by CHARLIE LI
In the dynamic world of modern music where artists often come and go, Sam Slate stands out not just for his musical talent, but also for his multifaceted role that keeps the band Her Majesty thriving.
As a bass player, occasional drummer and the band’s manager, Slate is a pivotal figure behind the band’s success.
Slate’s journey in the world of rhythms and melodies began at 10 years old when he received a drum set for Christmas from his parents. In high school, he also became a part of his school’s marching band, which helped lay the foundation for his future in music.
Slate’s path to becoming a member of Her Majesty is a combination of both chance and opportunity. According to Slate, he met the two other band members in high school while taking part in an after-school program that was held in a recording studio.
“I was in there one day, I was lucky enough to be holding a bass guitar trying to learn how to play it, and Felix [Byler] barged into my practice room and was like, ‘Hey, do you want to come jam with me and my drummer?’ And the rest is history,” Slate said.
Along with Slate, Her Majesty is comprised of two other members: Felix Byler and Zora Dulaney. Both Byler and Dulaney were born and raised in Floyd, Va., a small town in southwest Virginia that boasts a population of just over 450 people. According to Slate, Floyd is known for its incredibly vibrant music and arts culture.
Byler comes from a very musical family, teaching themself to sing and play guitar at a very early age. One of the band’s songs, “Fourteen,” gets its name from how old Byler was when they wrote it.
While Dulaney wasn’t part of a very musical family, she started making her own art at a young age. Because of this, Dulaney is Her Majesty’s chief designer when it comes to posters and merchandise in addition to playing drums and bass.
Currently, the band members reside in different areas, which makes scheduling and rehearsing difficult during the school year. Byler lives in Floyd, Va. where they work, write music and help discover other bands and venues. Dulaney is a full-time student at James Madison University and works on campus, and Slate attends Mary Washington where, along with being a student, he also works a part-time job on campus at Dodd Auditorium.
Slate’s contributions to Her Majesty extend beyond his instrumental talents. As the band’s manager, he is the backbone of their behind-the-scenes operations—handling the booking of shows, finances, merchandise sales and social media presence.
His managing role has helped the band navigate the ever-changing world of music by keeping their presence well-known. As a result, their music has been reviewed by several local newspapers.
Elise McCue from The Roanoke Times described the band as, “full of punk rock zest but with shades of such ‘90s pop/rockers as Alanis Morrisette.” Additionally, Erik Reyes from Gas Mask Magazine commented on “Downer,” a song from their 2020 album “Operator Error.” Reyes wrote, “The vocal styles here are the main draw, for me, as they harken back to an earlier era of Punk, Rock, Emo, and the various inter-genre gremlins that we all obsessed over in our adolescence.”
Her Majesty released their latest album, “State of the Union,” on Aug. 1, which is available on all streaming platforms. They also recorded a music video for the song “Bile,” which appears on the album.
According to Slate, the band considers this album to be their “most proud piece of work.”
Slate also mentioned that the newest album took a lot of blood, sweat, tears and gasoline.
“We drove a lot for that record, we recorded it out of state. But it was the biggest project that we’ve worked on as a group, and it came together beautifully,” said Slate.
The band’s next concert is in Richmond, Va. at The Camel on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.