Wednesday, 21 May 2014


It all began with this one festival called Domination - The Deathfest, popularly known as 'Deathfest'. We're talking about the year 2000 here, when India's first ever extreme music festival came into being. The idea behind Deathfest was formulated by none other than Nitin Rajan (Primitiv) and his ex-band members Roshan Kumar (bass/vocals) and Hitesh Ghelani (drums) of former Mumbai death metal band Morticide

Blasphemy (Chennai) at DDF Mumbai, 2000
Crowd at Razz lawns, 2000

Prior to 2000, the year Domination - The Deathfest kicked off, there was no concert/show or festival that solely showcased metal bands. There were many 'rock' shows happening though, that would occasionally have a metal band play. Besides that, other thrash and heavy bands of the time rarely got an opportunity to play at major festivals, except a few college festivals here and there, and the rare gigs at Razzberry Rhinoceros, more widely known as 'Razz Rhino', the pioneer venue for the initial metal phase in Mumbai. The lack of opportunity in the existing local circuit led to the conception of the first extreme metal fest - the idea behind it being to stage some local as well as outstation bands. This helped people know and listen to metal bands from different parts of the country. The lineup in 2000 had opening act Demonic Resurrection, Nemesis, Fate (all three from Mumbai), Blasphemy from Chennai, Yama, Kryptos and Threinody from Bangalore and Morticide (Mumbai).

Kryptos live at DDF, 2000

Many other bands played the four editions of Deathfest back in the day like Exhumation, Acrid Semblance, Disembodied Corpse, Intestinal Butchery, Arcane Ritual, Belial, Abhor, Myndsnare and more. There was a website back then for Deathfest, with sections for comments, much before days of Gigpad and RSJ forums!

Here are some fond memories of the first ever Domination- The Deathfest, told by members of bands that played the festival.

"Deathfest was pretty awesome because back then we were just kids and every outstation gig was like some sort of epic adventure. On top of that, it was really cool to hang out and get wasted with the guys in Fate and Morticide. We hit it off really well and some of us are still friends to this day.  I think those early Deathfest gigs in Mumbai really left their mark on a lot of people because a lot of us still talk about them to this day."
-Nolan Lewis (Kryptos

"At the time, it was great to know that there was a fest only for metal bands. It was one of those 'underground' gigs."
- Sahil Makhija (Demonic Resurrection, Reptilian Death, Workshop)

"After all the times I'd been to Mumbai,  this time I was going with a band to Deathfest.  It was completely fucking insane. I was 16 and in the band and had never seen anything like it. The place was packed with wild headbangers. I remember after our set, someone even split his head open by hitting it on my monitors. Back then we had never seen energy like that before!"
 - Premik Jolly (Threinody)

"Deathfest was awesome. Blasphemy slaughtered that evening. They didn't have a bassist, so their guitar player Sanjay played bass. Their drummer Nat did a mad drum solo with double bass and all. That guy was the most awesome death metal drummer I ever heard in India. I remember we didn't have any sound issues, we just climbed onto the stage and killed it! After that, we went back to the Royal Orchid. That was the first time, and most probably the last time we'll ever be put up in a five star hotel! Basically, what followed was a contest in youthful stupidity. From drunken dry heaving in a bath tub, fake pimp calls and crawling races down the hall, it was plenty of fun!"
- Siddharth Naidu (Threinody)

Siddharth Naidu of Threinody, DDF, 2000

It was also the first time ever that any metal festival kicked off with the concept of a tour/gigs in multiple cities in India. Apart from Mumbai, the fest took place in Pune and Bangalore. Unfortunately, Deathfest lasted for four years. In 2004, the core members of Morticide started migrating to foreign countries. Nitin alone found it difficult to take complete responsibility and handle the festival by himself, as playing in a band and doing gigs was priority over organizing a festival. Domination - The Deathfest, therefore took the back seat and sunk into history, for a bit. After Morticide had practically dissolved, Nitin joined Reptilian Death for a brief period of time (two or three gigs) and then Sledge (2005 onwards). He was always in touch with the Mumbai scene.

'Resurrection', another extreme metal fest, an initiative by Sahil Makhija later almost replaced Deathfest and compensated for that need for a metal fest. There were editions of Resurrection, nine to be precise, the last one being in 2010 at Hotel Bayview in Gorai, Borivali. It was a temporary venue when Razz shut down and nothing much was really happening besides college festivals and some shows like Independence Rock and the likes. Nitin was convinced that Resurrection was continuing the metal fest culture. "Resurrection took the mantle post-Deathfest and later B69 provided the regular gigging platform for metal bands, so I was quite pleased and did not feel the need to restart the festival." he said.

These two festivals had made an impact and left everyone with something to pick up from. Although, that wasn't simply the end for Deathfest. "Later in 2009, I realised that with many metal genres and sub-genres, emerging bands playing death metal and other allied genres were not getting many gigs. This is when I decided to get Deathfest back!" added Nitin. Nitin and Riju Dasgupta (Albatross, Primitiv) were the driving force behind the revival, along with the industrious Yash Gill and Vineet Sharma (Nocturnal Art) for the artwork. Riju came into the picture only in 2013. "Deathfest wouldn't have been possible without Riju." said Nitin.

2013 witnessed the revival of the first extreme music fest, when the fifth edition took place at United 21 in Thane, Mumbai. The lineup comprised of Exhumation, Gutslit, Witchgoat, Insane Prophecy, Atmosfear, Orion and Reptilian Death. Since B69 shut down, United 21 and Blue Frog are the only two venues who host metal gigs on a more frequent basis. Thrashfest and more recently, Transcending Obscurity fest also took place at United 21.

