You may know him from his house-leaning debut EP “Postcards”, and a select few may know him from veterinary classes at Cambridge. The self-producing, student and DJ Anish Kumar has created an eclectic and unique sound for himself, leaning into club and house beats. His latest project, “Bollywood Super Hits!” saw the artist tap into his South Asian heritage, merging two cultures he has grown up with to create Bollywood-meets-house tracks. Having just released a new single this year titled Praise, the artist is now working on an upcoming mixtape and preparing to perform at this year’s Primavera Sound festival. Keep reading as we catch up with Anish to talk all things inspiration to aspiring goals.
Hey Anish! Let’s start this off with New Year’s Resolutions: Did you make any? Have you stuck through with them?
I’m not really a resolutions guy. I suppose making the resolution to not make resolutions is sticking with it?
A new year means new music, or at least we hope. For you, that comes in the form of a new single titled Praise. It definitely sounds like a new direction, musically speaking, for you. Tell me a little bit about the meaning of the song, how you went on creating it, etc.
I made Praise initially as an interlude track on a mixtape I wrote back in 2021, hence its slower pace and jaunty drums. When my managers heard the track they immediately picked it out as a single, which caught me off guard at first but since then I’ve really seen it in a new light. Its gospel chops and organs give it a ceremonial quality that I’m quite excited to lead with as I get into this new phase of releasing music.
Your latest EP, “Bollywood Super Hits!” Takes classic Bollywood sounds and merges them into a club sound. Where do you get the idea to merge such opposite sounds? Was it something you just started playing around with and thought “actually, that sounds good”?
Exactly! I wanted to find a way to play Bollywood songs that I grew up with in my sets and also create a bit of a moment when the key part of the tune kicks in. They were never intended to be released but people really loved them so I dropped one a day on Bandcamp and it received significant uptake. That led us to find a release for the EP and the response has been great. Bollywood music is naturally ‘dance music’ so it doesn’t surprise me that they work well in a club setting!
How do your relatives in South Asia react to your music, which remixes their typical sounds? Do they like the house edge you offer?
Some of them love it, some of them hate it. I don’t even know how to feel about them myself, it’s a recontextualisation that will rub some people the wrong way and I totally get it. I can only hope that people don’t see this release as throwaway house remixes of Bollywood songs, that’s not what I intended, instead it’s a way for me to begin melding together worlds I love.
Considering how you play with various genres of music, are there any specific genres that you would like to experiment with but just haven’t had the chance to yet?
I want to do a lot within hip hop production and I’m working on a few projects at the minute. Even though it might take a minute for me to lay the groundwork for such projects, I am really compelled by the genre as most of my favourite producers are hip hop producers.
Not only do you make music, but you are currently studying at Cambridge for your veterinary medicine degree – something you have described as “do-able”. So how do you balance both music and your degree?
I do the degree when I have to do the degree and I fill the rest with music. Music is the thing I don’t have to think about, it drives me, whereas veterinary is demanding but equally rewarding. Sometimes I’m in the mood for one or the other.
What’s the post-graduation plan? Are you sticking to the vet-med path or running at full speed with your music talents?
Why not both?
Your 2022 EP “Postcards” feels like each song is like a postcard from a different part of the world, all sounding like they came from a different background. Was that something you did intentionally to explore your different musical influences?
That EP came about in the face of some harsh truths. I was an unknown artist. I have a strong desire to do many different things within music. The industry as it stands does not necessarily readily reward someone in this disposition – my first release had to turn some heads, and “Postcards” was the way I could achieve that whilst brandishing a pluralist approach to ‘dance music’. I won’t be releasing another EP like that for a long time but it served well as a ‘shop window’ into my music.
Speaking of, who or what are some of your musical influences?
Avicii‘s music taught me the boons of an excellent hook. More recently MF Doom and Wu Tang have been reminding me that great music can be really funny.
If you could hop on a track with anyone, who would it be and why?
I’d love to work on some music with Madlib as I imagine it would be an entirely open-ended yet fantastic experience.
You’ve already released one single this year, what else can we expect from you? Are you cooking something up for us?
A full length mixtape is coming, featuring some of the tracks that got this all going for me back in 2021.
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