Sunday, 12 January 2014

A WORLD OUT YOUR WINDOW: An interview with Liverpool's own Joe Symes And The Loving Kind!

Below is our interview with Liverpool's own Joe Symes And The Loving Kind.
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What was your earliest musical memory and what pushed you towards pursuing a career in the music industry?
Joe: "My earliest musical memory was my dad playing Frank Sinatra records at home and myself looking at the album sleeves of the vinyls, other memories like Beatles albums and 7 inch singles in the record collection. This was at a very early age."

Dave: "I loved listening to a lot of music at a young age but it's only when my grandparents enrolled me onto keyboard lessons that my love of music began to flourish. I haven't looked back since."
Colin: "My earliest musical memory is probably hearing songs from the James Bond films - 'You Only Live Twice', 'Thunderball', 'Live And Let Die', things like that. I love those soundtracks; I have a lot on vinyl and CD. It  was definitely hearing The Doors that really got me into playing. My brother would play their albums around the house. I remember being on holiday with my mum and dad when I was eleven and talking about them nonstop. I think I drove them to the brink of insanity during those two weeks!"

Paul: "My grandfather playing the organ was my earliest musical memory. He was really good and loud! For me playing guitar has always been a major pastime, others have come and gone but the guitar has always stayed. Now it would be a great shame not to take it as far as it could possibly go."

Chris: "I cant really remember what my first memory of music was, it's just something I always wanted to do! My mum was always into cool bands, so was very keen to help me get into playing the guitar."
What sort of records were played around the house when you were younger and did these records have an influence on your songwriting?

Joe: "Motown, Beatles, The Doors, Marvin Gaye, Buzzcocks, Neil Young etcetera...those artists have a huge influence on my songwriting."

Dave: "Earliest memory was listening to whatever my parents played on the old vinyl. Hendrix, Cream, Dylan, Zappa, Abba (my mother!), The Beatles, Santana and a load of classical too."

Colin: "My brother would play things like The Beatles, The Doors, Ocean Colour Scene, The Eagles, Paul Weller, amongst other things, but that was when I was around nine or ten onward. Before that my dad would play things by Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson and Frankie Laine. That was his era, and a lot of it I do actually like. You're looking at a big Sinatra fan."

Paul: "From my dad it was plenty of Beatles, Stones and Genesis. All mainly guitar based music which must have something to do with why I took it up."

Chris: "My mum was always playing LP's by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, anything like that. I remember listening to Aqualung by Jethro Tull, and talking about it in school the next day and no one having a clue what I was on about!"
Had you been involved in any other band prior to Joe Symes & The Loving Kind?

Dave: "Yes I have. A few cover bands and one original band which was great fun when I was in my early twenties and there were some great songs. But this is the band that I hope can give us a lot of good times and hopefully some financial stability. If this can give me a serious prosperous career then I'm all for it."

Joe: "Yes...but I think you have to experience working with a lot of other musicians before you find the right members that you know it will work with."

Colin: "Yes, but I tend not to think about the past. This is THE band!"

Paul: "Yes and I learnt a lot from the experiences which has helped us in compiling our sound and live setup."

Chris: "Yeah, I've been in bands since my first band in school. It's all I've ever wanted to do."
How did Joe Symes & The Loving Kind begin?

Colin: "Joe had not long started doing solo acoustic gigs, which got amazing feedback within the two to three months before I joined. The band I was in at the time had split, so I rang Joe - who I've know for a good few years - and asked if he wanted any drums on recordings and maybe some percussion live. He said yes, and we became an acoustic duo. After a few months I (apparently, it may have been after a few drinks) suggested we get a bass player, keyboard player and guitarist. Dave came through a mutual friend of his and Joe's, Paul came through a mutual friend of Dave and his, and Chris replied to an ad I put up on the internet."

Joe: "I was playing acoustic open mic nights in Liverpool and around the north west about six months before Colin came on board, we did a lot more acoustic gigs after that to which Colin suggested bringing in band members to which I agreed to."

Chris: "Think Col's covered it there!"
Where did the name The Loving Kind come from?

Colin: "I came up with the name; I got it from the R.E.M song 'Get Up'. I suggested it to Joe and he seemed to like it, so it stuck. I was really pleased, as it was the first band name I've really come up with."

Joe: "R.E.M."

Dave: "Colin's summed that up in one. Nothing for me to add there!"
Why do you go under the name of Joe Symes & The Loving King instead of simply Joe Symes?

Joe: "Because I had already established myself as a solo artist under my own name, I did not want to go and change it to a new band name after all the exposure I was getting so Colin suggested the rest of the band name to which I agreed, I really like it."

