What are your names?
We are Xanthos Papanikolaou, Billy Tzelepis, John Vulgaris and Aris Rammos
What is the band name?
The band name is Bazooka
how did you come up with the band name?
Back in 2008 when we were forming the band we were obsessed with the a track called Bazooka Joe from the band Big Black.
What is your genre of music?
We are influenced from rock and roll music and it’s subgenres. From the 50s till today’s contemporary styles and movements. I think that for the most part we sound like a post punk band with one foot on the psychedelic and rock music of the 60s and 70s
Give us a little bio about you as a band and as individuals.
We were formed in our hometown Volos, Greece after we break up our teenage bands. Basically the members of these bands united to make Bazooka. We gradually one by one moved to Athens. Athens is really the only place in Greece with the exception of Thessaloniki that can offer the basic elements for a music scene. Lots of bands and places to do gigs, record shops, fanzines and enough people that are interested in underground styles of music. In 2011 we gave a demo of 5 songs to the owner of the American record label Slovenly Recordings. Three of these tracks end it up on what would be our first release for Slovenly Recordings. In the meantime we were already starting kickin in the Greek scene and did our first European tour in 2010 after releasing the 7’ inch Shame Take My Brain/ Ravening Trip in Parisian label Inch Allah Records the same year. Two more European tours followed up with fellow Athenian bands and label mates Acid Baby Jesus in 2011 and Gay Anniversary in 2012.
In November of the same year we did around thirty show in the US with the Paint Fumes and we released our first self-titled LP a few weeks later.
Many tours around Europe and Greece followed up and in the meantime we hired our best friend Penny Liaromati as our manager. Penny is more like an extra member of the band. She really loves our music and has helped us immensely all these year. In 2016 we released “Useless Generation” our first LP that we sang in Greek and our last release for Slovenly Recordings. The same year we toured Europe twice to promote our new album. With the “Useless Generation” LP we started having a bigger following in Greece and started playing in bigger venues and festivals around the country. This eventually led us to concentrate our efforts more inside Greece for 2017 and 2018.
In November 2017 we collaborated for the first time with Inner Ear Records releasing the “Zougla(Jungle)” EP and a month ago we released our third LP again with Inner Ear Records called “Zero Hits”. And once again after two years we are going to tour Europe in April.
What made you go in to music?
We really enjoy listening to a lot of music since we were kids and eventually at some point each of us learned how to play an instrument and started jamming together. We wanted to be able to play music like the musicians we were listening to and not just listen to it.
Are you a signed?
We have a contract with Inner Ear Records for and EP and LP. We’ve released both. Right now we as a band and our label are busy promoting our new album so it’s not the time yet to think what will do in the future.
You recently released your new album ‘ Zero Hits’ ,tell us more about it.
In January 2018 Penny Liaromati told us that it was time to make a new record and that is best for us to get into the studio and have it done by the end of June. So we did. From January to May 2018 we rehearsed new material and some tracks we were messing around with for some time and by early June we were into the recording studio. The title of the album came from a joke that Xanthos and John made. At the end of a dj set they do in an Athenian bar twice a month the owner of the bar played a cd of John Cale’s Greatest Hits. And we started making fun of it. We love John Cale but we were saying that he doesn’t really have any hits and that he should be called John Fail and his album Zero Hits.
What was the recording process like?
We recorded the album in Electric Highway Studios in the north suburbs of Athens. Our sound engineer was John Vulgaris who is the drummer of Bazooka. We recorded live one or two songs a day for two weeks. We were in the studio every day from 2 o’clock in afternoon till 11 o’clock at night. When we were finished with the live tracks we chose the best takes and then we started doing overdubs and vocals. After that John mixed and mastered the album. The whole process took us around a month.
What was the writing process like?
For the most part Xanthos makes demos at home and brings them to the rest of the band in the studio. Then we jam on these tracks. Sometimes the songs we rehearse stay pretty much faithful to the demos and other times we change things around and we are enriching the original ideas. There are also a few times that a song will come up straight from a jam.
