by Chandler Christopher

October 5, 2021

Jack Symes Interview!

Jack Symes Interview

Jack Symes is an independent folk artist from Pasadena, California. A master of the acoustic ballad, Jack is a brilliant storyteller in his songwriting. Never having planned on becoming a musician as a career, Jack’s story is organic and natural. He grew up loving and creating music, taking part in his first band, The Beefcakes, as early as 8th grade. As his adolescence progressed, Jack explained that his passion for music was “always just a bedroom thing for me at first.”  Upon graduating high school, Jack attended California Berkley where he finished with a degree in Energy and Climate Policy. During his time at Berkley, he played in a few bands, booking local coffee shops and pizza joints. Towards the end of his time in college, Jack ended up getting his foot in the door at a few venues in San Francisco, which led to a post-graduation tour for him and his band. Jack explained that it was during this tour that he realized he should continue to pursue music, reasoning that “people seemed to like it, so I figured that was a gift to be able to give to people.”  Jack made the move to Brooklyn, New York nearly three years ago, but he is currently making the move back to Los Angeles to reunite with his band, who remained in Los Angeles throughout the duration of Jack’s time in New York. Jack Symes is excited for what the future holds and to finally be back in the same location as his bandmates, so I very much look forward to what they will do in the near future. Check out our Q&A below and look out for Jack’s tour announcement for this upcoming Spring!

Q: What made you decide to move to New York? How has that been?

Jack: I ended up making the decision to move to New York after an eventful weekend I had in New York City. I became inspired and realized that it was important for me in that time of my life to step out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know a single musician when I moved here, so from the outside it looked like a bad decision, but it’s been great and I’ve grown so much here. I’m excited to move back to California and get a bit more peace, quiet, and personal space than I do here.

Q: What has your experience been as an independent artist? Has that been advantageous for you?

Jack: Managing myself has taught me so many things as an artist, from booking my own shows and tours, releasing and producing my music, and more. But, to be honest, a lot of the time it feels like you’re not learning anything. I kind of started to realize that I had learned a lot when people started reaching out to me wanting to learn from me, so that’s been pretty awesome.

Q: What does your EP, ‘Songs for Moms (2019)’, mean to you? Where’d the title come from?

Jack: The title was one I always liked. I used to play a game with myself or friends just coming up with album or song names, and that one just kind of stuck. But on a real note, I consider that record to be very autobiographical of my life at the time. I was in a place where I was missing being grounded with a solid foundation. I was a character in a lot of the songs, but some of them are about things that were happening externally. 

Q: How did your music evolve from ‘Songs for Moms’ to your latest record, ‘Tompkins Park (2021)’?

Jack: When I first moved to New York, I didn’t have a place or a job yet, so I was staying with my girlfriend for the first couple of months. During that time, when she would go to work I didn’t want to just sit around her apartment so I wanted to find my own space. She lived right across the street from Tompkins Park, so that’s where I spent most of my days either writing, reading, playing guitar, or even just having a beer. The park was where I’d go to escape and ground myself. I realized that not having a lot going on during that time was actually more stressful than if I were more busy. So that time is where most of the songs on Tompkins Park came from.

Check out some of Jack Symes' tunes and support artists by following him on his socials linked below! :)