Virendra G. Kaith , a very well known face in Indian drumming scene. Master of blast beat. He is 29 years old and has been playing playing drums since the last 10 years. Viru is endorsed by Zildjian cymbals and Mapex drums. Currently is playing with Demonic Resurrection, Scribe, Khiladi, Prayag , Sridhar-Thayil on full time basis and session playing for Axetortion too. Other than this, he freelances with other bands as well.
ID :Hi Viru, first tell us about your drumming idols?
Viru:- Drummers from all genres have inspired me, but mostly metal drummers. Tomas Haake, Morgan Agren, Virgil Donati, Steve Smith, Jojo Mayer, Dennis Chambers, Chris Adler, Travis Orbin, Daniel Luttick, Gene Hoglan, Alexandre Pelletier, etc, etc.
ID :What have you taken from them & put into your playing?
Viru:- Mostly the way they incorporate their drumming into the style of music that they play. And the way it suits the overall sound of the band.
ID lease mention what you like in particular about your each endorsement?
Viru:- I love the sound and the crispness of my Zildjian cymbals. They are loud but still don’t hurt your ears. They are very sweet sounding cymbals.I love the hardware that Mapex drums have. They are so flexible. You can setup your drumkit in minutes. Plus, they sound fuller and deeper.
ID :How has it made a difference in your playing style & sound?
Viru:- I am a left-handed drummer. And if you go through my setup, it is a little wider compared to the regular drum setup that you see. I have to really adjust my tom positions to be able to incorporate my cymbal stands between the floor tom and the toms. And the hardware of Mapex lets me do that very easily.
The cymbals have made a huge difference in my playing. I sound more musical and yet powerful and hard while playing with my metal bands. And I can even sound smooth with my other non-metal bands.
ID lease describe your drum-kit set-up?
Viru:- With Demonic Resurrection: I use a five piece setup with Demonic Resurrection.That is, Snare, Bass drum, two Toms, and Floor Tom. But instead of the regular acoustic Bass Drum, I use the Yamaha DT Express Kick Pad. I use the Yamaha DT Express module to trigger the Kick Pad. My cymbals setup consists of all my Zildjian cymbals which includes Hi-hats, two Crashes, Ride cymbals, two Splashes, and one China. All my cymbals are the K custom Zildjian series cymbals.
I use a four piece setup with the remaining of my bands. That is, Snare, Bass drum, one Tom and Floor Tom. The cymbal setup is almost the same
ID lease give us the low-down on how you set about drum tuning.
Viru:- It depends with which band I am playing. Mostly with Scribe and DR, I use a little lower pitched snare drum. It is not at any specific tuning as such. But I tune it relative to the toms. With other bands, I try to make my snare drum and bass drum sound more high pitched and bouncy.
ID :What are the common drum tuning mistakes to avoid?
Viru:- You should always make sure that you are using new skins, and that there is no crack in the sound when you are playing. A little ring in the sound is fine, which dies in the whole mix with the band.
ID :What is your basic warm-up routine & how often do you practice?
Viru:- Singles, doubles, paradiddles. This is it. Try with both hands, both feet, left hand right foot, right hand left foot, left hand left foot, right hand right foot. I am jamming almost every day with one of my bands. So I make sure that a little bit of warmup is put into my jam session right at the start.
ID :What according to you are the important pre-requisites & attitude for a drummer?
Viru:- Play forand along the music!!!!!
ID :How do you approach the drums?
Viru:- I listen to the song/riff and try to have a conversation with it with my drums.
Viru:- All the bands that I play are from a different genre. And every band has its own sound. It feels great to be a part of so many bands. It has helped me differentiate the sound that is required by all the bands.
ID oes playing in different bands require a completely different approach & mind-set or is there a common thread running through them? How do you adapt?
Viru:- To be able to play in a band, you need to like the music, you need to like
that genre. And it is nothing like if you are into metal, you have to hate bollywood, or you have to hate classical music. You can find grooves in anything. You can find a groove in a car honking, or the engine firing of car, or a man snoring:-P Okay, I think I am going off track. The approach is different with different bands, but you can always keep experimenting. The most important thing is to be comfortable with the band members. And everything falls into the right place.
ID escribe the song composition process in different bands & your place as a drummer while the songs are being composed.
