Employed To Serve: Band Of The Day

By on 19 March 2014


It’s always gratifying to see studio based bands blossom into fully fledged, stage destroying live acts, and even more gratifying when said live show grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go until the entire venue is awash with a pile of seething, sweaty bodies and that little voice in the back of your head begins to fear for your own life. Such is the case with Employed To Serve, who began life as a two piece last year. After releasing a few EPs via Jay Randall’s (of Agoraphobic Nosebleed fame) Grindcore Karaoke label, vocalist Justine Jones and guitarist Sammy Urwin expanded the project into a full band and have grown to be one of the most incendiary live acts in the UK right now.

Their sound is difficult to pin down; I’d be tempted to use the phrase “post-hardcore” if the term hadn’t been sullied by legions of fringe sporting beatdown enthusiasts in recent years, but it is quite a fitting way to describe Employed To Serve’s angular, twisted take on familiar hardcore tropes. There’s also a fairly apparent grind influence at play here too, which isn’t too surprising given that Sammy also plays with blistering tech-grinders Oblivionized in addition to his own one-man death metal project, Regurgitate Life. But whatever you want to call it, it’s the kind of sound that punches you square in the brain and makes you want to flip over your desk and smash all your worldly possessions, so it gets a thumbs up from us!

Their forthcoming EP, ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everything’ is easily their most assured and intense release yet, so we figured this would be a fine time to quiz Justine on the band’s history, their writing process and their forthcoming debut full-length…

WHO ARE THEY: Employed To Serve
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: London, England
FOR FANS OF: Converge, The Chariot, The Dillinger Escape Plan
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everything’ (Holy Roar Records, due out March 31st)
WEBSITES: Facebook, Twitter & Bandcamp

Could you tell us briefly how you met and formed Employed To Serve?
Justine (Jones, vocals): “Well me and the guitarist Sammy had been dating for a fair few years and decided to start a recording band together, back then we didn’t really expect it to turn into a live band. It wasn’t until people seemed to actually like our stuff and Grindcore Karaoke and Woooaargh/Puzzle records released our EPs that we decided to get some members for a full line up.”

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
Justine: “It was a mixture of both for sure, we’re very fortunate in that we all have very similar music tastes, and that’s not even limited to liking metal! We’re often blaring Dr Dre, American Football and Wavves in the van.”

What kind of stuff are you and the rest of the band into? Who would you cite as influences?
Justine: “As mentioned we’re pretty varied, as it’s important to be open minded in music otherwise you end up pigeon holing yourself in terms of inspiration and just write the same stuff as other bands in your genre. As a band we have a love affair with Botch, The Chariot, Converge, Code Orange Kids, Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Dillinger Escape Plan. We also have a few local bands that we love, Palm Reader, Pariso, Razoreater, Stallone, Artemis, Exhaustion….basically anyone we’ve toured/played with! The UK is rife with talent at the moment.”

You mentioned your first two EPs were released digitally through Grindcore Karaoke. How did you get in touch with Jay, and how much would you say that these releases helped to get your name out there?
Justine: “Sammy is also in this rad band called Oblivionized, and he knew Jay through that. For a laugh we sent him our stuff and he actually liked it and was super kind and put it up on his site. It definitely helped us gain interest since the label is held in such high regard, it was also wicked to be alongside bands such as Cloud Rat who were also released on the label.”

Your live show is seriously intense at the moment. Was it a challenge to find other musicians you ‘clicked’ with in order to bring ETS to the stage?
Justine: “Thank you, that’s really kind. We’ve actually been very fortunate in that respect we managed to find like minded people to work with pretty quickly through friends.”

How does the writing process normally work out for you guys? Will you meet up with song ideas pretty much fully formed, or do you tend to jam stuff out a bit more?
Justine: “It’s a mixture of both really, sometimes Sammy will like to write a few song structures at home and record drum machines to them and send them to the rest of the band and other times we’ll write a song in a practice.”

Your new EP ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everything’ is out at the end of the month. What can you tell us about the recording sessions for this EP? How do you think it compares to your previous releases?
Justine: “We recorded it at home in ‘The Back Room Studios’ ha, this is where all the other EPs have been recorded. In terms of comparing it to the other EPs it definitely sounds like we’ve grown into our style a bit more, not to mention it’s our first release with real drums which I feel makes a huge difference.”

With numerous other projects on the go simultaneously, is it ever hard to find time for Employed To Serve?
Justine: “It’s not that difficult since we’re pretty good with organising time and communicating with the other bands to make sure there are no clashes, sometimes we even play on the same bill!”

What’s been your best moment as a band? And on the flipside, what’s been the worst thing to happen to you in music?
Justine: “Our best moment had to be playing the last date of the tour with Razoreater and Stallone at Stuck On A Name Studios, the crowd were super responsive and going nuts after a few drinks, so that felt really good! There thankfully haven’t really been any bad moments ‘touch wood’! I guess it sucks when it gets to the end of the tour and you have to say goodbye to your new friends and go back to work!”

What does the future have in store for Employed To Serve?
Justine: “We’re going to keep up the momentum of a tour a month, work on being tighter/crazier as a live band and we’re heading to the Ranch in Southampton in November to record our full length album which we’re super excited about! Thanks for interviewing us!”

About Kez Whelan

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