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Exclusive Premiere: Lil Idli Offer Cathartic New Song ‘Allergic’

The Chicago-based Indo-American duo intertwine heartbreak with climate change in regards to humans’ interaction with nature

Anurag Tagat Oct 22, 2021

Lil Idli vocalist Ranjani Prabhakar in a still from the music video for "Allergic."

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Indie-pop duo Lil Idli channel heartache of a different magnitude with their latest single “Allergic,” accompanied by an emotional music video featuring vocalist-guitarist Ranjani Prabhakar.

Prabhakar brought the composition out of her songbank after writing it nearly 10 years ago. Producer Deepak Gopinath says, “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.”

Beginning sparsely with gentle flourishes that allow Prabhakar’s vocals and lyrics to take centerstage, “Allergic” kicks into gear with beats, a guitar melody and subtle layers of seemingly Hindustani classical vocals. In the chorus, the vocalist sings emphatically, “The earth is allergic/To you without me/So why can’t you/Just let the earth be.”

Gopinath feels that given the dichotomous interpretation of the song – as something that feels interpersonal but also poses a question about the climate crisis – “Allergic” remains open-ended and reflects “that our realities exist in multitudes.”

The music video for the song – directed by Indo-American filmmaker Sanjana Sekhar – sees Prabhakar in different settings within nature, building up to an emotional outburst as she stands in water and on the shore. Sekhar says she and Lil Idli had “long conversations” about the human race and shot outdoor by a lake. The director adds, “Ranjani found a way to harness the raw emotion of heartbreak as soon as cameras were rolling. To evoke a relationship, we were always thinking of ways we could see Ranjani interacting with her setting instead of using the outdoors as simply a backdrop.” Prabhakar terms the music video shoot as a transformational experience. The singer adds “The prep work for some of the more intense scenes was really an exercise in trust.”

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“Allergic” follows Lil Idli’s debut single “Little Girl,” which released in May this year. It’s taken from their upcoming album Mitochondria. Prabhakar adds, “We are preparing to release the title song from the album next, followed by the full drop. Right now, we are taking our time perfecting soundscapes and tinkering with artificial intelligence to create visuals. It has been a fulfilling way to integrate Deepak’s science background to this project and explore the possibilities. We don’t have a fixed release date, but it is all coming together as we speak.”

Watch the video for “Allergic” below. Stream the song here.

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