Category Archives: Interviews

Interview : Anup Sastry (Drummer – Intervals , Skyharbor)

Anup Sastry – Drum Wiz-kid, Protege , ‘Next-Big-Thing’ – has many aliases but stands out as a ‘Young- Adult’ making waves in the music industry.
Anup started his drum pounding pretty early and secured his own unique playing style which shows clearly in the two bands he plays for – Intervals and Skyharbor( With Keshav Dhar).
He flew down to India to perform with Skyharbor on their NH7 gig in Pune (India).On the tour he grabbed many eyeballs and showed effortless mature playing.
The Debut EP of his band Intervals earned many accolades and Skyharbor signed with Basick Records in the last year – making him a sought after drummer.
In between his hectic schedule i managed to grab few minutes for an interview.

Hey Anup! glad to have you on board, so whilst you are beating the hell outta your kit – tell us how did you and Drums meet ?

Hey! Thanks a lot for having me on board! I was 11 when I first started playing drums! I actually played the clarinet in my middle school band… My best friend at the time played drums. I remember him playing a really simple groove on a kick and snare one day in class. I turned around to look at what he was doing (because it was pretty groovy), and it completely blew my mind, hahaha!!! I immediately asked my band director to switch me from clarinet to drums… and so it began! haha!
A peek into your studio – what gear do you use Anup ?
As far as drumming gear, my kit is a Shine Custom. Its a satin lacquer baldwin black dull rub finish with powder coated off set tube lugs. I use a Pearl Masters Studio Birch snare, which I absolutely love. I use a 19″ Paiste 2002 Wild Crash, 19″ Paiste Signature Series Power Crash, an 18″ Paiste Rude China, 14″ Signature Series Sound Edgde Hats, and my stack usually changes frequently… And I also use Pearl Demon Drive pedals.
As far as recording gear, I use the Anima pre amps by Prodigy Engineering. I actually recently became a proud endorsee of Prodigy Engineering! I use Aurora Lynx converters. My interface is a DigiDesign 003 Rack +. My microphone collection is pretty basic. I have a few SM 57’s, some 98 D/S’, a Beta 52, and AKG 414 silver face, a pair of SM 81’s, and a pair of MXL 604’s. I also have an Axe Fx Ultra!

We have seen the obvious tilt towards Djent -what other genres do you love playing?

I am a huge fan of hip hop (9th Wonder, Gang Starr, Little Brother, etc.). I am also an even bigger fan of post rock (This Will Destroy You, Explosions In The Sky, Mercury Program)! I don’t think that I actually listen to as much metal as you would assume based on my videos…

Skyharbor – how did this wonder happen?

I had heard of Skyharbor a while before I had actually started talking to Keshav. I remember hearing his tunes for the first time and just being blown away. I believe we started talking about the possibility of me playing for Skyharbor if any opportunities were to present itself. Its pretty awesome that it happened. I started doing videos for Skyharbor tunes! My first video was for Aphasia, which to this day is one of the hardest songs I have ever had to learn. This was also why I wanted to knock it out first… hahaha! I guess the videos were my audition videos in a way. It was to show that I can and do want to play the material!


Your other band ‘Intervals’ gathered lot of critical acclaim – how would you describe the ‘sound and feel’ of the band to our readers who are yet to experience its awesomeness?

Well it is a good change of pace for sure. There is some pretty insane guitar work in the Intervals music. Aaron Marshall is a mad man… haha! There are a lot of tight grooves, and the drums and guitar really go hand in hand in my opinion with a lot of the riffs. Its almost as if I’m playing the guitar parts on the drums. The Intervals music is VERY fun to play and it has a lot of energy!!! Our EP if available for free, so I hope people do take advantage of that to experience the material themselves!

A little beyond music – tell us about the Anup we dont know ( don’t worry we will just print it ! :D)

Well, I’d like to think that Im a pretty nice guy and easy to get along with! Im pretty open minded too. I love dogs. I have a Shiloh German Shepard. He is huge (120 pounds) and all black, and extremely intimidating at first glance! haha! But then he turns into a big goof once he gets to know people! I like to go to the gym pretty frequently. I love coffee… I have already consumed two cups while typing up my responses to this interview!!! My parents are both from Bangalore. I was born in Maryland (U.S.) and have lived in Maryland my entire life. I record and produce bands whenever I can.

Young drummers worship you – who does Anup worship as a drummer? your role-models?

I am a huge fan of Tony Royster Jr., Eric Moore, Travis Orbin, Matt Halpern, and Chris Coleman! All of these guys are absolutely insane at what they do!

