Nishant Hagjer has been drumming since the age of 11, and at 21, he's drumming up a storm with one of India's most outrageously brutal bands, Undying Inc. In addition, his youtube videos of drum covers (most notably, of Meshuggah's Bleed) have generated a substantial following. He is the first Indian drummer to endorse Paiste and Mapex. He was also nice enough to answer a few questions for Score, enabling us some insight into how he does what he does. As a standalone musician, do you feel relevant in the Indian scene? I guess so! I’m known as a metal drummer for my work with Undying Inc and my YouTube channel. Before hitting the national level, I was probably only known in the North-East. I think I have a decent following in terms of music. I get asked nerdy drumming questions all the time and to see that particular volume increase weekly makes it safe to say that my relevance is noted in the Indian scene. Indian metal scene to be precise.
Were there changes or adjustments to be made to your creative outlook when you joined Undying Inc? Or did you just fit into the picture naturally? To be honest, I was always waiting to play with a band like UI to showcase the limits I could go to, but, I definitely had to work on my cardio level for the band. I like to hit things really hard for the entire set and to do that with UI was very hard. But hey, I did it :) There were shows coming up and one of the hardest task was remembering the songs, picking them up in the shortest time possible and preparing a tight set. Once that was done, I added my own elements and that was when UI announced me as their new drummer.
How did joining Undying Inc come about? My brother and the UI members have a mutual friend. She knew about my YouTube channel and showed my videos to the UI boys. They were impressed and wanted to try my take on their songs out. She told my brother about the vacant drummer spot and got me an audition date! Yay!
Tell us a bit about your life before the band. Life was sad. Very sad. I had just got done with school and had surgeries on my legs. I was bed ridden for 3 months. No drums, no hanging out, no workout. While I initially decided to head out to study music, I knew I wouldn’t get far with this condition. I had a band named M-Sonic which I enjoyed being a part of and the band had to move on without me due to my inactivity. I decided I would complete college and if I work hard, I could manage music too. I headed out to Delhi with my marks, got into a good college. Previous interview question happened. BOOM. Undying Inc happened.
Is it difficult balancing your work with Undying Inc and Rectified Spirit?
Your videos on Youtube have gained quite a following. Are you planning to embark on a solo career at any point? I do have a few ideas. I’ve been working on them for a while but it will only be safe to announce it when it goes official. I plan to do a lot more with my drums but I definitely will not stop my work with either bands to go solo.
How often do you practise? I used to practice 8 hours a day. I would hit really hard with all my limbs to build muscle and stamina. Things were definitely much easier when I would go on stage then. I regret that. I am currently injured because of this. I’m thinking of sticking to an hour’s practice per day after I recover.
What have been the most rewarding moments of your career till this day? There has been many such moments. Here are a few: Benny Greb coming up to me and saying “YOU played NICE. I liked YOUR style. YOU were sloppy yesterday but TODAAAYYYY, I liked your playing” after a drum camp at Swarnabhoomi Academy Of Music. Then, my drum session with Gino Banks turned into a full length drum class. I learned so much from him and he was way too generous for my level of playing, haha! Guess I am very very lucky. Getting a cymbal as a gift by a fan was overwhelming too and to quote some of my fan’s messages (Copy pasted from FaceBook) “Nishant. You are the reason why I am drumming now. You are the reason why so many drummers exist in this city. We all want to be like you. We all want to look like you. Heck I even got my hair cut like you just to look like you. Don’t worry, your legs will be fine in no time” made me appreciate my work for the first time ever in my life.
What can fans be looking forward to from you? I will be answering most of their queries until I recover (haha yeah, haven’t had much time to answer most of them). I might post some old videos as well which never made it to my YouTube channel. There will be new Undying Inc songs. Rectified Spirit’s second album will be out in a couple of months. Once I recover, I shall post a lot of videos on my new kit and cymbals. I have more good (THIS IF OFFICIAL) news to share in a couple of months. I guess I’ll be busy in some way or the other. Damn I can’t wait to recover and show you what I’ve been up to! Stay safe all!
Not at all, we’ve never had difficulties. I time my work well with both of them and it has been working out really great. They appreciate each other’s music!