Mumbai - based drummer Virendra Kaith, who plays for extreme metal band Demonic Resurrection, says the music scene in India has improved in the last few years and more bands are able to record in studios due to increased accessibility.
Kaith, who started his career as a BPO executive before completely immersing himself as a musician, has also featured in Signature Startup, a new platform launched by United Spirits, which encourages youth to tap into their passions and make a mark for themselves.
The musician, who has been playing drums for over 16 years, recalls his days in school when there were "hardly any other career options".
"When I was in school and college, my dad wanted me to become an engineer. There were literally no other career options. My first job was with a call centre. . . It was still booming at that time. People were still sceptical whether they should do it or not. So, I gave it a try, but now I see so many people doing different things as career, " Kaith told IANS in a telephonic interview from Mumbai.
He also reminisced the time when it was difficult for bands to record music due to lack of studios.
"I know so many people setting up recording studios in their home, recording ad jingles, etc. Back then you only had big studios, which would charge over Rs. 2, 000 per hour. There are so many bands coming up and recording their material. Now, everything is more accessible, " he said, while adding that it is still not easy to become a "full time musician".
In a country where Hindi film music still dominates the charts, an underground style of music like heavy metal still hasn't found firm footing, prompting bands to "invest a lot" on their own.
"Metal is still not lucrative to make a living out of it. Initially, you have to invest a lot in your band. For us, Demonic Resurrection was something that we wanted to do. . . We used to like that style of music and we passionately play that music. Later, it became almost like a business where we are trying to survive by playing live shows and earning some remuneration out of it, " he said.
Over the years, the band has garnered international recognition by playing renowned global heavy metal festivals like Wacken Open Air (Germany), Bloodstock Open Air (Britain) and Sonisphere (Britain), among others.
Kaith says that his band collects money from every show and uses it for their next international performance.
"Whatever money we get from a gig, we collect it and we plan accordingly so that we can use that money for the next international show. We have been using it for the last four years, " he added.
An international tour doesn't also guarantee money, but according to Kaith, they keep doing it because they "like playing live" in front of an audience.
"I am not saying that it is a profitable affair. Maybe the last tour we did was break even. It's not that we are making money out of it, but we are doing it because we like being in a band, playing live and performing in front of an audience who are so crazy about us playing music, " he said.
"That's what has kept us going. We are still planning another tour and we are doing that every year. We have been doing that blindly, just for the passion, " Kaith added.
In a country like India, where a regular 9 to 5 job is still the norm, Kaith says it is necessary to find a profession which would take care of a band's monthly expenses.
"In our band, each one of us are trying to do it full time as a musician. Sahil does 10 other things: He has a cooking show, he also works for Furtados. He used to go to the office and work there, but now he can work from home. We would also recommend the same to others. You find something you are comfortable with so that you can still follow whatever you love and do that over the weekend and have some time to do things that you like, " he added.
(Ankit Sinha can be contacted at ankit. s@ians. in)