What was your biggest hurdle while you were in your learning stages as a drummer? any particular pattern,notes etc?

To be honest, I’m still in my learning stages as a drummer. And I hope I will continue to be in my learning stages until I physically can’t play drums anymore. I guess my biggest hurdle was phrasing. Once I kind of understood how to phrase fills and patterns in a musical way, that really allowed me to be able to flow. I would say another hurdle was independence. Its still a huge hurdle for me today. But I do feel like I am improving. Patterns, fills, and grooves weren’t really ever a hurdle because those are things you can learn fairly quickly (relatively) if you put forth the effort and dedicate the time. Larger concepts such as phrasing and independence are things you can always continue to improve on.

You performed recently in Pune at the NH7 Weekender , how was the experience like? Any indian bands which amazed you?

The NH7 was AWESOME! I met so many amazing people and musicians. It was an insane experience. I do feel fortunate for being able to play at the NH7 with Skyharbor. All of the bands that played were amazing. I really enjoyed Goddess Gagged and Scribe!

If you were not a drummer what would you have been?

I’ve always wanted to be able to play guitar and/or piano. So I think I would have eventually done either or… haha!

Any advice/message to the budding drummers/musicians ?

Be diverse in what you listen to and what you practice, regardless of craft. Its important to be open minded (not only with music) because I really do believe that it will help to create and shape your own unique style.Anup Sastry on facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1101039750
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Interview : Paul Ortiz (Chimp Spanner)

The English Djentleman!
Paul Antonio Ortiz or the brain behind the popular and critically acclaimed solo musical project – Chimp Spanner – is a guitar virtuoso from Colchester ,UK .
Paul rose to fame with his self-produced album Imperium Vorago (2004) and At The Dream’s Edge (2009) which inspired guitarists and musicians all over the globe . With his unique ‘Djent’ guitar tone and brilliantly progressive song-writing , Paul  isn’t just a musician who stands out in the crowd but also  fuses elements of electronica with metal to create songs which are not just musically gorgeous but also appealing to metalheads and non-metalheads alike.
He is currently signed with Basick records and will soon be releasing his Ep – All Roads Lead Here (2012).
Lets have a chat!

Hey Paul! How is the worlds most musically talented ‘chimp’ doing?
Haha not bad thanks! I got back late last night from a long weekend in Moscow, so I’m kind of tired and kind of sick from the cold. But I’ve a head full of ideas and a bit of time to get them realised now, so I’m feeling good.

You just returned from your Russian Tour – how was the entire experience? 
-Well it was just one show, although we also just completed a full European tour with Cynic as well. In both cases it was great to really experience the world outside of our tiny little island! Moscow in particular just felt so different to the UK. It might’ve been the -17 degree weather, or the abundance of massive woolly hats. But yeah it was a really memorable trip, and now I just wonder…how far from home will we be next time?

You hail from UK which has given us musical geniuses – how did your culture/country influence your music making?
– Well most of my early musical influence came from my parents; my mum is English and my dad is American. So certainly when I was growing up I was raised more on Latin music, jazz, funk, soul, etc. than any of the louder, more raucous stuff coming out of England at the time. My mum did introduce me to a lot of classical music, though. So I think that’s where my sense of drama comes from. But really the only thing that’s English about me is my reserve and my love of tea!

You were part of the Monuments line-up for sometime – how was that experience ? any anecdotes you would like to share?
– It was cool! A great way to cut my teeth on stage too, because there were no expectations of me reproducing MY music. I could just have a lot more fun with it. We were crammed in a van for 20 days or so so the whole thing was just a crazy surreal experience. We had a lot of fun though – I broke myself a fair few times haha.

You have self produced both your albums which got critical as well as popular acclaim – Given a choice between being a Producer and a Musician, what would you chose and why?
– I don’t really look at them as two separate things. I mix/produce while I write, so I couldn’t really choose one over the other. I know – that’s kind of a cheat answer 😉

Your fans call it ‘Djent’ critics call it ‘Progressive Metal’ – how would you define your playing style?
-It’s Progressive Djent haha. No I don’t really know what it is. I’m not sure at what point something starts or stops being progressive. Is it the marriage of guitars and keyboards? Pop music has that. Is it odd time signatures? I guess my goal when I started Chimp Spanner was to just write music; music that just so happened to have some of the textures and timbres associated with metal, but that people could enjoy whether or not they liked heavy music.

