Friday, 16 May 2014


R. Venkatraman, better known as 'Venky baba' is one of two powerful guitar players of Mumbai metal band Bhayanak Maut. Besides leading the life of a media professional, Venky's sole band has gone places and won a name for Indian metal music.

Here is an interview with the man himself. Baba se aashirvaad lena!

Photo credits: Roycin D'souza

Full name and age.
R.Venkatraman, Age 30. Aka, all the variations of baba.

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
Japanese. Japanese. Malvani. South Indian. Japanese.

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (guitars, processors, software)
ESP SC 607B(Mulder), ESP AW7(Scully). Suprisingly, both signature series guitars. The SC607B is a tank and the AW7 is a screamer! A big shoutout to Furtados for the guitars.

I use the Axe-Fx 2 for my entire guitar processing needs. A Line 6 HD500 to control the Axe-Fx onstage. Audio Technica Wireless Unit. On the computer, it’s mainly Reason 7.1 for sounds and Presonus Studio One to record.

How long have you been playing guitar?
Close to 13 years now.

What got you into playing guitar?
Failing singing.

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
Not at all. It was just about developing my ear. I play mostly by feel – basically, I don’t know what I am doing.

Electric vs. acoustic. What do you prefer?
Electric, although it’s been a while since I picked up an acoustic and would like to revisit. In fact, when I started writing, it all used to originate on the acoustic.

Photo credits: Roycin D'souza

What thought goes into riff construction/is there any particular pattern you follow to make riffs? 
All it takes is a feeling and a riff pattern follows, usually played to a basic drum part on 'Reason'. Then the song writes itself. Although, it’s very frustrating when it does not. But nothing you cannot solve with some noodling or with help from your band mates.

What music projects are you currently a part of? 
Bhayanak Maut only

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do? 
I work for TBWA\INDIA as a Creative Director.

Your favourite musicians (Indian)

Guitar: Prashant Shah. Dhruv Ghanekar.
Bass: Rushad Mistry, Krishna Zhaveri
Drums: Jai Row Kavi, Lindsay D’mello.
Vocals: Siddarth Basrur.

Some of your favourite musicians (international)

Guitar: Adam Jones, Stephen Carpenter, Tom Morello, Joe Haley, Adam D, Peter Wichers, Ben Sharp. Recently discovered John Scofield and he is revelatory.
Bass: Marcus Miller, Flea.
Drums: Danny Carrey, Brann Dailor, Dirk Ververurennfhheldeben (Dirk Verbeuren), Gene Hoglan,
Vocals: Maynard James Keenan, Jesse Leech, Greg Puciato, Chino Moreno, Ben Howard
Any other instrument: Does Meshuggah qualify as an instrument?

Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
Yes. The third Bhayanak Maut full-length album will release this year. You’ll see six of the proudest musicians when it comes out.

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band? 
Work ethic-wise, it has to be Tool. They really don’t give a rat’s ass about anything except the music. And their sense of humor makes their approach very unique towards their music and everything that surrounds it – the art, the videos, the live shows, all give me something to look up to.

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
Don’t take school seriously. It will take you a lifetime to unlearn that nonsense.

Be nice because we are all in this together.

Visit Bhayanak Maut on Facebook and Reverbnation.

Bhayanak Maut
Photo credits: Satya Naren

Thanks for being a wonderful audience. Stay tuned for many more posts on a variety of things 'Indian metal' can cover. Cheers! \m/

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