatt as well. I’ve known Jeff for a couple years, so the light bulb just went off in my head one day I guess. We sounded like Sanctuary, Jeff used to be in Sanctuary, Battle Angels is a classic track… And much to my surprise Jeff was into the idea of laying down the solo. So we did it and that was that!

 

Stefan: My key question is how you have come to an agreement to establish a partnership between Silver Talon and Mr. Loomis. Tell me about Bryce.

Bryce: I met Jeff back in 2017 at a Fifth Angel concert in Seattle. I asked him if I could get a picture with him, and surprisingly he recognized me from Instagram! So we’ve stayed in contact ever since. I asked him if he’d be into the idea of laying down a solo on Battle Angels and he was!

 

Stefan: What bother me is the fact that you still have the status of an independent band, what you are performing here is excellent and deserves a cooperation with a solid label. Brilliant bands are left behind without a record contract while worthless stuff gets a deal, what the hell is wrong with some people. Do you share this opinion with me, or not?

Bryce: We actually recently just signed with M-Theory Audio, which is kind of the brainchild of Marco Barbieri who spent many years at Century Media. We went with them essentially the deal they offered us allowed us to retain ALL the rights to our music – which is incredibly rare in any record deal. We’re definitely excited to work with Marco and the rest of the team over there. But in general, yeah I would agree that a lot of garbage gets signed. It’s all business when you start talking about record labels. Essentially they’re sort of gambling on what’s going to be a hit, and essentially sign every other band of that style once a similar band gets a bit of traction. But a lot of the deals out there these days are complete garbage. Spellcaster’s first record deal was a bit of a joke, and it got especially terrible once the rights for Under The Spell were sold to Earache. So I definitely didn’t want to be in that situation again.

Stefan: Have you often played for a live audience, if this were so, how were the reactions backwards? Name a few acts you’ve shared the stage with so far.

Bryce: Yeah, we just got done with our first full US tour in November of 2018. The reaction was great, we’re definitely winning people over with our live show. Some notable bands we’ve played with include Exmortus, Hatchet, The Absence, Unleash The Archers, Striker, Helion Prime, Powerglove, Seax, and definitely more to come.

 

Stefan: MTI is localized in Belgium, do you have some knowledge about our Metal movement, maybe you are familiar with some bands.

Bryce: I’m honestly not super familiar with Belgian bands! I know a couple like Ostrogoth and Huldrefolk, but my knowledge of the subject could stand to be greatly improved. Unfortunately never had the chance to do much in Belgium other than drive through either. Hopefully I can change that soon!

 

Stefan: We are gradually approaching the end of our conversation, but before finalizing, I want to ask you how you are going to meet the future. What are the plans that you would like to realize?

Bryce: 2019 is going to be an odd year for us – we might do some touring toward the latter half of the year, but the first part is going to be dedicated to writing and recording our full length, filming some music videos, and trying to get as much press as possible. 2020 will see a lot more touring on our end. It’s hard to not do everything at once, but we’re sort of just taking it 1 step at a time at the moment.

 

Stefan: Then there is one thing left, my appreciation for Silver Talon’s way of Metal and hospitality to bring this interview to a good end…thanks a lot my friend ! Maybe you have one last word in store for our readers? Speak free of choice Bryce, cheerz !

Bryce: Thank you so much for the interview! Check out Becoming A Demon at our BandCamp at https://silvertalon.bandcamp.com/ or visit https://www.silver-talon.com/ Hope to see you all soon!