Getting Toit with Dhruv Visvanath

Date

We think good food, good beer and good music make for a great combination, and that’s what the Sunday Simmer Down at Toit is.

As a part of this initiative, we feature musicians from around the world, and each of them have a great musical story to tell.

Last Sunday we had Dhruv Visvanath sending a stellar vibe here at Toit.

For the uninitiated, Dhruv is a singer-songwriter and composer, who specialises in the percussive style of guitar playing. He also happens to be listed in the Acoustic Guitar Magazine, as one of the ‘30 Great Guitarists under 30′, alongside names like Ed Sheeran and Newton Faulkner. Also, a child prodigy. Also, signed onto V.L.T, Vishal Dadlani’s label. Yup.

We sat down with this multi-faceted fellow, who among all those things, also likes to keep it real.

What is the most annoying question you get asked as a singer-songwriter?

Uhh…I really don’t like answering questions about my influences. Because I get asked this a lot and people seem to answer for me.

I think that’s one question I really don’t like. Because for me, my influences are completely different from what people expect.

And of course, the other one, about how I was thin once and why I’m so fat now. *laughs*

And of course, the other one, about how I was thin once and why I’m so fat now.

So what are your influences?

Oh my god.

I’m joking. You’ve been doing this for a while now, tell me a little about how percussive guitar playing became the thing for you.

The thing is that I really liked the guitar as an instrument. My whole sense of learning came from the fact that the guitar had so much to offer.

And it’s going to sound so weird, because honestly when I read interviews like these back it seems like people must think, “ wow, this guy must be really crazy or really attracted to his guitar.”

When I was much younger, my Dad was a very encouraging fellow. When I started learning the guitar, my parents were of course a little averse to it. They said everyone learns the guitar, stick to the piano and do that.

I was in Hong Kong, an average Indian kid, around Chinese nerds. I went for a Grade 4 exam once for the piano, I must have been 14 or 15, and before me was an 8 year old kid going through and I was like this is just not what I want to do.
Like, is this what I’m up against? Two years later, that guy is going to know more about Calculus than me.

When I was much younger, my Dad was a very encouraging fellow.

I wasn’t scandalised or anything, but I knew this was no way to grow. Or learn.
So I decided to pick up the guitar which just became an exercise in learning more than anything else. An exercise in being patient. An exercise in learning to deal with your own frustrations.

When it came to that percussive step, it came out of necessity and boredom. Because when I was stuck on the guitar, and I had no where else to go on the instrument per se, it came to a point where I just had to innovate. And that’s how it came about. It’s about making people love the guitar, and songwriting.

Have you managed to make people love the guitar?

I hope so. I mean, I teach. I’m not much but I have a few students.

…it came to a point where I just had to innovate.

To be honest, there have been one or two students that I have taught who have been absolutely outstanding. And like everything, you can’t expect every student to be a star.
This is a lesson I’ve learnt after many years of being an average student in school. The one thing that I’d like to take away is that I could have given up at one point in time.

When I thought I was bored and done with it, I felt this urge saying try. Just try, and don’t give in to an easy exit. I think that’s when I realised that if this is all it took for me to keep going, then there’s plenty ahead if I keep following the passion.

In all the shows you’ve done so far, has there been a favourite?

There’s quite a few actually. To be quite honest, I’ve done close to 500 shows. I can’t believe I just said that, because that number didn’t cross my mind until you asked me that question.

One of my favourite gigs, and probably one of the worst moments to ever happen to me, was at the launch of my album in the Habitat Centre in Delhi. There was this very nice amphitheatre, and there was a wonderful setup we had in the middle, to squeeze in as many people as we could.

For an event I thought barely 100 people would turn up, I couldn’t believe there were more than 500 people that night.

Some of the music I run through a computer, and it crashed, on the last two songs I was supposed to play. I was extremely disappointed by that. But, having said that, it was one very special moment.

There are also funny moments when guys in the crowd will shout that they want to marry me and I’ll just have to say they’re not my type.

What about the women? Get a lot of shouting from them?

I mean, not so much. I can’t show off and say if you play like me, you’ll definitely get girls. Because it’s not true. I think more guys come up and ask me questions.

One of my favourite gigs, and probably one of the worst moments to ever happen to me, was at the launch of my album

But also, guys tend to have the confidence to ask questions about this stuff.
And it’s nothing against girls, I mean I wish they did try and ask more questions about the guitar. I have spoken to a lot of girls who want to play the guitar the way I do, but I guess they  just seem a little shy to ask questions.

I love it when people heckle me, in crowds. I like to get them involved. Instead of them being the centre of attention, it becomes a great challenge for me to make it come back to me again as a performer. I guess there’s always some crazy people in the audience at every show and you learn to deal with them.

