Employed To Serve @ Rough Trade 13/05/19
Employed To Serve hit Rough Trade’s stage on Monday in support of their incredible new album Eternal Forward Motion, already hailed as a potential album of the year by many critics, which is a superb accomplishment considering that it’s not even six months into the year. Despite only having a half hour set the band (in their signature jackets) ploughed through eight fantastically heavy tracks from both their new album and previous release Warmth of a Dying Sun, which also garnered album of the year status from most critics, including Kerrang. Highlights of the set included singles off the newest record, ‘Force Fed’ and ‘Harsh Truth’, and of course the staple closer in their live set, ‘I Spend My Days’. Just before the iconic riff kicked in, frontwoman Justine Jones rightly yelled, “You already know what it fucking is!”. Despite the fact it was only early evening on a Monday, the band and the crowd gave it their absolute all; this is a band who have that special kind of connection with their fans and who can deploy complete insanity at any moment.
There is absolutely no doubt that Employed To Serve are one of the best bands in the world, and considering the quality of music that they’re putting out this early in their career, I am absolutely certain that they are going to take over the world of metal. I can easily see them rising to a similar level to bands like Gojira and headlining festivals and venues the size of Brixton Academy.
Before their show I chatted to guitarist and co-vocalist Sammy Urwin about all things Employed To Serve:
What does the term Eternal Forward Motion mean?
It was a term for me about trying to move forward during bad spells and when you have those revelations when days become better. Trying not to get bogged down in bad spells and finding the better days.
Do you never overheat playing in the jackets?
Literally last night in our practice room show in Hull was insanely sweaty. We always get horribly gross; we have new jackets for this album and they’re so gross already. But I kinda love it because you get delirious and you stop focusing on the crowd and you’re just in your own little heat trance.
Was the recording process different for this album?
We booked in extra time for this album because we previously always found that on the last day we were rushing around to finish things off, so we wanted that extra time to do everything comfortably without having to rush things on the last day in the studio.
How long ago did you have it written?
Quite a while beforehand, but the first single we released – ‘Force Fed’– was written maybe a month before we went in to record it. Originally, it was going to be for album 4 but then we replaced another track from Eternal Forward Motion with it and we loved it. The other song will probably show up in future, just a bit Frankenstein-ed, having cherry picked our favourite parts of it and rejigged it a bit.
What sparked the decision to sign with Spinefarm?
The opportunity just showed up and it felt like a natural move for us because they’re a part of Universal and we want to reach as many people as possible; moving to Spinefarm was the best way to do that. We still have lots of love for our old label Holy Roar – Justine still works there – but this felt like the natural move in our progression.
Were you nervous coming into this album because of the incredible success of Warmth of a Dying Sun?
Yeah, we were a bit because it was a lot to live up to, but we felt like these songs were stronger and we weren’t worried too much after we started writing. Initially though, we were like ‘shit ok we’re gonna have to work hard’.
What’s your favourite show to date?
Some of the ones we’ve done this weekend – London was incredible, it was our biggest headline show and was such an overwhelming experience. Glasgow was just mayhem as well as it was absolutely nuts from the very first song with people climbing all over the place.
What would your dream tour be?
Are you excited for All Points East?
I’m well excited for it – I don’t know exactly what to expect yet because it’s such a new festival, but I’m so excited. The line-up is insane and the way it’s planned is so that there are no clashes which is excellent. 100% excited to play on such a huge stage too, I always get so pumped up before an especially big show. I’m so excited to see Architects, Bring Me The Horizon and Run The Jewels because I’ve never seen any of them, as well as our mates in Lotus Eater opening the day which will be incredible on a big stage. I’m just very excited for the whole line-up because there’s a few artists I’m not very familiar with, but I can’t wait to try and see everyone.
How about Slam Dunk?
I’m very excited for that too because it’s such a diverse crowd, especially over the last few years when they’ve been trying to mix it up with heavier bands – I’m very excited for Glassjaw especially.
Still similar but some other bands have come into play too. Obviously lots of Deftones, but I feel like the Slipknot influence is more obvious on this record. Will Haven of course too, and a lot of early Fear Factory and other bands who were on Roadrunner in the early 90s like Soulfly, and Pantera – they also really inspire me, even though you might not hear it too obviously. ‘Harsh Truth’ was inspired by a lot of very industrial stuff like Nine Inch Nails, and despite not being too obvious you can certainly hear it in the drum beat at the beginning.
You’ve done a lot of independent venues this tour, is that something you’re passionate about?
Yeah absolutely, we did the Garage in London and Classic Grand in Glasgow as well as being big fans of Rough Trade and independent record stores – I’m always burning all my money away on records.
Have you got a favourite release this year?
The latest We Never Learned To Live record (Sleepwalk Transmissions) is an absolute contender for album of the year; indeed their bassist played on Eternal Forward Motion for us.