Q&A with Greek talented musician Billy Merziotis, collaborated with many famous Rock n' Blues artists

"Rock and Blues have become classic genres and as such they will continue to gain new audiences, no matter how big or small."

Billy Merziotis: All The Things You Are

Billy (Vasilis) Merziotis is a Greek guitarist/singer. Born in Athens in 1979, he has written 2 studio albums and 2 singles. He is a composer and lyricist. Through his career in music he has collaborated with many famous Greek artists and played with Alice Cooper's band. In 2013 along with female singer Irene Movia he formed a rock/blues band, After Hours, named after Gary Moore's studio album to honor the artist that has been his greatest influence. Apart from performing their own songs they also cover artists like Janis Joplin, Etta James, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and more.                         (Billy Merziotis & Irene Movia / Photo by Labros Roumeliotis)

Since 2015, he pays tribute to Gary Moore along with his (Moore) musicians: Vic Martin (keyboard), Pete Rees (bass) and Graham Walker (drums). “All the things you are” (2023, Polymusic) is the 3rd studio album of Billy Merziotis. This time, the Les Paul virtuoso joins forces with former members of Gary Moore’s band: Vic Martin on keys, Pete Rees on bass & Graham Walker on drums. Along with longtime music partner, singer and lyricist Irene Movia, Billy creates an authentic album consisting of memorable rock riffs, fiery solos and blues tunes filled with vocal harmonies.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Rock n’ Blues music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Rock & Blues is my favorite music genre. It inspired me to learn how to play the guitar, start a band, write my own songs. Even the journeys I have made were in fact in purpose of playing music all over the world.

How do you think that you have grown as an artist since you first started making music? What has remained the same about your music-making process?

I haven’t changed really; from day one I have been very demanding when it comes to sound engineering, gear, musicians… Most of all I am very demanding of my playing during the process, and I spend all my days in the studio trying to get the best out of everyone, including me.

Currently you’ve one release with Gary Moore’s Band. How did that relationship come about? Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the new album “All the things you are”?

I have been playing with the Gary Moore band since 2016 paying tribute to Gary. The band, consisting of some of the finest Moore’s collaborates through the years, came together after my invitation and I came up with the name. They are Pete Rees on bass, Vic Martin on keys and Graham Walker on drums. So, it came natural to invite them to play on my new album, highly skilled and professionals as they are. The recordings took place in Athens and London and the mastering in New York. I sent the demos to the three of them in UK and each recorded their part and then sent the tracks back. Guitars, vocals and the mixing were done in Athens.

"When I saw Slash live at Tokyo in VHS back in 1993! And when I listened to Gary Moore’s album “Still got the blues”. I released 3 albums and 2 singles, and I consider those as highlights. One of the most heartwarming facts is that people in Europe and US has been showing their appreciation in every way and keep us going." (Billy Merziotis / Photo by Labros Roumeliotis)

Why do you think that the Gary Moore music continues to generate such a devoted following?

Gary Moore had the whole package: song writer, guitar player, singer. He went through different music styles successfully. His music will live on, he is one of the classics, a master.

What moment changed your music life the most? What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

When I saw Slash live at Tokyo in VHS back in 1993! And when I listened to Gary Moore’s album “Still got the blues”. I released 3 albums and 2 singles, and I consider those as highlights. One of the most heartwarming facts is that people in Europe and US has been showing their appreciation in every way and keep us going.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I serve Music; As a performer I try to make everyone in the crowd have a good time.

Do you think there is an audience for Rock/ Blues music in its current state? or at least a potential for young people to become future audiences and fans?

Rock and Blues have become classic genres and as such they will continue to gain new audiences, no matter how big or small.

What's the balance in music between technique and soul? How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?

The thing is that, if you lack technique, you can’t express what’s in your soul. As artists, we conduct our experiences and view of life through music and lyrics.

Billy Merziotis & The Gary Moore Band - Home

"I haven’t changed really; from day one I have been very demanding when it comes to sound engineering, gear, musicians… Most of all I am very demanding of my playing during the process, and I spend all my days in the studio trying to get the best out of everyone, including me." (Billy Merziotis & Irene Movia / Photo by Labros Roumeliotis)

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