Having been in a variety of bands before starting the Remix Artist Collective André Anjos entered the remix game with a bit of an edge. His rapid succes can be traced back to many factors; notably his strength as a selector of great remixing material, his innate understanding of pop music and his growing arsenal of analog and digital sounds.
I met André backstage at Neon Gold’s CMJ showcase hosted at Santo’s Party House in NYC. There, in a small crowded room we chatted about his musical influences, the rise of RAC and his plans for an upcoming full-length RAC debut.
Joseph: So how did RAC get started? The project seems to be primarily your baby.
André: It’s kind of shifted over time. Going back to the very beginning, I was in college and I didn’t really have any prospects in life (laughs). I was getting a degree in music business, applying for internships and also interested in recording.
I’d been trying to get anything really and I was getting nowhere. I had been doing remix competitions for a while and enjoyed it. I liked recording and it was easy access to good vocals. I thought, “might as well try this, there’s not really that many people doing it.”
So I set up a website without really having any kind of back catalog and reached out to a LOT of people and the only ones that really replied were the Shins! So I got really lucky with that one. I think they were excited because no one had really asked them. They’re an indie rock band. At the time it was kind of unheard of to do remixes of indie rock bands.
Joseph: And that seems to be your style – not necessarily Disco-driven, although all the Disco kids love your stuff; It reaches a wider audience because it’s rock music with dance sensibility.
What’s your musical background? What influences your style?
André: It’s a little bit of everything actually. I used to be in metal bands. I’ve played in punk rock bands and indie rock bands. That’s really been the background of it.
As far as remixing goes, it was always about the original song, that’s always been the biggest thing. And still even today, that’s the biggest battle with labels. I’m not gonna name anybody but last week I did a remix and I felt like I did the most appropriate thing for that song, which is kind of a mellow song and they were like, “Well we really liked the ‘Blue Jeans’ remix can you do something like that?”
And you know, from a label perspective, I get it. But that’s not what it’s ever been about. I think it’s because we’ve had success with that particular song that people reach out expecting the same thing, like a one trick poney but really, it’s a lot more than that.
Joseph: Are you ever surprised at how far you’ve grown and how much of an audience you’ve reached?
André: It’s ridiculous! Let’s be real, it’s absolutely insane! I had zero expectations. I was just some random college kid just trying to make a living.
Joseph: Do you think the blogs have had a lot to do with your success and the way music is distributed right now?
André: It had everything to do with it. It was just perfect timing with the indie rock remixes. It was at the beginning of the explosion of blogs and how they’ve become a new voice in media, which for a long time was very controlled by a bigger organization. But now everybody has a voice.
Actually it’s kind of funny that we’re here tonight at a Neon Gold show because six or seven years ago, Derek Davies, the guy that started Neon Gold, was the very first person that actually posted one of my songs. At the time it was called “Good Weather for Airstrikes,” which is a really old school blog. That’s where it started. Blog culture has been an incredible part of this whole story really. I wouldn’t be here talking to you if it wasn’t for that.
Joseph: So you have a new single out and it’s done really well, you’ve hooked up with Green Label Sound and it seems to be a great fit. Are you working on an album right now? Does it feel awkward working on solo debut as the Remix Artist Collective?
André: You know for a long time I actually battled with that. I was like, “Ahh, I gotta change the name, it doesn’t make any sense.” But you know, at the end of the day, I’ve spent five years of my life building up this name, I can’t just change it. It doesn’t really matter. It’s just about the music.
But to answer your question, yes, I’m working on an album which will be coming out probably early next year. It’s a similar concept to “Hollywood,” which came out on Green Label but each song has a different guest vocalist from all kinds of crazy artists that somehow agreed to do this. I’m still pretty shocked at that. It’s almost done and I’m really hoping for a January or February release.
Joseph: Cool! Everything I’ve heard sounds amazing so far. Congrats on your success and I’m looking forward to hearing the album!
André: Thank you!
RAC’s remix compilation, RAC Chapter One is out now on itunes, Amazon and Beatport and includes a wonderfully crafted continuos mix. Stream the full collection bellow and follow RAC on facebook, soundcloud and twitter.