Cyprus based blues band the Zilla Project have just released their debut album ‘This One’s for the President’. Here we catch-up with vocalist/guitarist Emmanuel ‘Big Mo’ Vourakis…
Brief history of the band and how you got together…
The Zilla Project got together 6 years ago, 3 of us were playing in different bands before. Our (now ex) drummer was nic-named ‘George Zilla’ – he was key in getting us together. When he left we decided to keep the name. We called him Zilla as in Godzilla, as he once beat-up a whole tavern!
What have you got planned for the next few months e.g. recording, touring, etc.
Live shows mainly – locally and trying to hook up our first UK tour as well as further dates around Greece. We will be shooting a video and also writing new material ready for the next record.
Could you please take us through the songs on your debut album ‘This One’s for the President’? (e.g. song writing process, stories behind the songs etc.)
Zilla Song (instrumental) was the first tune we ever put together – which is why we included it on the album, it was our stepping stone to writing original material. The two cover songs we decided to include as we felt they are an important part of our identity as a band.
Mr Tumblin’ is actually about a real person, a good friend and a fellow musician. He’s into jazz. He doesn’t know I wrote the song about him (yet!).
Sweet Louise, I wrote the song for my wife – I was supposed to be landscaping the garden but I got someone else to do that and wrote the song instead! Grace is our personal favourite track as a band.
We were never trying go in a certain direction or chase any trends, the album is honest – perhaps that makes it diverse. Our direction as a band is to have no conscious direction, we just try to honour what we come up with in the best way possible. We are a live band so all songs are written with this in mind.
You do a couple of really good covers on the album, including ‘Mercedes Benz’ by Janis Joplin. How did you decide on whether to cover this and who came up with the gospel backing vocals idea?
It was the idea of one of my best friends and my mentor, Elias Zaikos from The Blues Wire (the most famous blues band in Greece – I was a member of the band for 3 years it was an honour)
What is the live scene like in Cyprus? How easy/hard is it to get gigs?
It’s much better than it used be. People are still not used to the fact they can enjoy live music here. It’s easy to get shows, if you don’t mind not getting paid!
What would you like the band to achieve by the end of this year?
Good reviews and our first UK shows
What has been the favourite live show(s) to date and why?
I think we would all agree a gig Adam Levy was amazing, he’s a great songwriter and guitar player, he played with Norah Jones for first part of her career, we were able to share the stage with such a great musician.
Outside of music what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy all arts, hanging with friends and being with my family.
Message for you fans…
Support live music, and support music in general. All musicians really appreciate it when people take the time to really listen to music.
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