It was July 2013 and I was chilling with a group of musicians in the green room of the Coke Studio shoot in Film City, Goregaon. Singer Bianca Gomes was just done with her hair and make-up – ‘Ohmygod! She looks stunning, I remember thinking – while Sonu Kakar, dressed in a tiny gold bodycon number was asking the stylist about the designer of her dress. She wanted to buy it. Amidst the ladies and all the lady-talk, was Siddharth Basrur, sitting around on his swivel chair and waiting for shoot to begin. We got talking, first about his look – a cool black leather jacket worn over T-shirt and jeans – and later about his music in general. The past year had been pretty bad, he told me, before this offer came. ‘At one point, I had just 500 bucks in my account, you know. But soon, things started looking up. Now work is good,” said Sid, who sang the dark rock ballad ‘Marghat’ on the show as part of composer Clinton Cerejo’s ensemble.
When it comes to money matters, musicians often live on the edge. And as clichéd as it may sound, the ones that are able to climb back on to safer grounds are the ones that persevere and don't lose hope. Not to mention, work very hard. Very, very hard. Sid is a climber. That’s why it is heartening to see when he rocks a solo gig with as much swag as he pulls off being a killer frontman for the metal band Scribe. And also when he shares the stage with the legendary Bumblefoot.
His latest project, Last Remaining Light, is a three-member band featuring himself on vocals and guitars along with Anurag Shanker (guitars and vocals) and Adil Kurwa (bass). Drummer Karun Kannampilly joins them on the drums for shows. “It started out as The Siddharth Basrur Project, with most of the songs having simple, singer-songwriter arrangements. But then Anurag joined the band (Adil was already playing bass before). By that time, even I had started writing more music on an electric guitar, instead of acoustic. So the sound changed quite a bit… and Last Remaining Light was born,” tells me.
The band is currently working on its debut album, due in August. And if its newly released first single, ‘Fire drill gone wild’ is anything to go, it will be an exciting compilation.
Fire drill gone wild - lastremaininglight.bandcamp.com/releases
The upcoming album will feature 10 tracks. “It's got songs about love, songs about the world, songs about a lot of other stuff. It's a lot more intense than the previous stuff I've released,” informs Sid, who writes all the lyrics. The composition part is a joint effort. “There are tracks that I brought to the band with a basic structure, and they've helped me build on it, and there a songs we've written together as a band,” he says.
The album itself has been a labour of love, with a lot of labour involved. All the band members also have commitments with other bands, so sticking to a deadline has been a huge task. “We've definitely had issues with getting stuff done on time. We're hopefully going to be able to put out the product we want,” says a very positive Sid.
Besides music, the one thing that glues the boys is their common love of food. So cook-ins are almost as regular as jams. “Anurag’s chicken curry is really good. I make some nice prawns in chilli garlic. The last time everyone came over, I had some smoked pork from Shillong, which we cooked with some Bhoot Jholokia chilli.”
Citing the green-room conversation we had two years ago, I ask Sid if he’s at a more secure stage today where money isn’t a problem. “Oh hell, yes!” he replies prompty, ever so grateful for the work that has been pouring in. “I'm a lot more comfortable than I was when I started out, and that's mostly thanks to all the work I get, singing for jingles. That allows me to do a lot of the other stuff I want to do, like Last Remaining Light, Scribe.” A hard working boy, that one.
Photo source: Last Remaining Light