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'I had to decide between science and music. Music won'
After learning medicine in Russia and a post graduate degree in genetics, Yasmin Claire Kazi one day decided that it was drumming she had been born for. Soon, her days as a research assistant in behavioural evolution at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) were numbered as she took to touring and playing with many death metal bands in India and abroad. "Music for me was going to be my life path, " she says. "I knew this when I was around 10. I studied genetics because I liked the subject. But then I was practicing my music as well. I finally had to decide between science and music. It was hard, but music won. "
Kazi is one of the few Indian women to have made a mark in a clearly testosterone-driven pursuit. What's more, she has claimed her place in a genre where women seldom tread - death metal. She currently lives in Los Angeles and has recently graduated from the Musician's Institute, Los Angeles. "I think, like all fields, since time immemorial it is men who have dominated the 'workplace'. The music scene is just another workplace. But, as with other professions, here, too, attitudes and mindsets are changing. In the beginning of my journey as a drummer there was some scepticism from people. But when they realised I am serious about this, people began to change their opinion. If you are truly into it, people can sense that. "
Having started her rock career at the age of 15 as the lead vocalist of a metal band called Angel Dust, and then playing drums in 2000 for an all-male progressive thrash band that went by the name of Myndsnare, Kazi has recorded with a number of artists and developed a unique style of drumming in nine years. She has even learnt Indian Carnatic konnakol to expand her rhythmic repertoire. "Drumming makes me go into a zone where all other noises are blocked out. It's a Zen-like state - one of the most intense feelings I have ever known. "
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