Justine Jones’ track-by-track guide for Conquering – Kerrang!

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Employed To Serve singer Justine Jones takes us deep into their 5Ranked K, Fourth Complete Conquering – from studio stories to why we just need to relax as a species, before it’s too late.

Universal strangulation

In writing this song, we really wanted it to be a fat opening statement. Even from the demo Sammy wrote, I knew this would be a big boy debut album – we also wanted Casey to flex as much as he could on the opening drum solo. I think of all the songs on this album I’m the most excited to play 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 modern times. It’s honestly exhausting; everyone feels obligated to be a TV presenter or something. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time at shows, festivals, and generally in person, but the thought of people being able to contact you on so many different platforms 24/7 just isn’t good for you.

To exist

Exist is about finding it difficult to be just yourself. For a very long time, humanity felt that it had to be occupied at all times, which made it very difficult to sit still without moving with its own thoughts for an extended period of time.

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

It’s really hard to be on the move 24/7, but also feels terribly boring doing nothing. It’s about balancing the two, allowing you rest and downtime so you can’t wait to go later. “

Turn the blade

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

I had the most fun recording vocals for this one – there is a lot of impertinence and I like impertinence. The older I get, the more time I have for people who are trying to handle situations or be passive aggressive. This song appeals to all the people who are too scared to say what they really mean and who piss and moan behind your back instead.

From sunrise to sunset

This song is about being addicted and how it torments your mind from the moment you wake up until the moment you fall asleep. I think this is the best song on the album in terms of groove, it has a lot of bounce and I think it will be a good song to play live. This song was the funniest to record because of Sammy’s vocals and tambourine – it was crazy to listen to! We had a lot of fun layering all the voices; we asked our drummer Casey to do a few spoken words during the verse because he has the lowest voice in the group.

I think a lot of people can relate to this song; there are different mobile addiction scales and during the pandemic many people became addicted to social media, alcohol and other substances. With the fast pace of life, there are many temptations to shift your hedonic set point and create an itch that you can’t scratch.

The mistake

The error consists in not being sure of oneself and of its capacities. The perception that others have of you can seep and wreak havoc on your mind, turning you into your greatest enemy.

I think this song pretty much summed up most of my life. I’ve always cared too much about what other people think of me, and it’s only gotten worse now that social media is so big in my life and in a band in general. You can get addicted to self-help books, watch TED Talks and everything, but you’re never going to be perfect and will always have your bad days. There is such a pressure to be perfect and happy all the time, but it’s just an impossible goal. I think it’s important to just focus on improving each day and doing something positive with your day, even if it’s just cooking a healthy meal or going outside.

We don’t need you

This piece is all about being true to your beliefs and never compromising your art.

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

Carved in stone

Set In Stone is all about watching someone dear to you self-destruct. You can only see with horror that the ability to reverse this path of destruction is ultimately in the control of the other person. It’s a very frustrating part of life: you can objectively see exactly what is going to happen and which path they are going to take, but ultimately you can’t control them and there is nothing you can do about it.

It’s one of the songs we’ve spent the most time on – going down the different layers of guitars, I love how Lewis did it. “

Mark of the grave

An ode to those who would rather talk about other people’s shit than live their own lives. We were very excited that this single would be a single because it was quite a different song for us. While writing this, we had festivals and bigger stages in mind: the riffs are unreal.

We had a lot of fun filming the music video for this track, we wanted to make an ode to all the funny riders that we have been given over the eight years we spent in a band. One show really gave us a pot of hummus and a banana.

End of the world

This song is about trying to see things from other people’s perspective and the importance of staying humble. This is something that no one can be perfect, but they should always try. It’s easy to stand out in this very digital world.

We’ve spent years layering the guitars to make this one as thick as possible. The filled drum that Casey does in this song is one of my favorites on the album.

Conquest

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

I enjoyed recording the vocals for this track the most, we spent a lot of time phrasing it and making it as knotty as possible. The only downside is that I’m probably going to have to get back in shape to play it live!

Employed To Serve’s Conquering is now available through Spinefarm Records – order your copy now.

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

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