Its almost impossible to tell where Bobi Andonov, the skillfully imaginative songwriter ends, and Bobi Andonov, the alt-noir artist arousing those fantasies, begins. We first meet him in the video for his haunting, gut-wrenchingdebut single, Apartment.It captures the narcotic intimacy between two lovers, until it progresses, Twilight Zone-style, from a tableau of boudoir paramours toan illicit fever dreamspiraling into increasingly chaotic snapshots of broken glass and ominous shadows. Head under water, keep holding me down,he sings on the track. Playing with fire, please dont pull me out.This is a fitting introduction to the darkly alluring world of Bobi Andonov, whose thrall lies inclandestine, slow-burn narratives. Often destructively seductive, they make you wonder how hes managed to contort romance into a whole new emotional puzzle. A lot ofmy music isautobiographical, based on different experiences, Bobi says. Im really not that intense.Hepauses. But when I write, well, thats what naturally comes out.In contrast to your typical pop singers sleek persona, Bobis is, rather mesmerizingly, obscured.I found my identity through music I listened to,he explains. Growing up in Melbourne (but now living in Los Angeles), he gravitated towards unconventional artistsPrince, INXSMichael Hutchence, George Michael, Terence Trent DArbywith deep understandings of how sexuality impacts those around them. They all had charisma. You couldnt help but look atthem,he says. Musically, they were all so fucking sexy. None of these guys were scared toplay with masculinity.Hell gamely attribute his omnipresent falsettowhich brings Apartment and Faithfulto ecstatic heightsto Prince. The way he makes his songs so poetic when hes talking about sex,he says, admiringly, is just amazing.Bobi is such a champion of cultural outliers, because he was one himself. He was raised inAustralia by parents who were immigrants from Macedonia, a Slavic-Mediterranean country insoutheast Europe. I had friends, but still felt like I couldnt really relate to anyone at school, he says. My influences were so different from theirs. My older brother would listen to the Wu-Tang Clan, while my mom would be playing Macedonian music in the background.Ashe got older, he made his own musical discoveries; each became a mind-blowing epiphany. I first saw Purple Rain around age 12. I had never felt that way about an artist before. Prince just went for it, this 'Im not for everyone kind of vibe,he says. I wanted to crack my own little world, where I could be myself. Even the way his room was set up. I was like, 'As soon as I move out of home, I want my bedroom to look like his.Sight lines are central to Bobis vision. Just check out his Tumblr page, which doubles as his artful, straight-from-the-id mood board. The way it looks, is the way my music sounds,henotes. For instance, Bobi considered every visual cue in the Apartment video, directed by Ellis Bahl, down to the lingerie his costar wore. Said Bobi, The song is about two people losing themselves inan amazing experience. In the video, she is this beautiful, light presence. And I amthe opposite, a dark person corrupting the scene.Where the sensual swagger comes from his musical touchpoints, most of the darkness comes from the mood Bobi sets before songwriting. I write a lot while watching movies, he says, (Bernardo Bertoluccis bohemian, erotic The Dreamers was a big inspiration.) He notes that with
Apartment, the powerful lead off track written by Bobi and co-produced by Dylan Williams, It started with an idea ofan intensely vocally driven song. Dylan and I just got each other instantly. He amplified the idea with dark, minimal, sexy sounds and with 'Faithful, the theme is that you shouldnt really get involved with me,he says, laughing. His creative mystique comes from surrendering to his instincts: Its simply not in his artistic DNAto pen an uncomplicated love song. Sex is more than a physical act. Youre losing yourself with this person,he says. Im the type of person that if I meet someone amazing, Im like, 'Fuck, Im in love with this person. The only way this is gonna end is by you getting hurt.