Viru:- It is varied. There are no set rules to compose music. All the songs are composed in a different way. We come up with a lot of rough scratches and then we work on it. There are times when we completely change a part, or we just experiment the same part with a different sound.
ID : Could you describe the preparation & attention to details required, prior to hitting the studios?
Viru:-Studio recording is precision to the core. You need to be prepared thoroughly. You need to be ready with all the parts. This helps because, if you have everything ready, you can then think over that and experiment. But just heading to the studio without having any basic idea of the song will lead you to nothing. (You can still do that if you own a studio)
ID :As a practicing studio musician, what do you think are the common omissions made by other studio drummers while recording?
Viru:- What I have learnt from doing different studio session work is that I had not made notes of the drum parts. I think it is very important. You know how much you have progressed if you have made a note of it. It doesn’t need to be in musical language. But just a rough note as to how the patterns are, where the verses and choruses are, etc, etc.
ID :From your studio experience over the years, what advice can you give our new budding talent relating to both a live set & a studio environment?
Viru:- Always play with a click track while you practice. And get used to playing alone and having all the song parts in your head. Because the live setup in India, though it is getting better, is not upto the mark.There are times when you can’t hear anything from your monitors. As per the studio sessions make a rough note on the structure of the song, get your monitor levels right and do a rough recording to check if you are hitting the drums to the fullest to get the exact tone that you want.
ID :Could you please mention a few re-occurring thoughts & feelings running through your head just before a live gig & just before a studio recording?
Viru:- Mostly I would be humming the songs that I am about to play. Nothing else that I can recall.
Viru:- Norway – Inferno Festival with Demonic Resurrection (30 bands – 3 day fest)
Czech Republic – Brutal Assault Festival with Demonic Resurrection (50 bands – 3
ID lease describe the total experience from your perspective.
Viru:- It was superb. A whole different perspective, right from the way the show happens, to the way things are organized so smoothly, to the way people respect and follow bands, to the way the bands respect their audience and the festival. There was so much to learn.
ID :How has that helped you shape & sharpen your drumming chops & attitude towards drumming?
Viru:- The whole experience has changed my attitude towards being in a band. They are hard working bands, and it is not only about being able to play a new chop. It was the whole experience of how they were managing a whole month tour, following up with their fans, playing a super tight set. It is a very professional thing for those bands. And that is what our bands
in India should take it as. And not just be a college band.
ID :What was the most fun part of the whole journey?
Viru:- Too many. The whole journey was fun.
ID :What was the toughest part of the entire trip?
Viru:- I think the toughest part was to get those international gigs. Cause once we were confirmed for the festival, it was superb. We had a lot of fun and had an awesome experience. Learnt a lot from the festival.
ID escribe how foreign audience took to you?
Viru:- Hmmmm, we were quite nervous as to how the audience will respond to a band from India. But the way we were treated was just superb. So there was no tough part. They were very receptive. There were so many of them from the audience who met us later and recognized us and wanted to click pictures with us. Many of them bought our Tshirts and cds and wanted autographs.
ID :In your opinion, what do think the Indian Drummers needs to pay attention to in order to enhance themselves?
Viru:- As I said before, play along with the music. And always try to get your own sound.
Viru:- I think college fests are the best thing to promote bands nationally. But these events should be promoted by the whole college other than just some kids who like metal bands and are in the organizing committee.
ID :What role do you see yourself play in the coming years to enhance Indian drummers nationally & inter-nationally?
Viru:- As I have been playing with the best of Indian bands, I am looking forward to composing more songs and albums with my bands and coming up with albums that will get musical exposure abroad. And which will pull the international promoters to think about India as the next big place for live acts.
ID :What are your hopes & dreams for your drum related future?
Viru:- I want to be play drums on full time basis. So I hope to play more festivals abroad and here in India. And maybe start a drum institution in the future.
ID :Do you have any specific milestone that you would like to see yourself hit in the coming years?
Viru:- I would want to see my bands make more albums which would get more international exposure and more international festivals to play at.
ID :Finally we would like to know about your perception of our idea of Indian Drummer, a dedicated platform for percussionists in India?
Viru:- Kudos to you, it is a brilliant platform for drummers to be able to get recognized. And showcase their talent.
Viru we would like to thank you for taking time out of your schedule.Cheers and happy drumming.