This year, 2014, Domination - The Deathfest will once again take place in two cities, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Nitin acquainted with organizer Philip Baiju a few times in the past, and thought it would be great if Deathfest happened in Hyderabad, since there was nothing happening there right now in terms of gigs. With a dedicated crowd, Deathfest will take place on the 21st of June, 2014 in Hyderabad.

Mumbai will also have something called the 'Death Metal Legion' where a collection of favourite death metal songs will be played by our generation of musicians, like an all-star concept, paying tribute to death metal legends.

Domination - The Deathfest has come a long way, encouraging and establishing a platform for extreme metal music, and yes, all of us hope to see many more years in this festival's future! \m/

This is the official page for Domination - The Deathfest.

(Look at the links below for the lineups as well)
The sixth edition of Domination - The Deathfest will take place in Mumbai on the 8th of June, 2014, so RSVP HERE
Hyderabad leg, RSVP HERE

DDF Hyderabad poster
Story as told by Nitin Rajan.
Special thanks to Nolan Lewis, Sahil Makhija, Riju Dasgupta, Premik Jolly, Siddharth Naidu and Philip Baiju.

Sunday, 18 May 2014


This is a list of bands I know not many people have heard, in different parts of the country I've asked people if they've heard these bands - once, maybe seen them live somewhere is the common response.

I bring to you, from different parts of India, some fine bands that you need to look out for. They're doing a good job, some of them even locally, and they deserve to be heard. Cheers!


The Down Troddence
This is one of the finest representations of Indian metal, in the true sense of the term. We're all aware that as much as we're united by a few gigs now and then, we haven't heard half of the bands from different regions of the country, like the north east and sometimes the south too. The Down Troddence from Kerala/Bangalore is easily one of the best I've heard so far in the country. Groove and Indian folk? Perfect blend. This song 'Nagavalli' is from their debut album released last year called 'How Are You? We are Fine, Thank you', produced by Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor fame. They've been nominated for the Rolling Stone Metal Awards this year.

MUST LISTEN. 2.41min is a flipper!

Buy their debut album from Flipkart here or buy it a digital copy from iTunes or OKListen (India).
Visit them on Facebook.
Watch the lyric video for 'Nagavalli' and others here on Youtube.

Escher's Knot

Escher's Knot was a four-piece metal outfit from Chennai, now in Bangalore. You might have spotted these guys opening for Lamb of God and playing festivals like Deccan Rock. Yes, they've had some big gigs, and they've just released a new song. They have an EP called 'Tessellations', yeah I remember getting my hands on a copy a very long time ago. They're awesome musicians too. Do check them out.

Visit them and like them on Facebook.

Last Ride Home
Mumbai-based five-piece post-hardcore/alternative metal band release their song 'Unknown Address'. They sound good, production is pretty killer too, thanks to Ariel Samson and help from Chinmay too.

The band is currently in the process of recording for their debut full-length album 'Signs' and are set to release it by August this year. They're definitely a band to watch out for!

'Like' them on Facebook.

Theorized is a four-piece thrash metal band from Bangalore. These guys have been around for a while. Their first release was EP titled 'False Hope of Tyranny' and they've played fests like Rock N India, SummerStorm, Bangalore Open Air, October Fest & Hornbill sharing the stage with bands like Opeth, Kreator, Lacuna Coil, Suidakra, Nervecell and more! This song 'Symbiote' is from their 2014 album 'Psychosphere'.

Buy the album from iTunes (Worldwide)OKListen (India) and this for merchandise.
Their Facebook page.

Heretic is a five-piece alternative metal band from Cochin/Bangalore. I discovered them when vocalist Akhil Unnikrishnan won a Rolling Stone Metal Award for 'Best Vocalist' last year and they were also nominated for the 'Best Metal Band' category. They sound pretty good, not like anything I've heard recently. Check them out.

This song is from their album 'Words to Epilogues' available for download from OKListen.

Visit their website and watch the Official Video for the song

Alien Sky Cult
They title themselves hardcore/metal, but I'd say three-four piece progressive metal band, currently from New Delhi. Also another Keshav production, the first time I heard them was also RS Metal Awards nominations. Modern progressive lovers, check these guys out.

Visit them on Facebook and you could buy the digital copy of the EP on Bandcamp.

When this band came out, it was full-on star caste! An unexpected Sahil Makhija (Demonic Resurrection, Reptilian Death, Workshop) was on drums, Raj (ex-Workshop) on guitars and Akshay Deodhar (Spook) on vocals, making music in old hard rock and heavy metal vibes. The band has some high-pitched vocals to go with some good old-school riffs. Old school lovers will love this one.

Visit them on Facebook or follow this link for Soundcloud.

The Wishess
This is a four-piece heavy/power metal band from Imphal, India. It's time to get over and listen to some bands from the North East too!
Yes, having played tons of shows, headlining, guesting and winning, this band will reach for your soul.

Look at them here on Facebook

Cynic Bliss
What's interesting here is that this band is from Jabalpur, India, a place I was not sure metal music even spread. This four-piece metalcore band is one to give a listen. Drawing influences from Slipknot, Parkway Drive, As I Lay Dying and All That Remains, you can check Cynic Bliss out for more information on Facebook.

This is their entire EP. The EP is produced by Ashwin Shriyan, bass player of Demonic Resurrection and Reptilian Death.

