He’s the man who lays the foundation for the mayhem unleashed by Delhi metallers Artillerie. Their album Eradefiled was released in November 2010 to good reception, praised especially for its concept. Asheem Sher of Indian Drummer recently had a chat with drummer Aadhar Malhotra and here’s how it went.
Aadhar - Hi Asheem!
ID – How are things on your side?
Aadhar - Hectic mate.
ID - So what made you to pick up drums?
Aadhar – Well, I picked up drums by sheer accident. I used to sing and was heavily into hip-hop and rap earlier but school wasn’t too obliging so I saw the kit one day, sat behind it and haven’t looked back since.
ID – Hip-hop to a metal outfit? Was this a sudden transition or a gradual stream?
Aadhar - It was gradual. I got into metal at a time when Linkin Park was considered Heavy (damn! That sounds wrong). Nu-metal and hip-hop do have a connecting thread. However as soon as I graduated to Metallica, I stumbled upon two bands, which REALLY got me into taking slipknot & lamb of god. I still remember trying to cover now you’ve got something to die for on single bass ( coz didn’t know double bass existed)
ID – How did this Hip-hop background help in nu-metal drumming? Or even vice-versa.
Aadhar –Well, the basis of both is strong rhythm because rap vocals are ENTIRELY based on timing and rhythm. My timing on the drums was fairly decent when i started out. it wasn’t as brilliant as it should’ve been simple beacause there was no concept of a metronome in my mind back then.
ID – Aadhar, metronome as an important aspect of drumming, what’s your view about that?
Aadhar - A metronome is a drummer’s best friend AND his/her worst enemy.
ID - Please explain to more for our viewers
Aadhar – see, a metronome is an extremely important tool as at the end of the day, a drummer is just a timekeeper. However, overtime it’s become more of a speedometer than anything else. Kids these days just wanna know how fast they can play with a click
ID – What’s your suggestion to get it on the right track?
Aadhar – Well Kids, Try this – Play a simple groove at 100BPM No fills, no extra notes. Just that one groove like an ostinato. See if you can play that without changing anything for at least 20 minutes. Believe me it’s harder than any rudiment on the planet.
ID – Do you still use that hip-hop brain while composing your songs for artillery or is it based on you newer influences?
Aadhar - Actually, my hip-hop influences only work when I’m working on a solo. With Artillerie, it’s an entirely different approach because; I’ve just started song writing with them. Eradefiled was written when Puneet Rajput was in the band. The approach with Artillerie is to make sure that every song sounds like you’re witnessing annihilation without taking away the inherent theme of the song For example, character himsasha (refer to the Eradefiled story blog for details ) & him referring to himself as Zeus.
ID – Aadhar, I’m a fan of Temple of Zeus, Can you explain all parts of this song. Also, how do you approach this song? I’ve been listening to it for the past 2 hrs. Killer stuff!
Aadhar- aah,Thanks mate, but Puneet was the one who worked on the song. Now that’s a tough one . Alright ill give it a shot. The intro groove is faily simple as the bass drum is locked in with the guitar riff. The only change is adding the blast beats in the second bar.
Next is the up-tempo part.
Again, the point was to make the song aggressive, heavy as well as keeping the groove in mind as the music is heavily based on grooves & syncopated patterns. The double bass run & the blast beat were like this hammering onslaught & its most fun to watch it live.
That’s when this part really shines through
ID – Tell us the bpm of the song how to go about achieving it?
Aadhar – Well, the song is roughly about 196 to 200BPM. Therefore it’s not an easy tempo to tackle. Simply because there is a lot of syncopated kick patterns that are involved. What you can do is practice them as slowly as possible to make sure the patterns are embedded in your muscle memory and gradually take up the tempo and develop the muscle groups required
ID – Tell us which other bands you are or have been associated with?
Aadhar –Okay, well, I formed a band right out of school called Technical Difficulties which was rechristened Sypher. We mostly played covers of whatever bands we liked, from Breaking Benjamin to Children of Bodom to Decibel’s Naagin Since Sypher was mostly a cover band, I decided to move on, and formed a band called Tartarus, which was also a cover band but a bit more focused. We were a four piece band covering Trivium and Lamb of God with one guitar and we were a tight unit. Till date I haven’t jammed with any band as regularly as I did with Tartarus.
But studies and careers took a toll and we had to disband.
ID – How did Artillerie happen?
