Please tell us about yourself
Heavy Metal is not an easy genre to get into, I’ve found that you either like it or you don’t and that the bug bites you when you’re in your formative teenage years and never leaves you. Growing up in a school where nobody had heard of heavy metal and being told that it was just noise by those who did, did nothing to weaken my resolve to explore this magnificent form of music so adept at channelling emotions, often effortlessly.
But I digress, the point I was trying to make is that finding a bunch of friends that appreciate this fantastic genre as much as you do is, in itself, a difficult task, but to go on and dedicate yourself to the genre and becoming a part of one of India’s most defining Heavy Metal bands is quite another. A journey that 21-year old Purujit Srivastava, fresh out of Engineering, undertook. We catch up with the young guitarist who has picked to replace the guitar wizard Nishith Hegde of Albatross for an interview.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
“I only put serious efforts into learning how to play the guitar 4 years ago,” says the young man, speaking to stuMagz over the phone from Mumbai, “about the time I started Engineering. Got me through college,” he laughs.
A fresh graduate from MVSR Engineering College, Purujit goes on to talk about his journey and his time in Hyderabad, “I’m from Lucknow originally, my father had a job here and they too had heard of the fabled tales of quality education in South India,” he says, “So we moved when I was in 10th class, and I’ve been here since. This city has given me a lot, I will be forever thankful for that.”
Speaking on his journey with metal, he said, “I was introduced to the genre through a song, which I remember liking so much I went back home and looked it up and just started listening. It was then I realised I had come across something special, and I wanted to do my best to be a part of the genre.”
Tell us about your career path
Purujit credits Guitar Greats like John Petrucci and Albatross’s very own Nishith Hegde, as well as neoclassic metal god Yngwie Malmsteen as his inspirations, “At one point it was watching videos, seeing them perform and then throw yourself into practising until you just drown in the music,” he explains.
Speaking about being picked by Albatross, Purujit said, “I had covered one of their songs and they liked it so much, they invited me to open for them at Hard Rock Cafe in Hyderabad,” he says, “then later, earlier this year, they asked me to audition for the band. When I told them that I would be willing to relocate to Mumbai from Hyderabad for the band, they thought I was crazy, and the rest is history,” he laughs.
What are you doing currently?
“We’re going to be working on a new and darker album this time around,” he explains, upon being asked whether he will be bringing a change to the sound of Albatross, “I’m not here to drastically change their sound, I count Nishith Hegde as one of my guitar heroes. I aim to continue his legacy while adding my own flavour to the mix.”
Work, as Purujit says, has already started for the new album, with the band meeting at a local jam room and ironing out the chinks in a song’s proverbial armour before they’re ready to take it to the recording studio.
Your advice to students?
Concluding our interview, we ask Purujit about his time spent in Engineering and his advice to students who are looking into getting into playing the guitar or go on to become part of such a huge band, “I’d just like to say that the hard work and dedication required to become a heavy metal guitarist is not easy. It was a difficult path but I enjoyed every bit of it. Of course, I quite enjoyed my time in Engineering here, I have no hard feelings. I had my guitar for me back at home, and I had great friends in a city that was incredible to me,” he explains.
“The only thing I’d like to tell students is to remember that you’ll get there eventually, as long as you work for it against all odds. That’s what I did, I kept my practice going no matter what, and I’d like to think it worked,” he laughs.
The date of release for Albatross’s new album is currently unknown, but one thing is for sure, this is definitely one heavy metal album I’m looking out for. With Albatross enjoying their current position as one of India’s heavy metal greats, here is hoping the young boy from Hyderabad finds his place in the world of metal with one of India’s greatest bands. Devil horns up!