Siddharth Nair (March 2010)
When all other 16 year olds are slogging it out with board exams and tuitions, this youngster has things going a little differently. He was the lead guitarist of Gujarat-based metal band Decayed Souls Renegade, the brain behind solo project Essence, and the newly recruited member of Blind Image. Find out a little more about almost-guitar-prodigy-kid Siddharth Nair in this exclusive chat he had with Headbangers India.
HB: You’re only sixteen, and you’ve already achieved quite a bit! Do you think the fact that you are one of the youngest performers in the metal scene has helped you in any way?
Siddharth: Well, yes I admit that I have achieved a bit more than people generally achieve. I’ve got many people telling me “When I was 16, I didn’t know the spelling of guitar!” Well, with the achievements, I was the guitarist of the only death-metal band in a then metal-dry state -Gujarat. Then I have a metal/experimental/ambient solo project which was one of the two solo projects in the state (period)(as far as I know).Then, am playing for Blind Image. They are one of the very few Indian bands which I like and getting selected to play for them is like a dream come true for me! And yes regarding this age thing, it didn’t open up any big doors to me. Just help from many good musicians and some praising (and lots of politics too) haha!
HB: Tell us about your journey in metal. How did it start off? When did you pick up the guitar?
Siddharth: Ahh long story it is! My journey starts off three years back, I had learnt tabla for two years when I was in my 5th grade. Yeah, so I went to attend a family function and I had a distant cousin of mine who was a guitarist, so he put the roots of guitaring in me. And then I was asking my dad whether I should learn it or not. Dad was pretty cool with me learning it and told me to go ahead. Then, for a year I played on an acoustic guitar, some hindi numbers. They were pretty boring, trust me I felt like quitting. But then a friend of mine made me listen to Iron Maiden and asked me “What genre would you choose? Is it rock or metal?” I asked him after listening to Maiden “Which genre is this one?” He told me “Its heavy metal” I replied “It will be something similar to this” he started laughing. Thus it started off. I got my first electric guitar which was a Fender Squire Strat, presently Jackson RR3.
I started cracking numbers from Metallica, Guns’n’Roses, Iron Maiden, some Bon Jovi etc. When I started getting my grip on the guitar ,thanks to all of you wonderful friends and Facebook, they recommended me bands like Children of Bodom, Cradle of Filth, Meshuggah, Textures(my all time favorite band it is, sadly due to my 12th boards, couldn’t make it to the Deccan Rock Fest) Sikth, and all the Indian bands too and I came to realize I am gonna do technical stuff ,but in Ahmedabad ,nobody had the time and space for all this as nobody took this risk of venturing into music full time. I started playing with Decayed Souls here in Ahmedabad- which is a Death metal band, and started covering CoB, CoF and Katakalysm. Music was and still “is” for most of the musicians here, the last priority in life! EPIC FAIL!
So when I decided about coming to Chennai for sound engineering after my 12th, I thought of making up a solo project and doing whatever I wanted to experiment with and everything I couldn’t play with my bands, i.e stuff ranging from wide experimentation with different genres and blending Arabic and Carnatic scales (soon I’m planning to mix Chinese scales :P) into technical metal also enabling me to grasp up stuff before I reach there! You’ll find that in my solo project “Essence”. Its all going on fairly well now and going on and on!
HB: It has been recently announced that you will be joining Blind Image as a guitarist. Congrats! What plans with the band?
Siddharth: Ah yes thanks a lot! Blind Image happened to be one of the best achievements in the year(although the year’s just started). I randomly add people for my networking purposes, and I happened to add Krishna (the drummer for the band). He asked me whether I would like to play for Blind Image as their guitarist Arvind was quitting due to some reasons. I was like “why not?” And after listening to my solo project, they were convinced with my skills and officially took me in and announced it. About the plans, I will be in Chennai for a minimum of 3 years including work and studies, I’ll be playing with them. My vision of the band is to bring it to the top list of metal outfits in the whole country and also playing with them everywhere possible, and I will make sure not to part, f**k all the problems \m/.
HB: What happens to Decayed Souls Renegade now that you are moving out of Ahmedabad?
Siddharth: Decayed is a band which consists of musicians having jobs and they are busy with their own work. They will get a guitarist and continue, but will remain local for another couple of years I think so as nobody is able to spare out much time for the band! I wish them all the best and will keep on helping them whenever required.
HB: About relocating to Chennai- What plans there? Are you planning to continue with your solo project once you get there?
Siddharth: Ah yes, I’m moving to Chennai in May 2010. I’m quite excited as I’m moving to a booze-free state and also a state which has quite more of a music scene than Gujarat. I’m hoping to meet and jam up with good musicians there and I know I will meet them. My plans in Chennai primarily are sound engineering, Blind Image and one more band I’ll form of my own if I have the time! And regarding the solo project? Hell yeah it will continue, it’s all meant for this. I will also learn much stuff and implement them in my solo project .I’ll carry Essence along wherever I go no matter what. I just need my guitar and my PC/Laptop. Essence is eternity!
HB: Recently, there was talk about a guitar duel you were having with another guitarist in Ahmedabad. What happened there? Could you let us in on some of that gossip?
Siddharth: Well, all that was complete crap. There was this gig where to attract many people they kept off a guitar duel without my knowledge and put it up. I knew and even I tried to explain to them that a duel doesn’t just happen with two guitarists soloing together. It obviously required a drummer and needed two guitarists to be in complete sync with each other. I backed off because I knew that was going to go haywire and they got another guitarist and went on with a duel. Many people told me that they had hopes in me and I disappointed them. I told them to just wait and watch, they would come to know why I backed off. It actually went haywire. Both the guitarists were playing together and it was more of a absurd free jam than a duel. Then the same people and one of the guitarists came to me and told me “Now I understand why you backed out!”
HB: What/ who would you say are your biggest inspirations when it comes to music?
Siddharth: Well, there are many. To list out a few ,they are Alexi Laiho, Roope Latvaala, John Petrucci, Dream Theater, Textures, Iron Maiden, Meshuggah, Arch Enemy, Eluveitie etc. And among the Indian artists and bands its Melakartha/Sridhar, Keshav Dhar/Hydrodjent, AVR, Vishal Singh, Undying Inc. etc. for now!
HB: Other girls/boys your age are usually forced to concentrate on their studies and keep away from distractions, like music. How has your family reacted to your involvement with music? Are they supportive or did you have to fight a little to get your way?
Siddharth: Well, in my case it’s the exact opposite. Trust me! My parents have been extremely supportive about music. I don’t hesitate saying that due to my complete involvement in music, I flunked in the 11th grade and yeah the school failed me deliberately, my friends know that. That didn’t affect my parents’ mentality, they just told me to carry on with whatever I was doing and for a neat example, I got my boards in April 1st week and I’m gonna be in Chennai for a week in March jamming up with Blind Image. How much more cool can it be?
HB: Thanks for your time Siddharth! Any words to fans and other metalheads around the country?
Siddharth: Haha ,no worries at all! First off all, I’d like to thank my wonderful parents and then you guys- Headbangers India is doing a kickass job to keep the Indian scene alive and please continue doing that. I’ll do anything from my side if required for you guys. And well I don’t have that much of a fan following but for them, I’d just tell them to live their dreams and keep on playing. And to the other metalheads across the country, buy up the albums of the bands which you like from the country and spread word about Blind Image and Essence (my solo project).
Blind Image:- http://www.facebook.com/blindimageofficial http://www.myspace.com/blindimageofficial
Essence :- http://www.facebook.com/JungleeSid (pardon the awkward name) http://www.reverbnation.com/siddharth