Describe each track in two words.
Ela (Come) You naughty boy..
Filaki (Prison) Our brains can be our prison.
Keno (Void) Flirting but not moving on to taste the real thing.
Monos (Alone) Being alone really.
Oi Vlakes Kanoune Parelasi (Idiots Are Going On Parade) Following leaders blindly.
Eho Kourasti (I’m Tired) When you want to smash somebody’s face.
Mesa Stin Poli (In The City) Walking around Athens and feeling lost.
Kati Eho Prodosi (Something I have Betrayed) Betraying your own self.
Vradini Vardia (Night Sift) When everybody goes to bed and you put your headphones to listen your favorite rock and roll album.
To Hroma Tou Trelou (The Color of a Crazy Man) Trying to hide from the mirror.
Adiafores Maties (Indifferent Glances) Being the sexiest man around.
Min Koitas Piso (Don’t Look Back) When love between two people is not enough.
Soultana (Soultana) About the sexiest cat around.
Ta Spao Ola ( I Break Everything) The joy of breaking stuff
Where can you buy/listen the album?
You can buy it from Inner Ear Records (http://inner-ear.gr/el/catalogue/artist/bazooka/zero-hits/) you can stream it online on Spotify or listen to it on YouTube.
Will we see any shows or a tour in planning?
We are touring Europe this April. Here are the dates.
5 Verona(IT) @ Colorificio Kroen
6 Parma(IT) @ Art Lab
7 Montecatini(IT) @ Arci Dallo
8 Vevey(CH) @ Le Bout Du Monde
9 Zurich(CH) @ Amboss Rambe
10 Geneva(CH) @ L’ecuire
11 Olten(CH) @ Coq Dor
12 Lyon(FR) @ Trukson
13 Fribourg(CH) @ Frei! Festival
14 Gigors Et Lozeron(FR) @ Gigors Electric
15 Bordeaux(FR) @ lAstrodom
16 Paris(FR) @ L’Olympic
17 Lilles(FR) @ Diy Café
18 Aachen(DE) @ Wild Rover
19 Liege(BE) @ KulturA
20 Frankfurt(DE) @ Hesseneck
22 Dresden(DE) @ Ostpol
23 Leipzig(DE) @ Ilses Erika
24 Prague(CZ) @ Klubovna
25 Budapest(H) @ Golya
We’ll announce more shows in Serbia, Rumania and Bulgaria soon
If so where will you be heading?
We are starting from Italy, then move on to Switzerland and France a little bit of Belgium and then Germany, Chech Republic, Hungary and through the Balkans we are going to return back home.
What else can we expect in 2019?
We have a tour ahead of us and this is the only thing we are thinking about right now. We are going to right some new songs also but not sure on when they’ll be out.
Do you play any instruments?
In the band Xanthos is playing guitar and sing, Billy is playing guitar and doing backing vocals, John plays the drums and doing backing vocals also and Aris is the bass player.
Who are your influences?
When we were growing up we were listening to a lot of Wipers, Mudhoney, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Melvins and 60s and 70s music like The Stooges, Beatles, Kinks, Rolling Stones, Captain Beefheart, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Doors, Velvet Underground. All the classic rock stuff really. Some of the more contemporary bands we like now include Ty Segall, Sleaford Mods, Oh Sees, Fat White Family, Black Lips, Sic Alps, White Fence, Uranium Club
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
From the everyday life, or experiences we have through life. Sometimes it’s more abstract stuff that little has to do with the reality.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Playing in huge arenas.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Aris works in coffee bar, John is a sound enginner, Xanthos is a DJ and Billy is playing music out in the streets.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
It’s mainly albums and artists like those I mention above that made want to play music and not a particular song.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Brush your teeth because implants are fucking expensive.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Enjoy themselves and never give up.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Well there’s not a particular quote or saying but from an existential perspective since we are all going to die some day, it’s better to live our lives as joyfully as we can. At least try..
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Two guitars, a bass, a drum set and a microphone.