Songs to Live by: Employed to Serve’s Sammy Urwin

Employed to Serve, 2018

U.K. post-hardcore crew Employed to Serve are one of the most exciting young bands around, as their blistering latest single, “Force Fed,” testifies. Ahead of the group’s forthcoming third album, Eternal Forward Motion, due May 10th, we asked guitarist Sammy Urwin — a man for whom music is clearly closely tied to emotion — to share some of the songs he turns to when he’s in various moods, and some of the songs that mean the most to him.

WHEN I’M PISSED OFF:
STAMPIN’ GROUND – “OFFICER DOWN”

So many to choose from but ‘Officer Down’ by Stampin’ Ground is definitely up there. To be honest, the whole of the Carved From Empty Words LP is a soundtrack to being pissed off. 

WHEN I’M FEELING DEPRESSED:
DOWN – “UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING”

“I give up, that’s enough/I give up/I’m underneath my life.” Not my usual attitude, but singing along to that chorus feels good when you’re not feeling good.

WHEN I GET UP IN THE MORNING:
ALL OUT WAR – “GIVE US EXTINCTION”

This changes frequently as I like to keep it fresh. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of hardcore when I wake up. Regulate and King Nine, I’ve been listening to a lot lately — both of which put out great LPs last year. Have also been listening to All Out War’s latest LP Give Us Extinction

WHEN I GO TO BED:
DIO – “AT DONINGTON UK: LIVE 1983 & 1987”

Dio is my bedtime music. I constantly flick between records, but I quite like listening to the live records the most when going to sleep. Particularly At Donington and Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993

WHEN I’M HUNGOVER:
PANTERA – “HARD LINES, SUNKEN CHEEKS”

I’m not hungover these days, but it used to be “Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks” by Pantera. The solo on that will cut to the core of you on a good day, let alone if you’re feeling like dog shit.  

WHEN I’M GETTING IT ON:
PORTAL – “CURTAIN”

Getting what on? If you’re referring to what I think you may be referring to, then probably “Curtain” by Portal as I like to keep a sensation of dread in the room. 

SONG I MOST WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR:
EMPLOYED TO SERVE – “ETERNAL FORWARD MOTION” (coming soon)

The title track to our new album, Eternal Forward Motion. I feel this song captures all of the elements of Employed to Serve musically and lyrically in three-to-four minutes. 

SONG I WISH I WROTE:
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE – “FISTFUL OF STEEL”

There are loads, but the one that comes to mind right now is “Fistful of Steel” by Rage Against the Machine. A real testament to how simple songs can be so effective. This track has it all, anger, groove and catchy riffs. 

SONGS I WANT PLAYED AT MY FUNERAL:
EARTH – “MIAMI MORNING COMING DOWN II (SHINE)”

‘The Bees Made Honey in the Lions Skull’ is a special record for me. I particularly like how soothing the repetitiveness of this song is, it really puts your mind at ease.

PANTERA – “SUICIDE NOTE, PT. II”

Totally no relation to how I will die, as I’m hoping to go out by slipping on a banana peel onstage. It’s just one of the sickest tracks of all time. So pissed off, so much venom and so heavy. I want my casket to hit the flames in the crematory as soon as the breakdown kicks in at the end.