Geargasm: Suyash Gabriel

Life is about being in rhythm, our heart beats the zest of our life and no one can understand this better than a drummer.

With seven staggering bands to play for ranging from acoustic pop act The Yellow Bucket to heavier ones like October and  Grammy winning effort ; Suyash  leaves no stone unturned to express his passion through beats.

Gigs after gigs, his perseverance and dedication for his passion is nothing less than being commendable and no testament is required for his expertise which is expressed handsomely through his fills and grooves.

suyash 1
Suyash Gabriel

Q1. Which kit do you use? Why do you prefer it over others? 

Right now I use an EXL kit at home. I’ve been playing it for over 6 years now, both for practice and even for a bunch of recording sessions in the studio. I bought it a long time ago thinking, I would buy a more expensive kit later on but it sounds so great and is so durable that I’ve never really had to go for anything else. Its got 10″x 12″ and 12″x 13″ toms and a 16″x 18″ floor tom with a 22″ Kick drum. When it’s tuned right, it sounds beautiful. I own a Pearl Masters Series snare though. It’s a 14″x 6.5″ Maple Snare with Die

pearl masters snare
Pearl Masters Series Kit

Cast Hoops. It’s warm with just the right amount of attack and is extremely versatile so I can use it with many different outfits and in many different ways. For live shows, I usually prefer a Pearl Masters series kit or a Tama Starclassic kit.

Q2. Which cymbals do you use? Also describe them and their sound and why you use them.

suyash cymbal
Suyash’s Setup
I endorse Meinl cymbals and percussion, so all my cymbals are Meinl. I carefully picked them out so that I could have a wide range of sound.  I don’t own too many though. I picked a few cymbals that really stood out and which I loved too much to not include in my set up. I play 13″ Byzance Dark Hats, which are perfectly balanced. Since the make of the hats gives them a dark tone but because they’re only 13″, they have a degree of brightness as well. I have a 16″ Byzance Medium Thin Crash and a 17″ Byzance Extra Dry Thin Crash, which give me two very different but complimentary sounds which I use in different ways with different set ups. I like to mount them and make a stack sometimes. Then there’s my 20″ Byzance Vintage Crash, which is probably my favourite cymbal. It’s absolutely delightful to play. Its got a very subtle wash and is almost soothing to listen to while still maintaining a heavy presence in the mix. It can sound like a million different cymbals, depending on how you hit it. I often use it as a ride as well. I then have a 22″ Byzance Stadium Ride, which is dark, has a massive, beautiful sounding bell and is everything I want in a ride. I also own a 10″ Classics Custom Splash and a 10″ MB20 Rock Splash which i mostly stack together and like to use as a second pair of hats.

Q3. Which bass pedal do you use?

Tama DW5000 Series Double Bass Pedal

I use a DW 5000 Series Pedal. It’s a double bass pedal but I use that only with the heavier acts I play with (Grammy Winning Effort, October). It’s a great pedal. I’ve been playing it for 7 years now. It’s not too smooth, which I like, and is also quite heavy.

Q4. Which Skins do you use?

I usually use Evans skins. I prefer Genera G2 skins for my toms, an EQ2 head for my batter head on the kick drum. My snare head keeps changing depending on what kind of sound I want. I like to experiment with it. Right now its got a hybrid coated head, but it had a Remo Ambassador on before this, which also sounded pretty awesome. The resonant head on my kick is always changing, but i like to use a batter head on the resonant side. It’s something I saw Thomas Lang do, and when I tried it out myself, my bass drum sounded beastly. I love it.

Q5. Which sticks and brushes do you use?

Vic Firth 55AWs
I use Vic Firth 55AW’s. They’re the perfect size and weight for me and give me that extra thickness that I miss a little with the 5A’s. I also use Vic firth Heritage brushes. I own a variety of other stick types as well, including Vater Monster Brushes and some Mallets, both of which I use often and when needed.

Q6. Which mics do you prefer to mic your drums?

Sennheiser E900 dynamics with an E901 Boundary Layer condenser for the kick and a good pair of Shure or Sennheiser condenser overheads is ideal. For the studio I like having a few room mics as well. Maybe a good Rhode or Neumann condenser. But I’m not super picky about it. I usually trust the engineer or the studio with these things. I’ve used tonnes of different mics and most of them capture the sound of the kit quite well. But some do it much better than others. I personally own a set of CAD Stage mics for the recording work I do at home and I think they do the job just fine.

Q7. You endorse Meinl Cymbals. Tell us more about it.

suyash meinl.jpgI absolutely loved the sound of the Cymbals when I heard them. They’re all unique and allow me a massive spectrum of sound. I personally handpicked the ones I have in my set up and took my time to make sure they were exactly what I needed in my sound bank. The guys at Bhargavas Musik in Mumbai,  who brought me on board with Meinl, are incredible to work with and they maintain a very open and interactive relationship with their artists,  so it just makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable and personal.

Q8. How does an artist get an endorsement in India?

You either approach or are approached by the respective dealer of that product in your country or by the company itself. I guess it just depends on how visible you are as an artist and how much exposure to audience the product gets with you. The more audience you play for, the more exposure the product gets. Companies usually scout out good players who have a wide audience and a large following or fanbase. It helps to have lots of good quality online content as well. Once both the dealer and the company are convinced of the quality of the artist and the quality and quantity of the content, your deal gets finalised and you’re officially on board.

 Q9. Who are your favourite drummers?

Danny Carey of Tool

This is a tough one because the list is massive. Benny Greb, Chris Coleman, Danny Carey,

Ilan Rubin, John Riley, Perrin Moss, Steve Judd, Stanley Rudolph, Antonio Sanchez, Lester Estelle, Steve Gadd, Eric Harland and Dave Weckl are some of my favourite drummers who come to mind immediately, but there are way many more. Too many to put down on paper really.

Q10. What would you consider to be your signature technique?

 I love using my Hi-hats and orchestrating on them in different ways and incorporating them into a lot of the stuff I do. I also work hard on being precise, clean and in pocket. I love incorporating different sounds into my set up, whether it’s playing the drum or cymbal a certain way or adding instruments or objects into my set up in unusual ways. I guess I also like using certain fills and messing around with time signatures, metric modulations, and I’m also obsessed with getting my limbs to do weird things that they aren’t used to. I’m inspired by so many different fantastic musicians and drummers. I just keep accumulating as much knowledge and information from them as I can and I try to incorporate it into my vocabulary while adding my own flavour to it. To say that it’s solely signature to me wouldn’t be accurate. I just take ideas that inspire me and work them out in my own ways I guess.

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