Friday, 16 May 2014


R. Venkatraman, better known as 'Venky baba' is one of two powerful guitar players of Mumbai metal band Bhayanak Maut. Besides leading the life of a media professional, Venky's sole band has gone places and won a name for Indian metal music.

Here is an interview with the man himself. Baba se aashirvaad lena!

Photo credits: Roycin D'souza

Full name and age.
R.Venkatraman, Age 30. Aka, all the variations of baba.

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
Japanese. Japanese. Malvani. South Indian. Japanese.

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (guitars, processors, software)
ESP SC 607B(Mulder), ESP AW7(Scully). Suprisingly, both signature series guitars. The SC607B is a tank and the AW7 is a screamer! A big shoutout to Furtados for the guitars.

I use the Axe-Fx 2 for my entire guitar processing needs. A Line 6 HD500 to control the Axe-Fx onstage. Audio Technica Wireless Unit. On the computer, it’s mainly Reason 7.1 for sounds and Presonus Studio One to record.

How long have you been playing guitar?
Close to 13 years now.

What got you into playing guitar?
Failing singing.

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
Not at all. It was just about developing my ear. I play mostly by feel – basically, I don’t know what I am doing.

Electric vs. acoustic. What do you prefer?
Electric, although it’s been a while since I picked up an acoustic and would like to revisit. In fact, when I started writing, it all used to originate on the acoustic.

Photo credits: Roycin D'souza

What thought goes into riff construction/is there any particular pattern you follow to make riffs? 
All it takes is a feeling and a riff pattern follows, usually played to a basic drum part on 'Reason'. Then the song writes itself. Although, it’s very frustrating when it does not. But nothing you cannot solve with some noodling or with help from your band mates.

What music projects are you currently a part of? 
Bhayanak Maut only

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do? 
I work for TBWA\INDIA as a Creative Director.

Your favourite musicians (Indian)

Guitar: Prashant Shah. Dhruv Ghanekar.
Bass: Rushad Mistry, Krishna Zhaveri
Drums: Jai Row Kavi, Lindsay D’mello.
Vocals: Siddarth Basrur.

Some of your favourite musicians (international)

Guitar: Adam Jones, Stephen Carpenter, Tom Morello, Joe Haley, Adam D, Peter Wichers, Ben Sharp. Recently discovered John Scofield and he is revelatory.
Bass: Marcus Miller, Flea.
Drums: Danny Carrey, Brann Dailor, Dirk Ververurennfhheldeben (Dirk Verbeuren), Gene Hoglan,
Vocals: Maynard James Keenan, Jesse Leech, Greg Puciato, Chino Moreno, Ben Howard
Any other instrument: Does Meshuggah qualify as an instrument?

Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
Yes. The third Bhayanak Maut full-length album will release this year. You’ll see six of the proudest musicians when it comes out.

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band? 
Work ethic-wise, it has to be Tool. They really don’t give a rat’s ass about anything except the music. And their sense of humor makes their approach very unique towards their music and everything that surrounds it – the art, the videos, the live shows, all give me something to look up to.

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
Don’t take school seriously. It will take you a lifetime to unlearn that nonsense.

Be nice because we are all in this together.

Visit Bhayanak Maut on Facebook and Reverbnation.

Bhayanak Maut
Photo credits: Satya Naren

Thanks for being a wonderful audience. Stay tuned for many more posts on a variety of things 'Indian metal' can cover. Cheers! \m/

Thursday, 15 May 2014


I've known Zygnema since I began attending gigs. My first metal gig was at Musician's Mall and these guys were playing. From then on, I knew there was something so powerful and insane about them. I've known Kadads from then too, and besides being a skilled guitar player, he's an awesome person. You better be there for Control Alt Delete: Metal or you'll miss out on some major groove riffage! An interview with none other than Zygnema's Sidharth Kadadi.

wala wala lai

Full name and age.
Sidharth Sudhir Kadadi. I am not that old. I will be turning 29 soon. (psssst! guitar picks, strings, accessories are welcome as birthday gifts)

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
Indian, of course. Favourite dish has to be PAANI PURI. No wait, Pav bhaji. Both share the same place I guess. Hot Gulab Jamun with Vanila ice cream deserves a special mention and a place in the hall of fame.

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (guitars, processors, software)
Dean Dime shadow ML with DiMarzio D activators on the bridge.
Ibanez RG2EX1 with Seymour Duncan Invaders on the bridge.
Pod X3 bean, Dunlop GCB-95 wah wah, Digitech Whammy DT
Use Line6 UX1 as my audio Interface, Cubase for recording. Got shit loads of VST plugins for guitars, bass and drums.

How long have you been playing guitar?
Started when I was 18. I've been playing for 10 years.

What got you into playing guitar?
I genuinely can't remember, but a friend of mine was learning guitar and I loved the sound of an acoustic guitar. So I started off learning a few basic chords and scales from him and then enrolled for proper guitar lessons.

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
I graduated from Musicians Institute in 2008 and also appeared for Trinity Grade 8. So it is mandatory to know more than basic music reading to get into any music school or to give any exams affiliated with international institutions. My teachers always taught me music theory and application. They also insisted on reading rhythms regularly if not melodies/pieces. Small ideas help A LOT and I still find time to practice sight reading. I am not GREAT at reading, but I can manage.
I do use my ear too but when you know your basic harmonizing theory, it becomes a lot easier to transcribe or to write your own stuff.

