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Premiere: Mumbai Metal Drummer Ananya Kumar Launches Blistering Solo Debut ‘Words’

Part of thrash/death act Devoid, the DIY musician learned how to write and program guitar parts for his new project

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Anurag Tagat Sep 25, 2020

Mumbai-based drummer and composer Ananya 'Shubham' Kumar. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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For Dubai/Mumbai-based drummer and musician Ananya Kumar (also known as Shubham Kumar), the onset of the pandemic brought about a total shift in perspective. He was furloughed from his long-standing job with a food delivery app’s Dubai office in May and the drummer for thrash/death metal band Devoid then sat down to figure out how he can make progress on his solo project.

Now back in Mumbai, Kumar has spent the better part of the lockdown completely devoting himself to his solo project, which is launched with his single “Words,” a chaotic, all-out aural assault that blends modern metal, deathcore and prog twists and turns. “I always thought of myself as a good composer, even with Devoid. I had all these ideas but it was all raw,” he says.

With help from Devoid bassist Abhishek Kamdar and former guitarist Sanju Aguiar – plus friends in Dubai including Assaad Lakkis and Brent – the drummer slowly began understanding how to write and program guitar parts. Similar to what Indo-American modern metal drummer Anup Sastry would do on his solo records, Kumar programmed guitar parts heard on “Words,” which also features synth work and mixing and mastering helmed by New Zealand-based Zorran Mendonsa. Kumar adds, “I still don’t know how to play guitar, but I researched so much and spent two months at it. I needed to humanize it.”

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When he focused on guitar, Kumar pretty much thought of drumming as straightforwardly as possible for the sake of sharpening his songwriting and production skills. He wrote “Words,” inspired by the intolerance of cancel culture, in April. “I’ve always wanted to do this and I’ve never worked like this. It’s been epic,” the musician adds.

The song and project launch is the first step for Kumar towards becoming an artist who wants to leverage YouTube with playthrough videos, drumming clips and more. “From July onwards, I’ve been experimenting with uploading videos just to reach that production value that exists on drummers’ channels on YouTube. You need to do a fuck-ton of investment.” Armed with six GoPro cameras, his full-fledged drumkit set up in his living room in Mumbai, Kumar is focusing on figuring out mixing and mastering as well.

In the midst of all this, Kumar confirms that Devoid is pretty much on the backburner, even as they released a song and performed at Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune last year. “Arun [Iyer, vocalist-guitarist] has [grind/death metal band] Hollow Point, I’m starting my own project, Kamdar has his own stuff. It’s not our priority right now but it’s not gone either.”

Listen to “Words” below. Stream/buy on Bandcamp.

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