Moka Only and Evil Ebenezer ‘go wild’ as ZZBRA [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – In a chilly brick building in Gastown, the HipHopCanada team watches Moka Only and Evil Ebenezer ham it up for the camera. Between the quirky dance moves, the Gorilla on the ones and twos and the overly dark camera faces it becomes obvious that these guys are having some fun. The bonus is that they sound good while doing it – the ZZBRA album will be hittin the streets January 31st if you need proof – and in the meantime, the dashing duo talk to HipHopCanada’s Samantha Cairns about their buddy story, their international presence and just what a ZZBRA is anyways.
“We ain’t tryna be the king of the city. That doesn’t make any sense.”
HipHopCanada: What brought you two together?
Both: Love [Laughing].
Evil Ebenezer: That’s where it all starts is love. Love for the music, love for each other.
Moka Only: Ya we were friends, we were introduced through a mutual friend Stuey Kubrick, who, by the way, produced this album.
Evil Ebenezer: Ya it was easy like that. Stuey was the catalyst. I started goin’ to Mok’s house and we had an idea, and within a couple a weeks we had a good bulk of the album done. It is now just getting finished up, as we record the visuals, and get all the other fun stuff done.
Moka Only: On a side note, this album was recorded quite a few years ago. We wanted to let it age. After reviewing it we thought it might be…
HipHopCanada: Ahead of its time?
Moka Only: Well I dunno bout that. That’s a lil narcissistic to think that, but maybe we were just feelin like we needed the right situation business-wise.
Evil Ebenezer: Ya. I mean that is what it mostly had to do with. Back when we had just finished the album, both of us as artists wanted to show the end result off in the most effective way possible. We wanted to hit the audiences with a bang and show it off to the world. We had to suck it up at that point though and get over it, and wait for the opportunity for it to be put out in the right way, with the right business tip.
HipHopCanada: Moka, I know you like to play around with different instruments, did you experiment with any strange or unusual instruments for this album?
Moka Only: Ya I do like to play, I mean there is some additional instruments, but once again I’m not the beat maker on this album, Stuey and DJ U-tern are. Both are incredibly talented and they got their own experimentations happening with this album.
HipHopCanada: Are you two planning on keeping ZZBRA going or is this a one time type of deal?
Moka Only: We don’t know. We’ll see. I meant the truth is we have done songs since, and I don’t think that’ll ever stop, whether we put a ZZBRA stamp on it or not. It’s all music.
HipHopCanada: Tell me about the name ZZBRA.
Moka Only: We like the animal really. It’s a weird animal, like its part giraffe part slug, like how cool is that? It’s a cool animal man. It slithers around and eats chestnuts man. It’s the best animal I could think of. It wears socks on its head. So. Beat that kinda animal man.
HipHopCanada: Where in the community have you guys found a lot of support?
Evil: Stompdown Killaz hold my back as associates in the business. In the music community we for the most part all got each others backs when it comes to helping out with what we can
Moka Only: It’s the same with Red Dragon, and my associates. They’re really behind it, and supportive of the record too. Blastin’ it and tweetin’ it and whatever. Props to all the peripheral people that hold us down. For sure. But me and Evil first and foremost are concerned with CamoBear Records for the meantime.
HipHopCanada: Do guys feel than that there is a good music community here in Vancity?
Evil: Yes and no.
Moka Only: I havn’t done a lot of shows out here lately just cause the touring schedule is whatever, but I don’t overanalyze. There are some great people here and there are some sucky people here, and it will continue to grow, which is what’s important.
Evil Ebenezer: At the end of the day…It’s home. I’m in the same situation where I’ve been touring all over pretty hard, especially for the last couple of years, and Vancouver isn’t as important to me to have a huge following here.
Moka Only: We aint tryna be the king of the city. That doesn’t make any sense. We are tryna do music for the people all over the globe. The people that like it.
HipHopCanada: Do you two have a favorite city to perform in?
Moka Only: Berlin, and Los Angeles are my two favorite.
Evil Ebenezer: In the last couple of years I would have to say that Montreal has been my favorite, but even small towns and places close to home are dope to perform. Nanaimo and Kamloops are fun.
Moka Only: I did a show in Mission and it was crazy, so. Where there is the most love is where is the best to perform.
Evil Ebenezer: It’s definitely about the energy.
Moka Only: F’real.
HipHopCanada: I can see you two are entertainers at heart after seeing you shoot a bit of this vid. Do you prefer the studio or the stage?
Moka Only: Aw. That’s a hard one.
Evil Ebenezer: You know what? It’s so fun man. Cause I mean more often than not, I have been playing a lot on my own or with Snak I guess too, but for the first how many years of my career I was alone. To have someone like Moka that is kinda like the same type of performer, has the same type of humorous tendencies on stage and as a performer is a real treat for me.
Moka Only: We are real serious on stage. (haha)
Evil Ebenezer: I mean we were rehearsing our dance steps fifteen, sixteen hours last night alone so, I mean we miss a lot a sleep due to our dance regimen.
Moka Only: I been on my own for a long time, so to have a group project is cool. It’s a lot of fun.
HipHopCanada: How many videos do you think you will be putting out for this project?
Evil Ebenezer: Well we have already released one for “Green.” But we are doin a lot. At least ten. And Stuey will be doin em all.
Moka Only: There might be exclusive stuff that won’t be even on the album. There are a few in the works.
Evil Ebenezer: For this year, this is probably going to be the album with the most visuals to go along with in the world. I would almost guarantee it.
Moka Only: It’s gonna be the best project coming out in the world.
Interview by Samantha Cairns for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jamie Sands for HipHopCanada