Nicole Vasarevic
The Silhouette

The year started off with a bang for the Hamilton band The Zilis. Band members Justin Bozzo (bass and vocals), Zander Lamothe (drums) and Sean Royle (guitar and vocals) are not only doing a local tour with stops in Toronto, Ottawa and Kingston this month, but they are also releasing their second album, Sketches II.

Bozzo, a McMaster student, says fans can expect “more bluesy, R&B, [and] some soul” on the new album. He expands on this, explaining how bands such as The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and The Beatles have influenced the Zilis’ sound.

“We listen to 20’s blues as well, the older jazz music that shows off a lot of good improvisation,” said Bozzo. The new album will have “a lot of variety,” according to Bozzo. “It includes the song types we didn’t include in the first album, Sketches.”

Sketches II is just one more stepping-stone in the Zilis’ eight-year-long journey in the music industry. The band has played with The Arkells, Hey Rosetta, Flogging Molly among others, including opening for the legendary bands KISS and the well-known Bon Jovi.

With experience playing before crowds as large as 25,000, the Zilis are no strangers to being on the road and playing live. The band has played from coast to coast in cities including Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec City.

The band started out in Hamilton venues such as the Casbah and The Lazy Flamingo, who helped them kick-start their career. They have also played at The Phoenix, and McMaster’s own Faculty Hollow for Welcome Week 2013.

Sketches was also nominated for rock recording of the year at the 2012 Hamilton Music Awards.

The boys are kicking off their new tour with a CD release party right here in their native city on Feb. 7 at This Ain’t Hollywood. Fellow Hamilton bands The Bandicoots and Go To The West will open.

The Zilis have stated that they will be playing Sketches II, start to finish. During past gigs, the band has been known to play impressive three hour sets where the boys lay everything they have out on stage.

The Zilis have done some amazing things in the past eight years in both the Hamilton and Canadian music scenes. The release party for Sketches II will be dedicated to celebrating this latest accomplishment with fans, which should make for an incredible and memorable night.

Sketches II will be available on iTunes on Feb. 4 2014.

Photo by Joe Fuda/Fudagraphy

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