What inspired you to pick up drums and what inspires you to continue down this journey today?
The drumming journey started when I was two years old. My father is a drummer and percussionist and runs an academy in Juhu, Mumbai for the last 35 years. There is nothing except drums for me. I just feel that I should keep getting better and there is a lot to learn. It takes years of practice as it’s not an easy instrument.
Your speciality in the music industry revolves around a lot of Bollywood and film music. Could you tell us the difference between composing parts of a film soundtrack versus writing music with your band?
When I record drums or compose for a Bollywood film, it is very situational based that is given by the Director. Even if I play drums for a movie, some story is given and that is different from when I compose for my band. I have complete freedom and can decide what instruments or vocalist I want to include. Both are different and I enjoy doing both. It is great to have a balance between doing film work and independent music.
You’ve involved a lot of digital and electronic set up in your performances. You think musicians have become overly dependent on technology?
I feel, as a musician, we should always move ahead with technology and it should be a part of your set up. I have always used technology in my set up like electronic pads and stuff like that to make it more like a hybrid set up than having just electronic. I mix it well by having my acoustic kit as the main one and mixing it with some hybrid mics etc. It’s just the balance that we as musicians need to understand. Electronic sound cannot be compared to acoustic sound! If you merge it well, the output will be great.
We’ve seen a lot styles of fusion evolving in India over the past few years. How do you approach the synergy between western music concepts and music that sticks to Indian roots?
For me fusion music started way back in early 60s and 70s when Pt. Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain, John McLaughlin started performing fusion music. They are my idols. I follow Zakir Hussain sir a lot when it comes to this. I’m trying to do the same with my band where I have a Sitarist and a Guitarist creating fusion music. I do understand the Indian part of the music as well and it’s important to have a good part of both worlds. Even if I were to play Tabla on my drums, I would interpret it more as a drummer rather than playing it directly as a Tabla. That is something I have been focussing on a lot.
Tell us about your endorsement with Harman
I was looking out for drum mics and have been trying different mics over the years. At one of the concerts, we used an AKG mic, and when I heard back the recording, it sounded so amazing. I spoke to Harman and they were sweet enough to send the AKG drum set premium mics. If you see my Mumbai movement single, all mics used were of AKG. The best part about this drum set is that they have high hat mics that nobody else offers. I think the AKG C451B is the finest mics I’ve used for the same. I use the D40s for toms and snares. I used the AKG C214 for overheads and C414s for room mics.
The kit sounds warm and the detaining of the high hats and overheads have been amazing. These are something that will get the right sound of my drumkit. I would totally recommend!
Can you highlight products of Harman you’re using and why you specifically like the product?
So, currently I’m using the AKG drumset premium mics. For the kick drum, I’m using the D112. I have the D12VR that is a part of the set and sometimes use two kick drums mics and have a balance of both. For toms and snare, I use the AKG D40s which are brilliant dynamic mics that capture the low end and mid tones and when it comes to snare, the high end very well. For high hats, I use the condenser C451B which by far has been amazing in terms of sound, and clarity. For the overheads, I use the AKG 214s that captures the cymbals. We have the C414s
which we use as the room mics. AKG has a great drum set premium mic set and this is something you should try out!
For musicians looking to enter the business of gear endorsements like Harman, what advice would you give them?
The most important thing is to know your sound and to know which brand gives you the sounds that your music demands. For me, endorsement is not just getting gear from a company. It’s basically to enhance my sound as a musician, drummer and a composer. I’m very lucky that I’ve been tied up with amazing brands. AKG mics have been great in terms of support to give us gear on time. That’s very important when it comes to an association
between the company and artist.