By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

ROB BRAYL: First things first, you’ve really surprised me with the direction of your new single Love War. I’m hooked! I love that you’ve broken the mold of American Idol. Was it always your intention to steer towards electronic music?

ANOOP DESAI: Not consciously, no. It was really a process of musical evolution for me. Going to shows, being around music as a professional, advancing as a writer, etc. It was an organic process for me, just trying to find my voice within the genre for the past three years. People may have a memory of me from “Idol” that seems different from the new sound, but it’s really just filling a niche in EDM that I felt was there for the taking. My rule when making this latest record was that I could only make music that I personally liked. It was a decision that seems to have led to a wider appreciation of my music, which I’m thrilled about.

RB: The video treatment for the song is incredible. I’m really impressed with everything your doing at the moment. Can you tell us a little about the visuals in the clip? (I’ve noticed some horses and country scenes which I think are cool, meshing with your North Carolina upbringing.)

AD: We filmed parts of the video in the North Georgia mountains, parts of it on a white backdrop with cool lighting, and of course there’s the military footage in there. It’s meant to be jarring but also visually clear. And you sort of hinted at it, the idea is that the song is referencing a past gone by while really trying to express the reality that struggle still plays in everyday life. Essentially, no one comes out unscathed from a Love War.

RB: What artists have you been inspired by with regards to this new sound/style?

AD: This answer really changes weekly for me, but I think at the time I was writing Love War I was listening to a lot of Bassnectar, The Weeknd, the first Ellie Goulding record, and because I was a recent Atlanta immigrant, LOTS of hip hop. I’m in a space right now where I’m really into James Blake, Kishi Bashi, Purity Ring, Active Child, M83, etc. (and still a lot of hip hop), so we’ll see how that affects the next batch of stuff I’m working on.

RB: You must be stoked about your debut album? Any idea/timeframe as to when it might drop?

AD: So stoked. I think I owe it to myself and my fans to make sure that it has everything behind it that it deserves, so there’s of course a financial and promotional element there that we need to set up when it’s done. We’re already done with half of it, and I’m personally aiming for late this year or early next year. In the meantime, I’m releasing a new remix package of Love War in June.

RB: Like most girls and soccer moms, I loved you on American Idol! [Laughs] What I don’t love is hearing that you experienced some racism after the show. That sh*t really bothers me. But major kudos to you for being able to be vulnerable and real and open about it. I think that type of honesty encourages change.

AD: Thanks. It’s nothing new, although it was new to me at the time. I don’t think it’s headline news that there are dumb people in the world, but it’s always weird when that kind of stuff is directed at you. I’m fully aware that I don’t get as much of that stuff as a lot of other people. As messed up as it is, sometimes people have to be peer pressured into acceptance. (I hate the word “tolerance”.) Hopefully, the kind of mainstream success I am working towards can be part of that pressure.

RB: Do you feel like your experience on the show pushed you in a way to break away from the more safer styles/genres the show seems to embrace/push winners towards? Meaning, there’s not many artists from the show who are doing what you’re doing right now, which is making really rad electro music!

AD: In a way… I tried to do the “safe” thing at first and it just didn’t really work for me. On a critical and personal level. Like I said earlier, my rule for the new sound was that I had to like everything that I was putting out there. I didn’t have that rule before, and I think it showed. At first, I pushed myself towards that bubblegum ideal because I felt like that was what my audience wanted. Whether that was smart or just pandering, I don’t know, but it definitely didn’t get me where I wanted to go. As I’ve begun to write more and really focus on the craft above anything else, I’ve evolved as a musician and as a fan of music. And, of course, that will never stop.

RB: This is a staple in questions I ask artists: What’s a few of your current guilty pleasures? Music or non?

AD: The new will.i.am album, bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

RB: Last album you purchased.

AD: James Blake – Overgrown. It’s just complete mastery. I went to his show at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC the other night and it was literally awesome. Although I’m also a fan of the new Charli XCX, Django Django, and Major Lazer records.

RB: Are you planning on touring with the upcoming album release?

AD: This fall, but no dates are set in stone yet.

RB: Finally, I wanted to say that BiggerThanBeyonce focuses a lot of energy spotlighting incredible indie artists like yourself. Although difficult at times, do you feel a sense of personal triumph and victory being free to make the music you love?

AD: Of course! It is difficult at times, but that’s going to make what’s ahead even sweeter.

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