Here’s an interview that i did with the drummer ‘Praveen Kumar ‘ of Bangalore’s progressive rock group ‘Rainburn‘ and the inter continental group, ‘Blood & Iron‘ :
MJM. Hello Praveen. How you doing?
Praveen – I’m doing great. Thank you.
MJM. You play for two bands, one being a Heavy Metal outfit ‘Blood & Iron’ and the Bangalore Hard Rockers ‘Rainburn’. How is the experience in working around two different genres?
P: It’s quite interesting, and a lot of fun. I started off as a metal head just like everyone else, head banging and playing Metallica, Maiden, Priest and Megadeth covers. Heavy metal will always remain close to my heart. Something that never fails to deliver goosebumps, whether you’re listening or playing. Progressive music is something I’ve gotten myself into in the recent years, thanks to bands such as Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, and Tool. I believe this genre offers a lot more flexibility to expand the creative boundaries of music and explore different styles of playing, thus making it challenging and engaging at the same time.
MJM. What is the biggest challenge you faced as a drummer?
P: Carrying equipment around and setting up at each venue. We typically get either a badly abused or a cheap quality drum kit, and I end up spending an hour to make it sound the best it can. No kidding.
MJM. ‘Rainburn’ released their latest EP. How are things looking for you guys now?
P: It’s been an amazing first month post launch. We’ve been featured worldwide on some of the noted prog-rock/metal sites with raving reviews, followed by notes of appreciation and CD requests from the US and the UK. Meanwhile at home, our EP has been selling really well. We’re busy playing gigs and promoting our EP, and the next couple of months look quite promising. On a parallel note, we plan to start approaching music labels soon, and seek their support in making our music reach a wider audience base.
MJM. On a personal note, who would you credit to being a huge influence on you, as a drummer?
P: The answer would be Mike Portnoy. Among the modern greats, I’m a huge fan of Tomas Haake, Chris Adler, Mario Duplantier, and Gavin Harrison.
MJM: What would be that dream stage, that you would love to take up one day?
P: My stage fantasies keep changing from time to time. For now, it’s going on a tour with Children of Bodom as their drummer.
MJM. Are you a full time musician or is there a day job you have?
P: We don’t bump into full-time musicians these days. Do we? When I’m not drumming, I work with the CSR team of an IT company.
MJM. What kit/gears do you use?
MJM: I currently play on a Mapex VX drum kit with TAMA Iron Cobra Pedals, Pro-Mark millenium series sticks, and 2 cymbals each from Zildjian, Sabian and Wuhan. I’m considering an overall sound upgrade sometime next year. And if an endorsement comes my way, nothing like it.
MJM. ‘Blood & Iron’ hasn’t been around for a while. Any comeback gig on cards ?
P: Blood & Iron officially parted ways in 2010, and the 3rd album ‘Voices of Eternity’ was written during 2012 by 3 of us sitting in different countries. We are currently signed with Pure Steel Records from Germany, and a comeback gig seems unlikely till Ashish and Vikram move back to India. But, yeah I’d love that.
MJM. How has the route with ‘Rainburn’ been so far?
P: To be honest, it’s been more frustrating than rewarding so far. Just like most indie bands, we have dealt with financial setbacks, personal tragedies, members leaving the band, and fraud and ill-treatment by organizers. There were times when we almost called it quits but, we’re finally happy that our debut EP is out and being so well received by the music fraternity. These are encouraging times for the band, and we’ll have to wait and see how far this wave takes us.
MJM. Tell us about your members from ‘Rainburn’ and what they do.
P: Vats handles lead vocals/guitars, and is the creative driving force behind Rainburn’s music. We have Shishir on bass who also handles backing vocals and gig bookings. For some reason, I’d like to confess that I’m annoyed with at least one of them on any given day. Then we have the supremely talented Toshimoa Jamir on guitars, who talks more with his guitar than with his mouth. We have a new member in the family now; our manager Prasheel. He’s the go-to man for any Media/PR related needs, and occasionally displays a spark of talent for photography and encore singing.
MJM. On listening to the new ‘Rainburn’ songs, I noticed that the songs were very simple, yet very catchy. How does the song writing process take place?
P: Vats comes up with a song idea, and the rest of us write our parts around it. Sometimes, we spend an entire jam session finalizing the time signature of a verse or the length of a chorus. I play a crucial role in song arrangement and transitions. In our early days, we wrote some complex music which is experimental in nature but, we have come a long way in defining our music, especially adding an Indian flavor to it without deviating much from the nuances of progressive rock.
MJM. Where did you guys record your EP?
P: Our EP is a completely self-funded home production. We relied on some good gear and modern tools to achieve a well-balanced sound, and I think it paid off well. Vats and I handled most of the mixing between us, and Chris Graham from the US took our sound to a whole new level with his mastering expertise.
MJM. You self released the album. How hard or easy was it, in terms of
financial and promotional aspects?
P: It’s never easy for a band to release an album independently without any backing. We have had our share of struggles and delays but, the quality was never compromised. We’re extremely happy with the final product, the way it’d been written, produced and packaged. On the promotions front, we are doing the best we can, digitally and physically. We care more about how many heard our EP than how many bought it, and let’s hope our music reaches as many ears as it deserves.
MJM. It was a great pleasure talking to you Praveen! I wish the very best for you and your band(s).
Praveen: Pleasure’s mine. Thanks a lot Harsha.
✮ Vats Iyengar – lead vocals, guitar
✮ Toshimoa Jamir – guitar, vocals
✮ Shishir Gupta – bass, vocals
✮ Praveen Kumar – drums
Links of Rainburn-
Buy their EP here – http://www.rainburn.com/
Harsha Vardhan (Metaljesus Magazine- Owner/Chief Editor)