10 to Watch – Satnam Ramgotra, percussionist

Satnam Ramgotra. Photo by Ash Gupta.
Satnam Ramgotra, photo by Ash Gupta.

Canadian born and raised, Satnam Ramgotra is a drummer/percussionist blending traditional drum set with Indian, African, and World Percussion elements into modern musical environments.

His formal training on both drum set and Indian Classical Tabla started at the age of ten. Throughout his school years, Satnam performed and competed in regional and national band festivals across Canada, where he was repeatedly singled out and received many awards for his talents. Satnam later relocated to California to further his musical ambitions at the renowned Percussion Institute of Technology, and soon thereafter began performing live and recording with many of his instructors.

Satnam’s resume is impressive. He has performed as a guest artist, and toured with world-renowned artists, including Nikka Costa, Beck, Sting, Seal, Lili Haydn, Steve Vai, Jada Pinkett-Smith & Wicked Wisdom, and Ustad Shafquat Ali Khan. He has recorded with Macy Gray, The Calling, Plastilina Mosh, Lee Ritenour, Carmen Rizzo and many others. And he regularly works with Hollywood’s “A-list” film composers including, Hans Zimmer, James Newton-Howard, John Powell, Aaron Zigman, Atli Orvarsson,  and Alberto Iglesias.

His Motion Picture Film credits are too extensive to list exhaustively here, but recently include The Town, Inception, Despicable Me, Green Zone and Clash of the Titans. He just co-composed the main soundtrack for the TV show Outsourced and occasionally he stops to catch a hockey match.

What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever gotten and from whom?
My 2 drum instructors, Casey Scheuerell.  He said always be humble. AND, my drum teacher from Saskatoon, John Fisher – best advice ever…  “Stay Loose, Stay out of trees, and don’t pet any burning dogs!”

What do you consider your greatest professional success?
Hmmm…  That I’m able to make a living doing what I love!

What do you consider your greatest personal failure?
My ego!

Favorite all-time…
Biography: Miles Davis
Novel: Celestine Prophecy (First book, I couldn’t put down… Not a big novel reader).
Album: There are so many! But, I never get tired of Mezzanine by Massive Attack.
Song: OMG! There are so many.  All I Need by Radiohead.
Film: Currently, Inception (not biased)
TV Show: Outsourced (biased)…  really it’s Mad Men, and Dexter
Painter: Dali, Van Gogh, and Monet
Photographer: Freeman Patterson
Clothing Designer: Armani
Athlete: Bjorn Borg
Architect: Geary
Invention: The Tabla

What is the strangest number you have programmed into your phone?
MINE!

How would you define love?
Unconditional.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be and why?
Prejudice.  We are one tiny HUMAN race!!

Describe your perfect day.
Isn’t everyday we are alive and well, perfect?

List three things you cannot live without.
Food, water, and music.

Tell us one thing we don’t know about, but we should.
I’m a die hard hockey fan! The Montreal Canadians – just so you know!

What would your last meal be?
Something with truffles in it, and a 1970 Bordeaux (year I was born). Or Ma’s Daal and Roti!

If you could have a second career, what would it be?
Formula One Driver

What’s exciting for you in 2011 – what do we have to look forward to?
Even I don’t know that yet. There are a few movie releases for 2011 that I’m proud to be apart of.  Stay tuned!

See our complete “List of 10 to Watch“

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