Introducing: Vajra

After a three-year break from the road, New York-based, alternative dark rock band Vajra recently returned to the live music scene with a string of dates on the East Coast of America, vocalist Annamaria Pinna talks us through the origins of Vajra…

What are the origins of Vajra, how long have you been playing together?

I started writing the music for Vajra on my self-imposed exile in India. It was meant to be a studio project. Once I had demo versions of the songs, I reached out to Blake Fleming (ex-Mars Volta) to see if he was interested in drumming on it. I then reached out to Will Dahl (ex-Harleys War) and Doug Wright (Dolly Parton’s band). We all decided we would play a few gigs. The moment we had our first rehearsal, we all felt there was magick.

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourself?

We travel together in ritual. They should expect nothing. Come with an open heart and a curious mind.

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

It was thrilling and terrifying (as most shows are for me). We played to a sold-out audience at The Bowery Electric on 11-10-11 (but stayed around for 11-11-11. Blake Fleming (ex-Mars Volta was on drums, Will Dahl (ex-Harleys War) on guitar, and Doug Wright (Dolly Parton’s band) on bass (the original lineup). Our current lineup is amazing: Jimmy DeMarco on drums and percussion, Dave Sussman on guitar, and John Heaney on bass.

The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?

Be yourself, as much as you know of yourself at that moment, and have something to say (lyrically and musically).

In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel you would be best suited to open for?

Evanescence, Deftones, Tool, APC, In This Moment, Puscifer, Lacuna Coil

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

She’s not a band per se, but she is amazing: Lingua Ignota.

What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

I started dancing at age three. I remember the piano playing. I couldn’t wait to play something – anything. So, I started with violin at 6 and then flute at 8, and played all through high school. But, I really wanted to sing. I started dabbling with lyrics in elementary school and finally worked up the courage to start singing in college. I also started dabbling in guitar, bass, and drums. I also studied composition at Juilliard. I needed a lot of confidence getting into rock and metal. I never thought my classical skills were translatable. So ridiculous.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

We just attended Heilung at The Kings Theatre and will see Wardruna at the same venue on Saturday, 10/15.

What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?

Women’s reproductive rights.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Top Sharqi Hits

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

We are pretty active on most social media sites. All our links are on our site:

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