R Venkatraman, or Venky as he is popularly known, is a brand partner at BBH India. He’s also the lead guitarist of the band Bhayanak Maut.
Though he always had an urge to play music as a kid, he only chose his instrument of choice, the guitar (over the tabla), when he turned 19.
He claims that he was never inspired by any one artist while growing up, but by various artists and bands like Tool and Deftones. Though Devin Townsend happens to be on his playlist a lot, metal is not the only genre that soothes his ears. He explains, “Metal is something I like playing, but I listen to stuff which varies across a lot of genres, including electronic, folk and rock.”
Venky recalls how he joined the band. He was working for JAM magazine, when he was asked to audition by the group’s bassist (Jaison) and vocalist - in a local train after having performed at the Malhar and iRock festivals.
The band was christened ‘Bhayanak Maut’ to ridicule the several Indian bands, who according to Bhayanak’s founders have taken themselves too seriously.
Bhayanak Maut wanted to do something ‘different and stupid’ at the time, recalls Venky. Soon, everyone took notice of their music and liked the ring of the peculiar name, and so they band stuck with it as it slowly gained popularity.
Having felt that they have matured as musicians, the group of six members is busy working on its third album. With a large part of the 12-song album already in the bag, the release is scheduled for the end of the year.
Asked about musical highlights for the band, Venky picks its performance with popular bands, Lamb of God and Meshuggah.
On the professional front, Venky shares that his hobby gives him a better understanding of how music can help a commercial as a piece of communication, helping him come up with inputs in creating jingles.
Time management does not seem to be a problem for the brand partner cum lead guitarist, as he believes in disciplining himself between his two passions, even if that means that he must spend several sleepless nights alternating between the two.
He concedes, “It all means that I spend a lot of sleepless nights, especially with a job in advertising which is very demanding and it becomes a little tough to keep in touch with your instrument as you have to keep practicing. But you have to discipline yourself. It’s simple perseverance, that’s it. I love doing both, my job and the music.”
Working with various people in the band from a young age has taught him to appreciate others’ views and work in tandem with his team at work as well. He says, “I started off with the band, and we tried to come up with new things and the same principle applies in advertising as well.”
He is grateful for the support he receives from colleagues, who enable him to deliver on his commitments, while he keeps everyone informed at the workplace whenever he must go up on stage. They help him play on.