Employed To Serve [Interview]
Having had my ears blown by Employed To Serve’s debut long-player Greyer Than You Remember and seen the Woking-based post-hardcore upstarts tear through a riotous Palm Reader support slot, I can safely say that if you love hardcore-related shenanigans and haven’t checked these guys out yet, you need to fix that ASAP.
A bleak and brutal whirlwind of off-kilter riffs, hectic drum abuse, and scorching vocals, Greyer Than You Remember represents pure, no-shortcut quality; over the course of every track, Employed To Serve push themselves past their own limits and into the previously unknowable. Here, ETS vocalist Justine Jones chats about her band’s origin story, self-worth, onstage nerves, and some sick future tour plans…
Your album Greyer Than You Remember is dropping on May 25th. How do you feel right now?
Really excited! We’ve had some of these songs written for a year, so we’re really happy to finally be playing them live and for people to be able to listen to them!
How would you describe your creative evolution over the course of your last few releases and the creation of Greyer Than You Remember?
Pretty drastic! I feel like we’ve forced ourselves into gear with this release and spent more time writing songs. Having two new members has really changed up our writing process in a good way.
Is there an underlying theme to Greyer Than You Remember? What’s it all about?
It’s the continuing theme of people’s lack of self worth and drive to achieve, always settling for second best and never really committing to anything.
What is Employed To Serve’s origin story?
Sammy [guitar] and I had wanted to start a post-hardcore band for a while, but we didn’t really have any mates from that scene, so we started recording our first two EPs by ourselves. Sammy programmed the drums and did all the guitars and bass, and I just shouted over the top. After a while of going to local shows and after Grindcore Karaoke (Jay Randall of Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s label) released our EPs, we started to meet more likeminded people and found our current members through mutual friends and posting on music university forums.
What first inspired you to become a musician?
Watching Scuzz and Kerrang! when I was in year 6 (so when I was about 10 or 11), and being really inspired for what felt like the first time. That buzz I got from watching awesome music has definitely stuck with me to this day.
You’ve played over 100 European shows. What’s the most mental thing that’s ever happened during one of your sets?
I think it would probably be Southsea Fest; it properly kicked off and it felt like most of the venue was a pit and 3 out of 5 members were being crowd surfed. Definitely one of my favourite shows!
Do you get nerves or stage fright? If so, how do you get around that?
I used to get them in a big way when I first started. This is my first proper band, so I had never particularly played live before. I quickly found the more I gigged, the less sick I felt. I also run the set at home almost every day a few weeks before a tour, so there’s no doubt in my mind that I can perform the best I can.
That definitely helps, as making a mistake can really mess with your nerves for the rest of the set.
What are your passions outside of music?
I don’t have much of a life outside of music [laughs], but I’m into photography. I don’t do as many jobs as I used to with it, but I still enjoy it when I get the time!
If you had to pick one moment as a highlight of your journey so far, what would it be?
I think watching Funeral For A Friend side stage after our set each night was pretty mental!
Beyond the release of Greyer Than You Remember, what do you have planned for the rest of 2015?
We’re keeping nice and busy! We have a release tour with Maths this month, in June we have a short run of mainland Europe shows with Rolo Tomassi, playing with Biohazard in July and we’re touring France in August. We’re so excited/overwhelmed with our luck with getting these support slots/tours!
Check out TMMP’s review of Greyer Than You Remember here.
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