Our little chat with Liverpool’s very own Joe Symes & TLK

Monday, September 26, 2016 • Ryan Byrne

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At a brand new night of showcasing musicians, artists, comedians and poets, Joe Symes & The Loving Kind were one of the acts that made a big impression on an ever-growing audience.

Last night (Sunday 25th September 2016), the Liverpool Arts Society hosted its second incarnation of the monthly event Live @ TriBeCa. The event at the bar on Berry Street looks to bring together artists from all corners of the industry to show what they can do in front of the public and to make an impact in the bar scene in Liverpool. With last night building on the success of the first event from the previous month, the Liverpool Arts Society are confident that this night can continue to grow into something special. Especially if they manage to keep bringing in acts that are of the standard of Joe Symes & The Loving Kind.

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I met two thirds of the band (Lead singer Joe and drummer/backing vocalist Colin) last week to discuss who they were, what they do and their goals for the future (which I will get back to telling you about shortly). In all honesty, I was left neither vastly impressed, nor vastly underwhelmed. To me they just seemed like two lads who enjoy what they’re doing and are beginning to reap the rewards of doing so.

But that opinion changed after witnessing them play first hand last night. The first thing that comes across when they play is their sheer energy and commitment for what they are doing. There is a feeling that doesn’t come across in a lot of people musicians nowadays that they have grafted for their work. A gritty and hardened backbone that only seems to come across in groups from working class, northern England i.e. Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, etc. I hope to see them play again and I hope they continue working alongside Live @ TriBeCa so the ever growing audiences can experience what last night’s audience did.

Now, back to the interview from last week. I met Joe and Colin for a coffee and an informal chat to get to the bottom of this band we came across on Twitter. This is what we found out:

Joe Symes & The Loving Kind are a three-piece band that started 2-3 years ago. However in the past 12-18 months is when things have started to pick up. They have brought out a debut album, been featured on BBC Introducing for Radio 6, played across all kinds of festivals throughout this summer and were even the headlining entertainment at Noel Gallagher’s Highflying Birds official after party. With a second album already in the works and a growing fan base both in Britain and the USA particularly across the Midwest, things seem to be looking very positive for Joe & TLK.

With a fan base that includes Everton FC footballer Leighton Baines to the Dark Knight himself – Michael Keaton. Joe & TLK certainly have well-known names to boast as their fans. However, boasting names doesn’t seem to be their style. When pushed on what it’s like to have those people buying their album, the two lads from Liverpool seemed to have that giddiness of teenagers as they admit that it is slightly surreal that well known people are buying their music and that they are slowly beginning to immerse themselves in the circles of people that are talked about by the public on a day to day basis.

Their self-titled debut album has earnt them a lot of plaudits, not only has it earnt them some major support slots in the form of supporting Alt-J and Bloc Party, it has also been very well received not only in the UK but globally. This comes across as I found out that their album has been greatly received in America with follow up interviews on American radios and regularly featuring on their playlists. Surprisingly, Joe later told me that they have had fans travel from Germany and even further afield to watch them play at gigs throughout the UK.

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When asked about what the future has in store for them, the boys were quick to mention their second album, which they seem very much excited about. Without giving too much away, it takes a turn from their debut album, which Joe labels as somewhat of an audition, in the sense that their debut album was to show the strong and varying genres they can play. With the second album following a bit more of an Indie-Brit-Rock theme. This is something I can understand as after watching them play last night, I witnessed them play songs that had themes of blues, to songs that had a curious, yet powerful blend of The Kinks, The Beatles and Queen.

Other than their album, their plans include touring the festivals of 2017, touring throughout the country and writing more music. 2016 certainly has been a good year for the trio, but if their energy and enthusiasm is anything to go by then 2017 certainly holds a lot more to come.

On a final note, I think that this sums up the ethos of Joe & TLK. It is something that Joe mentioned in passing when asked about the things they have gotten up to this year. He told me about playing at the Liverpool Echo Arena & Convention Centre in front of 3000 and how they enjoyed playing to so many people. But when the event had finished they decided to pop into LEAF on Bold Street and play a stripped back set to no more than 30 people. The fact that they had spent the day playing at a conference for an audience of 3000 strong and then found the energy and commitment to go and find a small laid back gig to just keep enjoying themselves says a lot about who they are. I don’t know about you, but if that doesn’t speak volumes for the passion they hold for what they do, then nothing will.

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