What changed after you signed with a label?

I think the change wasn’t so much in the performance as it was in the presence of the music.
I had put one recorded work four years prior to the release of my album, and I was afraid of my progress stagnating.

The moment that Vishal (Dadlani) stepped in it became a labour of love. And it became something where it seemed like the music could now be slightly larger than life.

I think that is what changed. The facility to want to explore, and the facility to widen what would simply be just me with an acoustic guitar, singing, seemed so much wider on a recording. A solid stamp on one’s identity, like Dhruv Visvanath is here to stay.

I mean I wish (girls) did try and ask more questions about the guitar.

I guess it sort of re-established a sort of pioneering aspect to the music, which is not what I intended, but it sort of gets people inspired to do something different with something that seems so conventional.
And who knows—maybe 5-10 years down the line, this will seem conventional.

Let’s hope not.

Being an artist in this industry, in India, what do you find most challenging?

Money. No, no. I’m joking. I mean money is everyone’s problem. Not just artists.

The reason why independent musicians complain about money is because we’re terrible with money. Generally. Managing it, we can be quite flamboyant.

And we have to invest in our own success. Most non-musician jobs do not require them to invest back in their own skill. They would rather invest in their futures, savings, houses, all that, which is something all artists would also like to have. But we also have this added pressure of maintaining success. And then that means to make money, you need to spend money.

I mean money is everyone’s problem. Not just artists.

In that sense, we’re all entrepreneurs. And because our product is not profitable to others, more to the individual performing it, it’s very difficult to feel like you can get outside funding like many start-ups in other industries do.

I want to be honest here, money is not the first thing you should look at, purely because the moment you start doing that, you become less creative, and less incentivised by the fact that music is such an amazing thing in it’s own way.

You get to travel around and meet people, get to sit down at a brewpub and have a conversation like this. The moment you put money into the conversation, it becomes awkward. There’s a certain sensibility one ought to have where money is concerned and how it needs to be reinvested into your own success.
But you should also maintain a sense of dignity—be happy and do good work, because nobody is going to pay you if you’re doing shoddy work.

The longer you maintain your standard of producing and creativity, the more likely you are to create something sustainable. Which in turn is likely to empower you to do better things and maintain your success. It’s a challenge.

…be happy and do good work, because nobody is going to pay you if you’re doing shoddy work.

To be an artist or musician who doesn’t have to go to mamma and ask for money, is a very valuable lesson in growing up. And is a very liberating feeling.

It needs to come from a place of sincerity first.

What’s the best and worst thing about working with Vishal Dadlani?

The worst thing is that he never answers his phone. *laughs* But I guess that’s true for a lot of people.

The best thing is, given how busy the guy is, he’s always willing to meet, always willing to talk about what I think is good. He wasn’t a hands-on sort of mentor, but more of a very good spirit guide.

A lot of people can be very vocal, but the best thing about him from where I am concerned is that he puts his money where is mouth is. And he just trusted me.
I hope in some way, shape, or form, I have repaid that faith.

So, what is the best and worst thing about being Dhruv?

Best thing is that I freakin’ love food. And the worst thing is also that I freakin’ love food.

What I really like, which I don’t think a lot of people expect, is that I really like to make people laugh. I don’t know why. I think because my Dad was a funny guy, and so was my grandfather. My dad was such an intellectual when it came to delivery and stuff.

I think what’s great about what I get to do is that I get to make people smile and laugh. I really enjoy that. I’m not saying this in a disingenuous way or anything.

I have really crappy jokes in the first place, but the sentiment that makes you feel like you’ve connected with the person, makes them a part of the performance.

I think what’s great about what I get to do, is that I get to make people smile and laugh.

Would you say you’ve reinstated your parents’ faith in the guitar as compared to the piano?

Unfortunately, my Dad never got to see me perform. He passed away when I was 16.

But my mom is a typical proud Punjabi mom, “Hai mera beta, kaleje de thandak pey gaya” types, or God knows what they say. I think it means you give me goosebumps or something. But there’s a lot of affection and pride that comes across, and that’s more valuable than anything.

For me now, it’s about repaying that faith they’ve shown in me. Especially with someone like my manager Rajeev. I’ve never had someone around me telling me what to do, 24/7. It’s crazy.

So it just comes down to repaying that faith, and being the best version of yourself that you can be.

More
articles

Look forward to having you back when you are old enough to get Toit!

Please contact us between 9am and 7pm for reservations

Oktoberfest Special

märzen

The classic, traditional Marzen, this beer style originated in Bavaria and is brewed primarily for the Oktoberfest during the end of September and the beginning of October. 

