In The Studio: Sidd Coutto
The musician is busy recording two albums â€“ his second solo and the Punk Ass Orifus album
Welcome to the multi-floor multiplex that is Tough on Tobacco vocalist Sidd Coutto’s mind, where you’ll find a song being written at every level, a ventriloquist doing a stand up show in one corner and a new movie playing every three seconds ”“ that’s how long it takes him to switch topics, songs, and time his next joke. That’s what theÂ 33-year-old musician is going for when he’s trying to describe his songwriting frenzy. Coutto has released eight albums in the last 12 years – with Zero, Helga’s FunCastle, Tough on Tobacco and the solo debut, Sunny Side Up, that he released in 2011. “When I am not doing anything, I’m writing songs. When I’m doing something, even then I’m writing songs. It’s a syndrome,” says Coutto.
Coutto’s side project and Punk Ass Orifus came along in January 2012. “See man if I don’t put down my songs, I will forget them and making music is what makes me happy. I have spent all my life telling my brain ”˜You write song, be happy.’ For me to suddenly space out and do other things like marketing and coordinating [for TOT] will not happen. If I have to depend on somebody, I might as well do this on my own,” says Coutto.
This need for independence is why Coutto went solo last year and wrote, recorded vocals, guitars, drums, violin and trumpet for Sunny Side Up by himself. His call to break-free was serious, when we found him on stage alone with all these instruments, a microphone and a looper. Coutto did two album launch gigs in Mumbai and Pune last year, when he attempted to conquer a full live set as a one man orchestra. “That was exhausting,” Coutto recalls, “I was like a technician at that point jumping on stage and doing everything on my own. My mind was wired and all I kept doing was, ”˜OK now play guitar, OK now press button, OK now thrash drums.’ It was fun, but I’m glad I’m never going to do that again,” says Coutto.
The musician is currently working on two albums ”“ his solo follow up to Sunny Side Up called Hotbox, and an as-yet untitled Punk Ass Orifus’s debut. The albums, says Coutto, are a way to keep himself busy while his band Tough on Tobacco (TOT) takes time to record. “We have been recording a double album for two years now. I have recorded my parts, but I can’t be asked to call keep calling everybody else to record theirs. There’s no time for TOT because everybody has too many commitments, but I cannot sit around and not record,” says Coutto. TOT that includes Jai Row Kavi on drums, Johan Pais on bass, Gaurav Gupta on guitars has Coutto as the lead singer and songwriter. The band released their debut album Happy Goat in 2010, and since then have been attempted to get in the studio with the double album follow up they announced back then.
Hotbox is an amendment to Coutto’s solo act. The eight-song album is an all duets album with collaborations featuring Monica Dogra, Anushka Manchanda, Shefali Alvares, Aditi Singh Sharma and Manasi Scott, among others. “I was bored of my voice and I really wanted to do a duets album. So I called on all my good friends and they came here and recorded in my home studio,” says Coutto, who gives the word bedroom studio a whole new meaning. Two monitors, a giant mic stand and a computer make for Coutto’s self-engineered recording studio in his bedroom.Â Coutto has always recorded in this room and hopes to someday soundproof it. “I am not sure though. If I soundproof it, I will lose the sound of this room and I like that sound,” says Coutto.
The Punk Ass Orifus album too is being recorded in Coutto’s room, with the exception of live drums that were put down at Yash Raj Studios. Coutto clubbed his recording session for TOT, with his a session for Punk Ass Orifus and Hotbox. “I took one day to record 18 songs. I really needed that crisp drum quality, which you can only get in a big room,” says Coutto.
Hotbox, Coutto hopes, will be ready for release end of the year. Though he’d like to put it on CD racks, Coutto isn’t sure yet. “I was supposed to sell it on Flipkart last year, but then I got lazy and just put it up online for free download. This year, I don’t know yet how I am going to release it,” says Coutto, “Maybe I need an assistant.”Â