Over the last two years, Liverpool’s own Joe Symes & The Loving Kind have been touring the world with their catchy rock-pop Mersey sound. They’ve also been prolific in the studio – with two albums complete they’ve been using lockdown to prepare more material and are soon to release a four-track EP in early 2021.
We caught up with Joe, Colin and Alan to discuss their upcoming work, their experiences of touring the world and their appreciation of independent music venues.
Who’s involved in the project and how did you come together?
We‘ve known each other for many years now. When our previous projects folded Colin offered to play the drums on some tracks I was working on, and percussion on some acoustic gigs. It basically just grew from there. After that, we’ve got Alan on bass, who I knew from working within a previous band, and we haven’t looked back since. Everything has completely gelled both musically and personality-wise.
What is the creative driving force behind the music?
I think the main aim at the moment is to write songs that not only appeal to a wide audience but have a kick to them too. If you write material that can appeal to people from 7 to 77, I think you’re on a winner.
Who would you say were your biggest influencers?
The band’s influences are on a very wide spectrum. The Beatles, The Doors, Motown, Frank Sinatra, Echo and the Bunnymen, film composers like John Barry, some elements of Jazz and classic, there’s so much there and so much we love to listen to.
How would you assess the Liverpool music scene right now and where would you place yourselves in it?
Liverpool has always had a strong musical presence that the rest of the world has embraced. As long as that continues, it will thrive. As far as this band is concerned, we’d like to think we play a major part. The fact that we’ve been received so well around the world is a testament to that.
You’ve had a busy time in the last year and (pre-lockdown) had your music played all over the world – what’s been your favourite tour experience and what’s your dream venue to play at?
It would be impossible to name one experience; there’s been so many. Just being able to get our music out there to so many people, and it being so well received is the main pay off for us. Dream venue? Probably somewhere like Madison Square Garden, Royal Albert Hall, The Roundhouse in London. Like the touring experience, there’s so many.
Independent venues are facing a tough time right now – tell us about the best gig you ever went to, how it shaped you and why independent venues are so important?
Me and Colin have seen Paul McCartney on separate occasions and he was fantastic. The band he has with him now are probably the best he’s had since The Beatles. Individually and collectively they’re brilliant. Those gigs are up there and definitely left an impression on us that words can’t describe.
As for independent venues, they’re the real backbone of any city’s music scene. You cut your teeth in those places. As a band who have played a variety of venues up and down the country, we’ve loved playing the big ones such as the 02 Academy 1 here in Liverpool, or the Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon, Wales, for example, but you can’t beat those indie venues. They have a real rawness to them that you can’t beat.
Tell us about a typical day for you during lockdown?
During the full lockdown, I think it was a case of getting what you needed from the shop, writing new songs and listening to music, and watching a hell of a lot of films. I think we’ve lost count on how films were actually watched.
How has lockdown affected your plans with the band?
Well, they haven’t been affected; more delayed. After taking 9 months out from gigging after two and half years on the road, We got back in the studio in February to start work on our next four-track EP, then began to book dates for May onwards. As we were about to go in for the second session in March Boris told us all were in lockdown. Talk about happening at the wrong moment. After that, we just had to wait until things eased, which they are now. We’ve been able to rehearse again for the past six weeks or so, and the last two studio dates have been booked for October and November. Better late than never.
Tell us an embarrassing secret about you or someone in the band.
Ah, that would be telling. Ha! Ha!
You’ve been working on a new EP – tell us about it. What can we expect from it and what are you trying to say?
Yeah, it’s a four-track EP. We started it earlier this year, and it would’ve been completed by now if it wasn’t for the lockdown, but better late than never. We’re going back in to finish it in October, and November with a release date aimed at early 2021.
I guess it’s a companion piece to our last album Phase II. Four heavy, catchy rock/pop songs. We’ve been rehearsing over them recently, and they sound fantastic; really proud of them, and no doubt they’ll be loved by those who will hear them soon. Like the rest of our songs, we hope that people can relate to what they say and enjoy them overall. During the lockdown, we finished off the artwork for it and promo material. Again, really proud of it. Looks great.
Where would you like to be in 5 years?
Simply to have more releases added to our back catalogue and to have gained more and more exposure to as many people as possible. We like to think we’re heading in the right direction already, so we can’t complain. Our own studio would be nice too, and several tours of the U.S, and Canada where our following is constantly growing.