Electric vs. acoustic. What do you prefer?
Sigh! Tough call. It's guitar in the end. Love them all. But yes, acoustic guitar sounds beautiful.
I've been spending most of my time with my classical and acoustic guitar.

What thought goes into riff construction/is there any particular pattern you follow to make riffs?
Zilch. It just flows. I don't follow a particular pattern as such. But it's very important to understand the sound of that particular riff or a song. You can't just push in any chords anywhere you feel like just because it's metal music. You have to understand the voicing and tonality of a song. I also emphasize a lot on groovy riffs. Brain-drilling riffs are not my style.

What music projects are you currently a part of, besides ?
I have been trying to work on my Rock trio project for a while now, along with Aditya Kadam and Pratik Kulgod. Very mid 80s instrumental prog rock vibe like Racer X, Paul Gilbert, Vinnie Moore, Van Halen, etc,. We have two tracks and a lot more ideas flowing. We're also hoping to put out an EP this year once I am done with Zygnema's album.
The other one is purely a studio project along with Reuben from Undying Inc. We keep writing and exchanging ideas. We too have two solid tracks and they require a bit of polishing. We have no clue who will track vocals and drums on it. For now I program drums and record stuff at home and mail it to Reuben. A lot of ideas are exchanged and we restructure the parts. I'm hoping for a proper band rehearsal before we finalize and put our material out. I honestly don't know WHEN this will release, but it will happen.

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do?
I have been working with BAJAAO since 2008 as a Guitar product specialist. I also teach guitars, so yep!

Two jobs to pay the bills and to survive as a musician in this third world country.

Your favorite musicians (Indian)

Guitar: Prashant Shah
Bass: Reuben Bhattacharya
Drums: Nishant Hagjer, Mayank, Rahul, Viru etc.
Vocals: Sunneith Revankar, Bruce Mckoy

Your favourite musicians (international)

Guitar: DIMEBAG DARREL. Mattias IA Eklundh, Vogg, Paul Gilbert, Van Halen, Vinnie Moore,
Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Guthrie Govan, Alex Skolnick, James Hetfield.
Bass: Rex Brown, Stu Ham, Steve Harris, Dick Lovgren, Les Claypool, Alex Webster, Chris Beatie, Michael Anthony
Drums: Vinnie Paul, Tomas Haake, Dave Lombardo, Vitek, Sean Reinert, Gene Hoglan, Bjorn Fryklund, Morgan Agren
Vocals: Phil Anselmo, James Hetfield, Max Cavalera, Jamey Jasta, Jens Kidman, Chuck Schuldiner, Chuck Billy, Tom Araya, Corey Taylor, Sammy Hagar, Glen Benton, Robb Flynn

Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
Zygnema's 2nd album and ROKKK trio EP hopefully by December 2014.

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band?
There are too many musicians and bands that inspire me. It doesn't matter if the band is established or still struggling, they all have great qualities which we learn from. I really really love, respect and look up to Mattias Eklundh simply because he is a living legend and he has no clue how crazy he is. But more importantly, he is a great and humble human being, an ideal Guru and a crazy Swedish viking with zero tolerance towards seriousness. The happiest guitar player on this planet.

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
Hey I am no Val Venis. The towel move thing is a little cheesy though. Skip that bit, but yes HELLO LADIES. Howdy doody!
A message to all my browskis and homies. Believe in what you do and never give up.

Catch Zygnema on Facebook or Reverbnation


Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Keshav Dhar can easily be named one of the pioneers of modern metal in India. Taking his solo project 'Hydrodjent' out of the bedroom and staging one very sought-after modern progressive outfit 'Skyharbor', this man is more than just a guitar player. Having aboard Dan Tompkins (ex-TesseracT), and also drummer Anup Sastry (Jeff Loomis, Intervals) Skyharbor's lineup is now across three continents!

The interview is with the genius behind 'Dots' and 'Celestial', brought to you by the very own me! (ikr?!) Here's an interview many of you might be eager to read. Go ahead, have a look, I'm sure there's something new and unique with every guitar player, especially when it comes to composing music!

Don't forget to vote for Skyharbor at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods in the 'Global Metal' category right HERE.

Photo credits: Pixel Matrix

Full name and age
Keshav Anand Dhar, 27

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
Indian: Prawn Chettinad curry, Non-Indian: Sushi or Pho

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (guitars, processors, software)
I currently have four guitars. My main writing guitar is a gorgeous Mayones Regius custom 6 string. I also have my trusty old Ibanez SZ2020, which still sees a fair bit of use and I absolutely love writing on it. I also have a PRS Custom 24 7 String which I use live. I rarely write songs with it though as I’ve always been a 6 string player at heart. In addition to this I have an Ovation acoustic which I don’t play very often but it’s recently seen a fair bit of use.

My 'rig' at the moment is quite simple, I've never been into pedals and endless knob tweaking, I just like to dial in sounds quickly and jam, and my Fractal Axe-FX II does this job perfectly! The amp modelling is second to none, it's incredibly versatile and responsive to my playing, and the effects are gorgeous. It's also completely midi controllable, so when playing live all my patch changes happen automatically in sync with the click tracks, which is really cool. All I need to do literally is play!

In the studio, I record, edit and mix between Cubase 7 and Pro Tools 10. I've been a Cubase user pretty much ever since I started recording many years ago, and I know it like the back of my hand now. I've started using Pro Tools a little more of late just because it's industry standard and clients send me a lot of PT session files for mixing, but I mostly just consolidate the files in there and bounce them out into Cubase again haha.

