He has donned many hats (quite literally) a drummer, a song writer and now a vocalist, he’s the man who brought us The Taxi Song,here’s the frontman of Tough on Tobacco : SIDD COUTTO in conversation with Aniket Dasgupta.

A: Tell me  more about Tough on Tobacco? How did it Happen?

S: Tough on Tobacco (ToT) started off as 2 guys wanting to make music the way we wanted to, with no genre constrictions or commercial considerations. The band as it is now was initially my buddies from Helga’s and Zero coming in to play the early material live and then evolving into a whole new act.

A: We all know indie-music doesn’t pay, how do you manage to make the money?

S: I don’t most of the time, frankly. I absolutely love making my own music so I’m not complaining. But when I’m not doing my own thing, I compose and produce music and/or sing for films, jingles, TV etc. That’s great fun too. And it pays pretty well.

A:  How was it working on Raat Gayi Baat Gayi with Ankur Tewari?

S: I loved it. It was basically the original ToT duo that worked on that film. Ankur wrote the songs, gave me a brief and then left me to do my thing. Most of the album was jazz, a genre I have very little affiliation with, so to speak, so it was a blast for me. I got all my jazz rocks off.

A: You are insanely awesome when you are on stage , but what happens off stage….?

S: Why, thank you, off stage I’m awesomely insane.

A:  I’ve read that you had stopped listening to music actively , just cause you felt it would affect your song writing, is that true? , what do you have to say about your song writing.

S: Yeah, I did stop listening to music. I haven’t really gotten back into the habit, either. My head is an overflowing cauldron of melody, rhythm and orchestration, so I don’t feel the need for external sources of music. I learn something new every day which adds to, subtracts from, modifies and amalgamates into my song writing. I try to keep those influences non musical.

A:  You acted in Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye besides directing music for it, would you  want to act again?7. How was your experience at the recently concluded NH7 Weekender?

S: I am acting again. It’s a film called Soundtrack starring Rajeev Khandelwal and Soha Ali Khan.

NH7 was a fucking treat. I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to be back there. Awesome vibe, great acts, full on party.

A:  Sidd Coutto in Tough On Tobacco or Helga’s Fun Castle or Zero or Ghalat family, which do you like more?

S: At this point in my life, I’d say I like all my roles equally. Each band has been important in shaping who I am today. And I can get up on stage with any of these bands and have a great time.

A:  How did it feel reuniting with Zero and also playing with BlackStratBlues…..

S: Zero are like family to me. So these reunions are always going to be fun/nostalgic/food-filled/

around the holidays/loud music/too many dadar macs. The music is secondary. Us together is the trip.Blackstratblues is Warren’s music. I just enjoy the journey. It’s not the kind of music I write or listen to, but I love it. He’s a great player and I’ve been lucky to have been in his bands.

A: If not a musician what would you want to be?

S: A writer. But I’m kind of doing that on the side, now. I’m writing a novel. And I’ve got some screenplay ideas I’ve promised myself I’ll put down.

A: Favourite Indian Musician(or band) apart from you?

S: Pentagram. Contains two of my favourite musicians of all time, Vishal Dadlani and Randolph Correia. That band is also part of the reason I’m a musician at all. I was 16 when they blew me away and inspired me to get up and do what I do. And to this day, they continue to completely thrill the fuck out of me. I love most of the music either of them make in and out of pentagram.

A:When will we see the next Tough On Tobacco album?

S: This year. It’s a 22 song double album. It’s material we wrote over the course of early 2009 to early 2010. Some awesome stuff, I think.

A:Your words of wisdom to people who want to take up rock-music as a career…

S: Rock music is not a career. So get a job.

A: One musician who you wish were alive today….

S: Freddie Mercury, though I’m sure I could think of more.

A:  Musicians you would love to collaborate with…..
S:  Anyone. Everyone.
Photographs courtesy Anurag Banerjee (most of em!!! :D)
(A’s closing notes…..do check out http://toughontobacco.in, some great music , from a group of fucking awesome musicians…and I heard  Sidd was on the year ending R.I.P.ping the Decade! with Vir Das and the rest of the band Alien Chutney: Kaizad Gherda, Ankur Tewari was on the show too as a special guest…can’t wait for the next ToT album..!!)