We have a multitasker among our midst, people. Meet Delhi-based drummer boy Vaibhav Ahuja. He is just 24 and he is already handling drum sections for diverse outfits like Three’s a Trio, Submarine In Space, RaagLeela and Sabculture. Wait, there’s more, he also does sessions for whoever requires a drummer! It’s not that multitasking is a virtue in 2018, but it feels good to connect with people who are passionate about their craft. Passion is infectious, you see. Also, he slaps, smacks the skins like a boss too! So that’s a win. Okay, we wouldn’t want to bore you with more intro, because Ahuja has more interesting things to say.
We at Glassic catch up with the young drummer extraordinaire who tells us more about touring and playing with multiple bands, his influences, and why sunglasses mean the world to him. We find out more in this segment of the #shadesofsoundseries.
Young men mostly delve towards the guitar, what made you gravitate towards the drums?
I started off with learning the keyboard at 6! I remember transcribing the Bollywood albums that my father bought during my childhood. It was only in 9th grade when I got introduced to Western music and I played the drums at the school carnival (after watching a YouTube lesson) because we didn’t have a drummer. I felt gravitated towards the instrument more after it and took lessons thereon so it somehow just happened to me.
Three interesting things the kit has taught you?
Perseverance. Practice. Patience. These are the key things I’ve learnt from my instrument. Also, the fact that there are no shortcuts and that only hard work really pays off. Just being indulged in the art has made me realise how our mental wellbeing and emotions affect it and vice versa. I am constantly battling with it, but I keep myself positive and try to just express every time I sit behind the kit.
If we got this correct, you are always changing sticks with three outfits, Three’s a Trio, Submarine In Space and RaagLeela. How and what gives you the energy to creatively morph into three creatively distinct bands?
Apart from these three bands, I also play for Sabculture and do sessions for whoever requires a drummer. I love the challenge of fitting into different styles of music and it is fun playing an instrumental set with Submarine one night and playing Bollywood tunes on another. I feel the more I grow on my instrument, the more versatile I become. I focus on playing for the music and not think like a drummer.
My influences range from Kishore Kumar to Pink Floyd to Snarky Puppy and everything in between. The amount of music that I consume is massive and again, I like listening to the song as a whole and not just what the drummer or the bass player is doing. I was more inclined towards progressive rock when I started playing, but now I’ve shifted more towards Funk, Soul, RnB, jazz and hip-hop. Some of my favourite drummers are Steve Jordan, Robert Sput Searight, Perrin Moss, Vinnie Colaiuta, Chris Dave, Bonham, Ranjit Barot, Jojo Mayer and Richard Spaven.
Any distinct highs and lows in your music career that have helped you see life more vividly?
By my second year in college, I was touring around the country with Raagleela playing an all original set and it seemed like a good place to settle in. Time flew and our individual priorities soon changed which resulted in us going on a long hiatus. It made me realise how we all are all by ourselves at the end—'lonerism', FTW! (laughs), the value of companionship and the importance of constant self-growth. I’ve been extremely lucky to have played with the finest musicians in the city who are true to their art form and I cannot even begin to tell how much they’ve taught and inspired me.
What’s your favourite vegetable? Just kidding. Any musician you would like to collaborate with in the future. Why?
Ha ha ha! What? Really? I would like to write my own music in future and collaborate with any musician who brings a new perspective to my ideas. Does not even have to be a musician actually, just someone who truly feels.
What do sunglasses mean to you? Do you have a style of your own style?
Sunglasses to me are like adding Instagram filters to my life. Eye contact feels really awkward to me, and they also help me avoid it! I am not a style enthusiast, but I always drift towards round hipster glasses (busts out).
Any special performance/travel pictures that you’d like to share with us, please?
Coke Studio auditions with Raagleela in Mumbai, headlining NIFT festival with Sabculture and most recently, tour with Submarine in Space have been extremely memorable to me. I love it when gigs require me to travel, it’s a win-win situation!
Follow Vaibhav Ahuja on Instagram here.
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