How long have you been playing guitar?
About 11 years or so now.

What got you into playing guitar?
Well I started playing guitar casually because I wanted to be able to play Metallica songs. Haha.
But I really got serious about it after watching Joint Family play live in Delhi at the 'Numero Uno Rock Out' festival in 2005. That show really fired me up. It was like, fuck! THIS is what I want to do!

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
I had 10 years of piano lessons so I can read sheet music, but ever since I started playing guitar I have never ever looked at sheet music. I actually got so fed up of the bullshit that piano lessons involved – reading music, zero room for self expression, so regimented and boring – that when I started playing guitar, I sort of swore to myself that I would only ever play by instinct and only do what sounded good to me, theory be damned.

Electric vs. acoustic. What do you prefer?
I am a terrible acoustic player, and a great many of the songs I write depend heavily on effects, delays/reverbs/choruses/wahs/phasers etc, so electric for sure haha.

Skyharbor live at Moscow (2013)

What thought goes into riff construction/is there any particular pattern you follow to make riffs?
I have a really weird approach to writing riffs. I’m not really that good of a guitar player from a technical standpoint, so when ideas come to mind I immediately record myself bullshitting through it – basically whatever my fingers are able to interpret of the idea in my head. Then I pick apart the notes, phrases, licks etc, and keep what I like and discard little bits in the middle.
Then I fill in those gaps in the middle one by one. Often, I come up with a bunch of different riffs which I have no idea what to do with. Then just for fuck’s sake, I chop them up and paste parts of different riffs together to form new riffs. Hahaha. It’s really weird, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else do this unless it feels natural to them. It’s just that I started recording and mixing before I started seriously playing guitar, so the computer and the DAW has always been an integral part of my process. It works for me.

What music projects are you currently a part of, besides Skyharbor?
I’m part of White Moth Black Butterfly which is an experimental sort of proggy rock project I have with Dan (Skyharbor singer). I also write music with my old buddies in Another Vertigo Rush, in the background. Apart from that, not much really – Skyharbor keeps me really busy most of the time when I’m not producing.

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do? 
Yes! I have my studio Illusion Audio, where I record, produce and mix bands and also generally do any and all music production related projects that come my way. Apart from working with bands which forms the bulk of my work, I also score for documentary films and ad films from time to time, although I always come back to working with bands. It’s what connects the most with me.

Your favourite musicians (Indian)
I’m guessing it wouldn’t be fair to name my own band members…

Guitar: Vishal J. Singh/Prashant Shah
Bass: Nikhil Rufus
Drums: Jivraj Singh/Jai Row Kavi
Vocals: Sunneith Revankar/Siddharth Basrur

Your favourite musicians (international)

Guitar: Ben Sharp
Bass: Jon Stockman
Drums: Steve Judd
Vocals: Ian Kenny/Devin Townsend

Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
Yes definitely – Skyharbor is wrapping up recording our second album and it’s off to mixing soon. There’s a pretty big PR campaign that will surround this release, so it won’t be before this fall, but it will definitely be this year. Probably around October or November.

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band?
Ben Sharp and Devin Townsend are my heroes!

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
Thank you all for the love and support through the years – we’ve got a lot of new music coming your way and we can't wait for you to hear the new album!

Visit Skyharbor on Facebook and Soundcloud
White Moth Black Butterfly on Facebook

Photo credits: NAD Visual Art

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


Nishith Hegde is the guitar player for Reptilian Death (yes, under that cloak there's a human), horror metal band Albatross and recently Demonic Resurrection. I remember this guy from back when he had a band called 'Kohram', playing around at college competitions, after which he was discovered for his immense talent.

Friendly as he is, this guitar prodigy hasn't been at it for more than four years, but he can still play practically anything you ask him to. Like, this dude will go all, 'Betcha can't play this' and all, like in this video:

He also looks South American sometimes. Nonetheless, he's young and he's doing some insane things with his instrument. Lets get to know this guy a little more.

Full name and age.
Nishith Hegde, 19

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
Korri Rutti. Which means Chicken Curry with Rice Wafers.

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (guitars, processors, etc.,.)
I own an ESP GUS 200 as well as an Alex Wade signature model, the AW 7
Processor: Line 6 Pod X3 live

How long have you been playing guitar?
3 and half years now

What got you into playing guitar?
Well, my dad bought me a guitar on my birthday and I never thought I would ever play or do this professionally, but I did not realize, I loved it sooo much that I just couldn't put it down since.

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
No, I haven’t learnt to read music. I just play by ear.

Electric vs. acoustic. What do you prefer?

What thought goes into riff construction/is there any particular pattern you follow to make riffs?
Well, you know you’ve composed a good riff if you remember it or if it gets stuck in your head. I normally don’t really care about what people think of what I have written. If I like it, it stays.

What music projects are you currently a part of?
I play for Albatross, Demonic Resurrection and Reptilian Death.

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do? 
Yes I do. I work at Furtados Music as a Sales executive.

Your favourite musicians (Indian)

Guitar: Dhruv Ghanekar
Bass: Ashwin Shriyan
Drums: Viru, Gino Banks
Vocals: Biprorshee Das, Sunny, Vinay (BM)

Your favourite musicians (international)

Guitar: Andy James, Jeff Loomis, Marty Freidman
Bass: Evan Brewer
Drums: Alex Rudinger
Vocals: Warrel Dane

Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
Yes you can. We (Albatross) have been working on our new record “ Fear from the Skies” and hope to release it some time soon this year.
And of course, Demonic Resurrection will be releasing album titled 'The Demon King' as well.

