ANU / DJ
Variety can be expressed in a myriad of shapes and forms. It can be colorful, reference your heritage, a cosmopolitan boiler room. It is in variety that everything finds an ordered and disordered sense of logic, a nucleus from which artistic trajectories branch outwards, lush and intricate extensions of individuality. London-based DJ, illustrator, and broadcaster Anu has planted deep roots in variety.
“I think it’s a hugely important characteristic. Without that variety, that versatility, I wouldn’t have even got close to the creative processes that accompany me today. It’s essential for my life. Firstly, it’s about educating yourself, letting yourself take chances, immersing yourself in something new...and this is what’s really exciting for me.” “Being creative and well-versed gives me a broader outlook; it lets me deal with a lot of different scenarios and connect the various ideas that come out, the variety of skills that spring from each area of interest”. It’s an approach to life that looks a lot like a vocation, a natural brand, or accidental mission that can’t be accomplished without the proper backing, the right groundwork to base your progress on. That soil has to be fertile, childlike, and youthful. For Anu, it was her family who laid that ground, especially her father, what he listened to, and stories of growing up an Indian immigrant in a cryptic and turbulent London.
“I was raised in an extremely musical environment. My father is cross-genre, so he turned me on to all sorts of stuff. Jazz, classical Indian music, punk...I grew up listening to everything. Being a second-generation immigrant put me in the middle of a melting pot of cultures. Sometimes it’s been hard to accept that or just choose one of them. On the other hand, it’s given me all sorts of musical influences and situations that have nurtured me along the way, leading me down new paths”. In the endless tangle of London streets and avenues, this eclectic and creative soul sees music as the only thing that can trace out the boundaries of a safe space, an environment where access is freely granted to every moment lived, every experience breathed, every note heard. A personal universe where you can find inspiration, refuge, and identity. “Music has always been my shelter. Growing up, I realized I couldn’t reject the things I listened to at home, so, at a young age I started to collect the things that I loved of each single artist, each individual song that surrounded me. This sort of patchwork musical imagination helped me get through my teenage years, and it’s still a sanctuary: a fundamental space where I can reconcile, especially in the darker times”.
And Anu’s personal space – her DJ sets, radio shows, and illustrations – has become a place for anyone who feels the need for enrichment, anyone looking to be transported into brightly colored and meditative cartoons, to indulge in musical rushes that roam from glittering Asian Bollywood to British Underground. “It’s an incredible privilege to work with these art forms. I’ve never really felt like I entered an industry; it’s more like the further evolution of my personal space, the further enrichment of myself and my consciousness. Now I’m starting to travel again, going to places that’ll broaden my perspectives even more and help keep my eyes open, exploring and bringing new things together. It’s all really special to me”.