Interview – Employed To Serve

London newcomers Employed To Serve combine metal, hardcore and grind influences, and are poised and ready to unleash their chaotic sound upon an unsuspecting world. M3 contacted vocalist Justine Siân Jones to talk about their free demo, the beauty of CDs and the benefits of online culture…

M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
Justine Siân Jones – I am an animation student that does high-ends for ETS, I also put on shows under the alias of Nomad Promotions :)

What inspired you to form Employed To Serve? What are your own musical backgrounds?
ETS was originated from a time when we were both working 9-5 jobs that we hated, we also fancied making a different sort of band that blended our favourite bands such as Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Dillinger Escape Plan, The Chariot, Converge etc. In terms of musical background I have been photographing bands since 2010 and promoting shows around the same time, at the beginning of 2012 I decided that I wanted to be in a band.

What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
I will always buy CDs until the day they stop being printed! I have to say vinyl sounds amazing too, however I unfortunately don’t have a vinyl player. I find that MP3’s are no where near as good in quality as CD’s, I also enjoy flicking through the artwork!

Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
I think there is a lot of truth in that sentiment, even before the download era I wouldn’t have thought that record sales were the biggest money earner; however bands can still make a lot of money through download sales as well as physical copies. Touring definitely contributes to that, especially with tshirt sales etc.

Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
I don’t think it has so much killed it as progressed it, I will be extremely sad the day CD’s stop being printed and major record stores close down. However it has made music more accessible then ever before, with no cost of printing or delivery. I also secretly hope that after the fall of major record sellers there will be more independent stores opening up after the downfall of their competition.

Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
I would say yes to that. Some songs are supposed to be within the structure of an album and work best that way. Nowadays people can pick to just download a few tracks rather then getting into the whole thing as it was intended to be heard

Why did you decide to make your SERVE. EP available for free download via Bandcamp?
It cost us nothing to record, we did it in our very own make shift studio. We had fun recording and writing it, we just wanted as many people to have it as possible. It’s also a way of saying hey this is us!

What benefits and/or disadvantages have arisen from this distribution method?
The benefits are of course that anyone can download it because it is free. Bandcamp is also a very good site for downloadable releases and very conveniently has a Facebook tab where anyone can find it. I don’t think there are any disadvantages!

What would you say are the main challenges facing an up-and-coming musician/band in today’s cultural climate?
I would say that we are at a perfect stage in today’s culture for upcoming bands, we have so much at our disposal, recording and video editing software is cheaper than ever, which cuts down cost of recording and the amount of social networking sites we have is incredible! We can literally reach audiences in any continent we want with a simple search. The only downside is that people have less money because of the worldwide job situation, but there are so many venues putting on free shows so that they can make money on the bar that it doesn’t really matter.

Finally, what does the future hold for Employed To Serve?
We currently have a drummer and a guitarist on standby ready to get practising, we will be playing our first shows by this summer. From then on we aim to tour as much as we can!

For more information about Employed To Serve, you can visit their official Facebook page and listen to their music on their Bandcamp page.

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About M3 Event

The music industry is rapidly changing. The internet has enabled widespread piracy, as well as a variety of new business and distribution models. We want to offer an engaged audience in and around the Euregion an opportunity to develop a coherent and detailed picture of the future of music distribution. On the 31st of May 2012 a music conference in Maastricht, consisting of oppositional debates, creative workshops and lectures, will provoke opportunities for intellectual stimulation, debate, as well as networking. We hope to utilise the skills and ideas of some of most forward thinking minds and operators in the industry in order to highlight some promising new ideas and areas which can be improved upon.

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