Employed To Serve July 2021 promo 2 credit Andy Ford
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Employed To Serve: Justine Jones’ track-by-track guide to Conquering

Justine Jones guides us through Conquering – one song at a time.

Employed To Serve vocalist Justine Jones takes us deep inside their 5K-rated, fourth full-length Conquering – from studio stories to why we just need to relax as a species, before it’s too late.

Universal Chokehold

When writing this song we really wanted it to be a big opening statement. Even from the demo Sammy wrote, I knew this was going to be a big boy album opener – we also wanted Casey to flex as much as he could on the opening drum solo. I think out of all of the songs on this album, I’m most excited about playing this live.

This song is about feeling the pressure of societal norms and having to live under the gaze of social media almost 24/7 in the modern day. It’s honestly exhausting; everyone feels like they have to be a TV presenter or something. Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging out at shows, festivals and generally in-person, but the idea of people being able to contact you on loads of different platforms 24/7 is just not good for you.”

Exist

Exist talks about finding it difficult to just be yourself. For a very long time humanity has felt that it needs to be busy at all times, making it very hard to just sit still with your own thoughts for an extended period. 

I think this was very prevalent during the pandemic: during the first lockdown I had a great time and was really productive reading loads of books, writing lyrics etc. That productive stage took a nosedive as soon as we hit the winter lockdown, and I was lucky to be able to make it through a paragraph of a book without compulsively checking the news and social media.

It’s really hard to be on the go 24/7, but equally feels devastatingly boring doing nothing. It’s all about the balance of the two, allowing yourself rest and downtime so that you’re raring to go later on down the line.”

Twist The Blade

This song is about people who like to manipulate situations for their own advantage. Sooner or later the veil drops. 

I had the most fun recording vocals for this one – there’s a lot of sass and I like sass. The older I get, the more I have no time for people trying to manipulate situations or be passive aggressive. This song is calling out all of the people who are too scared to say what they really mean and just piss and moan behind your back instead.”

Sun Up To Sun Down

This song is about being in the grips of addiction and how it plagues your mind from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. I think this is the best song on the album in terms of groove, it has a lot of bounce and I think will be a great one to play live. This song was the funniest to record because of Sammy’s chanting and tambourine part – it was insane to listen to! We had a lot of fun layering up all of the vocals; we got our drummer Casey to do some spoken-word bits during the verse because he has the lowest voice in the band. 

I think a lot of people can relate to this track; there are different sliding scales of addiction and during the pandemic a lot of people got hooked on social media, alcohol and other substances. With the fast pace of life there are plenty of temptations to mess with your hedonic set point and create an itch you can’t scratch.”

The Mistake

The Mistake is about being unsure of yourself and your abilities. Other people’s perception of you can creep in and wreak havoc on your mind, turning yourself into your biggest enemy. 

I think this song has summed up most of my life pretty well. I’ve always cared too much about what others think of me, and this has only gotten worse now that social media is such a huge part of my life and being in a band in general. You can get hooked on self-help books, watching TED Talks and everything in between, but you’ll never be perfect and will always have your bad days. There’s such a pressure to be perfect and permanently happy but it’s just an impossible goal. I think it’s important to just concentrate on making each day better and doing something positive with your day, even if it’s just cooking a healthy meal or getting outside.”

Employed To Serve Conquering album cover

We Don’t Need You

This track is all about being true to your convictions and never compromising your art. 

We Don’t Need You has my favourite breakdown of the album, it’s such a visceral track and I can’t wait to see people’s reaction to it live. This was one of two songs that was written before lockdown and set the pace for where we were going as a band. Our early 2000s influences shine through the most on this track.”

Set In Stone

Set In Stone is about watching someone dear to you fall victim to self-destruction. You can only look on in horror as the ability to reverse this path of destruction lies ultimately in the other person’s control. This is a very frustrating part of life: you can objectively see exactly what’s going to happen and what path they’re going down, but ultimately you can’t control them and there’s nothing you can do about it.

This is one of the songs that we spent the most time on – getting the different layers of guitars down, I love how expansive Lewis made it.”

Mark Of The Grave

An ode to those that would rather talk shit about other people than get on with their own life. We were most excited about this being a single because it was quite a different song for us. When writing this we had festivals and larger stages in mind: the riffs are unreal. 

We had a blast filming the music video for this track, we wanted to make an ode to all of the funny riders we’ve been given over the eight years of being in a band. One show we genuinely got given a pot of hummus and a banana.”

World Ender

This track is about trying to see things from other people’s perspective and the importance of remaining humble. This is something that no-one can be perfect at but they must always try. It’s easy to become detached through this very digitally-orientated world. 

We spent ages layering up the guitars for this one to be as chunky as possible. The drum fills that Casey does in this song is some of my favourite on the album.”

Conquering

The title track talks about the importance of self-control and not letting aspects of life get the better of you. Anger is definitely a gift, but in some situations it can actually work against you and propel you down a bitter and self-destructive path. 

I enjoyed recording the vocals for this track the most, we spent a lot of time on phrasing and making it as gnarly as possible. The only downside is I’m probably going to have to get my fitness up to perform it live!”

Employed To Serve’s Conquering is out now via Spinefarm Records – order your copy now.

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Posted on September 17th 2021, 12:33p.m.
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