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band? 
Sahil Makhija. Well, I first saw him at Palm Expo 2012, and I always wondered what it would be like to know this guy. To me he was someone who had done loads for the metal scene in India and of course was a great inspiration.

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
Thanks first and foremost! It would not have been possible without you guys. I really appreciate the support you’ve shown over the past few years and I hope you will continue to do so. Cheers and Stay heavy!

Go visit Reptilian Death on Facebook or Soundcloud
Albatross on Facebook or Soundcloud
Demonic Resurrection on Facebook and Soundcloud

Hit like to Metalsphere or subscribe to the blog here or to ME on Facebook for frequent updates.

More guitar players coming your way. \m/

Monday, 12 May 2014


The best part about this interview is that Sanju's real name is Sanjeev! YYYeeeEEEV! On a more serious note, SANJEEV is a great guitar player. I play in a band with one of his students too. Sanju is the guitar player for Devoid as all you metalheads know, and also has bands and projects like The Hoodwink Circle, Far Travel music and The Mihir Joshi band.

Another thing about him is that he can eat a lot. And I mean, A LOT.  It's sad he couldn't be there himself on the Headbanger's Kitchen season 3 premiere episode with Devoid (WATCH IT HERE), because there wouldn't be any pie left for sure! Fun-loving happy guy as he is, let's take a look at some of his favourite things.

Full name and age.
Sanjeev Aguiar, 26

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
Scrambled eggs with bacon, ham, cheese and Tobasco.

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (guitars, processors, etc.,.)
Guitars: Ibanez RGD2127z Prestige and a Fender American Stratocaster.
Processor- Line 6 Pod HD500

How long have you been playing guitar?
I've been playing music for the past 9 years

What got you into playing guitar?
While growing up I was heavily influenced by Bon Jovi so I guess the solo that Richie Sambora played in 'Bed of Roses' on the mountain is the reason why I first picked up the instrument!

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
I'm primarily self-taught, but I also had a year's training in Western Classical with Ashley Quiney.

Electric vs. acoustic. What do you prefer?
At this point, electric.

Photo credits: Adityaraj Mehta

What thought goes into riff construction/is there any particular pattern you follow to make riffs? 
As far as riff writing is concerned, I find playing over a metronome or keeping a drum pattern is what works for me. The rest happens as it goes over this.

What music projects are you currently a part of?
I'm currently a part of Devoid, The Hoodwink Circle, Mihir Joshi band, Far travel music and I'm also doing some session work here and there.

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do?
I would have to say my day job is guitar classes at this point.

Your favourite musicians (Indian)

Guitar: Floyd Fernandes
Bass: Sheldon D'silva
Drums: Debashish 'Debu' Banerji
Vocals: Gareth Dmello

Your favourite musicians (international)

Guitar: Guthrie Govan
Bass: Victor Wooten
Drums: Marco Minnemann
Vocals: Maynard James Keenan

Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
As far as releases are concerned for now,
Devoid should be done with an album by the end of 2014
Far travel music will be done with an EP by July
Both The Hoodwink circle and Mihir Joshi band will be done with debut albums by June.

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band? 
I look up to many vocalists like Maynard, Ian Kenny, Steven Wilson, Dave Mathews, the Zero 7 chick (Sophie Barker), Myles Kennedy and as for guitar players, there's Guthrie Govan, Tosin Abasi, John Scofield, Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale and my new found favourite Derek Trucks.

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
The message is to my male fans as there might be a total of 5 female fans at best obviously: Please come to watch me live with artists that I play for/with and support all of them by buying their merchandise.

Hello ladies!
Devoid on Facebook and Soundcloud
The Hoodwink Circle on Facebook and Reverbnation
Far Travel Music on Facebook and Soundcloud
Mihir Joshi Band


Saturday, 10 May 2014


This trollface is guitar player of Pune progressive band Noiseware, Mr. Adhiraj Singh. I've been seeing Noiseware for a few years now and I'm proud to say I grew up with this generation of evolving musicians. Also producer and all those/this/that titles at Refractor studios (Refractor being the name of his solo project as well) Adhiraj is a good guitar player/composer/videographer and all that.

I love this interview for the honest and detailed answers. He's a kind and interesting musician.

Noiseware will be playing alongside other metal giants at the Metal Ctrl Alt Del, so make sure to catch them if you are in Bombay.

Full name and age. :) 
Adhiraj Singh, 23

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
I’ll go with cuisine and for me, nothing like some well made spicy North Indian food!

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (guitars, processors, software)
I’ll go in part –

Guitar: Schecter C8 Hellraiser. I still have my old B.C Rich 6 String Warlock lying around, but I haven’t taken it out in forever and it probably has fungus growing on the fretboard, haha.

Processors: Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II & Line 6 Pod XT Live. I primarily use the Axe-Fx both in studio as well as live, but me switching to the Pod XT live when carrying the Axe-Fx doesn’t make logistical sense. Eitherway, I also use the XTL as a MIDI controller for the Axe-Fx, so it’s a keeper.

Software/Others: This could be a fairly long-boring list, since I have a studio setup, so I’ll mention some main stuff I use – Cubase, sE Munro Eggs, stuff from Shure, RME, Behringer, Beyerdynamic, AKG.

