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What brings you to Koh Phangan?
I was in Goa working for the Bollywood Film festival when I met my friend Egor in Arambol, he was from Moscow and was a musician as well, we became best buddies in no time and shared so much in common, Egor was leaving to Koh Phangan a few weeks from then and had asked me if I wanted to visit.
When I got back home to my city I thought about this and packed my bags to come to Phangan for a few weeks which turned out to be a month and a half, after that Egor and I decided to go to Bali for a month.
When I reached Bali I felt like I was missing something and didn’t want to be there after two days, maybe I was in the wrong place so I left Bali to go back home, and in a few weeks I told my family and friends that I was going to leave to Phangan for sometime, so I packed off to come back to Phangan and here I am now, it’s been two months and I plan to stay longer.
So you are a drummer, why were you attracted to drums in particular?
When I was in school there was an opening for someone to play marching snare in the big band. Somebody asked me if I wanted to try, I was young and new to this but I did it and liked it. A few months later we had the school cultural programs, a ‘battle of the bands’ type thing, I was then asked to play drums and I didn’t know much but I had learnt a few basic beats and grooves that helped me play two songs.
I loved every bit of it and from then I knew that I wanted to be a drummer. I didn’t really have a drumset but since I came from a family surrounded by music, I would say my folks were really supportive.
I used to listen to bands like Led zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and Dream Theater and play drums on pillows.
It was not until 10th grade I got my first drums, I played in the local band circuit, played competitions and won them! I was awarded best drummer every year at the big music festivals at college and university level.
At one point during uni people started to recognise me for my playing and at the time there was a famous band in India called Junkyard Groove, these guys were the biggest indie band in India. They had just got back from the Dubai Desert rock festival where they played on the same stage as Robert plant, Limp Bizkit, Prodigy and Incubus.
I heard there was an opening, someone had told them about me and I happened to meet the vocalist so he invited me for an audition.
I was happy about this and went through this audition and got picked to be the new drummer for Junkyard Groove, I toured with the band, it was a new experience for me.
I got a lot of live experience, it used to just be university and college gigs and after joining the band I played much bigger venues and festivals with large audiences. It helped me grow as a musician and strengthened me.
So at the present moment do you work on your own and what happened with the band?
The band had fallen apart around 2012, the guitarist, bass player and I quit the band and started a new band called Captains of Hook.
We wrote a few songs for a few months but it didn’t work out the same. Although we had been playing in the same band for a long time we had different directions. We weren’t really happy so it kinda died out, my guitar player went to Musicians Institute in Hollywood and I started playing sessions for different bands.
Because of the leverage I got through Junkyard groove people would call me, I play different styles, blues, funk, metal and this helped me expand my set of skills better in a wider perspective.
Since then I have been a freelance studio and live session drummer.
Is this more exciting for you at the moment ?
Definitely, I realised starting a band is really tough as you have to find the right people and share the same chemistry, I found that I was wasting my time in trying to make that happen as it may or may not happen.
It’s good as a session drummer as I get to play with different musicians.
I enjoy different styles and this has made me a more versatile drummer and so this is currently what I’m doing and enjoying.
Have you done any gigs or been working with other musicians on Koh Phangan?
I came here and the first person I met was Robert from The Jam, he told me about Freeway Bar.
I went to Freeway and met a bunch of Russian guys and one bass player, he was phenomenal, his name was Artem.
Artem happened to be the best musician and bass player I had seen on the island, we connected and jammed in Bermuda and Wednesday Bar.
On my second visit now I have got together with Artem and another really good singer and guitar player called Henrique who goes by the name Coconut Jesus, now I’m playing with Jesus and the Russian Mafia as their drummer.
Does Koh Phangan inspire your music and how is it travelling with kit?
I don’t travel with my full kit I just have part of it because it’s really hard to carry everything when you’re travelling.
Since I have played in big venues, being here was a different experience. People at the big gigs show up and leave but here it is like family.
At Bermuda, Wednesday Bar and The Jam it was just meeting musicians for the first time, improvising and jamming.
I learn from observing myself, when at a jam situation there can be too many musicians on stage, someone has to hold back and listen to other musicians and create space.
I have been really inspired by electronic music since I have been here and am considering to produce some electronic music.
I program drums so this won't be totally new to me. I have not got down to doing it yet but it is just an idea in my head.
What do you enjoy about Koh Phangan when you’re not working on music?
I am a graphic designer and have been since my university, I studied art and film making, I work on product packaging and it's something I have been doing for a while now, I start my day with the gym then I work at home until about 3 or 4pm, then I have the rest of the day to myself.
I live in ‘Thai Resort’ where most of the other musicians live and most evenings we jam or hang around.
I love the beaches but for me it’s too hot right now, I like the dome, it is one of my favourite places.
I’ve been on the other side to Eden, Guys Bar and Ocean Rock and love it, the place, people and the music is so good.
I was kind of narrow minded about electronic music before but this was an eye opener for me and got me inspired.
So leave us with your music philosophy?
To be a professional musician the first and most important thing thing is genuine love for music and this comes by listening to a lot of music and learning to appreciate different styles of music, this will help you grow as a seasoned musician and eventually help you build your own unique style at whatever instrument you play.
It's a tough life being a musician, but do it for the love and it will take you places.