Aadhar - So I came in contact with Johny from Lycanthropia and we formed a project called Spear of Destiny which is still active. Artillerie happened by luck I should say. I used to play for Silent Existence and I had recently quit that band. Frank, from Silent, was a friend of Alvin’s. Puneet had left for the US and Artillerie needed a drummer so and I auditioned and from there it’s been on helluva ride
ID – Tell us why metal? How long have you been drumming now?
Aadhar – I’ve been drumming for about 8 years now. 4 years of air-drumming and 4 years of playing on a kit. I got into metal because of the intensity and the power it has. Also, you can just about ”metalify” anything!
ID – Please help our viewers how dynamics help in metal drumming and how to go about blast beats if you’re just starting of?
Aadhar - Dynamics are important. They can change the entire feel of the song if used wisely. It can make metal sound tasteful by adding a new dimension to your playing. Even blast beats sound like well thought out grooves if combined with dynamics A blast beat is just a single stroke roll between the hands at the end of the day. If you accent one hand or play ghost notes with it in a blast beat, you’re breaking the monotony AND turning noise into music. For beginners, blast beats are single stroke rolls. Instead of playing a single stroke roll on the snare, keep one hand on the snare and one on the hi-hat or ride and play the roll. Add the bass drum with your ride hand. This is a breakdown of the traditional blast. After this, you can add any kind of foot combination you want.
ID – How to do it on double bass instead of a single bass, what are all the variations and accents we can use?
Aadhar – Ok, there are two ways to incorporate double bass in blast beats. One is playing a 16th note single stroke roll on your hands between the snare and the ride/hi-hat and playing 16th note singles/doubles on your feet.
Playing the 16th note single strokes on your hands and 8th note singles on your feet. For the first one, the simplest ways to understand the concept is to first practice single stroke rolls on the snare and play the same on your feet in unison and gradually, move one hand to a different sound source.
For the second, it’s the same exercise, except now instead of 16th notes; you’re playing 8th notes on your feet so both feet are locked in with the ride/hi-hat in an alternating manner.
ID – I’m sure all the beginners are going to love it. Nice explanation. Going further, tell us your major influences both international as well as national
Aadhar- Well starting with internaitional , there are a variety of people, I derive my posture & kit setup from Dave Lombardo.My blasts from derek roddy & George Kolias. My foot technique from Tim Waterson,Chirs Adler & George Kollias & my overall song-writing style from Chris Adler but I’m also influenced heavily by Carter Beauford & Dave Weckl. Their dynamics, grooves & timing are par excellence. There Are many more buy i’ll leave this at that.
As far as national influences go , my biggest influence has been Reuben from 3rd Sovereign. His energy is second to none.Next is Yuvraj from Undying Inc. That man can play ANYTHING. Then viru,Rahul Hariharan & a long list of people(phem)!
ID -Tell us any new album released by Indian band that you like in context with drumming dynamics and even overall composition.
Aadhar – Well, Aggressive World Dynasty right now is on the top of my list of albums to cover. I enjoyed More Than Human by Blind Image as well. Krish really makes those grooves stand out. Then there’s Metastasis by Bhayanak Maut and Mark of Teja by Scribe. I haven’t heard Noiseware’s EP yet coz I’m scared I’ll quit drumming for a month.
ID – Haha! Well what are your views about the Indian Drummer and about this interview too?
Aadhar- I’ve been following Indian Drummer closely for a while now & i have posted in the forums. In my opinion, it’s EXACTLY what the drummers of India need. It a resource that should be used as a tool for learning & getting inspired as well as a platform to showcase your abilities in the world of Indian Drumming.
About the interview, i am honoured, it’s overwhelwing to get such respect & be asked to give my views on a format like this. Thanks a ton guys!
ID – Aadhar, actually my view is that this interview was beyond what I could’ve thought, It’s an honour to have you on the site. We are a team of drummers and respect every talent of our land.
Aadhar - The pleasure is all mine my friend. You guys have done a brilliant job with this website and I am proud to be a part of this endeavour.
ID – Well, we give you open space to put your own words for your life and drumming
Aadhar - Well, I have to give a shout out to all the drummers in India. Make sure you respect the music and the instrument above all else. Have fun playing. Drumming is not a status symbol, it’s an art. Respect it and improve your skill. Enough preaching for today. Cheers!
ID – Cheers dude! It was fun talking to you. I have taken lot of your time
Aadhar - I am glad I could contribute to the learning process my friend.