Bringing together a unique fusion of Psychedilia and Indie-Pop, hurled back to the 80’s: E.K.Ö provide swirling melodies and dizzying guitar solos. Brainchild of multi-instrumentalist George Baynes, the South Wales based collective promises to get you dancing, whether you like it or not.
I got a chance to speak to George, Tom and Ben, who I will say were the nicest guy I’ve probably ever interviewed. I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed a band that has laughed so much through a interview and also made me laugh so much, it was an absolute joy and pleasure to interview these top guys. Here’s what they had to say.
How did you meet?
George: “basically I put an add out on FaceBook and I think I got the first response from Ben and he like the stuff, I think I found Tom on Instagram and sent him a message, we met up as a three with another drummer at the time. So yeah, we met through putting a post on Bristol music pages and the rest is history and we are all best friends now”
Who were your musical influences growing up?
Ben: “Growing up mine were Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foofighters, Queens of the Stone Age and that stuff but moving forward I’ve got into more mainstream indie, I kind of now take my influences from smaller bands around Bristol”
Tom: “My dad was into ACDC, Queen Bon Jovi and stuff growing up so I took a bit from that and I got to the age of 10 and discovered Jimi Hendrix and went onto full Blues guitar journey”
Ben: “and you haven’t left”
Tom: “Yeah I haven’t left, it’s widened a little more now”
George: “Mine was pretty similar to Tom’s to be fair, I use to put on shows for my parents I use to mine busted”
Tom: “ACDC and Busted are not the same thing”
George: “Yeah I was getting to that alright, I then went onto find ACDC, Metallica and god it’s all coming back to me now. Going further forward I think I discovered similar to Ben and Tom with the indie bands and then Jazz, I like my Jazz a lot and then I kind of went more electronic sort of synth pop. It varies really but it’s good as well as we all have different likes and dislikes it’s a good mixture to have”
What made you want to be in a band?
Tom: “My dad played a bit of guitar growing up, so I learnt a bit from him, I don’t really have a reason I stayed in music I just enjoy it and I’ve never really stopped enjoying it, simple as that really”
Ben: “I discovered I wasn’t very good at playing the guitar and so needed to join a band playing the bass and I’ve always liked performing ever since year 6 when I did a little play for parents evening. Playing live is something I’ve always enjoyed, I’ve been in bands since I was 14 and I think it’s always been the playing live that I have loved”
George: “I think mine was similar, listening to different people and listening to what they have to say and comparing it to your ideas. You can only get so far playing in your bedroom so they main thing is to get out and play to people. What the guys have said it was really wanting to play live which is something we are really going to focus on after this is all over”
What has been your favourite gig you have played so far?
Tom: “Defiantly wasn’t the last one”
George: “Yeah so we had a bit of an issue at the last gig, it’s a good story to be fair who wants to tell it? story time”
Tom: “It’s your turn isn’t it, I mean you’ve kind of started to tell it”
George: “Ok, so basically we put on our own gig at The White Bear and we got two other bands to support, one from our hometown and one from Forest of dean and we hired out the venue and got everything set up, it was looking really nice and we had sold three times the amount of tickets we thought we would sell so it was really busy. Sadly someone in the down stairs part to the pub tried to access the pub safe which set off all the alarms and they were not alarms you could turn off so we had to evacuate 40 odd people and call it off so yeah not that gig.
Tom: “I’d say so just because of how bad it went”
Tom: “It wasn’t my favourite that was the most stressful two hours of my life! But no I think that would have to be my favourite just for the fact that when Pentire started to play and it was quite a dead room at that point and this was the first time we had fully put on our own gig and had promoted it and organised it all and as soon as the first band played people who had brought tickets and had gone down stairs to get a drink started to fly up the stairs and into the room. We were stood there like ‘OH MY GOD! What’s just happened!’ so yeah that was a good gig”
Do you have any plans on releasing any new singles any time soon?