Colin: "While we were an acoustic duo - and before - a lot of promotion was done under Joe's name, magazine interviews, radio interviews etcetera. If we'd have gone under a 'name' once everyone else came on board, it would've been confusing for a lot of people who were starting to follow us, so when I suggested we go under Joe Symes & 'something, something', like Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, etcetera. We're connoisseurs of the classics, and well...I think having a band name which is 'front man name & the something' has a classic, old school ring to it."

Dave: "In addition to the fact that Joe had established himself before a full band was on board it does give a very classic feel so it helps with our M.O. so to speak."
How would you describe the sound of Joe Symes & The Loving Kind?

Chris: "Fresh, with a classic twist! Like when they re-branded Opel Fruits."

Joe: "Very honest!"

Colin: "Considerably versatile."

Dave: "Eclectic versatility!"

Paul: "A very eclectic mixed bag that produces classic songs."
You have recently released your debut album. What would you say influenced the album on the whole?

Paul: "There's plenty of references to the Doors, Beatles, Floyd, Kinks, etcetera, on there if you listen out for them, but the album is more about providing a snapshot of what we're all about and the way things will be heading in future releases."

Joe: "Personal experiences for me, my life is in that album, in them songs."

Colin: "Probably the versatility of 'The White Album'. We love how much variety is on that album, and because we hate repeating ourselves anyway, it was a buzz for us to do something like that."

Dave: "Well there's a lot there as even though Joe writes the songs, we as a band 'colour them in'. I think on a personal level I was looking towards The Doors and my heavy Jazz influence. 'Ready to Ride' is a great example of how a song took from a singer-songwriter song to a laid back jazz piece, so to speak. But it's a band thing and everyone has shown their traits that have come from one band/artist or another. We just like making good music whatever the artist or style that influences us."

Chris: "There's the obvious influences in there, but making the album to have some variety in it."
One of the singles off this album is called ‘A World out Your Window’ – a rather mysterious, laidback, acoustic-driven song. What is this song about?

Joe: "'A World Out Your Window' is about an old friend of mine who would always say he's been here, been there, did this, did that. A bit of an attention seeker but really he's never done nothing with himself, sad really."

Colin: "Urm...we haven't released any singles off the album. 'A World Out Your Window' is a bonus track, not a single."

Dave: "Although, as it's been pointed out, it's not a single, I'd love it to be one as it's a great song. The feel is brilliant. If I'm being honest, this was THE song that got me hooked and wanted to join the band. I think it's open to interpretation as with any piece of art it's subjective and whatever you make out of it is up to you. For me personally it's about what's going on in the world and everyday life."
You have played as support act of both Steve Cradock and the Blockheads. How does it feel getting recognition from icons such as these?

Joe: "Very nice, I think it's a great step on the ladder that many bands don't get the chance to do."

Colin: "I'm very proud. I think it shows we're doing the right thing if we're getting good support slots within a short time of the band being together."

Dave: "It shows what great strides we have made in such a short space of time. We have garnered a great reputation as a great live band and we hope to be confirming more gigs like these in 2014."

Paul: "It's a good step in the right direction and we keep building on this progress all the time. Hopefully it's only a matter of time before the word spreads and more support slots are coming through."

Chris: "Amazing. It's a nice feeling knowing that we're starting to get recognition and that the hard work we have put in is starting to pay off."
Do you have any 'rituals' before you go on stage?

Joe: "More vocal in the monitors."

Colin: "No."

Dave: "Rituals? Hmm, make sure everything is switched on. My first ever gig as a musician someone switched my keyboard off and when I went to play nothing was happening! So apart from that no nothing. Maybe I'll ask for a bowl of blue M&M's!"

Paul: "Turn phone off!"

Chris: "No, not really. Making sure you are in tune is always a good thing!"
Any live dates coming up?

Colin: "After The Blockheads gig, Alan McGee's 359 gig, and a little gig on the Williamson Square Bandstand in Liverpool (all December), that's it till February. A lot of great things will come in 2014, but we can't say yet!"

Chris: "Next year is looking promising."
Any new songs in the pipeline?

Joe: "Loads of new material always being written, watch this space."

Colin: "We have about half a dozen albums worth of songs there - that's no exaggeration - ready and waiting to get recorded. I'm very proud of that."

Dave: "All the time!"

Chris: "Yeah, we have the single we are recording now, which will be out around March, then we will be going into start recording a new album."
When can fans be expecting the next release?

Joe: "I'd say maybe March or Feb."

Colin: "Double A side single should be out around February or March."

