Loaded with layered synth melodies & mesmerizing vocals, Lil Idli’s debut song “Little Girl” displayed their multi-faceted sound and artistry, taking influences in minimalism, classic R&B, and neo-soul. Lil Idli continues to delve into the art of making music from every angle as they refine the material for their upcoming album, Mitochondria, scheduled to be released in late 2021. Mitochondria explores our awakening human consciousness amidst ecological turmoil and generational shifts. Thought-provoking, insightfully artistic, and resoundingly real at a time where the world needs it most – Lil Idli creates a radiant array of music for the mind, played with undeniable heart.
Prabhakar got her start in the classical arts, training as a child in Indian classical voice and Western violin. Her evolution into songwriting blossomed through a search for resonance and fluidity in divergent cultural and aesthetic worlds, through a tapestry of synths, moving melodies, and pop idioms. Gopinath is a producer, composer, and percussionist who started as a small-town drummer in Kerala, India, and made his way to the Berklee College of Music and the Georgia Tech Music Technology program, where he focused on avant-garde electronic arts and assistive robotics, respectively.
Together and separately, the duo has performed in cities across the United States, Mexico and India at storied venues such as the Rock ‘n Roll Hotel in Washington, DC; The Bowery and Drom in New York City; Ryles Jazz Club in Boston; The Elbo Room in Chicago; The Blue Frog in Mumbai, India; and Cafe Jazzorca and Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City, Mexico.
Mitochondria is a concept album that explores inheritance, ecology and genetic memory, and how these elements persist across shifting boundaries and the erosions of time. Mitochondrial DNA is exclusively inherited from mothers, and thus, the songs written for this album illustrate the women who came before me in my family, whose stories, both benign and traumatic, travel as inherited lore.
Originally written as a breakup ballad, “Allergic” explores heartbreak as an allegory to witnessing our weathering planet.
The song, and its lush video directed by notable Indian-American filmmaker Sanjana Sekhar, shares a lesson in reciprocity – that how we treat each other is mirrored in how we treat and interact with nature. The video features Prabhakar acting in two dichotomous roles — one as flourishing abundance and the other, brutal scarcity — begging questions about human relationships to each other and to nature; at a time when understanding our interconnectedness is crucial to our future on Earth.
“It’s deeply personal to us that a song about love & loss has as much to do with climate change as it does an aching heart,” says Gopinath. “At the core of our global crisis is not simply that the earth is warming, but that spiritual and cultural identities have been devastated in the process. Music pulls from personal grief so often, and our relationships are not limited to romantic ones. In “Allergic”, we’re exploring our relationships to ourselves, to each other, and to the land all at once, and asking the painful question of what happens when these relationships are broken.”
Lil Idli creates a genuine and powerful sense of urgency and introspection in listeners, as Prabhakar sings, “When you left / no birds sang / I was left to do everything when I was hurtin’.” The band’s sophomore track is a highly provocative, heartbreaking blues ballad, and is performed with an exquisite degree of passion and unbreakable spirit. Lil Idli proves their music is a moving production of emotion– an unwavering commitment to evolve our collective consciousness with introspection, collective love, and resolve.
Lil Idli’s first single off the album, “Little Girl”, is an ode to one’s younger self, a subtle rallying cry to entrust the magic and manifest of your inner child.
Deemed “a spirited debut […] caught in metaphors of celebration and self-reflection” by Rolling Stone India, “Little Girl” is the first installation of Lil Idli’s concept EP Mitochondria, an album exploring the inherited lore traveling in their mitochondrial DNA, dedicated to the women before them, living inside them, and echoing their own voices.
The new track opens with lush synths and a driving percussion section, with ghost-like harmonies in the outro, as an invitation for the past, present and future selves to unite. Gopinath, the band’s main producer, percussionist and co-arranger, draws from his experiences studying jazz, composition and electronic arts at the Berklee College of Music, bringing a thoughtful minimalism and contemplation of musical forms to this genre-bending track.
Lil Idli roped in veteran engineer Rob Murray (credits include ODESZA, Chet Porter, Diplo) of the Austin, Texas studio Poolside Sound for the final mastering. Lil Idli collaborated with seasoned filmmaker and regenerative communicator Sanjana Sekhar, who directed the music video remotely during the 2020 pandemic lockdown. Sangeet Khemlani joined the team as the video editor.