PHOTO CREDIT: Davey Woodhouse
THERE are few people who distills the essence of Zap better…
PHOTO CREDIT: Joris Felix
than the trio themselves. They are, in their own words, defined by this riddle/answer:
“What do you get when you throw a washboard, mini megaphone, ukulele, rubber chicken, some tap shoes, a trumpet, 2 kangaroos and some tzatziki into a blender? Zap grew in the artistic playground of Berlin, blossoming from a craigslist add for swing music lovers, some special feelings and generally nice times. Drawing inspiration from Bob Fosse, Louis Prima, skiffle music and ancient laundry practices, Zap creates much more than just tunes that get your feet and vocal chords loose... It's gonna be a wild physical show to lighten your load and bubble your bath!”.
I talk to the guys about their music and how they came together – sourcing members from Greece and Australia – and how Berlin, their adopted home, is suiting them. They talk about musical plans and artists they recommend; what their music consists and ‘personality quirks’ of each member.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
We had Will’s 30th birthday - and Gabrielle has been performing at ImPulsTanz festival in Vienna!
Petro’s walking around Berlin and taking energy!
PHOTO CREDIT: Joris Felix
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
We are Zap.
A three-(and often, also, four)-piece Swing/Taps/Honks group living in Berlin - but originating from Australia and Greece.
We are a theatrical show brimming with smiles and finger workouts!
PHOTO CREDIT: @beboptaranto
You are based in Berlin - but you have two Australians and one Greek in the trio. How did you all come together and why choose Berlin for your base?
Gabrielle moved to Berlin to study physical Theatre; Will chased her, here, penniless after six months - and created an advertisement on craigslist looking for "fellow Swing-heads".
Petros was first to reply, and after about three weeks, we could communicate without the use of Google Translate - and strongly through music. We took it to the streets and markets around Berlin and ended up touring and playing festivals throughout Europe, Asia and Australia for the last three years!
What is the vibe like in the German capital? I can imagine it has a very different scene to Australian cities like Melbourne and Sydney?!
It has been an incredible change from the tight laws and money/time-driven cities of Australia. We have really enjoyed the everyday freedom immensely and met a lot of kindred souls from all parts of the world - searching for the open, liberated and relaxed vibes of Berlin.
Gabrielle. I guess, most of us in the U.K., know you from the Trivago adverts. Does that sort of recognition humble you or can it get quite repetitive? How do they react when you explain you’re a musician?
We mostly perform in countries where my Trivago ads are not aired, so, for now, I am remaining inconspicuous.
What are Zap working on the moment? Any fulsome, multi-coloured stompers currently gestating?! Maybe an E.P. down the line?
We have an E.P. in the oven.
We are going to lay it out in September and put a bit more love and time into than the last two. We’re excited!
We are always making fun clips of our new music and travels.
We have upcoming tours to Italy, the U.K.; Thailand and Australia.
I know you share a love of Bob Fosse and artists of that ilk. In terms of other artists/bands, do you have similar taste or are you forever trying to ‘convert’ members to the acts you like?
Petros and I both have a background and love for Latin music; Gabrielle and Petros love cheesy old Jazz numbers.
The weather is pretty shocking in the U.K. Any chance you guys are coming over here at some point to give us sunshine and a serotonin boost?!
I love it that you slipped in the ultimate British line!
We are heading over for a wedding in September - but haven’t planned a tour there yet. Perhaps, if we get into Glastonbury next year, we will come with a couple of sets of gumboots.
Everbreaking Heart was released last year. What was the reaction like to the E.P./mini-album and tell me a bit about the clip you shared on social media – of Zap in the Philippines?
We released the E.P. for something fresh to sell on our two-month East Coast of Australia tour. We haven’t had any hate-mail - and a lot of people let us know they play it a lot.
Our Unbuccen Lucky clip went off like a frog in a sock. We were lucky enough to have such beautiful and generous friends on the Island of Boracay – so, making it was fun and simple!
It has had the furthest reach thanks to a lot of Pilipino crew sharing it around!
Each trio/band has members with various ‘quirks’ and personality traits. Is there a messy member or the one who falls asleep and snores loudly? Any dirt to dish?!
Will can sometimes have a bit tad too much to drink and gets silly and in his own world on stage. It’s hard for the rest of us to keep up!
Gabrielle can sometimes get a bit grumpy on stage.
Petros snores like an elephant with pneumonia.
PHOTO CREDIT: @joris.felix
If you each had to select the album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Will: Probably Fat Freddy’s Drop - Based on a True Story.
It encapsulates a whole lot of love: life sketches and beautiful relaxed moments that remind me of the last ten years
Gab: Sergei Prokofiev - Peter and the Wolf
This L.P. accompanied my entire childhood.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
Busk; sell C.D.s; figure out your tricks that set you apart. Write music and create stuff as much as you can - and co-create with as many new art heads as possible.
Dream big and stay true to your heart.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Fat Freddy’s Drop – Seconds