Symposium Strikes Classic Rock Moves “On The Outside”

Fans may wonder what it takes to open one of the large summer package tours and play to a fraction of the audience underneath the sweltering heat of the afternoon sun as ticketholders saunter in, but for one British band, it’s all about delivering a blistering performance and then hanging out backstage.

Symposium, a group that has been dubbed the “best live band in Britain” by the U.K.’s “Melody Maker,” plans to indulge in a little hero worship after finishing up its early afternoon slot on this year’s Warped Tour, although the band remains undaunted by the low-end of such a high-profile gig.

“We’ve done all the major European festivals,” said bassist and principal songwriter Wojtek Godzisz, who at 22 is the oldest member of Symposium, “like Reading and Glastonbury, and played in front of 60 to 70,000 people. So our plan with Warped is just to go out and play and be loud, because there are so many bands that we want to see that have been influential to us, like Rancid, NOFX,
and the Deftones. They were all important to us when we started out.”

The band, which formed in 1994 out of a rag-tag group of Catholic school mates, have just released their American debut, “On the Outside,” which it recorded with veteran Madness producers Alan Winstanley and Clive Langler, along with Killing Joke bassist Youth, who manned the boards for the Verve’s “Urban Hymns.”

“We originally wanted Butch Vig to produce the record,” Godzisz said, “and we even sent demos to his camp, but we never heard anything back. But he’s just a genius. All of his early ’90s records are just timeless. The guitars have this wonderfully sprawling and majestic sound, like a rock orchestra, and is very much related to our style.”

Aside from Wojtek, Symposium is comprised of vocalist Ross Cummins, drummer Joe Birch and guitarists Hagop Tchaparian and William McGonagle, all of whom are barely out of their teens. But the band’s ages haven’t diminished its passion for straight-up
rock, and even played a hand in the group’s decision to include a “hidden” track on the new record.

“The song is entitled ‘Disappear,’” Godzisz explained, “and it was something we had released on an E.P over here. But the U.K. version of our new album is different than the one over there, as your version includes some songs from the E.P.’s we’ve done thrown into the mix. We originally wanted to leave ‘Disappear’ off, but then a lot of people said we should put it on there, and having it on there is such a classic rock move.”

You can catch all of Symposium’s classic rock moves when the band joins up with Warped on July 23 in Cleveland, Ohio. Symposium’s first domestic single, “The Answer To Why I Hate You,” is out to radio stations now.