Nowadays, with so many bands competing to make it to the big time (or at least to the point where they can make a living off of their craft), there is a constant wave of copycats, playing the same thing heard time and time again. It’s pleasing then that Woking’s Employed To Serve are one of the few gems in the ocean of competitors who step outside of the box, proving their worth with their most recent EP, ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everything’.
We spoke with guitarist and main songwriter, Sammy Urwin, about how they begin going about writing such complex and outlandish music, what drives them to keep going, plans for an eventual debut full-length album, his opinion on Kanye West and more.
DP!: Your line-up has doubled in size since the release of ‘Long Time Dead’, has this helped or even just changed the creative process?
Sammy: Definitely! It’s been really refreshing having more people contributing to the writing process. It’s also great to have more feedback on material I write, because sometimes I think it’s very easy to become too attached to the music you write and it can be great to get an outsider’s perspective to find out whether a riff/idea really works, or if we can do better.
DP!: Which such a chaotic sound, how does the writing process even begin?
Sammy: Ha. Well, so far in the band there are two ways we start writing a song. I’ll either write a song at home and I’ll then bring it to practise where we can add to it as a band and maybe change a few things. The other way we have of working on new material is rhythmical ideas that our drummer Robbie comes up with. The rhythmic side of this music is a key factor and can sometimes be the most catchy and memorable part of a track. We have written a lot of riffs by doing it this way.
DP!: It’s refreshing that even though you supply female vocals, you don’t sell yourself as a female-fronted band like most others would. Was this always your intention?
Sammy: Indeed. We never wanted to make it the main focus of the band. Without trying to sound cheesy, we do want the music to speak for itself and not gain a fanbase just due to our vocalist being a girl. I feel Justine holds her own as a vocalist too, and shouldn’t be branded with a ‘good for a girl’ type of comment that gets thrown around with this sort of thing. I think she can stand up equally next to any male vocalist.
DP!: Nowadays, it seems like it’s harder than ever to not only start a band, but to maintain one too. What drives you and keeps you motivated to make music?
Sammy: Purely the love for writing this type of music and performing it live. We obviously have future goals that we want to achieve that drive us forward, but we’re happy to keep releasing our music to people who want to hear and playing with all the awesome bands that we’ve been lucky to share the stage with since being a live band. I think bands that are in it just because they want some sort of fame out of it are the ones that drop of the quickest if they’re unsuccessful.
DP!: Given the chance, who would you love to tour with?
Sammy: We’ve been lucky that within our first year of being a band we’ve already been able to tour and play shows with a lot of UK bands we’ve been fans of for a while, so that’s been really awesome. As far as bands that have been a big musical influence it would be awesome to tour with Norma Jean, Converge, The Chariot (not going to happen now), or The Dillinger Escape Plan.
DP!: Describe a typical Employed To Serve gig.
Sammy: Some might describe our set as some sort of avant-garde interpretive dance, or maybe just a bunch of monkeys running wild. We definitely like to get into playing the music when we perform live, as we enjoy the energy and excitement it gives us. I think it gives something for the audience to vibe off too when you’re moving about. We make a point of giving it 100%, no matter what the turnout is at a show. Dance like nobody’s watching.
DP!: When do you think can we expect a full-length album from you?
Sammy: We’re recording our first full-length album early this November. We’ve written about half of the album at this point. As much as I’m proud of everything that we’ve put out so far, we’re definitely making an effort to make the album our strongest material yet, and make sure there’s nothing on there we’re not 100% happy with. We’re planning on writing a good 13-15 tracks and then picking out the best 10.
DP!: As a band who are forever innovating and trying new things, what are your opinions on Kanye West?
Sammy: Most of the time he puts out really good music in his genre, but he’s a complete a knob, which is a shame because when someone’s an absolute dick you don’t want to like their music. Maybe it’s all for publicity, and I hope so because he does come across looking like he thinks he’s Jesus.
DP!: You say you will play for peanuts, so what are the best brand of peanuts to pay you with? I hear Nobby’s Nuts are a delicacy.
Sammy: Any brand of Honey Roasted peanuts, they’re the best kind. Anyone who thinks otherwise is FVLSE!
The band’s new EP, ‘Change Nothing, Regret Everything’, is out now through Holy Roar Records.
Written by Zach Redrup
Interview by Andy Roberts