Dave: "Hopefully around March."

Chris: "March, hopefully."
Who would be your dream collaboration?

Joe: "I'd like to say John Lennon but that's out of the question, maybe Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, the list is endless for me."

Colin: "That's a tough one. I can't name just one. Hmm, to have worked with the likes of Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis or Chet Baker would've been nice, but they've unfortunately passed away. Burt Bacharach would be nice to work with."

Dave: "Hmm, too many artists to mention but something with Bill Evans and Jim Morrison. That would be interesting!"

Paul: "Dave Gilmore could probably work out well at the moment for some of the songs we've been doing lately."

Chris: "Current? I'm a big Kasabian fan, so I would say them!"
Who would be in your dream supergroup?

Joe: "To be honest I've never thought about a supergroup."

Colin: "Me on drums, Charles Mingus on bass, Ray Manzarek on keyboards, Robbie Krieger on guitar, Chano Pozo on percussion, and various members of Duke Ellington's and James Brown's horn sections combined. Now that line-up could change tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that."

Dave: "John Densmore on drums, myself on keys, Scott LaFaro on bass. Jeff Buckley on vocals and John Mayer on guitar. There's a lot of jazz underneath there!"

Paul: "Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar, Keith Moon on drums, John Paul Jones on bass and Jim Morrison... Hmm, really don't think that would work out though."

Chris: "Hmm, I would be on bass, Keith Moon on drums, Brian Eno, Serge Pizzorno and Syd Barrett."


Favourite Beatle?

Joe: "John."

Colin: "Paul."

Dave: "Paul. Why? Blackbird."

Paul: "George."

Chris: "JWL."

Favourite band?

Joe: "The Beatles."

Colin: "The Beatles and The Doors together."

Dave: "I honestly don't have one, I like too many!"

Paul: "The Beatles."

Chris: "Pink Floyd."

Favourite new band?

Colin: "Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings."

Dave: "Although not particularly 'new' but new to me. Brad Mehldau."

Paul: "The Strypes."

Chris: "How new is new? But at the moment Warpaint."

Favourite song?

Joe: "There are so many I can't answer."

Colin: "That's an impossible question to answer."

Dave: "Lover You Should've Come Over by Jeff Buckley. It gets me every time!"

Paul: "Little Wing - Hendrix."

Chris: "Walking Backward To Christmas by The Goons."

Favourite album?

Joe: "Again I can't answer as there are so many."

Colin: "The White Album."

Dave: "Grace. Jeff Buckley. Fantastic!"

Paul: "Texas Flood (Stevie Ray Vaughan)."

Chris: "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn."

Vinyl, CD or download?

Joe: "Vinyl."

Colin: "Vinyl."

Dave: "Vinyl!"

Paul: "Vinyl."

Chris: "Vinyls downloaded onto CD."

Style icon?

Joe: "John Lennon in his Revolver period."

Colin: "Any jazz musician or bohemian."

Dave: "Although I don't 'follow suit' and wear what he wears, Paul Weller. He'd make an eighties shell-suit look cool! (Not that I'd wear one)."

Paul: "Steve McQueen."

Chris: "Syd Barrett or Sergio Pizzorno."

Favourite clothing brand?

Colin: "Anything vintage."

Dave: "Anything that makes me smart as fuck!"

Paul: "Guinness."

Chris: "Anything sixties inspired."

Favourite film?

Joe: "The Ipcress File, Michael Caine."

Colin: "The Godfather."

Dave: "Pulp Fiction."

Paul: "Big."

Chris: "Garden State."

Favourite TV show?

Joe: "Man In A Suitcase."

Colin: "Doctor Who."

Dave: "Dexter."

Paul: "Man Vs. Food."

Chris: "The Mighty Boosh."

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Joe: "Someone I hope?"

Colin: "Me."

Dave: "If not me then because of looks it'd be Alexander Armstrong but if I could have anyone? My favourite actor of all time, Jack Nicholson."

Paul: "Tom Hanks."

Chris: "R2-D2."

Favourite food?

Joe: "Pasta and sauce."

Colin: "Steak."

Dave: "Poached eggs with mayo."

Paul: "Pizza."

Chris: "Liquid lunch!"

Football team?

Joe: "London Irish."

Colin: "Don't like football."

Dave: "Everton, of course, who else!"

Paul: "Sorry, I'm missing that gene from my DNA."

Chris: "Liverpool (sorry, Dave)."

Hope you enjoyed this feature on Joe Symes & The Loving Kind! Check out our previous feature on Groovy Uncle featuring Suzi Chunk!

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