Which bands/artists  have been a huge influence on you and your music?
– I think, like most people in this scene, Meshuggah really changed my world (musically). It’s like all the restrictions and limitations I imposed on myself prior to hearing them were lifted, and now anything goes! I love the production of Devin Townsend also, so that’s been a big influence on me. When I was in high school I was listening to a lot of Deftones, and thinking back on it they were the first band that really introduced me to dark, moody electronic ambience in metal music. Plus the countless musicians I grew up listening to…just google “70’s fusion guitarists” and that’ll do ya!

Composing for your favourite game is every musicians dream – any tips/tricks for the musicians looking forward to this venture?
– Ahh now this is a slight misconception – I would LOVE to write for games, but it hasn’t happened yet. I have done the odd piece of music for various jobs but nothing really major yet. So if anyone needs tips/tricks, it’s me! It’s my ultimate goal though, and one I would like to put more focus on this year.

If not a musician what would you have been?why?
– I think I would’ve ended up doing something creative. I love drawing, designing, making things in 3D, writing. So there are a few careers I could’ve pursued if not music. And who knows, I still might when I’m older!

Finally, a message to all your fans and budding musicians? 
– To my fans, just a massive THANK YOU! In the last year or so I’ve done way more than I ever thought I could, both as a musician and as a person, and I owe so much of it to everyone who has supported me and my music. To budding musicians…be patient, and enjoy some of the best times in your career when it’s just you, your ideas, and your instrument. Whatever happens will happen :]

Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/paulortiz12
Band Page –  http://www.facebook.com/chimpspanner

Interview : Elliot Coleman (TesseracT)

Elliot Coleman – the name that is now on the minds of every TesseracT fan as their new smashing and versatile lead singer. After the exit of Dan Tompkins (ex-vocalist), the responsibility of leading a critically acclaimed band fell on Elliot’s shoulders which he pulled off effortlessly!

With just a month of talks and ‘sample – exchange’ while auditioning for Tesseract, Elliot managed to grab attention at concerts all over with his soulful voice and instant blending with the band.

While juggling between his studio sessions and playing console games, Elliot managed to find time to answer some questions in his own unique style!

 

 

What was that defining moment which made you realize that singing was your ultimate calling?

– I’d been singing for years but it was only after encouragement from my pals Jake Bowen and Misha Mansoor did I decided to pursue it as a main focus. Up in till then I was a guitarist for 12 years.


TesseracT – how did it all happen?

– Sitting on my couch in my underwear, got a message from Amos telling me Dan was leaving and if I was interested in auditioning. I told him “sure”. 😀

 

A talented American with a group of equally talented Brits – blend of different cultures and influences – how does it all manifest in the studio ?

 To be honest, we’ve yet to work together in the studio, you’ll have to ask me again in a few months  😉

 

Neophobia (fear of new things) gripped many of the Tesseract fans because of Dan Tompkins’s (ex-vocalist , TesseracT) exit – how did you deal with the mixed reactions of the fans ?

– I enjoy making fun of people, but to be honest it doesn’t really bother me. I sound nothing like Dan and have a completely different style of singing that some people might not enjoy. Can’t blame them, if you fell in love with “One” then you fell in love with Dan, and thats completely understandable, he’s a wonderful vocalist. I’m sure once we finish our next album, with my own writing, people will come around.

 

What elements will you be bringing in Tesseract since you have pop/R&B influences ? Any plans/ideas which you would love to leak out ?

– hmmm….I think technically Dan was more on the pop side. I come from a more R&B/Jazz background. I’d love to incorporate that into the next album. I still haven’t made up my mind about whether or not I’m even going to do any screaming on the next album.

 

With the new haircut and tons of fans – any good/bad/weird fan experience ?

– I usually keep to myself on tour, so I avoid all of the weirdos. 😀

 

Tell us a little about your other endeavours ( Zelliack , OMNOM(Of Man Not Of Machine)

– Zelliack is a wonder soul/R&B project I have with my former Sky Eats Airplane bandmate, and very close friend, Zack Ordway. OMNOM is (was?) a project I have with another close friend of mine, Misha Mansoor of Periphery. OMNOM was actually some of the first stuff I ever sang on.

 

We have seen a lot of Bro-mance between you and Periphery in their videos – any collaborations expected in the future ?
– I sang on their debut album. If I can find a cool spot for Spencer ( Vocalist – Periphery) , I’ll put him on the next TesseracT album.

 

If not the Vocalist for TesseracT – Elliot Coleman would be?

– Tattoo artist. Even though I have no idea how to do that.

 

Bands that you would be stoked singing for ?

– The Strokes or Phoenix

 

And finally , any message/advice/sermon to budding singers out there ?

– Don’t drink, don’t smoke, you’ll do fine 🙂

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