Photo: Daniel Waverley Grey
Potentially one the biggest breakout successes of 2017, Employed To Serve have been enjoying the spoils of success following the release of their fantastic and crushing sophomore record The Warmth Of A Dying Sun last year. After leveling the Avalanche Stage at Download 2018 we got to sit down with vocalist Justine and guitarist Sammy to talk about the Download experience, creating a collective space between the band and fans and watching someone being shackled to stocks and having their hair shaven off whilst listening to the Nyan Cat song.
Hi! How are you guys?
Sammy: Yeah good man!
Sammy: Yeah, absolutely buzzing after playing.
So this was your first time playing Download, how did you find it?
Sammy: It was awesome.
Justine: Yeah, we couldn't ask for more. The crowd was great, staff are lovely, really happy about it.
Sammy: It was near enough perfect, we played quite an early slot but the turnout was amazing, we couldn't ask for more people and yeah, just chuffed. I've been here when I was younger so to finally play now -
Justine: It's just a childhood dream isn't it.
You guys clashed with Helpless, who are another Holy Roar band. Was that something you found frustrating?
Justine: Yeah, I'm so gutted about that, I really wanted to see them!
Sammy: Yeah, we're good friends with the guys in Helpless and we love their band as well, so we're gutted we couldn't see them.
Justine: We can't have it all I guess!
So you said on stage you'll be here all weekend, who are you guys planning on seeing?
Sammy: I need to check again because I didn't look at all the stages before we came and within the last week I've kind of been like 'holy shit, they're playing!' Today I wanna see Napalm Death, I wanna go watch CKY, annoyingly I think we're missing Stick To Your Guns.
Justine: Yeah I really wanted to see them, we managed to catch Stray From The Path, they were sick, they're so awesome man.
Sammy: I'm excited, I'm just looking at the poster now to remind myself, headliner wise Bullet For My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold is going to be cool tonight. But yeah, there's plenty of bands, Rolo Tomassi and Milk Teeth are playing over this weekend as well.
Justine: They're awesome, both of those bands are killing it.
Speaking of Milk Teeth, you guys went on tour with them last year. What was it like supporting a band who's fans might not be familiar with extreme music?
Sammy: It was really cool wasn't it? We obviously really like the band and love the guys anyway. But we we're apprehensive about the tour because we were like 'is it going to work, it it going to be too much of a clash?'.
Justine: We just really like the band and they're sort of in a similar sort of situation, a different scene, but still in the UK scene. It was just like 'fuck it, lets try it'. I get really bored of playing the same lineups, I like our lineups to be diverse and have something for everyone and I think that was a brilliant example of that.
Sammy: Yeah, you don't want the same thing over and over and it just kind of proved that people were into both bands and genres. It was cool seeing people either in our shirts or their shirts, singing along to both bands. I'm sure there were a few people who were there for a specific band, but for the most part everyone was down to catch everything. There wasn't a big segregation between the fan bases, but yeah I love tours like that.
Justine: I think the press had a great influence on tours like that with Kerrang and magazines like that covering all bands on the bill. It was very much a Kerrang like crowd with people going 'Oh Kerrang are bigging these guys up, this is awesome'.
Sammy: One of my favorite tours was actually that run.
Warmth Of A Dying Sun Is just over a year old now, looking back how do you feel about it's release?
Justine: It opened up so many doors for us, which is obviously a very cliche thing to say. But when we were writing it we didn't think it would go this far. It's not like we didn't have confidence in our work or anything or think it wasn't very good, it's just like you never know do you?
Sammy: No, and it definitely opened up a new crowd for us as well, because there's definitely a lot of stuff on there that's very similar to the first album, but we definitely tried to do some heavier and groovier tracks rather than it being like the first record which is quite chaotic throughout. We were kind of like 'oh shit, are people going to be into this' and stuff and luckily people were, honestly we couldn't be more chuffed really on how it went.
So Justine you released appeared on Jamie Lenman's new single Long Gone. How did that come about?
Justine: So I was mad for Reuben when I was younger because they're all from the same area as us in Surrey, so that was really awesome. Then he started releasing all his solo stuff, which I was really into. I'm I don't know how it came about, I think it might have been when we played Lenmania...
Sammy: I think we're obviously aware with his work but I think he became aware of us because we have the same PR, but anyway, he checked us out at 2000 Trees last year and I think because of that Lenmania came along...
Justine: Oh that was it, Robbie and Rich were really drunk and went up to him saying how much they loved Reuben and something like that so yeah, that happened and then he became aware of us.
Oh I see! So what was it like recording with Jamie then?
Justine: Oh he's sick, he's so awesome. He's so genuinely lovely. It was just generally a really nice experience, you kind of look up to these people when you're growing up so to get to actually collaborate with it was nice.
So could we potentially be seeing a tour with you guys and Jamie Lenman?
Justine: Aha, maybe!
Sammy: That would be cool.
Justine: We wouldn't say no to that, that would be awesome.
Sammy: I would be down for that,once again going back to the whole Milk Teeth thing, it's just so nice being able to play with such a wide selection of people, I think we were saying the other day to someone within like less than a year we played something like Damnation Festival then we did a tour with Milk Teeth. For me that's like perfect because it keeps it so interesting in terms of who we get to play with.
Justine: We listen to everything. It's such a cliche to say but I don't listen to Ska, but I listen to lot to a lot of different things and genres...
Sammy: If Less Than Jake are listening, we'll still tour with you.
Justine: But yeah, it's just nice, you can't listen to metal all the time.
Sammy: It is important to play to new crowds. We're in a very fortunate position to be in, being a heavy band but being to play to a very diverse crowd. But it's kind of a funny one, I listen t