Jai Row Kavi (April 2010)

  • Interview by: Vilasini Muralidhar
  • Date: April 7, 2010

He may be the newest recruit in Bhayanak Maut, but he’s no newbie in the music industry. In fact, he’s one of our indie scene’s most respected drummers, having played with Helga’s Fun Castle and Pin Drop Violence, and currently with Bhayanak Maut and Tough on Tobacco. Meet Jai Row Kavi, our Featured Artist this April on Headbangers India in this exclusive little round of Q and A.

HB: Hi Jai. Hope you’re doing good. How are things with Bhayanak Maut going?

Jai: Hey… I’m doing pretty good having the time of my life feels great to be in a Metal band again. Things with BM  are excellent The last year has been super. We got to play some good gigs all over. Play alongside some of the world’s best bands, meet new people and make new fans (hopefully). And we’re actually writing new material that we plan to record. Feels good to be part of a writing process.

HB: How big a challenge was it for you to replace Rahul when you joined Bhayanak Maut? He was one of BM’s older members, and had quite a following too.

Jai: It was a tough call for me to accept the gig personally. I hadn’t played Heavy music in a long long time and the last thing I wanted to do was NOT give my 100% playing and time-wise since I’m always shuffling a lot of live sessions and other gigs all the time. Although the guys were really sure they wanted me and they were willing to put in the time and effort , needed for me to learn all the parts and get the ball rolling. Rahul is a brilliant drummer man he’s a good friend and we have a lot of mutual respect for each other, we kinda came up at the same time and I was really humbled that he thought of me when he wanted someone to fill in for him. I was kinda freaked out when I heard the new album… like damn… I have to play like this guy.. He really took it a level higher on the album. There are some awfully challenging drum parts on that album and it was really hard for me to try and replicate some of the stuff he was doing. I hope I’m doing justice to his work .

HB: You’ve played with Helga’s Fun Castle and PDV as well. Musically, which would you say has been the most exciting band for you to play with?

Jai: That’s a tough cookie haha. I’ve had different experiences with all the bands I’ve played with.. Most have been great. Each of them had something different to offer, I don’t think I would play in a band if it wasn’t fun and exciting for me..  but I’ve had some great gigs with PDV and HFC and now with TOT (Tough on Tobacco) and BM.. I love playing with BM … the guys are fun and the music is extremely challenging and I have a ball on stage .

HB: Let’s go back to the beginning… tell us how you got into drumming, who’ve been your influences etc.

Jai: I had my first drum lesson when I was 16, July the 6th 2002.. one of the most unforgettable and cherished days of my life ( that’s why I remember the date haha).. since then all I’ve been thinking about doing is playing drums for a living and so far its been pretty decent.. I started playing drums because I was heavily influenced by the music(and drums) of bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Limp Bizkit. The drum set seemed highly alluring. I had a chair ,a couple of pillows and a broken splash that Gino Banks gave me.. that was my ‘set up’ for almost 2 years until I got my first drumset a black Premier Cabria. Man I used to dream of being on a stage and playing drums to a full house.. so I can say that I’ve been rather fortunate to have things fall into place. Some of the drummers that influenced me to start playing are Chad Smith, Jose Passilas, John Otto, Gino Banks.

HB: You went to music school for a year in L.A., right? How do you think that changed your approach towards music?

Jai: Yeah man, it was the best year of my life… it really humbled me in many ways, and I’m glad that I went there with an open mind and soaked up as much information as I could.. I learned to play more dynamically. I learnt a lot of techniques and styles that helped me be a better drummer in numerous ways.. I learnt when to play a lot of notes, when to play some and when to play none. Musically I played funk/jazz and little bit of latin, which helped me highly as a lot of the sessions I do today require me to be as versatile as possible..  I also made some great friends who are just like me trying to make a living playing drums in their corner of the world .

HB: What equipment do you use?

Jai: I play and endorse Pearl Drums and Vater Sticks.. I also play Sabian Cymbals .. here’s a list of the gear that I use, although it usually depends on the gig..

Drums- Pearl Masters. Maple (Chestnut Fade).
1.20’/18” Bass drum.
2.14”/5” masters maple snare drum .
3.10”/8” Tom Tom
4.12”/10” Tom Tom
5.14”/14” Floor tom.
6.16”/14” Floor Tom
7.10”/6” Pearl Popcorn Picollo Snare Drum (Maple)
8. 14”/5” Tama Starclassic birch Snare drum

Hardware: Pearl 2000 Series
1.Pearl Eliminator Hi-Hat Stand
2.Pearl Cymbal Boom Stand BC2000. (3)
3.Pearl Tom holder.
4.Pearl Snare stand S2000
5 Pearl Drum Throne D2000
6.Pearl Eliminator Strap Drive Double Pedals
6.Gibraltar clamp/boom arm.(cymbal) (2)
7.Gibralter clamp (jam blocks)
8.Pearl tambourine with clamp/mounting system
9.Lp Sambago Bells

1. Sabian AAX Stage 20” Crash
2. Sabian  AAX 18” China
3. Sabian  AA Medium 16” Crash
4. Sabian B8 6” Splash.
5. Sabian B8  8” Splash
6. Sabian B8 Pro 10” Splash
7. Sabian AAX 8” Splash
8. Sabian Hand Hammered 20” Medium Crash
9. Sabian Hand Hammered 16” china
10. Sabian Signature Paragon Neil Peart s 13” hi- hats.
11. Sabian Signature Jack De Johnette Encore 20” Ride .
12. Sabian Ice bell 6” (Bright).
13. Sabian AA Sound Control 16” Crash ( bright)
14. Sabian HHX Evolution Ozone Crash 18”
15. Sabian AA Rocktagon Crash 16”
16. Sabian HHX Evolution Dave Weckl Sig. Ride 20”

HB: Tell us a little about Jai, when he’s not the brutal drummer with BM. What do you do for a living, what are your hobbies…?

Jai: I play drums for a living..  something I’ve wanted for a long long time before I started playing drums was to own an enfield.. I’m finally going to get one soon. So I plan to ride around and explore India take some pictures … I love watching movies and TV shows . Sienfeld and Curb your enthusiasm are my favs.

HB: You also play a little bit of guitar, is that right? Any plans to move from behind the drum kit to the front of the stage anytime soon?

Jai: How did you know that???? Well.. I doubt you can call it that.. its just a couple of chords .. I hope I can get myself to study guitar some more.. I’d love to write songs.. I’ve been listening to the new Deftones album and I’m pretty inspired I’m sure it will make me a better drummer in many ways .. you will probably see me play guitar on stage the day Sushma Swaraj becomes a cheerleader for the Delhi Daredevils.

HB: What are your other plans, in terms of music, apart from the band? Planning to teach, have workshops/ drum clinics?

Jai: I will be doing drum clinics for Pearl in collaboration with Furtados soon. I did my first one at the PALM expo last June and I got a pretty positive response from it. I’d be more than happy to share some of the stuff I’ve learnt over the years.. I’ve been teaching here in Mumbai for the last three years at the Garodia school of music with Gino Banks and Vinayak Pol.

HB: You have a lot of worshippers out there, who dream of nailing the double bass like you do! Any words to them, and other fans and metalheads in the country?

Jai: Hope to see more people take up an instrument… so that we have more bands and ‘the scene’ gets bigger. Thanks for your support . Keep coming to gigs and bring your friends and neighbours too. Thank you.