Symposium (band)

Symposium were a punk pop band from England. They were active from 1994 to 2000 and were known for their live shows. The name 'Symposium' originally referred to a drinking party (the Greek verb sympotein means "to drink together"), and was taken from the philosophical dialogue by Plato.

OriginLondon, England
GenresPunk rock, Britpop[1]
Years active1994–2000
LabelsInfectious Records
Associated actsHell Is for Heroes
Paper Cuts
Letter G
Past membersRoss Cummins
Joe Birch
William McGonagle
Hagop Tchaparian
Wojtek Godzisz


The band formed whilst still at school in Shepherds Bush, London, in 1994. The line up was: Ross Cummins (vocalist), Hagop Tchaparian (guitarist/backing vocalist), Joe Birch (drummer), William McGonagle (guitarist), and Wojtek Godzisz (bassist/vocalist/songwriter).[2]

The band had a selection of uptempo punk pop songs which, together with their young average age of eighteen, bought them to the attention of Korda Marshall who signed them to Infectious Records in 1996.[2]

Debut single "Drink the Sunshine" in 1996 was followed by support from NME, who placed them on the "Bratbus Tour" (an annual tour of four hotly tipped bands) which would visit universities in the UK. In March 1996, the band's concerts had been noted by Everett True, who put them on the cover of Melody Maker, proclaiming them to be the "best live band in Britain". The band released a No. 25 UK hit single, "Farewell to Twilight" in March 1997.[2] They also performed the song on TFI Friday. This was followed by a headlining tour.

They released a mini album, One Day at a Time, in October 1997,[2] stating in NME that they "just wanted to get them [the songs] out there". The release alluded to the fact that their actual (full-length) debut album would be released at a later date. This was illustrated by the fact that one of the four singles they had released up until this point, "The Answer To Why I Hate You", was absent from the mini-album, but did appear on their first album On The Outside. Having signed a recording contract with Infectious Records. "Farewell to Twilight" achieved a UK Singles Chart peak of No. 25, a position that they would never subsequently surpass.[2]

"Fairweather Friend" was the band's best known song, having support from a music video, and this led to a Top of the Pops performance. In 1997 the band supported a number of popular American bands, including Red Hot Chili Peppers at Wembley Arena, The Foo Fighters, The Deftones and No Doubt at Brixton Academy, where Cummins' stage antics caused him to dislocate his leg. The following year the band toured the United States on the Warped Tour with Bad Religion, NOFX and Rancid.[3]

Their debut album On The Outside was released in May 1998.[2] By the end of 1999 the band had left Infectious Records. After supporting Metallica at the Milton Keynes Bowl in 1999, Symposium released the "Killing Position" EP. By early 2000 the band had developed musical differences and broke up.

McGonagle and Birch formed the post-hardcore band Hell Is for Heroes, whilst Cummins eventually resurfaced in 2004 with Paper Cuts. The band's primary songwriter Wojtek Godzisz went solo and signed to Tigertrap Records in 2006. His eponymous debut album was released in 2009.

Hagop Tchaparian went on to work with the band Hot Chip. He is a consultant to the music industry.


  • Ross Cummins – vocals
  • Wojtek Godzisz – vocals, bass
  • Hagop Tchaparian – guitar, occasional backing vocals
  • William McGonagle – guitar
  • Joe Birch – drums


Albums and EPs

Info[4] Track listing
One Day at a Time
8-track mini-album
Format: CD / 12"
Label: Infectious Records
UK Albums Chart Position: #29
  • Tracks 1 - 5 & 7 produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley.
  • Track 6 produced by Symposium and Matt Gregory.
  • Track 8 produced by Clive Martin.
  1. "Drink The Sunshine"
  2. "One Day at a Time"
  3. "Farewell To Twilight"
  4. "Puddles"
  5. "Fairweather Friend"
  6. "Fear of Flying"
  7. "Fizzy"
  8. "Smiling"
On the Outside
Year: 1998
Format: CD / 12" / Cassette
Label: Infectious
UK Albums Chart Position: #32
  • UK Track listing
  1. "Impossible" – 3:25
  2. "The Answer to Why I Hate You" – 3:31
  3. "Bury You" – 3:36
  4. "Blue" – 5:15
  5. "The End" – 4:48
  6. "Nothing Special" – 5:07
  7. "Circles, Squares and Lines" – 3:40
  8. "Stay on the Outside" – 3:35
  9. "Paint the Stars" – 4:28
  10. "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" – 3:04
  11. "Natural" – 5:03
  12. "Way" – 11:05
  13. "Disappear" – 3:44 (hidden track)
On the BBC
Live Compilation
Year: 1999
Format: CD
Label: Strange Fruit
  • Track 1 recorded at Newcastle Uni (28/10/98)
  • Track 2 recorded at Reading Festival (28/8/98)
  • Tracks 3 & 4 recorded at the BBC (11/9/96)
  • Tracks 5 & 7 recorded at T in the Park (12/7/98)
  • Track 6 recorded at Music Live Manchester (22/5/97)
  • Track 8 recorded at Top of the Pops (28/8/97)
  • Tracks 9 – 11 recorded at T in the Park (12/7/97)
  1. "What's What"
  2. "The Answer To Why I Hate You"
  3. "Bury You"
  4. "Farewell To Twilight"
  5. "Puddle"
  6. "Smiling"
  7. "Fizzy"
  8. "Fairweather Friend"
  9. "Disappear"
  10. "Untitled"
  11. "Hard Day's Night"


Year Title Album UK Singles Chart
1996 "Drink the Sunshine" One Day at a Time 113[5]
1997 "Farewell to Twilight" 25
"The Answer to Why I Hate You" On The Outside 32
"Fairweather Friend" One Day at a Time 25
"Drink the Sunshine" / "Fizzy" (Limited) 101[5]
1998 "Average Man" 45
"Bury You" On The Outside 41
"Blue" 48
1999 "Killing Position" 176[5]


  1. Chris Lockie, "Old London Music: Seven Britpop Bands Who Didn't Make It", Londonist. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  2. Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 961. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  3. "Symposium Strikes Classic Rock Moves 'On The Outside'". MTV. 6 August 1998. Archived from the original on 5 March 2005. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  4. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 544. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. "UK Chartlog". Retrieved 17 February 2010.
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