19 January 2023

5 Minutes with Anish Kumar: The British-Indian artist bringing a new lease of life to dance music

HUNGER catches up with the rising producer to discuss his track ‘ Hummingbird’ hitting one million streams and balancing studying with music.

Since HUNGER last caught up with rising dance music phenom Anish Kumar, his already unignorable presence in the scene has only grown stronger. The British-Indian producer’s numbers have risen immensely, with fan favourite ‘Hummingbird’ recently making it over the coveted million stream mark – a number set to rise after the infectious track inevitably soundtracks functions throughout the new year. 

It’s no surprise that at just 22 years old, Kumar has caught the eyes of some of his heroes, including the iconic Annie Mac and legendary Four Tet – the latter of whom he performed alongside at The Warehouse Project’s Eat Your Own Ears. His vibrant and flavourful approach to dance music often calls back to his South Asian roots, taking inspiration from and sampling Bollywood hits throughout his discography — but none more so than on his recent, one-of-a-kind EP, Bollywood Super Hits. And yes, Kumar is still enrolled at Cambridge University – where he’s studying to be a vet, making his achievements even more awe-inspiring. Here, HUNGER sits down with the rising star to discuss his refreshing take on dance music, performing alongside his heroes and how his heritage impacts his sound.

Hey Anish! How’s it been going music-wise since you last caught up with HUNGER?

It’s been going strong, I’ve been writing loads and finishing off a project I’m really excited about that’s coming out next year. I just played on the Eat Your Own Ears lineup at The Warehouse Project, which was an incredible thing to be a part of.

You’re also studying to be a vet at Cambridge University. How are you making time for music?

I squeeze it in on the weekends (mostly).

You’ve previously expressed your desire to breathe fresh life into dance music. Do you think we’ve been seeing too much of the same recently?

Yes. But I’m not too bothered about what everyone else is doing; I just know that right now, I’m not feeling very inspired by fresh dance music.

What are you trying to do differently in the dance music sphere?

Interesting question. In the next two years, I am going to unashamedly double down on everything I love within music and try and endeavour package my productions in the ‘right clothes’ to form my upcoming projects. I hope this will culminate in a product unique enough to feel fresh.

How would you describe your creative process at the moment?

I am writing demos upon demos and hoping that throughout 2023, I can bring them to life by means of recording sessions, collaboration and songwriting. I’m quite excited because I’ve hit a point where I feel ready to graduate beyond my laptop, if you get what I mean.

What do you find most inspiring about your South Asian heritage — and how do you incorporate it into your music?

There are tons of infectious and iconic melodies peppered throughout South Asian music. I also love the scale of production that went into a lot of Bollywood. These two things I hope I can weave into my 2023 project. 

What’s been on rotation in your playlists recently?

Bit of a bizarre mix. I find myself returning to Kendrick Lamar’s new album, also a lot of pristine and well-produced pop like Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings. The Delfonics and city pop too. My close associate, sam_the_matrix, has also put out some really interesting music this year.

What was your favourite live performance of this year and why?

The Warehouse Project with Four Tet, Daphni, Overmono etc. was incredible and a real full circle moment for me – last time I was there was 2 years ago watching Four Tet and Skrillex go back to back.

What’s been your biggest moment of pride, music-wise, in 2022?

My song Hummingbird hit a million on Spotify – it’s crazy to see so many people are listening to it every day. I really love that song, so it fills me with pride to hear that other people do too.

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