How long have you been playing guitar?
I started tinkering with it when I was about 14, so that’s collectively about 9-10 years. However, I started playing a little more seriously only when I was about 17-18 or so.

What got you into playing guitar?
That’s a tough one. I was always enamored by any musical instrument for as long as I remember. I started with some silly Casio mini keyboard when I was really young. Then, I had a short stint with the flute when I was a little older. Then it was drums, which started with pencils on the school desks and ended at playing a single show in school, haha. My parents refused to get me a kit, because they thought it was too big and it would make a ton of noise(they were right, weren’t they?), so guitar it was!

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
Nah, all by ear it is. When I started learning guitar, I went to classes for about a month and there was a lotta theory being taught, but I just wanted to play; so I quit and just learnt on my own. I think both approaches are great and people should go wherever they are most comfortable.

Electric vs. acoustic. What do you prefer?
Both in absolute equality. I think I spend pretty much equal time with both instruments. Just the context changes.

What thought goes into riff construction/is there any particular pattern you follow to make riffs? 
None at all. I think a lot of my ideas(for Noiseware), start with drums unfortunately(since I’m a failed drummer). I’ll mostly be trying to write some grooves I like. The other times, it’ll start with something super basic as a chord shape or a sound that I like and build from there. Since I don’t know theory, I keep trying out new/random shapes on the guitar, or some interesting sounds on the computer and try to replicate stuff in my head. But it’s always something very basic which kicks it off.

What music projects are you currently a part of, besides Noiseware?
All the projects I’ve produced! Haha kidding. I’m involved as a bass player for Lotus, co-write some of Anand Bhaskar’s music, write stuff which is commercially inclined(jingles/sound design etc) and when I’m bored, I make random solo music under Refractor.

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do? 
I have a company called Refractor and we are sort of a small production house. We produce audio as well as visual content for all kinds of mediums(you name it!). I guess if you had to put a title to what I do, it’d be Audio Engineer/Producer/Videographer. We also do some small other things here and there as well..whatever sparks any active interest.

Your favourite musicians (Indian)
This entire section will be off the top of my head.
Guitar: Pra & Akshay, Keshav Dhar, Devesh & Arman, Biz, Nikhil Singh, Dhruv Vishvanath

Bass: Reuben Bhattacharya, Krishna Jhaveri, Rushad Mistry, Mohini Dey

Drums: Nishant Hagjer, Gautam, Rahul Hariharan, Gino Banks, Mayank, Jai Row Kavi

Vocals: Shashank, Vishwesh, Siddharth Basrur, Sunny

Any other instrument: My broducer bros – Anupam, Keshav, Kuber, Nikhil. That apart, Dualist Inquiry, Ox7gen.

Your favourite musicians (international)

Guitar: Wes Borland, Tom DeLonge, Andy Mckee, Jon Gomm, Cloudkicker (Ben Sharp), Misha Mansoor, John Butler, Tosin Abasi, Drew Goddard, Ben Weinman

Bass: Jon Stockman, Nolly(prolly for his guitar skills as well!), Mark Hoppus, Amos Williams

Drums: Steve Judd, Thomas Haake, Matt Halpern, Travis Barker, Jay Postones, John Otto

Vocals: Ian Kenny, Phil Bozeman, Spencer Sotelo, Corey Taylor, Myles Kennedy

Any other instrument: This would be a long list haha! Lotta engineers/producers/Film Composers –
Tycho, Seven Lions, The Album Leaf/Jimmy LaValle, Telefon Tel Aviv, Mychael Danna, Ramin Djawadi, Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, BT, Nolly, Mark Lewis, Andy Sneap, Chris Lord Alge, Rick Rubin, Ross Robinson, Forrester Savell, Taylor Larson, David Bendeth……..okay I’m gonna stop. This list list will never end hahaha!

Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
I prefer to avoid awkward questions like these. Haha! On serious note, this year. Yes. I know we’ve been saying that every year. This year.

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band? 
I guess I’ll speak for myself. All the people I mentioned above! I’m inspired a lot by lot of people related to film making as well, who are truly inspiring in every sense – Roger Deakins, Wally Pfister, Salomon Lighthelm, Chris Nolan, Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, Vince Gilligan, Charly friedrichs.

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
The album is happening. I promise. Thank you for sticking by!

Ladies? Hi Pratika. Kashi ahes Manasi Tai(Am I saying it right?). Okay bye.

Photo credits: Vijay Kate

Visit Noiseware on Facebook and Soundcloud
Visit the Refractor Studios page. 

If you haven't checked this out yet, please do. Fucking insane! 

Thursday, 8 May 2014


Prashant Shah, popularly known as 'Pra' is the guitar player of Scribe. Having played in bands like Demonic Resurrection and Exhumation in the past, this guy is a riff attack. With bright pants & shirts in Goa feels and a colourful personality, Pra is easily one of the best riffers around. This interview is meant for everyone to get to know him better as a person and not only the jolly jumper you see on stage. He just got married, btw. Congratulations!

Also to notify you, there's a Scribe gig happening this evening (8th May, 2013) along with Vice Versa at Hard Rock Cafe, Andheri (W), Mumbai, India.

Photo courtesy: Prashant Agarwal

Full name and age
Prashant Shah, 32 years old.

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
All vegetarian: Indian Street Food/Gujarati(non-sweet)/Rajasthani/Chinese/Japanese/ Mexican.
I love all food with exception of maybe things that your head perceives should be non sweet and it turns out to be exactly the opposite; Puran Poli, for example. I like cooking Italian food, since it's the easiest to conjure and the only cuisine I can cook and make myself believe that I'm as good as Gennaro Contaldo.