George: “Yeah I think our plan is once this thing is all over to get back into the studio, I’m doing sound engineering at Uni so we use the studios there, Tom has now taken over majority of the writing and we’ve got a lot of songs that we are sitting on at the moment, I think it’s good to have a bigger collection of songs and then release them staggered”
Tom: “Yeah like George has said we’ve both been writing songs and started to get different music out there and hear what people think about it”
Can you tell us a bit about how your music is put together?
Tom: “Let’s start with the EP”
George: “Ok, so the EP started with me sort of writing them and they were songs I had just written in my bedroom and then I went to see a Producer Dan and we sort of worked on them together. I think now it’s a lot better as we write better together now. Normally starts with Tom and I having a disgusting amount of voice notes to each other noodles and bits of stuff that sound god awful but then we collaborate it together and we say like ‘oo I like that bit’ which very rare in my case of Tom liking my stuff”
Tom: “That’s not true!”
George: “Then Ben comes in towards the end with the bass
Tom: “We have got a few really good songs that we have started to write recently, me and George have started to come up with ideas which is just guitar and singing and we will bring it to the band and start to put it together and change bits”
Ben: “I think that’s the bit I’d like to work on a little bit; how songs are brought into rehearsal and how we change bits about it. I think there is some work to be done on that part but we are definitely getting better”
Can you describe your music in 3 words?
George: “I’m not doing it!”
Tom: “Thanks for that, Ben’s turn I think”
George: “Ben is good with this sort of stuff”
Ben: “I have no idea”
George: “Let’s say one each”
Ben: “Alright, one of you say best and the other say music and I’ll say the….. Upbeat!”
Tom: “Don’t say that because mine is sad”
Ben: “We all have different versions we are like we want to be upbeat and Tom’s like I want to stay in my room and be sad”
Ben: “Ok so we have sad and upbeat”
George: “Sad, upbeat and…”
Ben: “Are we really seriously going with sad and upbeat?”
George: “Indie! I’ve had a cop out”
After a bit more of a discussion and adding a few words such as ‘Layard’ and ‘up tempo’ the band finally decided on “Uptempo, Sad & Indie”.
What do you think makes your band stand out from other bands?
Ben: “We’re the only band that’s been around two and only played a couple of gigs”
Tom: “We’re the only band that can’t keep hold of a drummer”
George: “Right, ok so you two are hopeless, I think more recently we’ve now endeavoured in having two lead singers so me and Tom share, we do half a set of me singing and then half a set of Tom doing sort of the ideas we work on as a band with him singing because we discovered that Tom has a really nice voice and just wasn’t telling anybody. I think from that I personally want to focus on getting our live show and us more professional”
Ben: “I think also with the two singers it makes us different as bands usually focus on having one lead singer but with us it very much an equal split so it’s difficult to call one a lead singer and the other backing vocals”
I know at the moment it’s a little difficult to say but what are your plans for the rest of 2020?
Tom: “To find a drummer”
Ben: “I think maybe it’s still just writing in different ways and just experimenting really. George can write in many different styles, and so can Tom, so finding a style that combines a few includes all the best bits would be a great goal to have.
If the band had to be remembered for one thing apart from your great music what would you like it to be?
George: “I’d personally want to be remembered as every time you go to see us live it’s been the best time you’ve seen us. We’ve all been to see bands where we have thought that, so I’d personally want to be remembered for that”
Tom: “I agree I’d obviously want to be remembered as the best band ever but you know, I like to think that every time someone comes to see us live we are doing something different and new”
Ben: “I would agree and also I’d like to be remembered as the band that was open and able to go out and be approachable and just come across as the friendly people we are. You know talking to fans at gigs etc and for people to remember us as a friendly band”
George: “I think if someone approach us the least, we can do I listen to them, you don’t know who’s at your gigs so always treat people as if they are the top dog really”
The band have two gigs at The White Bear & Cafe Kino which have been rescheduled and are due to sort dates ASAP.
George and Tom have also recorded acoustic sessions which will be released every Friday at 7pm for the next month on Instagram.
By Siân Parker