For years, remixes have lived inside the walls of sweaty nightclubs, adding layers of booming bass and synths that transformed our favorite pop songs into booty-shaking dance anthems. Then in 2007, a more subtle and inventive breed of the remix formula started showing up on the internet under the name Remix Artist Collective (or RAC).
Behind this relatively anonymous alias is Portland’s (via Portugal) André Allen Anjos, an outsider who admits he'd attended only one or two nightclubs in his life before he started producing music himself. Noticing that indie rock bands rarely received the remix treatment that had become commonplace for pop acts, Anjos began reworking songs by groups like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, The Shins and Two Door Cinema Club. Featuring a more intricate and thoughtful style than his club-minded peers, Anjos’ sounds were an immediate hit amongst the growing music blog community—making RAC’s constant stream of remixes a staple on the influential charts of the blog aggregator Hype Machine.
Alongside collaborators Karl Kling (of Portland) and Andrew Maury (of NYC), Anjos’ initial intentions were to create remixes that focused on finding interesting new ways to arrange and interpret his favorite songs instead of simply making them as danceable as possible. Although that was a frequent byproduct of his work, it was never the focus. RAC’s biggest hits (including reworkings of Edward Sharpe’s “Home"—below—and Foster The People’s “Houdini”) showed a level of restraint and willingness to bring out the personality of the originals (rather than beating them over the head with pounding bass) that was largely missing from the remix community at the time.
Now, having remixed hundreds of songs over the last decade, Anjos has decided to drop the “collective” aspect of RAC and use it instead as a vehicle for his original solo material. Cashing in on connections he’s built as a remix artist, his debut album Strangers (released on April 1) features an impressive lineup of vocal contributors including Alex Ebert (aka the aforementioned Edward Sharpe—stream it below), St. Lucia, Tegan and Sara, Tokyo Police Club, Kele of Bloc Party and YACHT—among others. The album (which you can now stream on Hype Machine) builds on the playful pop style that has long been the backbone of his remixes and proves Anjos as a more-than-capable songwriter in his own right.
After years of performing RAC’s material as a DJ, André has put together a live band (including ex-Collective member Kling) to play these new songs—as well as a few of his favorite remixes—on his current tour supporting the release of Strangers. The lifelong multi-instrumentalist is more than comfortable outside the confines of a DJ booth, making us very excited to see what he has in store for his homecoming show at the Wonder Ballroom on April 6 with Ghost Beach and Joywave.