Local Spotlight: Anjimile Nitesh Gupta February 11, 2014 Featured, Interview, Local Spotlight, Local Spotlight Feature 2 Comments Editor’s Note: Since the publishing of this piece, Anjimile has changed their pronouns to “they” or “he”. Please keep that in mind while reading this profile. Meet Anjimile, a talented, local musician whose soothing, powerful voice comes straight from the heart. She calls her music “pop music for the soul,” since she’s not just another singer with an acoustic guitar. “I’ve always had a pretty deep emotional connection to the music that I listen to and I think that comes across in the music that I make,” she told me. She aims to create music that people can feel. It’s the kind of music that will take you on a journey into the sky with your feet still rooted firmly on the earth. Her songs are catchy—I’ve had “Apocalypse Now” stuck in my head for days—and she puts care into her lyrics, offering us vivid images of “tree trunks split asunder” or a “cold torrential rain.” Her journey as a musician began before her freshman year of college. After two years at Northeastern, she switched from an English major (which might describe her vivid lyrics) to a Music Industry concentration. Recently she’s been writing music, releasing music, and playing shows around Boston. In “Apocalypse Now,” Anjimile begins by singing, “I am not like them / I want the whole world inside my heart.” And when she sings from her heart, we hear that world. Recently I spoke with her about her musical influences, her favorite songs and the Boston music scene. After you read the interview, you can find her on Facebook or Twitter. Nitesh: What music has given you that deep emotional connection you spoke about earlier? Anjimile: I guess that the music I connect to most emotionally is Sufjan Stevens. I found out about him my freshman year of high school or something. His music is just really intimate so you get really close to what he’s saying. I really like how intimate it is. And then — this is in the opposite direction, but one of my favorite punk bands — they are called Circle Jerks. They don’t sound anything like Sufjan Stevens but there is this raw, emotional energy. I listen to a lot of punk bands. So I’m influenced a lot by that even if my music is not loud or crazy. Nitesh: Can you think of any particular Sufjan Stevens that you connected to? Anjimile: One of my favorites is “I Want To Be Well.” It’s off of my favorite Sufjan Stevens record because it’s beautiful from top to bottom. “I Want To Be Well” has this really beautiful climax. It’s like a rallying cry, something of an anthem, not particularly loud–but it’s just really emotionally powerful. Nitesh: Tell me about your songwriting process. Anjimile: Oh boy, well, I love songwriting. Nitesh: Yeah I know you took that class at Northeastern! Anjimile: Yeah that class totally kicked ass. I learned a lot about forming, about how to think about song structure to make it artistic — how to do things with a purpose. I really love writing songs. Usually, I always write my melody first. I will sing complete gibberish and then if I like it, I’ll try to pick words into what I just made up. And then from there, usually whatever words I usually assign to those melodic syllables become the theme for the song. When I start writing a song, I don’t stop until it’s finished. I’ll skip class until I finish a song. I’ll stay up all night. I’ve stayed up 12 hours writing a song. Nitesh: What song? Anjimile: It’s not on the internet yet. It’s called “Wanted by the Law.” It’s going to be on my new record. It’s in a different style than my acoustic stuff and it’s the first time I wrote something like that. Nitesh: I really, really love the lines “I want the earth inside my soul” and “I want the world inside my heart”—and honestly, all the other lines in “Apocalypse Now” too. Is there a story behind the song? A particular moment you were thinking about? Anjimile: Aw thanks! Yeah! So Apocalypse Now was the second song that I wrote. It came after a tumultuous time in high school. I was a high school kid doing high school things–like drinking and smoking–and I got caught, got in trouble. So I was no longer being a rebel, and growing up. I was living in Texas at the time and being constrained by my surroundings. There’s not so much to do in the suburbs. I felt like I had potential to be doing things but at the time I just couldn’t fulfill that. So the line “I want the world inside my heart” was being excited about leaving for Boston and just wanting to absorb everything the city and the world had to offer. I just wanted to experience everything the world had to offer. And of course, that’s a tall order. But that’s what I wanted. And yeah, I guess it’s the same, I want the earth inside my soul — wanting to absorb your surroundings and become a part of them. I guess, talking more about those lyrics, the chorus, that part is kind of contrary to the verses. In wanting everything in the world, you kind of have to take the good with the bad. And that’s why the verses are kind of about the world ending and an apocalypse happening. But you still want it anyways. It’s kind of weird. Nitesh: Wow. Speaking of locations, I love the video of you playing in Ringer Park, Allston. Can you tell me why you chose that park? Anjimile: I lived in Allston over the summer. I lived pretty much down the street from Ringer Park and the people who shot the video contacted me, “The Listening Party“–they wanted to have an outdoorsy feel. I really liked the location. I think it’s a beautiful park. Nitesh: What other parks do you love to go to in the Boston area? Anjimile: I really like the Fens. It’s right behind Northeastern, kind of on the way to Fenway Park. It’s this huge expanse of natural trees and marshes and ponds and pathways. There’s a rose garden. Nitesh: Have you found it difficult to fit into the Boston music scene? Anjimile: I don’t think so. I think that the Boston music scene is what you make it. Some people see it as all punk. The Boston punk scene is huge. And I’m not a Boston punk but I still respect that scene. I think the Boston music scene is great. I’ve met a lot of talented Boston bands a musicians. I’m not exactly sure if I fit in, but I’m definitely in it. I think that my music does not sound like most other people’s music but I think that’s the reason that I’m accepted by those bands. Individuality is very welcome in this scene. Nitesh: That’s good to hear. What venues do you usually play at? Anjimile: I’ve played a lot of shows in Cambridge. I’ve played at the Middle East Upstairs and Downstairs, TT the Bears. I play basement shows. I think I’m playing one this Saturday at the back of the hill. There’s a really awesome Australian pub called the KOpie. It’s really good and crazy delicious. Nitesh: Would you say you have a favorite? Anjimile: TT the Bears is my favorite. I’ve only played there once, it was last month. I think the stage is nice. There’s a lot of room on stage. It’s just a nice-sized venue. It’s mid-sized so even if there aren’t that many people there it still seems like there are a lot of people. It’s also got good lighting. Nitesh: Who are some of your favorite Boston artists? Anjimile: Grey Season – those dudes are very cool and they kick major ass. Last night I was at a house show in Allston, and I found this band Dirty Dirges.They are a really weird punk, jazz, folk band. The lead singer is absolutely nuts. It was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen of a local band. There’s a local punk band called Soft Focus. They are hella good. And then my personal favorite is Box of Birds. Nitesh: Oh cool, I’ll look them up! Last question–what is one thing most people would never expect about you? Anjimile: I like Ke$ha. 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