Our version of the classic is an elegant, malty German lager with a rich and toasty malt flavour, with an aftertaste so rich that you can’t resist another glass. 

*(ABV in Pune and Mumbai is 4.9%, and 5.8% in Bengaluru)

AROMA

Moderate intensity aroma of German malt, rich, bready, toasty.

ABV

5.8%*

MOUTHFEEL

Medium-bodied, with a smooth, creamy texture.

APPEARANCE

Amber Orange

FLAVOUR

Moderately-dry to dry. Distinctive and complex maltiness including a bready, toasty aspect. Moderate hop bitterness and low hop flavour.

Oktoberfest Special

German Pilsner

A crisp, exceptionally clean beer prominently featuring noble German hops and the finest Pilsner malt that gives it an impeccably balanced hop profile.

Pouring a brilliant straw colour, it offers floral and spicy aroma with flavours of lightly sweet malt, finishing firm and dry on the palate.

AROMA

Malty with floral and spicy aroma

ABV

4.8%

MOUTHFEEL

Light to medium body

APPEARANCE

Light Straw

FLAVOUR

Medium to high hop bitterness and subtle grain sweetness

Oktoberfest Special

Schwarzbier

This German style dark lager is a regional specialty from southern Thuringen and northern Franconia in Germany.

It balances a complex malt flavour with a generous addition of noble hops, with notes of caramel.

The Special beer is rumoured to have strange powers, in that over a few pints, you seem to lose your ability to say ‘no’ to more. Don’t believe us? Well, have a taste of it yourself and see.

AROMA

Slightly malty

ABV

5.5%

MOUTHFEEL

Medium body, smooth

APPEARANCE

Black

FLAVOUR

Light malty with hints of caramel

Please contact us between 9am and 7pm for reservations

Specials

American IPA

West Coast IPA

A West Coast-style American IPA aggressively hopped with a blend of Simcoe, Centennial, Amarillo and El Dorado hops.

This brew is all about the hops – that lends it clear aromas of pine, stone fruit and citrus.

The beer has a coating mouthfeel with long lasting bitterness and balanced malt body.

AROMA

Pine, stone fruit, citrus

ABV

6.6%

MOUTHFEEL

Light to medium body

APPEARANCE

Deep Golden

FLAVOUR

A crisp, bold hop forward front followed by piney and citrus notes

Sounds like something you and your friends would want to do?

Simply read and fill the form below and we’ll get in touch with you. And soon too! We hate turning people away, but we can only incorporate a certain number so that the experience remains personal.
All tours are currently out of Toit Bangalore.

    • Brewery Tours are held on every 1st Saturday of the month. The tour and beer tasting session starts at 11:30am and lasts for about 1.5 hours.
    • Registration fees for the Tour is Rs.850 + taxes. This is inclusive of beer samples, food pairing, a certificate & T-shirt.
    • Each tour has an upper limit of 20 people.  So register early to get your preferred date.
    • The minimum age to be eligible to sign up for the tour is 21 years. Carrying valid ID to take part in the Tour is mandatory. 
    • Kindly inform us in advance if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies.
    • We advise patrons who are on medication to refrain from taking the tour.
    • If you are a traveller, please note that International Credit Cards are not accepted as part of our online registration. Please send us an email to toitblr@toit.in and we can sort it out for you. Or just drop by at our pub, grab a beer and register at the front desk.
    • Because all the money goes to charity, refunds won’t be possible.
    • All tours are currently out of Toit Bangalore.

    Specials

    Kolsch Beer

    Kolsch

    The Kolsch, originating from Cologne, Germany, is a light and refreshing ale-lager hybrid. The beer is clean, crisp and delicately-balanced with a subtle fruit and hop character. Our version is made with a single hop, Mandarina Bavaria, that lends the brew distinctive mandarin and citrus notes.

    AROMA

    Low malt aroma, with a grainy-sweet character. A delicately spicy hop aroma, with a pleasant and subtle fruit aroma

    ABV

    4.9%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Medium-light & medium carbonation

    APPEARANCE

    Clear, pale gold to light gold

    FLAVOUR

    Low fruity sweetness, medium-low bitterness with delicate dryness and slight crispness

    Specials

    Dark Vader

    Schwarzbier

    ​​This German style dark lager is a regional specialty from southern Thuringen and northern Franconia in Germany.

    It balances a complex malt flavour with a generous addition of noble hops, with notes of caramel.

    The Special beer is rumoured to have strange powers, in that over a few pints, you seem to lose your ability to say ‘no’ to more. Don’t believe us? Well, have a taste of it yourself and see. But we warned—you don’t know the power of the dark side…umm…lager.

