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Ifs and Buts Prep Debut Album

Titled ‘You’re A Story’, the Kolkata band’s first release has been in the making since May this year

Naman Saraiya Jul 11, 2014
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Ifs and Buts. Photo: Margub Ali

(from left) Write In Stereo’s Dhruv Sarker and The Ganesh Talkies bassist Roheet Mukherjee with Nicholas Rixon from Ifs and Buts. Photo: Margub Ali

When I first met Nicholas Rixon, one half of Kolkata acoustic duo Ifs and Buts, he was tired of being, pardon the pun, the butt of the biggest in-joke: Was he the if or the butt? Subhodip Banerjee, the other half of the duo, and I made each other’s acquaintance in a mildly inebriated state on a Friday night at Jamsteady, the weekly gig at Princeton Club, Kolkata. On that night, the duo played a new song called “Irrelevant” for the first time. Theirs was the last slot for the evening and vocalist Rixon dedicated “Irrelevant” to a young female fan, who joined them on stage and stayed on until the end of the set, dancing by the side of the stage. The joke, I assume, was lost on the crowd that night.

Most of their songs on their debut album are based on stories from their everyday lives; a healthy mix of fictitious or real stuff. While we’re yet to find out if the female fan inspired a new song, their debut album was written while “listening to a lot of Neutral Milk Hotel, Little Joy and the stuff I heard as a child, like The Traveling Wilburys, for instance,” says Rixon. While the duo’s influences are varied, Rixon refers to Banerjee as a “harmony machine, and someone who knows what he’s doing – which makes it lovely to have him play alongside me.” Their approach to writing songs has changed, says Rixon, and the band prefers simpler tunes and minimal song structures. Adds Rixon, “It’s just not as complicated [as the 2011 self-titled EP].”

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The 10-track album will include songs such as “Letters,” “Bougainvillea,” “Nobody’s Town,” “Is A Monkey” and “If You Were.” While most guitar parts will be performed by Banerjee, Rixon will step in to play a couple of them too. Roheet Mukherjee of pop rock band The Ganesh Talkies has taken up bass duties and Dhruv Sarker of indie-dance act Write In Stereo features on the drums for “February,” the song that will feature an entire band. Singer-songwriter Nischay Parekh is slated to play bass on the song “Letters” and Ifs and Buts have also included violins and keys in the arrangements.

Ifs and Buts released an eponymous EP in 2011, and since then, have been gigging fairly regularly in Kolkata while they juggled other projects. Guitarist and backing vocalist, Banerjee, also performs with Bangla rockers The Anupam Roy Band and alt rockers Neel and The Lightbulbs. Like most band members, Rixon and Banerjee met in college where they played in a band called Safire – which dissolved quickly, and Rixon asked Banerjee if he would be interested in doing a “sort of acoustic thing,” which eventually led to them forming Ifs and Buts. With an EP, a bunch of singles and a couple of videos, the duo will release their debut album, You’re A Story, which “is a mix of old and new stories” later this year.

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Ifs and Buts perform at Someplace Else, Kolkata on July 11th, 2014.  Event details here.

Watch the teaser to You’re A Story

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