Interview – We talk about European tour, music and France with Employed to Serve

2023/02/28. We had the chance to meet Justine Jones, the frontwoman of the band Employed to Serve, before their show at the Hall Tony Garnier in Lyon, opening for Gojira.

Sound of Brit: Can you tell us few words about who you are and how do you define your music?

Justine: Hey, I’m Justine and I’m the singer of Employed to Serve. I define my music as Heavy Metal I guess. We have different influences like Lamb of God, Slipknot and also Gojira, that’s why we are here.

SOB: I guess it’s a pleasure to play in the first part of their show !

Justine: Absolutely!

What can you tell about your hometown? Is there a Metal scene in your hometown?

Justine: We are from Woking England, there is no specific Metal scene in the town but we are at 90 minutes train from London so we are super lucky knowing that every tour passes through London! 

First of all, few words about this tour. So, this is your second big European tour with Gojira after many concerts last year. After 11 shows on this tour, what is your feeling and what are your best memories?

Justine: Everything has been a dream come true on this tour! Playing for all these many people, especially here in France with a French Headliner. I can’t describe how cool this is!

The favourite memory is the show at the Alexandra Palace in London, and also Paris at the Accor Hotel Arena where it’s not common to have Metal band in this hall, it’s more like Pop stars usually! (First Metal concert with a french headliner in the Accor Hotel Arena to be sold out, editor’s note). It’s really cool to see how big Metal band can be, and now it’s a genre that is popular. It’s really inspiring to see it!

You played around 10 time in France (and the third show of this tour after Paris and Bordeaux), what is the best experience you had in France?

Justine: Hmmm I love your food! I also really enjoyed the old building. In Lyon here, we have been to a church or a cathedral yesterday, and the architecture was impressive. It’s not the same in England!

And how was the relation with the 2 other bands? Did you spend time with them during the tour?

Justine: Yes, we share a tour bus with Alien Weaponry so we spent a lot of time with them. It has been really nice and we have spent more time with Gojira than we thought.

You recently did a remix of your own song Sun Up To Sun Down with Alien Weaponry. What is the origin of this featuring, and do you play the song with them during the tour?

Justine: We probably will. Maybe the last day, but we didn’t play it live yet together!

Employed To Serve - Sun Up To Sun Down (Official Music Video)

What is a typical day when you are on tour?

Justine: I Wake up at 11am, I run a record label which is a full-time job with my husband Sammy (the guitarist, editor’s note) so I attend to do emails, and then around 2pm to 3pm we take time to eat, and around 5:30pm we soundcheck for the show.

Thanks a lot, now we will speak about your music and the music in general. Who are the artists who influence your music the most?

Justine: I try to think… I could say Fear Factory or Hatebreed, we do not sound like them but they definitely have an influence on our music. In our music there might have sections that sound like them.

SOB: Yes, Neo Metal from the 90’s we can say.

Justine: Yes, we grew up with that. I could say also Korn and mainly the Roadrunner bands.

In the band who is the composer? And what is your artistic process for the music creation?

Justine: It’s a mix. It’s mostly Sammy but I help him for the lyrics, and sometimes we are working at home with a drum machine. Since the covid, the line up has changed and so now we have an new drummer, guitarist and bassist.

Your last album Conquering released in 2021 received very good feedbacks. First, what is behind the album cover?

Justine: It’s sort of expanding mind, that suggests to follow your dreams. It’s about all the individual things in your life that you have to live with passions. It’s an abstract way to say that you should do what you want to do in your life with positivity!

You wrote it and released it during the pandemic. Was it an inspiration or a burden to write in these conditions?  

Justine: It was finally needed. We have been really busy, and so it was the good way to be working and focusing on music. The only thing we had to do was music and recording at that time. It was also a good way to practice. The music on this album is the hardest to play, so it was good to have time.

In term of live music, do you prefer to play in small club or big festival?

Justine: I like each for several reasons. I like every situation for what it is. It’s different but in both case it’s interesting. I like the challenge to play in front of many people in festival and convert them into fans! Play in club in front of the fans is pretty fun because you play in front of people that know the song so that’s easier to me.

Do you have any artist or band to recommend?

Justine: I can recommand some band from my label Church Road Records! If you like band like Obituary, you can check a Death metal band called Celestial Sanctuary, they are really cool, and if you like bands that sound like Code Orange or Knocked Loose you can check Heriot.

What is the best band you have seen in live? and where was it?

Justine: I would say Korn. I’m a huge fan of Korn since I was a kid. I’ve seen them at the Download Festival in Donnington, and at this time they played the most amazing setlist! Every song I loved from them was on the setlist!

And now, few words about the future of the band. After this huge European tour, what is the plan for the future? A headline tour in Europe? in USA? Another album?

Justine: So we a full festival seasons that is coming up that start in June, it will be awesome! We do the Resurrection, the Wacken, the Vainstream...

SOB: Unfortunately, no Hellfest…

Justine: Hopefully Hellfest next year! But so, we are doing a headline tour in UK and EU in November this year.

SOB: Oh! Good news, hope you will come in Lyon again!

Justine: Hopefully yeah!

SOB: Thank you for your time !

Please find the photos of the show and the live report!

The band released a deluxe version of their last album Conquering on friday march 10th. The song Take Back Control has its own music video (lyric video) that you can see below :

Employed To Serve - Take Back Control

Interview by Timothée Lassiaz.

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