    AROMA

    Slightly malty

    ABV

    5.0%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Medium body, smooth

    APPEARANCE

    Black

    FLAVOUR

    Light malty with hints of caramel

    Specials

    West Coast IPA

    SMaSH

    While most beers use a blend of multiple hops and malts the SMaSH is brewed with a single variety of malt (Pilsner Malt) and hops (Amarillo hops).

    This refreshing beer showcases the individual characteristics of each ingredient, creating a distinctive yet balanced flavour profile. The Verdant IPA yeast helps the hop character shine through, while maintaining the grainy backbone.

    It’s the perfect beer to welcome Spring and the perfect excuse you need to get SMaSHed.

    AROMA

    Floral, citrus

    ABV

    4.8%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Light-medium bodied, medium carbonated.

    APPEARANCE

    Light yellow, slightly hazy.

    FLAVOUR

    Slightly bitter, citrusy flavour followed by malty aftertaste.

    Please contact us between 9am and 7pm for reservations

    Please contact us between 9am and 7pm for reservations

    TOIT PUNE

    Oktoberfest Special

    Munich Dunkel

    The classic brown lager style of Munich which developed as a darker, more malt- accented beer than other regional lagers. While originating in Munich, the style became popular throughout Bavaria over time.

    German Munich malts have been used to create a rich, smooth and complex toasted bread crust flavour in this flavoursome lager.

    AROMA

    Deep malt sweetness

    ABV

    5.2%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Light to Medium body

    APPEARANCE

    Amber brown

    FLAVOUR

    Soft, rich and complex flavour of Munich malts

    Specials

    Kolsch Beer

    Kolsch

    The Kolsch, originating from Cologne, Germany, is a light and refreshing ale-lager hybrid. The beer is clean, crisp and delicately-balanced with a subtle fruit and hop character. Our version is made with a single hop, Mandarina Bavaria, that lends the brew distinctive mandarin and citrus notes.

    AROMA

    Low malt aroma, with a grainy-sweet character. A delicately spicy hop aroma, with a pleasant and subtle fruit aroma

    ABV

    4.9%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Medium-light & medium carbonation

    APPEARANCE

    Clear, pale gold to light gold

    FLAVOUR

    Low fruity sweetness, medium-low bitterness with delicate dryness and slight crispness

    Specials

    saison

    Lemon Tea Saison

    A farmhouse style ale celebrating the refreshing flavours of lemon chai. Crafted by infusing Malabar tea and a squeeze of farm fresh lemons, the beer has citrus fruit and spice notes that remind you of the soothing comfort of a cup of lemon tea, with a boozy twist of course!

    AROMA

    Fruity with a spicy yeast character

    ABV

    4.9%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Light to medium body

    APPEARANCE

    Fruity with a spicy yeast character

    FLAVOUR

    Citrus and pepper spice

    Specials

    Belgian Tripel

    Tripel X

    A clean, crisp, delicately-balanced beer with a very subtle fruit and hop character.

    Brewed with pilsner malt and homemade candy sugar, our take on this Belgian classic style is smooth and complex. Strong malty & mildly sweet notes deliver a pleasantly dry finish. This one packs quite a punch & you will barely notice it, making it a dangerously session-able beer

    AROMA

    Complex fruity aroma

    ABV

    8%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Medium body

    APPEARANCE

    Pale gold

    FLAVOUR

    Mild sweet malt flavour, with a soft bitterness and fruity flavors

    Specials

    Guest Tap - Oi Brewing

    Lemon Hard Seltzer

    100 calories and 2 grams of carbs per pint! The Oi Lemon Hard Seltzer is made from a natural honey base just like a mead. After a special proprietary fermentation process, they use the traditional Bourbon method and filter the Seltzer over a bed of charcoal that eliminates all color and taste from it.


    The result, a sparkling clear beverage, which is then naturally flavored with lemon. Refreshing, light and crisp!

    AROMA

    Lemon

    ABV

    <4.95%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Crisp and spritz

    APPEARANCE

    Clear

    FLAVOUR

    Tart lemon

    Specials

    Tall. Dark. Handsome.

    Belgian Dark Strong Ale

    A dark, very rich, complex, strong Belgian ale, this special is brewed with Pilsner malt, dark candy sugar and aromatic malts.

    This brew leads with strong aromas and flavours – caramel, raisin, dark fruit and candy sugar notes.

    We weren’t kidding when we named this one – its guaranteed to make you swoon!

    AROMA

    Complex maltiness and some phenolic spiciness

    ABV

    7.2%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Full body

    APPEARANCE

    Deep Amber

    FLAVOUR

    Rich malt, raisin and candy