Abhinav Yogesh (June 2011)

  • Interview by: Vilasini Muralidhar
  • Date: June 6, 2011

From being the youngest drummer in the metal scene to now being among the best Indian metal drummers there are, Abhinav from Inner Sanctum has come a long way! In this exclusive session of Q & A with Headbangers India, he talks about everything from Kathakali and Bollywood to his plans of studying music professionally. Read on for more!

HBI: Hey Abhinav, how’ve you been? What’s been keeping you busy of late?
Abhinav: Hey there!!I have been good.Just finished giving my lousy BBM exam papers. Finally got time on my hands to practice and work on new Sanctum material.

HBI: You’re off to study music in a while. Tell us about that.
Abhinav: Yeah have been planning this for a while now.Thought I would leave after my 12th grade but then decided to get a degree under my name and then push..and I would have more time with Sanctum as well!! I am just deciding between Berklee School of Music and Musicians Institute for the Bachelors in Music Degree. It would be an intensive 3 or 4 year course..really looking forward to it.

HBI: What happens to Inner Sanctum once you leave?
Abhinav: Well I guess I will find them a drummer who can blast away at 390 bpm. Sanctum will continue..they have to!!

HBI: Once you are done with your music course abroad, what plans? Do you plan to stay on or get back to India and continue with the band?
Abhinav: Honestly if I do get lucky and find myself with something to do in music abroad, I would be more than happy to continue there. But if I have to come back for whatever reason then I will try and make a living off music in India. Maybe Bollywood??..thats where all the money is at right??..:P. If Sanctum finds a drummer, which they will…and he has been with them for 3 or 4 years…I dont think I would join the band..I dont think they would want me to..hahaha! They would have become comfortable with the new guy. Well if they dont have a drummer then or something like that I would love to join the band again.

HBI: So tell us how it all started off for you. What made you take up the drums in the first place?
Abhinav: I was a Kathakali dancer before I started Drumming. Have to thank my mom for inspiring me to take up Kathakali…she was a professional dancer!! I loved the art…every bit of it. Then I eventually got attracted to the rhymths that were involved in it like the Maddalam and Chenda. So on my 12th birthday my parents bought me a drum kit. Never looked back since. I did continue Kathakali and drums but then had to give up the former when we shifted to Bangalore.

HBI: Musically, who would you cite as your biggest influences in drumming?
Abhinav: When I started off it was Lars Ulrich. I was in love with his drumming… and I remember imitating him by taking my tongue out and being really expressive while banging away on the drums. Maybe Kathakali was rubbing off on me!! Billy Combham, Dave Weckl, Gene Hoglan, Mario Duplantier, Benny Greb, Tommy Igoe, Krimh…all have been huge influences.

HBI: What equipment do you use?
Abhinav: Drum kit- Tama Imperial Star
Hardware- Pearl Demon Drive Pedals
Zildjian K china 19″
Zildjian A custom Splash 8″
Zildjian A splash 10″
Zildian K Dark thin crash 16″
Zildjian Rock crash 18″
Zildjian Zill Bell 8″
Sabian AAxtreme China 17″
Sabian AAxposion crash 16″
Sabian B8 Pro hats 14″
Sabian Crash Ride 18″
Sabian HH raw bell dry ride 21″
Meinl Byzance medium thin crash 16″
Meinl HCS splash 12″
Meinl HCS splash 10″
Paiste alpha crash ride 18″
Wuhan China 12″
Wuhan China 14″
Wuhan China 16″
Wuhan Splash 8″
Wuhan Splash 10″

HBI: Of late, Inner Sanctum has been playing quite a few new songs at all shows. Is there a new album coming up sometime soon?
Abhinav: Yeah we have about 3 new songs that we play live. “Tainted Soil”, “Guardian” and another one which we have not named yet. Working on a few more. If all goes well and we do have enough songs, we will definitely plan to record an album. I really hope that we do!!

HBI: Which would you say has been your most memorable gig till date? For whatever reason, i.e.
Abhinav: Sharing the stage with Amon Amarth. That’s been my most memorable gig!! I am HUGE fan. One of the first metal bands that I got hooked on to. Been following them since I was in the 9th grade.

HBI: How many hours of practice do you put in on a daily basis? Are there any exercises you follow to keep up your agility?
Abhinav: For the past 2 years I have been putting a lot into my practice schedule. I usually practice around 8 hours a day (when I dont have exams). Ordered quite a few dvds from Amazon…Benny Greb-Language of Drumming…Tommy Igoe-Groove Essentials and Great Hands For a Lifetime and John Riley’s- The Master Drummer..to name a few. I highly recommend these.. They are helping me a lot!!I go to the gym for a bit..run on the treadmill for half an hour or more, come back home and get down with the Derek Roddy double bass exercise for half an hour and then work on the Dvds for hours. I have started learning the Keyboards as well and plan to start learning the Mridangam very soon. Have a lot to do before I leave for Music!!

HBI: What’s coming up next for Inner Sanctum? Any tours, announcements etc?
Abhinav: As of now we just plan to work on new material and jam as much as we can. We are working on a few things and they will be announced once confirmed 🙂

HBI: This is your space… if you have anything you want to say, any messages to fans and friends, put it down here!
Abhinav: Practice hard if you play an instrument and support the scene…Thank you!

HBI: Cheers and thanks for the interview!

Photographs by Subhramani S.