‘Most epic jungle movie of our time’

ZZBRA release their new album The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Moka Only (left) previously a member of hip-hop group Swollen Members
Image supplied by: Supplied
Moka Only (left) previously a member of hip-hop group Swollen Members

Moka Only and Evil Ebenezer are coming to a stage near you.

At the end of January, the West Coast duo behind hip hop’s ZZBRA released their first collaborative album, The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. A mock trailer, released on Feb. 3, promised “a sexy, wild, dangerous, savage jungle adventure” from “the most epic jungle movie of our time.”

Vancouver native Evil said both him and Moka have a bit of an actor in them. Though they don’t actually plan to make a feature film for the album, it’s clear they thrive on performance.

“Who would win in a freestyle rap battle? I would probably say Moka because he’s got the spiritual, lyrical, miracle type of element in his delivery,” Evil said. “I might do something dumb like pull down my pants and have boxers that have like a weird thing on the front … I’d probably score some points that way.”

Evil said any film about ZZBRA would be Lethal Weapon meets Jumanji or The Goonies meets Terminator, adding that it would come “straight out of the summer of 1985, it would just be fun for the whole family.”

The pair are inspired by Vancouver’s supernatural elements.

“It’s got the whole Twin Peaks feel … with the fog and the storms.”

The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack channels the duo’s take on vibe-heavy space pop — reminiscent of B.C. groups they grew up with, like The Rascals and Swollen Members.

The ZZBRA on-stage mindset is “whatever happens happens,” Evil said.

“With the audience, we want to make it like a house party, where everyone knows each other and everyone is involved,” he said. “If we mess up or whatever, we just keep going, we don’t care.”

Moka and Evil aren’t new on the Canadian rap scene — with around 60 albums, Moka is curious about a potential Guinness World Record for most releases. Evil said he’s dropped around 10, but is working on a new release for later this year.

The two met about eight years ago and formed ZZBRA in 2007.

“Coffee and cigarettes. Burger King. That kind of a combination brought us together,” Evil said — after a pause, I realized no further explanation was about to come. “After that we got deep into the jungle. We went deep into the jungle and ZZBRA came out.”

Evil said making music together was a way to show another side and have that partner in crime to up the fun.

“It just feels like a walk in the park, like a no brainer. You just kind of go up [on stage] and just feed off each other,” he said. “It’s the wow side.”

ZZBRA recorded The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack within a matter of weeks in January. The short time span is less surprising considering they’ve been sitting on most of the tracks for almost five years.

“It wasn’t right to come out at that time so we kind of just like put it on a shelf and let it ferment, you know, like fine wine,” Evil said, adding that from a business perspective, they didn’t have all the resources they do now, including a marketing budget and a publicist.

It was worth the wait. Evil said it was perfect, unlike any recording session he’s ever had.

“We didn’t really have to go back and touch anything up,” he said. “It just went down so nice. I tinker with my music a bit more but it just came out really good and it was really organic, the way that it flowed.”

After their cross-Canada tour, ZZBRA hopes to hit up the U.S., Europe and Australia before the end of 2012.

“We’re going to go wherever the people want us and we’re going to stay busy on this for a bit,” Evil said. “This is just the beginning.”

ZZBRA plays Revolutions Nightclub tonight at 9 p.m.


Evil Ebenezer, Interview, Moka Only, Revolutions Nightclub, space pop, The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, ZZBRA

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