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Albatross Recruits New Guitarist, Plot Next Album

The Mumbai heavy metallers are now working on new material with Purujit Srivastava, who has moved from Hyderabad

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Albatross - Jay Thacker, Biprorshee Das, Riju Dasgupta, Vigneshkumar Venkatraman and Purujit Srivastava (from left). Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Albatross – Jay Thacker, Biprorshee Das, Riju Dasgupta, Vigneshkumar Venkatraman and Purujit Srivastava (from left). Photo: Courtesy of the artist

We’ve finally come to a point where Indian guitarists cite other Indians as their major influence. 21-year-old Purujit Srivastava says over the phone that it’s “a dream come true” to join Mumbai heavy metallers Albatross, a band he’s grown up hearing.

The Hyderabad guitarist takes the place of axeman Nishith Hegde, whom he also cites as one of his major influences alongside world-renowned shredders such as John Petrucci (of prog band Dream Theater), Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen. Srivastava says, however, that Hegde was an inspiration. “I love his playing and I try to follow his style, but it’s not going to be in that manner, I’ll bring my own influences.”

Srivastava first performed with Albatross on stage at their Hard Rock Café show in Hyderabad early last year, just before Hegde leaving the band to take on more commercial work. Bassist Riju Dasgupta aka Dr. Hex recalls, “Essentially, you have to be a certain kind of guitarist to play in Albatross. Nishith had told us he [Srivastava] was really good. We expected the worst, but he was great.” The band then rued that their best replacement for Hegde was not based in Mumbai. Dasgupta adds, “We spoke to him and he said he would move. We thought he was crazy.”

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At their first jam in May, Srivastava knew all the songs inside out, which made him the best fit. An engineering graduate from Hyderabad who was previously part of college circuit bands, Srivastava said his family was very supportive of his move to Mumbai to pursue being a guitarist. “They said, ‘For four years you’ve been doing your engineering, you should do something as a guitarist as well, for that side of you’.”  

While Albatross has finished writing one song and are working on more with Srivastava – set to a “darker” album concept by Dasgupta – the bassist feels that they’re yet to fully see what their “secret weapon” can do. For one, they’re now looking out for shows with the new lineup.

While fans have had their doubts about a replacement for someone as talented as Hegde, Dasgupta wants “to allay their fears”. He jokes, “The moral of the story is, let people come on stage.”

Watch Albatross perform “Children of the Cloud” with Purujit Srivastava

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