Symposium - Wojtek Interview & Test Pressing Giveaway
Today Symposium, the pop-punk band heralded as ‘the best live band in Britain’ by Melody Maker in the ’90s, release their first 'Best Of' compilation Do You Remember How It Was?, gathering together their finest moments in one place and providing a fully rounded view of what made them so intoxicating in the first place.
To celebrate the return of Britrock's wayward sons, we caught up with bassist and songwriter Wojtek Godzisz and have a signed test pressing of the double album for one lucky winner.
Symposium’s achievements in just six years of being a band read like a 90’s rock‘n’roll-call. The band were supported by the likes of John Peel, Jo Whiley, and Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 1, heralded by music mags such as Melody Maker, Kerrang! and NME, and performing on TV shows such as TFI Friday and Top of the Pops. Do You Remember How It Was? contains the hit singles ‘Farewell To Twilight’, ‘Fairweather Friend’, ‘Drink The Sunshine’, and the previously unreleased track ‘Bleach’. It's a wonderful keepsake for those who do remember how it was - and the perfect introduction to those that don't!
TM: The Symposium revival has been one of the highlights of an often challenging - and suitably chaotic - 2022. Why was this the right time to get the band back together?
Wojtek: We had many requests and offers over the years, and while we were sometimes close, there never seemed to be the perfect storm to tip us over the edge again. The pandemic lockdown was a deeply reflective and conciliatory time for many people, and we were no exception. The old boring thing of gaining perspective and relaxing about things as we grow older also played a part. We also felt the right people wanted to be involved in helping us this time, and we definitely felt the love that was out there for us. Finally, when we all agreed that if it wasn’t fun none of us would be obliged to do it anymore, it became a no-brainer. We knew it would give us a perfect opportunity to hang out, play music and drink more!
"It became unarguably clear to us how much value what we had created had to so many people." - Wojtek Godzisz
TM: What went into choosing the tracks that went on Do You Remember How It Was? The Best Of Symposium (1996-1999)? Did the tracklist come easy or were there some hard-fought decisions to make about what made the cut and what didn’t?
Wojtek: The notion of a 'Best Of' album was something that had floated around for ages, and over the years I had been collating a fantasy tracklist. Over our brief career, we had released a banging mini-album, a more considered and sprawling full-length album and two popular singles that never made it onto either EP or LP, so we knew a 'Best Of' was the ideal opportunity to put the cream of the cream in one place once and for all.
There was quite a lot of back and forth, mainly between Ross (vocalist Ross Cummins) and I, both of whom had quite fixed and passionate ideas about the minutiae of the. tracklisting. The opportunities that a double album and a single album gave helped to sort things out in the end. ‘Average Man’ was a particular sticking point for some of the band, as even though it’s a much-loved track by some of the fans, it was the only time the band released a single they weren’t entirely comfortable with. The fact that Rankin made a blinding video for it, and that after all is said and done it is part of the history and story of the band’s short trajectory, meant it had to be included.
TM: You left the music scene at a time where Compact Discs ruled the roost as far as music formats. You’ve reemerged in the time where streaming is now the main means of music consumption, but CDs are hanging in there and vinyl has rallied - does it feel different to be selling music in 2022 than it did at the turn of the century and has anything surprised you about the way our listening has evolved?
Wojtek: It feels massively different in some ways I’m sure I don’t fully understand. What felt the same and was a big relief was our ‘happy place’ of putting together good old-fashioned CD and vinyl again - something we were familiar with. For me personally, having the album out digitally is somewhat ephemeral - although I know simultaneously that is the only way most people listen to it, and so consequently it is the most meaningful in the current climate. If anything has surprised me, it is the thought that perhaps we’ve already reached a low water mark in terms of physical sales, which will now only continue to get higher maybe; the value of a tangible, aesthetically pleasing physical object to hold, look at and cherish seems to be solidifying to a place where it may not change again - even when you look at ‘real’ books versus Kindles and tablets, for example.
TM: You had a reputation as the Best Live Band In Britain™️ in your incendiary heyday (I witnessed it first hand during your infamous Red Hot Chili Peppers support slot at Wembley Arena!) and now have a Sold Out show at Islington Academy on 17th November to get ready for. Will this be an older, wiser Symposium… or will it be carnage as usual?!
Wojtek: This remains to be seen! There is no way to plan for either eventuality - anything could happen, and usually does when Ross Cummins is involved! We haven’t ordered any cheaper guitars or basses for possible smashing during the last song, as we used to do occasionally at the old festivals - and for better or worse we are all more respectful toward our instruments these days. But there is no telling when the spirit of rock and roll, punk or metal mayhem might overtake events.
"Our audience has grown with us, so we will be interested to see if they mosh, drink and jump up and down as hard as they used to to!" - Wojtek Godzisz
Do You Remember How It Was? is out now on CD and Double Royal Blue Vinyl and Black Vinyl on the Symposium Official Store. Both vinyl formats include Signed Prints and are out now alongside new t-shirt designs.
Enter our exclusive giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a signed test pressing of Do You Remember How It Was? The Best Of Symposium (1996-1999).
The winner will be chosen on Monday 21st November 2022. N.B: If the competition entry module above does not load, enter the giveaway directly HERE.