Srikrishna Natesan, drummer from Chennai based metal band- Blind Image, has just been signed on as an official endorsee for Soultone Cymbals. To find out more on his endorsement, and a little more on the band, we asked him a few questions. Read on for more.
HB: Congratulations on the new endorsement! Give us details… How did it come about?
Krishna: Well honestly, it all started when I realized that I was broke and didn’t have enough money to expand my existing set up with some new cymbals which will help my band sound good on stage. So I had this conversation with my friend Rahul Gopal, who is also an awesome drummer. As we all know he is now endorsing Sabian and Mapex in Chennai and he asked me to look in to the option of trying for an endorsement. I just started doing some research and at the same time and I was fortunate enough to try Soultone Cymbals when one of my friends visited India from USA and it sounded fantastic.
So I gathered info on Soultone endorsements and approached them. I recorded myself playing at a few of my shows and in the jam room and made a portfolio and submitted it to Soultone. One week later, BANG BANG! They sent me a mail with the big news that they are happy to make me a part of the Soultone family and I was thrilled for 2 reasons –
1. I am getting new cymbals. (Awesome sounding cymbals)
2. I am endorsing the same cymbals that have been endorsed by one of my all time favorite drummers – NICK MENZA- ex Megadeth.
The best thing about Soultone is how they treat the customers. From big names to small names – everyone gets the same treatment. IKI LEVI (CEO Soultone) is one awesome person and a unique businessman, I must say. And also all their artist relation managers are so awesome and very helpful. They are so patient and very prompt in responding to emails.
HB: You must’ve worked quite hard to earn this! Tell us- For how long have you been playing the drums? And what’s your practice regime like?
Krishna: I’ve been playing for around 5 years. I approach drums not just as percussions but as an instrument which can speak musically. That’s the kind of style I am trying to develop. You will understand what I am trying to say if you listen to drummers like Gavin Harisson, Carter Beauford, Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd and also some metal drummers like Derek Roddy, Martin Lopez, Chris Adler, Nick Menza . All these guys, they make the drum kit to speak and they take the kit beyond boundaries.
My practice regimes:
I spend a lot of time playing on the pillows. I cultivated this habit few years back when I met Rahul Gopal . He helped me out to clear my wrist basics with basic Paradiddles on the pillows and for the feet I have a practice pad. I try to apply whatever I play with my hands on to my legs. I came across this endurance exercise prescribed by Derek Roddy, which is a real good warm up before shows and jams. Also I force myself to play with small kits. Eg, drum kits with one tom or just one floor tom, apart from snare and bass drum. It naturally makes you creative and makes you to do a lot within a constrained space. I mean, if you can be creative inside a box, you’ll be ten times outside the box, that’s my working principle. During weekends I put some extra time by playing along with songs (especially certain drum lines of Gavin Harisson and Martin Lopez because I find them so unique and I try to make it sound at least 60% accurate). Playing to metronome is such a key point in drumming and also exploring various styles. I play metal music with my band but I try to put my jazz influence in to use. I mean imagine Gavin Harisson playing for Lamb Of God – what he would’ve done to the drum lines. It’s quite an interesting thought actually. I like to experiment a lot.
And most importantly I am gifted with good musicians like my band members. I mean I have to give credit to David, Shri and Dmattio (ex Blind Image guitarist). I was very close minded once and these guys helped me come out of that shell and gave me some perspective. We all have grown up as musicians together in the band. Shri is a crazy guitarist and the most underrated in India. I mean any one who knows the song “Glitch In The System” and “Allegiance In Defiance”, knows how crazy this guy riffs and nailing drum lines to compliment his riffs is challenging and I love that challenge. It keeps me on the go all the time. David made me to come out of the full – on metal trip and made me to explore more bands which just changed my drumming style so much. D’mattio who is now in L.A – well I think most of all know how crazy he is on the guitar and what an amazing musician he is and I learned to cut down all my overplaying from him. Guess he rubbed his musicianship on me. So in one line I can say that my band Blind Image is the very reason behind this little success of mine.
Apart from this I try to transcript drum charts for my songs. This is a good exercise for me to remember my drum theory. I want to play by just reading charts some day (I am little over ambitious here, I KNOW!)
HB: Some of your favorite bands are…
Krishna: Pink Floyd, Metallica, Megadeth, Opeth, Dave Mathews, Jamiroquai, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Pantera, Porcupine tree, Multiplicity, John Butler trio, Mutemath, MarsVolta, Chick Corea and Incubus.
HB: So what’s your kit going to be like now?
- 14 inch Soultone Custom Brilliant High hats
- 16 inch Soultone Custom brilliant crash
- 18 inch Soultone Custom brilliant crash
- 20 inch Soultone Custom brilliant ride
- 18 inch Soultone Custom China Crash
- 12 inch Soultone Custom china crash
- 8 inch Soultone Custom splash
- 10 inch Soultone Custom splash
- 17 inch Soultone FXO B crash
- Premier drum kit
- Gibralter hardware
- Pearl Pedals
- Vic firth and pro mark sticks
- Vic firth Isolation Headphones
HB: What advice you would like to give for the upcoming drummers in India?
Krishna: Don’t listen to advice. But give suggestions a thought. Advice is a big word for me. We all are learners here. But I can share what has worked for me.
Play for the music, compliment other instruments, explore the space in the music, be open minded, listen to a lot of different type of music, and wear your passion on your sleeves.
Lastly – If you have a dream go grab it. It will be hard but just keep going. It’s worth it. At least you will live a life.
HB: This question is for David. Now Blind Image has it’s first endorsee. What you think about this? How has Krishna influenced Blind Image musically?
David here. I am really glad Krishna got an endorsement deal from Soultone cymbals. I don’t think I have seen anyone more hardworking and focused on drumming than he is and if anyone deserves this, it’s definitely got to be him. What he brings to Blind Image is a change, breaking away from the stereotypes of Heavy Metal drumming. Completely open to all forms of good music, he takes techniques from great drummers and adapts them according to his signature style. Now that Krishna is a part of the SoulTone family, I think this will motivate him to master the drum kit even more. Everybody from Blind Image keeps ribbing him about his fancy cymbal work which he never fails to show off and I think it is only fitting that he is currently endorsing Soultone cymbals. All the best Krishna!
HB: You being signed on to Soultone is a big step for the band. What other stuff is coming up for Blind Image in the coming months?
Krishna: We’ve been planning a lot of things. To start with, we are writing new material and there is something big that we are planning for the band and we will announce about it in sometime. It is going to be an eventful year for Blind Image. As the saying goes “There’s a calm before the storm” so we will keep you all posted.