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (guitars, processors, etc.,.)
Primarily I only use extended range guitars (7 or 8). I've been playing them almost 12 years.

Ibanez Prestige RG1527 w EMG 707 (bridge)
Ibanez Prestige RGD 2127 w Dactivator 7 (bridge)
Ibanez Prestige RG 2228 w EMG's
ESP 6 string modded with EMG 81 (bridge) 85 (Neck), (I have this one only for sentimental reasons.)

Strings: D'addario XL 120-7 (.54 to .09)

Axe-Fx II for the last one year on record and live. I feel it's the most convenient option if you play live. It's all the amps and stomps you ever wanted in a box, that you can carry easily on the road and plug into any setup.
I do love the sound of a real amp, however lugging around a head on a flight is very cumbersome and at times a waste of money if you land up paying for baggage.

I have a defunct Kustom (Kansas) 250 tuck and roll Head and a 4x12 cab to go with it. I've been meaning to get that repaired.  The clean channel on that amp is ethereal! I also use a Laney 1x12 practice amp at home (very rarely though).

How long have you been playing guitar?
I've been playing for almost 16 years. I picked up my first guitar, a Givson in 1998. It was sparkling red in color. Josh, The drummer in Severus (RIP), burnt it down.

What got you into playing guitar?
Metallica. Metallica. Metallica. Metallica. Metallica.
Siddharth Khare, a friend from school introduced me to the instrument, he used to play in a band with his dad. We'd listen to Metallica, Guns 'n Roses, Van Halen, Aerosmith and Bon Jovi.  He taught me my first riff, 'Enter Sandman'. All I wanted to do from that day on was just play the guitar. From then on, everything else in my life became secondary.

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
Sheet music always has eluded me. Regular tablatures were just fine when I started.
However as the years passed, I started shifting more toward playing by ear.  I developed an interest in sheet music and theory somewhere down the line but somehow never got around to doing it. I study arrangements of a song I really like. Songs and structure are far more gratifying than just sticking random riffs together.

Electric vs. acoustic. What do you prefer?
Thats like comparing a sword and a knife, both are deadly if used correctly. My weapon of choice is the electric though.

What thought goes into riff construction/is there any particular pattern you follow to make riffs?
No pattern in particular. Whatever comes out with the flow. I tend to write a song idea in one go. I record a scratch single guitar take with whatever flows naturally. Sometimes I'll go on for 15 minutes at a stretch. I'll hear it back a few times to see whether I can connect with the music. If not, I scrap it and rearrange/re-record. Other times I go part by part. There's no formula.

Photo courtesy: Kunal Kakodkar

What music projects are you currently a part of, besides Scribe?
None as of now. Once I get some time, I've been meaning to do another extreme metal project, I've got a few scratch tracks done. I'll talk about it more when the time comes, as of now I have no name no members, just the direction I want to go in musically.

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do?
Yes very much so, that's what pays the bills. I'm a 3D Team leader at RedChillies VFX.  We do visual effects for films, To simplify it, we create anything and everything that you can't shoot physically. Working on a dream Hollywood project, I can't reveal which one because that would lead to genocide. I love it as much as I love playing the guitar.

I love the freedom of being able to visually recreate anything I can dream of.

Your favourite musicians (Indian)
Apart from my own band members, there are singular musicians from bands that inspire me, Indian and international, but personally, I prefer bands over individual musicians.
Indian bands I really like are Skyharbor, Bhayanak Maut, Gutslit, Undying Inc, Devoid, Extinct Reflections (RIP). So many upcoming bands! There's a whole bunch of young and killer bands in the North East of India. I keep hearing demos or singles and it's so unfortunate that there is such a huge disconnect from that part of the country.

Guitar: Warren Mendonsa, Sidharth Kadadi, Dhruv Ghanekar, Zorran Mendonsa
Bass: Rushad, Krishna Jhaveri, P-Man (Rohit Pereira)
Drums: Rahul Hariharan, Jai Row Kavi, Sid Coutto, Mayank Sharma
Vocals: Siddharth Basrur, Sid Coutto,
Any other instrument:
I respect classical musicians like Zakir Hussain, Shiv Kumar Sharma, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Amjad Ali Khan. I grew up listening to them, my parents would drag me to Rang Bhavan and Dynasty Club shows to watch these guys play. The kind of dedication they have towards their craft is inspiring. I was a huge Remo fan as a kid, way before he got commercial.

Your favourite musicians (international)
Bands like Sikth, Emperor, Textures, old-Soilwork, Cannibal Corpse, Soreption, Morbid Angel, Fear Factory, Machine Head, Aeon, Devin Townshend, Meshuggah, Veil of Maya, Born of Osiris, Periphery, The contortionist, The Faceless, too many to name really, I hate this question it's so annoying.

Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
Yes Scribe, will release something this year for sure, if we don't we'll just disband. I don't think even we have the patience anymore for a record we've been working on for almost 3 years.

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band?
Refer to question 12 and 13. Life-altering bands were Sikth, Emperor,Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Fear Factory. I love orchestral music and soundtracks a lot as well. Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, Goldman. There is so much to learn about arrangment, orchestration, layering, timing, rhythm from the smallest piece.

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
Thank you, Cheers and Stay chromatic.

Photo courtesy: Kunal Kakodkar

To listen to Scribe, visit their Soundcloud and Facebook

More interviews coming up this week!