Siddharth Basrur on Going DIY: ‘You Can Do Everything at Home and Get it Done Really Well’
Instead of “waiting for other people to get their shit together,” the Mumbai musician took production matters in his own hands and created a kickass EP
Blame it on his multiple concurrent projects, Siddharth Basrur is beginning to gain a bit of an iconic status in the indie music scene. The popular vocalist/guitarist–whose 16-year-old journey includes stints as frontman with prog rockers Goddess Gagged, rockers Scribe as well as alt rock outfit Last Remaining Light and other projects—is now out with new music under a new moniker, Runt. Says Basrur, “Runt is kind of like my alter ego; it is also kind of like an oxymoron because the sound is not small.” He adds, “I was this tiny scrawny person and now I’ve evolved into something and that’s what usually happens to the underdog. I kind of like to root for the underdog.”
Basrur has previously released two solo EPs in 2013, Chasing Rain – Chapter 1 and Chasing Rain – Chapter 2. But on his latest release as Runt, Rhymes With, he tracked all the songs himself, apart from drums which were recorded by Aditya Ashok from prog metallers Skyharbor. On why he wanted to do all the stuff by himself, Basrur says, “I was tired of waiting for other people to get their shit together. I was like, ‘Fuck it! I don’t want to be dependent on anyone else to make music.’”
As is the case with many albums, the final tracks on Rhymes With weren’t the original bunch Basrur initially wanted to release. The musician had a batch of five songs he had written earlier and planned on joining the old with the new to release a 10-track album. “But there was no vibe and there was disconnect between the songs. Since the new songs were fresher and they were in my head at that point, I decided to release them.”
Nineties rock fans will particularly dig Rhymes With, which is replete with feisty guitars, crushing breakdowns and Basrur’s soaring vocals. The EP opens with the scintillating “Bad Words,” a track that pretty much sets the tone for the album. “The song is about dealing with impatience and staying in the here and now,” says Basrur. On “Black on Beige,” the musician sings about his innermost demons as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict; Basrur will complete 15 years of sobriety this November. “If I get a whiff of whiskey, I’ll be like, ‘That smells good!’” He adds, “Then I’ll have to slap myself and be like. ‘What are you thinking, man!’?” The third track “Home” was written for another project Basrur was involved in and was initially a much slower composition, till he decided to save it for Runt and revv it up to grunge levels. He says, “It is a slightly more radio-friendly track.”
For Basrur, this project was a pure DIY baby. He produced it himself and the recordings took place at multiple studios and home set-ups. The bass was recorded at Mumbai producer Ayan De’s Midicore Studio while the guitars were tracked at his mum’s house in Pune. Vocals and drums were taken care of at drummer Daniel Mathew’s studio and Arbit Random Studio, respectively.
Basrur also teamed up with Mumbai-based production house Glowworm to document the whole process of recording Rhymes With as a five-episode series. The reason being simple–he wanted to show people that you don’t need a big budget or a state-of-the-art studio to record a decent- sounding EP. “You can do everything at home and get it done really well,” he says.