Anish Kumar at the desk where he studies Vet Med and creates hit tracksBjorn Franklin with permission for Varsity

Not only is Anish Kumar a staple and now mainstay of the UK house scene, but he’s also a final year Veterinary Medicine student. He’s played London festivals, such as Four Tet’s all-day gig and Field Day, as well as gigs alongside Bicep at WHP Manchester.

“I started out in GarageBand and it was a hobby that never really stopped”

Anish meets me in West Hub, coming from the Vet School where he spends most of his final year — when he isn’t travelling to and from gigs. His double life is hinted at by the cargo trousers and trainers he is sporting alongside his scrubs.

Trying to balance being a successful DJ and his final year is a huge challenge, Anish acknowledges. The most recent example being when he “had to dash to London” as BBC1 broadcaster and television presenter Clara Amfo named his track as her hottest record. “It’s about making it work, trying to arrange gigs at the weekend and duck out where I can.”

Anish tells me that he “started out on GarageBand, and it was a hobby that never really stopped.” He now enjoys “beats type projects”, and “finds inspiration from going to different countries”. His newest project is motivated by his recent travels to Sri Lanka. The American music producer and DJ Madlib has also been a source of inspiration for Anish, who admires both Madlib’s musical talent and the cultural impact he’s had.

“I try to make my music accessible but not compromise too much”

Despite the success of his single with artist Barry Can’t Swim, Anish highlights that he prefers to produce work where he can wholly “call something mine”. Anish is a realist. Yes, he wants to create “something of [his] own” that is unique, but he also acknowledges the need to appeal to a commercial audience if he wants to ‘make it’. “I try to make my music accessible but not compromise too much”. For example, his newest single ‘Ringtone’ is more ‘pop’ than his usual repertoire, and he hopes it will act as a bridge for listeners to find his other music. “Hopefully you can still tell it’s my work.”


Mountain View

‘We go so against the status quo’: Hip-Hop Society President on the Cambridge music scene

Of all the incredible gigs he’s played, Anish’s favourite venue remains a Pembroke bop. On a more serious note, he reflects how incredible playing Primavera in Barcelona was: “people are just there to dance” and appreciate the music, he tells me.

But Anish is not planning to leave his Vet Med training behind. “I can’t do one sole thing, I would get bored, there needs to be variety”. There is perhaps a parallel to be drawn between the small animals he prefers operating on and how adept he is on a set of decks.

His music video for his single ‘Care About Me’ deftly uses a punter who he confirmed was from Scudamore’s, highlighting that he is trying “to use as much of the Cambridge experience as I can whilst I’m here”. At the end of our interview, Anish dashes back for a class at the Vet school, before he takes the Eurostar for a gig in Paris — starting at 4am.