Coming from a well-known musical family, Stefanos started playing the piano and the drums at the age of 6. At age 12 he was touring with his father’s orchestra “The CYBC NATIONAL ORCHESTRA” all over Cyprus and Greece.
He moved to Los Angeles, California at age 20 to attend Musicians Institute-College of Contemporary Music. While being a student at M.I. Stefanos studied privately and attended drum seminars with some of the biggest names in the Drumming World, including Chris Coleman, Thomas Lang, Marco Minnemann, Bernard Galane, Ed Roscetti, Dom Famularo and many more. Besides getting his Degree from Musicians Institute in Drum Performance and as a result of his hard work, Stefanos won the “OUTSTANDING PLAYER Of The Year Award” upon graduation in 2012, thus getting his name in the Modern Drummer Magazine as an awardee of the prestigious institution.
Upon his return to Cyprus he started studying Classical Percussion at Arte Music Academy under the guidance of Marios Nikolaou (Principal Percussionist of the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra). Stefanos besides studying for his Degree in Classical Percussion, was also very active in the Classical world as well and performed with Symphony Orchestras as a Percussionist and also attended many seminars from Classical Percussionist including names like Wieland Welzel (Principal Timpanist of the Berliner Philharmoniker) Frederic Macarez (Principal Timpanist of Orchestra de Paris) Katarzyna Mycka (World Renown Marimba Soloist) and many more. He has also participated in the 6th international Percussion Competition Organized by the Percussive Arts Society in Athens Greece, in the classical snare drum category, winning 3rd place award from over 50 competitors. He has also won 2nd place in the Italy Percussive Arts Society Competition for drum set playing from over 120 Competitors from all around the world.
Stefanos has managed to be the “first call” studio drummer for all major studios on the island and as a result he has recorded 15 studio albums with many bands as a band member and/or session musician. He is one of the founding members of the leading blues/rock band “The Zilla Project” with whom he has recorded the band’s first studio album and also toured all over Europe including performances guest starring Adam Levy US , Bex Marshall UK , Kirk Fletcher US, Panos Mouzourakis GR. He has recently recorded and toured England and Germany with Finding Kate (UK artist) supporting the artists second album. He is currently preparing for a series of live shows with blues guitarist extraordinaire Kirk Fletcher, a series of live performances in Australia and Norway with Bex Marshall (UK Award Winning Blues Artist) and an album release for his own band “Private Garden”.
How are you keeping busy and creative during these days with the pandemic?
Well it’s very challenging for everyone I guess. To be honest it’s hard to keep busy all the time when lockdowns occur. But some moments of creativity are enough to get you going. At the moment I’m releasing an EP with my band PRIVATE GARDEN, and also shooting a video clip from one of the songs. Also a few months back i did a live looping video by myself, it’s a solo side project i intent to keep going as often as possible Are you active on social media?
Do you believe that having an online presence is even more useful now?
I try to be as much as possible. I’m a firm believer in quality content and sometimes i see a lot of people that get curried away over quantity. So my presence it’s a combination of being active and maintaining a high quality as much as possible. I believe that yes, online presence is essential, but quality control is also an essential thing, and should be high on everybody’s list.
Can you recall the moment you realised you wanted to become a full-time musician? When did you start writing your own songs? Tell us a few words about the process.
I come from a musical family so the process was a familiar thing to me. I remember vividly many moments of my family (parents and older brothers) just creating and arranging in many musical situations. I can honestly say that i don’t have a memory of me saying that “this is what I want to do” i think instinctively I went along and started playing and rehearsing, trying to imitate what was happening around me.
What is your biggest motivation? And who are your biggest influences?
My biggest motivation is to break out of the barriers of the small island I was born and raised (besides having studied in Los Angles and lived there for 4 years, Cyprus is where i spend most of my musical life) I have many many influences that go from Classical Music to Death Metal and everything in between. I took everything very seriously growing up and practice alot, that gave me a more in depth look on how every genre of music is connected. I really do believe in education, that’s one of the reasons that besides my Degree i have from Musician Institute in Los Angles, where i studied with some of the Masters in all sorts of musical genres (Pop, Rock, Funk, Blues, Fusion, Jazz etc) after returning to Cyprus I decided to further my studies in Classical Percussion.
How important is music to your life? Were your family and friends supportive of your career choice?
Music is very important in my everyday life, i think of myself as a fanatic music listener that also happened to be able to play. My family was and still is very supportive and I’m very grateful for that.
Can you mention some of your favorite collaborations?
Thankfully even though i live in a very small island, the persistence of me and the people that I’m very thankful for collaborating here, paid of. I was lucky enough to collaborate with one the best blues guitarist in the world right now Mr. Kirk Fletcher for a series of live shows. Another great mention is also Adam Levy, Bex Marshall, Kate, Panos Mouzourakis and many more. I was also lucky enough to tour Europe and in the States, either as a session musician or with one of my bands.