Interview with Vedansh Tripathi

Vedansh Tripathi is a professional drummer, currently based in Mumbai. He had been working as well as pursuing a degree in Drum Performance and Music Production at the Musician’s Institute, Los Angeles, for the past two years. 

Q. Please tell us something about yourself and your journey of becoming a professional drummer from a legal professional.

Thank you for having me, the pleasure is mine! Listening to my mother sing Indian Hindustani classical pieces in our household is among my earliest memories. I remember my parents pointing out every time I started using my fingers to play rhythms on my bottle as a toddler. As I grew older, my parents made sure that I undertook lessons for a variety of musical instruments. However, as soon as I was tall enough to reach the pedal on a bass drum, I chose drums as my primary instrument. As I went through school, the typical pressure of prioritizing academics crept in and drums took a back seat. Yet even in those academically demanding years of school, my parents encouraged me to keep in touch with my instrument. Post that, I attended law school and simultaneously kept pursuing my passion for drumming. After I graduated from law school, I spent two years at MI in Los Angeles pursuing a degree in drum performance and music production, from which I graduated recently. 

Q. What was your greatest inspiration to make a shift to the music industry from the law? Was it during your law school or your life-long passion to become a professional drummer? If it was during law school, what did you do then to kick-start your drumming career? 

I remember being at a critical point in life after my 12th board exams when I was preparing to give my law entrance exam (CLAT). I had gone through a fairly introspective period in high school which made me question a lot about my career path, among other things. It was during that period when I made the decision of pursuing drumming as my career. However, when I had that conversation with my parents, they urged me to complete a 5-year degree in law before pursuing such a risky venture. So I prepared for CLAT and decided that I will give law a fair chance. During law school, I did all the typical activities including moot court competitions and internships. Simultaneously, I was trying to participate in the cultural and musical scene in college, as much as possible. A couple of musician friends and I got together to procure a music room and play shows. Needless to say, it was really difficult to do all that in a law school where music was probably last in the priority list. We were asked to move from room to room as our jam sessions got louder. Fortunately, towards the end of my 3rd year, we managed to secure a music room where I could then practice regularly. Henceforth, I spent most of my senior years in college participating in college-level ‘Battle of the Bands’ competitions and my vacations, which were ideally meant for law internships, were spent in taking formal drum lessons and practising.

Q. Have you ever been nervous about performing on stage? How did you overcome it?

I do experience some nervousness before going on stage, but it’s very mild and normal. I got used to performing on stage with my instrument at a young age, so the butterflies never really turned into a severe stage fright. My method for avoiding any such anxiousness before a gig is usually over-preparing for the show. Being ready for all possible mishaps and knowing the musical material inside-out helps a lot.

Q. What were some challenges that you faced with such a unique and unconventional career switch? How did you push through these challenges? 

One of the biggest challenges in choosing to pursue a career in performing arts is persuading your loved ones to support you, and even before that, convincing yourself. I believe that in order to make such a switch, one needs to do tons of research and come up with a realistic plan. Apart from that, dedication and discipline towards your craft makes your case stronger and increases your chances of not only switching but also maintaining a long-lasting career.

Q. What were some elements you took into consideration before making such an important career decision? 

Coming up with a realistic plan and studying the industry you’re planning on entering is imperative. It sounds counter-intuitive since the whole point is to pursue your passion, but I feel that it’s equally important to assess the reality of the market you are entering and make your decisions accordingly. Some of the questions that I asked myself before making this shift were – Am I the right kind of person to pursue this career? Is there a place in this industry which needs my contribution? Am I ready to lead the lifestyle required to pursue such a career? All of these, I feel, are relevant questions which one should ponder upon when considering a career option.

Q. Did having a sound knowledge of the law in any way help you in your professional career as a drummer? Were there any unexpected skills you took from law school that you implemented into your entrepreneurial venture?

Going to university to study law is quite different from a regular academic degree. There are so many skills that law students acquire outside of legal precedents and written laws. Whether it was honing logical and analytical reasoning for preparing arguments or building skills for networking, the learning in college went beyond merely arguing in courts. Researching to prepare arguments is very similar to preparing for a gig as a drummer. I approach preparing for a gig with a discipline like I would prepare for a case. After that, you just rely on your preparation and improvise where necessary, which is essentially similar to presenting your case in court.

Q. Any specific piece of advice for our readers who wish to deviate from a conventional and widely accepted profession to follow their dreams? 

Switching careers and pursuing an unconventional profession is not easy. You will have a lot of people who will discourage you and insist that you opt for a more stable career. However, if you do it right, the people who matter will understand. Doing what you love every day makes life worth it, but at the same time, you have to approach it with practicality. I urge any such person who plans on pursuing such a career to test themselves and see if they have what it takes to be a professional in that field. At the end of the day, if you do succeed in passing all these obstacles, you will lead a happy and fulfilling life.

Find out more about Mr. Vedansh Tripathi – 

Disclaimer – All views and opinions expressed in this interview are personal and belong solely to the interviewee(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the LAABh Foundation or the individuals and institutions associated with LAABh Foundation.

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