Head Towards the Light

Mumbai alternative rock band Last Remaining Light are probably the calmest guys around, and you’re especially convinced of that when you hear vocalist/guitarist Siddharth Basrur whisper in the words, “Let’s all get excited… about nothing” on their debut single Fire Drill Gone Wild. Anyone who hears this song will probably think the band – also consisting of guitarist Anurag Shanker, bassist Adil Kurwa and drummer Karun Kannampilly – are a cautiously optimistic bunch. Shanker says the song showcases ideas that explode but also reflect control. “What I liked about the idea of the song is that it’s a bit about laughing at oneself, order and process and system,” says Shanker.

One of the biggest anchors for the band is of course, Basrur, who is also part of alt metal band Goddess Gagged, and collaborates with the likes of Sidd Coutto (Tough on Tobacco), as well as featuring on commercial jingles and songs. Yet, it’s a misnomer that Last Remaining Light is the same as Basrur’s solo project, which has the two-part Chasing Rain album to his name. Basrur says his solo project has now become a commercial band. He assures that Last Remaining Light is very much a collective effort. Shanker adds, “Most of the songs find their origin in Siddharth’s mind, when he came up with the tune and words. However it’s most definitely not just that. Which is why it’s called Last Remaining Light. The songs have changed and taken a new form in our interactions as a group, which have resulted in a new experience for listeners.” While both Shanker and bassist Adil were in Basrur’s solo band, they came together for Last Remaining Light when they began adding to Basrur’s singer-songwriter solo material and turned it into full-fledged songs. Shanker explains saying, “Our contributions to his tunes started taking them into a slightly parallel universe which started getting more intense by the day.”

That’s certainly an apt description for even Fire Drill Gone Wild and a few other songs that the band has been playing at their live shows, which all add up to their self-titled album, due to release in June. The single, which released earlier this month, goes from quiet to loud, reminiscent of early 2000s alt rock such as Incubus. Basrur says, “We all listen to a lot of different music. For me, it’s the 90s and 2000s that have played a huge part in my musical upbringing.” Shanker adds, “I think it’s our adolescence and the dormant all out rocker that sleeps within that is coming out in a coming of age kind of way through this band. It’s kinda like expressing without worrying what people will say.” While Basrur’s vocals have always been instantly recognisable – whether you heard it on a Goddess Gagged track, an MTV Coke Studio performance or even a TV commercial – on Fire Drill Gone Wild, it’s not the voice that takes the spotlight throughout. The band agrees that the single, and a few other Last Remaining Light songs, are not at all vocal-led. Basrur says that after all, the band isn’t just about one person. But he also chalks it down to the process behind writing. In the case of Fire Drill Gone Wild, Basrur had bought his first electric guitar and wrote the opening riff and verse parts to the song over a year ago, but it was an instrumental track at that point. In an earlier interview, Basrur spoke about the other tracks off their upcoming album, including older solo material such as The Road and Conclusions, as well as an all-out instrumental rock song.

But fans who’ve got the first taste of Last Remaining Light will have the next best thing coming towards them – the band aren’t going to tease with any more singles, choosing to release the album once it is mastered by Steve Nagasaki at Las Vegas studio, Nagasaki Sound. Basrur says, “We’d like to release the entire album, together. So there probably won’t be another single out.” As for promoting the record, there are talks of gigs, but nothing concrete yet. While Basrur responds with the cryptic, “Promoters will be promoters” about convincing gig organisers, Shanker adds, “We’ve been playing one-off gigs but with the single coming out we expect more relevant offers where our sound fits in more organically.”

Listen to Last Remaining Light’s track ‘Fire Drill Gone Wild’ right here on IndiEarth.

Anurag Tagat

Anurag Tagat is a journalist/critic based in Bangalore, writing for Rolling Stone India. He has previously written for The Hindu, Rediff and Bangalore Mirror and TechRadar about everything from current affairs to art and culture to technology.

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