WHEN/HOW DID YOU START TO FIND YOURSELF INTO MUSIC?
I never knew I could do music until I was 21. One day when a musician friend of mine named Antony Isaacs was singing, I casually started jamming with him by percussing with my hands on my lap and then he recognised that I was musically talented. And that's how I decided to learn drums and an Indian classical percussion instrument. Soon I began playing on stages with bands as a drummer. Slowly, I started playing guitar also. It was then when a guitarist friend of mine named Vichoo Iyer asked me to join his band as a bassist. I took up that opportunity and started this journey.
WHO ARE YOUR MUSIC INFLUENCES?
Many musicians in Indian classical music including my own Guru Sri.Parasala Ravi as well as musicians abroad have influenced me a lot. Bass players who influenced me are Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Billy Sheehan, Bootsy Collins, Jeff Berlin and so on. I do respect and take inspiration from all the good bassists around the globe whether they are famous or not.
YOU ARE KNOWN FOR DEVELOPING TABLA AND MRIDANGAM STYLE FINGER TECHNIQUE, WIDELY KNOWN AS "INDIAN SLAP BASS". CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT IT?
I began my music career as a drummer. I had undergone training in the Indian percussion instrument 'mridangam' too. I joined a band named 'Firefly' as a bassist in 1986. Even from the beginning, I already felt comfortable playing percussive bass like mridangam and tabla. Initially, few musicians did not agree with my style of bass playing and kept telling me that what I was playing wasn't acceptable. But I continued with it and started developing it further. When social media became common, I was able to connect with many great bass players, many of whom started appreciating and encouraging me a lot to pursue this style. Since the technique was based on Indian percussion, people started calling it Indian Slap bass. Now many bassists across the world are applying this technique and I'm still trying to popularise it. I'm confident that the technique can be applied to various genres.
HOW DID YOU KNOW ABOUT SIRE?
I was using a handmade bass built by a luthier friend of mine named Jose Stelsie. Later, I thought of upgrading it. Instead of making another one, I did a lot of research on the internet and had lots of discussions with bass friends on social media. The majority of them suggested a SiIRE bass than any other. Therefore without even trying any, I ordered my first SIRE bass while I was in the USA. And I was totally happy with it. After that, I haven't used any other basses.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BASS /GUITAR FEATURE? WHY?
My favorite feature of bass is the electronics. That feature makes SIRE stand out. It helps me to play different genres which demand a variety of tones. I'm so much in love with SIRE because of the amazing electronics in it.
WILL YOU RECOMMEND SIRE GUITARS TO YOUR FELLOW MUSICIANS? WHY?
Definitely, I have been recommending SIRE to my bass friends and also to students of bass ever since I started playing it. Sometimes, I see young musicians regret buying other basses paying a big amount. I very confidently tell them now that they will never get disappointed if they buy a SIRE and it has always worked. Another reason is that it's worth the money they pay and the customer service is also extremely admired.
WHAT IS YOUR UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR SIRE GEAR?
Once, at a music fest, there were many bands. After they all did their sound check, I started mine. Immediately, some bassists of other bands came towards me and they were like "Wow !" when they listened to the tone that was coming out from my SIRE bass. They started examining my bass. Then, I realized that I was owning an extremely impressive instrument.
WHAT CAN YOU ADVISE TO THER ASPIRING ARTISTS/MUSICIANS?
At workshops, master classes and even during casual conversations, I tell young musicians that repetition is the key to success and there is no shortcut to better heights than regular practice. The other side is to own a perfectly sounding instrument because, in the end, a performance becomes outstanding only if both the player and the instrument are equally perfect and flawless.