There are a lot of great indie bands based in Liverpool, I am learning lately. Joe Symes and The Loving Kind is a perfect band to use as an introduction to the gold yet to be mined there.
After listening to the lively energetic trio, it was a no-brainer that I needed to learn more and shine the spotlight on them. Band founder and guitarist Joe Symes was more than happy to tell me everything I wanted to know about the three-piece band, which also includes drummer Colin White and bassist Stefan Bujak.
In preparation, I went to their website, YouTube and Soundcloud sites to study up. Their Soundcloud page is loaded with three brand new tunes well worth repeated spins.
“I’m Gonna Find Out Someday” is a charmer, with a bright bouncy sunshiny melody and trippy guitar play.
“Fallen Down” sets off at a hectic rambunctious pace and features an almost tribal sounding drum break.
“Things Get Better,” chosen as the first single, plays open tribute to one of the bands’ biggest influences — hometown boys The Beatles. While the tune serves up subtle nuances to The Beatles, the band is in no way trying to emulate them.
It was easy to come up with a stack of ace starter questions for Joe, which then evolved into new ones. Here’s our conversation:
So tell me your musical background — when did you start playing?
I’ve been playing music since I was young. I started drums first at the age of 9. I can still play drums now and I’d say I am really good as I can suggest drum parts to the songs if need be. I started playing guitar when I was 17. I’m self-taught in all instruments. I can play bass guitar, piano, harmonica and I can even arrange string sections for our songs, one of them being a track from our debut album called “Love Is The Reason.”
When did you form/ join your first band?
I formed my first band when I was 19, and we played our first gig at The Citadel in just out of Liverpool supporting a band called Thee Hypnotics, they had just had airplay by John Peel and were on tour. After that we did support slots with Shack who were previously called The Pale Fountains.
So your first band was successful? How long is it last?
We did some great gigs but it only lasted about 10 months, lol.
What did that first experience teach you?
What it’s like to play gigs, playing with bands on tour and how the music side of things work. I’m still learning now. I think you never stop learning as things are moving so fast nowadays with the arrival of social media.
Social media is a great way to reach fans. They have direct immediate contact with the bands — you never had that before. Do you find it works well for you?
Yeah, it really has changed things forever now. These days you can make your own videos, your own albums, promo … it’s great that it has opened up the door for so many artists in every walk of life. You don’t have rely on these big companies anymore and beg them to listen to whatever you are trying to be successful with, that’s the beauty of social media.
Yes, I know a lot of independent musicians working on a shoestring budget, but making great quality product, be it music or video. It’s very impressive. So who are your musical influences? The Beatles for a start, I’m guessing …
How did you guess, lol? Yeah The Beatles were the reason I wanted to pursue a musical career. I have so many influences they go on forever. I’m influenced by The Doors, The Who, Echo & The Bunnymen, Motown, Frank Sinatra, Neil Young, The Velvet Underground … just so much music, my list is endless.
Did you dress like The Beatles too, early on? Mop top and all?
No, I just dress the same then as I do now, lol.
How many bands total have you been in?
This is my fourth band. This is the one I’ve been waiting for.
You are a three-piece — Is this the perfect combination?
Yeah for this line up. I’ve always loved the classic four-piece line up but for this band the three-piece works so well, loads of room on stage and also for the workings of the songs.
How does the songwriting happen? All together or do you take the lead?
I write all the songs. I write them all on acoustic guitar, then I’ll play them to the other members of the band and suggest things and they put their parts on also. We really work well when it comes to this whereas before when I was in other bands, it was a struggle.
You must all be in the same page this time around … Tell me about the album you are recording right now.
We are recording our second album at Peter Gabriel’s Solid State Logic Studio on Oxford. We have tracked ten songs up to now and this album will be the total opposite to our debut album. Our debut album is very diverse, there are songs on there from all different styles & genre, a jazz, rock, country, honky-tonk style album it is. it has been compared in most parts of the world to The Beatles “White Album” which I’m very pleased about. You have to hear it. It will be available soon from our website as it has totally sold out on CD. Even Hollywood’s finest celebs have purchased copies of the album. The new album is an out and out rocker full of catchy pop songs. Our last release “Things Get Better” was a hint of what’s to come from us and people were very surprised.
I have heard “Things Get Better” — it’s very well-crafted, has a great melody and great hooks! I really like it.
Thank you. I had a woman on Facebook sending me messages about that track. She was saying to me that I wrote it about her and cursing me for it. I’ve never met this person in my life at all and she was saying to me that we cannot be The Beatles because they are no longer here. She apologized to me afterwards when I explained to her what the song is about.
Oh wow, you gotta wonder where people get these ideas sometimes. Hopefully not too many of them around.
I know, as long as she likes the music then that’s cool.
So tell me about the famous Noel Gallagher show you played …
It was his after show party in Liverpool, we have played twice for him now headlining both times at the 02 Academy 1 in Liverpool. We got the call from the promoter asking would we play it so we said yes, all great promo and great on the band CV. We have done a lot of great gigs up to now and have a great band CV. This year we are going to be very busy with recording and touring.
That’s fantastic. Did you get to meet Noel?
We have seen him, but never met him as he was swamped with security. I just wanted to play the gigs to be honest.
It still sounds fun either way. What are the best gigs — small clubs or large festivals?
I love both them to be honest. I just love playing live. It’s such an awesome feeling knowing that people really love our music from all over the world. We have had T-shirts printed up in the USA also, which anyone can buy.
I just saw that! That’s pretty cool. I see you are booked solid weekends through August. That had to make you pretty excited.
Yeah totally, we are now booking our winter tour, which we are really looking forward to.
When will the new album be released?
We hope to have it out by the end of the year? It won’t take as long as the first album because it’s straight guitars and drums and keyboards. The debut album and the whole pre-production was a long time in the doing, but well worth it.
Every time you are in the studio you should learn new tricks to make it go smoother and faster, right?
Yeah, you learn as you go along, totally.
So tell me a bit about Colin White (drums) and Stefan Bujak (bass) …
Colin has been friends with me for a long time, Stefan joined the band in January 2016. We can all play drums lol so our timing is awesome.
Synchronicity is very important! How did Stefan come to join the band?
We put out an ad for a bass player and he replied within three hours of it going out. Really great timing on that one.
Haha, it was meant to be.
Yeah, I think so.
You can find Joe Symes and The Loving Kind on the web at:
http://www.joesymesandthelovingkind.co.uk official band website
https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fjoesymesandthelovingkind&h=UAQGf0N0k Soundcloud page
https://exit.sc/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FjoesymesandthelovingkindUK%2F%3Ffref%3Dts Uk Facebook page
https://exit.sc/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FJoeSymesandTLK Twitter page.
https://exit.sc/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FJoe-Symes-and-the-Loving-Kind-USA-1472695239641880%2F%3Ffref%3Dts USA Facebook page
https://exit.sc/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.reverbnation.com%2F1joesymes Reverbnation page
https://exit.sc/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gigmit.com%2Fjoe-symes-the-loving-kind Gigmit page
https://exit.sc/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fit4talent.com%2Fjoe-symes%2F Fit4talent page