Joshua Noronha is the drummer of Bangalore based Garage Rock band Jekyll & Hyde. With a great bunch of competition wins & outstation gigs, the band has built up a solid reputation over the past 2 years. Here’s what Joshua had to say about his favourite drummers, the band’s progress and upcoming shows.
ID : Hey Josh! How’ve you been? What you been up to lately?
Joshua - Hey, I’ve been doing great. I just got back from a holiday actually and am all geared up for the upcoming shows.
Joshua - I actually started playing the piano when I was 5 and this continued till I was about 13 or 14, when I decided that enough was enough. This coincided with my eldest brother moving his drum kit into my room for lack of space in his hostel. After that, there was no looking back.
ID : The band you play for, Jekyll & Hyde, has had a great run over the past 2 years, how has the journey been for you being part of this band?
Joshua – Well I’m glad to say that there have been way more ups than downs in this story. With respect to the music, it’s been an incredible learning experience throughout and other than that we’ve become fairly close which helps us collaborate better. I also consider us quite fortunate to have got the line up right on first attempt.
ID : What were your early music influences? Any one band/artist that changed it all for you?
Joshua – One word – METALLICA. They’re the guys who made me stop listening to the music my parent’s thought was ‘appropriate’ and move on to more thrashy stuff. After I got over the fact that there was than one band out there, I moved on to Iron Maiden, Megadeth, etc. and all the classics that eventually led to a more Grung-ish sound like that of Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains that I connect with better now.
ID : Drumming wise, who are your major influences?
Joshua - Initially when I was into progressive stuff, it was Mike Portnoy and Neil Peart. But these days, the drummer’s who influence me the most include the likes of John Bonham, Carter Beauford, Gavin Harrison, Tommy Igoe, etc. the list goes on.
ID : Getting back to Jekyll & Hyde, how would you classify your music as? A lot of different influences can be heard on your tunes.
Joshua - I would classify it as something around garage rock and definitely not punk which is what some people mistake it to be unfortunately. I guess you could attribute the different influences to the different tastes in music that the four of us have, although we do have our common ground.
Joshua – That happened back in 2009 when we all started college; it was actually a bit of a fluke. Kaushik (lead guitars) used to walk around wearing Lamb of God t-shirts and I found out that he played the guitar. We decided to jam, and managed to find Anant (vocals/guitars) who decided it was worth devoting some time away from the drama club. After looking around college for a bit more, we found Raunaq (bass), though he needed to be pulled out of a fusion band first.
ID : How is the song writing process like for you guys? How do you approach your parts?
Joshua – We’ve tried different methods but what works best for us is when Kaushik or Anant run a couple of riffs over us and we jam a little on them. After that I like to think of possible grooves at home, which doesn’t necessarily involve using a drum kit. Sometimes inspiration strikes at the oddest times. After that, we try a whole bunch of permutations and combinations with the riffs and structure before completing the song.
ID : What’s your practice routine like? What does your warm up consist of? Any particular exercise you’d like to share with us?
Joshua - My practice routine actually varies based on what I’m working on. I like to single out areas where I feel I should improve and work on those until I’m satisfied. I also like to practise stuff that I find in random instructional videos online. Other than that, the regular routine generally includes drum rudiments, paradiddles, etc.
ID : Give us a description of your setup and the equipment you use.
Joshua - I actually use a really basic setup on stage. Earlier my idea of the ideal drum kit would have probably included about 5-10 cymbals around loads of drums, but now that idea’s changed. I like to use just 2 toms and 2 crashes in addition to your basic snare-bass drum-hit hat combination; though I think its time I picked up a ride. I’ve also shifted to heavier sticks for more power in my drumming. The only equipment I carry on stage as of now includes a Meinl 18” crash, a tama HP200 bass pedal and Vic Firth 2BN sticks.
ID : What’s the most important thing to you while writing your parts?
Joshua - That would be to ensure that my drum lines match the riffs and the overall groove of the song. I feel that a drummer’s primary role is to maintain the groove in the song. A common mistake that you see these days is drummers trying to be in the spotlight through complex fills and beats even if they’re overdoing it. I try to incorporate my style and variations in within the limits; however my top priority is to ensure that everything sounds the best it can overall.
ID : Any DVD recommendations you’ve got for the readers?
Joshua - I’ve found Groove Essentials by Tommy Igoe to be really helpful but apart from that I rely on YouTube most of the time. Some of the stuff put up there by guys like Mike Johnston is truly amazing.
Joshua - Playing at BMS for Whiplash and the Golden Brick Awards was quite memorable because of the crowd and the overall energy around. Other than that the finals at BITS – Goa (Searock) was a fairly good experience.
ID : Opening for Galeej Gurus, how was that like?
Joshua - I’ve always enjoyed their style of music and opening for them was an honour. Naveen’s riffs and Kishan’s drumming always leave you asking for more.
ID : Your favourite song to play live?
Joshua - Our own comp – Sweet Lovin’
ID : You guys are back from a break now and I hear you guys are planning on releasing an EP soon in the coming months; can you give us an idea about how many songs are going to make the cut?
Joshua -Sweet Lovin’ is the only song that’s going to make it to the EP from our older set. Other than that we’re working on completely new stuff for the EP specifically.
ID : How much of the writing for the EP is done so far?
Joshua - We have 2 songs done completely and are in the process of writing the 3rd and 4th.
Joshua - So far I’ve just been practising my parts with a metronome at home. I don’t intend on programming drums for the EP but at the same time I’m sceptical about recording acoustic drums. As of now I’ve been contemplating recording my parts using V-drums.
ID : Is it going to be completely new songs or will hear any of your older songs like Eastside man, The Atheist on the EP?
Joshua – Those songs were written when we were just starting out and were still finding that definitive sound. Needless to say, we’re not too pleased with the end result and that’s why Sweet Lovin’ is going to be the only song that we’re retaining.
ID : Any details on any show(s) you guys are going to be playing soon?
Joshua - We’re going to be doing a Nirvana tribute at Hard Rock Café – Bangalore towards the end of September and a Rolling Stone promo event at Garuda Mall before that. Apart from that I’m sure we’ll play at a couple of college fests too.
ID : What can we expect from you and Jekyll & Hyde in the future?
Joshua - We get exposed to new things everyday and I don’t see that learning process stopping anytime soon. As a drummer you got to keep abreast with the latest stuff and I hope to incorporate the things that I learn into my drumming in the band. In the near future, I’m going to be working on my sound on stage.
Thanks for doing this interview Josh! This is your space. Feel free to add anything here!
Joshua - It was my pleasure! On behalf of the band, I’d like to thank all our friends and fans who support us; it really means a lot when you guys come out to watch us play.