Joe’s been a good friend for about 5 years, and I grab every opportunity to catch him on acoustic guitar whenever I was up Paphos way and on his ventures down to one of my fav bars Savino Rock Bar in Larnaca … One of my favourites nights was when he linked up with Stefania and did Zombie. I couldn’t wait to grab him for an Inside Out interview, when he finally said yes, and invited me up to his recording studio Dragons & Unicorns, coz I just knew there was more behind the guitar and that debonair smile and coz I know he can’t do ‘Sex Bomb’ without me any more 😉
My curiousity as always, led to my first question, why Dragons & Unicorns ? He said “it stems from my youth in Lebanon, and my love for Art, and drawing them, the most powerful thing that existed but that didn’t hurt anyone” … The evidence of his art on the walls, Joe is man of my heart, a graphics designer by hand before computers, drawing from his imagination, he said, “I won a drawing competition, back in the mid 80’s, 2 kids from each of 100 schools” …
When I said wow!, he said, “but then I got into Breakdancing at age 14, 15, 16, 17 in the mid 90’s and won a championship in Lebanon” … “and I still breakdance, I love a bit of Rap and R’n’B and at that time I wasn’t really into music but couldn’t resist jumping on a piano if I found one, much as I was never taught anything” laughing he said “I was a bit of a nightmare and got kicked out of 5 schools doing my last 3 years of schooling from home” … “my vision however was to start a band” …
Joe could tell I was following, and laughed as he enlightened me even more, saying “I also loved Acrobatic Diving, from 4.5 and 10 metre boards and rock diving” … I just knew this guy was on another level, so I asked, How did you get into music? … Joe said “I started from scratch, whilst doing my national service in Lebanon at age 19. I bought a guitar with my first monthly salary, started mucking about, started writing lyrics and melodies, and taught myself to play guitar. I got so into it, I eventually bought a better guitar, but I still have that first one” … He laughed, saying “I was a naughty boy and I got a lot of time to myself, coz out of 12 months in the army I spent 8 months in army jail” lol
I did them!
Joe continued, “I moved to Cyprus coz my father was already here and he said with us going into Europe there’d be loads of opportunities”, he laughed “the only jobs I didn’t do, I did them!, even became a gold and diamond setter, ha! sometimes I impress myself”! … We both laughed … “but hairdressing was my life”, I must say, this guy is awesome!,
I wanted to chat about his music coz this guy excels here, saying “when we put a song together, it’s all done right here 100%, written and produced, maybe a little help with guitar, but everything is recorded in parts, no loops, including the drums and keyboard, with no compromise, you know, what happens, happens” …
Dragons & Unicorns
I delved deeper, so tell me more about what you write? Joe said, “i don’t have any favourite things, I don’t limit myself, I let myself be. Most of my songs are messages like on my concept album and I always concentrate on the lyrics” … Joe told me that he wants to move more into the recording side of the business commercially in his little mini studio saying “when you want something badly enough you can achieve it” … oh, we interrupted our interview while we popped up to Cinema Hair Salon to cut my hair, is there anything he can’t do?
Q: How Long have you been in this biz ?
A: 19 years
Q: If you wasn’t doing this, what would you do ?
A: I’d probably be a hair dresser coz that was my job, music was more of a passion. It’s a way I can get in touch with many people at the same time.
Q: What do you like best about your work ?
A: I sold the salon last year so I could concentrate more at being a musician, its my passion but now I want more.
Q: Has the stardom effected your life?
A: Not effected it at all, I like to be a showman not a show off.
Q: Who was your inspiration?
A: oh, Matt Monroe, Frank and Dean Martin, the Rat Pack, he said with a cheeky grin.
Q: Why Dragons & Unicorns
A: The dragon is a universal icon for most men the dragon was the symbol of power and the unicorn was magical
Q: Favourite Drink
A: Beer, JD, a cocktail ?
Q: What’s your most prized possession?
A: Don’t believe in possessions
Q: What makes you laff?
A: Something clever
Q: Why Paphos?
A: Coz that’s where my dad came, I liked the lovely modern village, close to lots of events
Q: Where will you be playing this year?
A: At The Rose Pub and Aliathon Hotel in Paphos
Q: What’s your ride?
A: Car, VW Passat, Station Wagon, need space for all my equipment
Q: Will you be looking for romance?
A: Nope, I’m single, don’t believe in relationships, and I respect the art of compromise
Q: Any Upcoming Projects?
A: Another Album, writing more songs
Q: What’s your most embarrassing moment at work ?
A: I don’t have one really coz I don’t get embarrassed, but the stripping video when I did Sex Bomb was a bit naughty
Q: Gimme 5 essentials you pack in your suitcase?
A: Underwear, Guitar, Money, Mobile, Issey Miyake Aftershave
I really enjoyed catching up with Joe, and I gotta say, I’ve loved every gig, and I’m so glad I delved a little deeper, but if you’ve never seen him live, Joe really puts on a good show, and if you’re lucky you might just catch me doing Sex Bomb with him, and if you need a recording studio?, Dragons & Unicorns is full of talent and passion, so he’s your man!
D & U Studios, 6, Aresti Socratous, Paphos, 8026, it’s near the general hospital just behind Alexander College …
GPS: 34.787617, 32.443012