Remix duo RAC recently stopped at NYC’s Brooklyn Bowl. It was their second sold out show in a row at the venue. They were playing this particular late-night spot after L.A. funk outfit Orgone (whom they share a bill with at this year’s Equifunk V Music Festival) laid it down for the good people of New York.
Andre Allen Anjos and Karl Kling make up RAC; both hailing from Portland, OR. Formed by Anjos while attending college in Greenville, IL, RAC takes a song and strives to create a new incarnation that expands on the original musical arrangement and concept. RAC is different from your average DJ duo. They stray from your normal fist-pumping dance mix, and tend to work with more indie artists. Anjos grew up playing guitar in bands, and can also play keyboard, percussion, and bass, which gives him the ability to recompose these songs.
L4LM had a chance to speak with him before their set at Brooklyn Bowl, and he said that “it wasn’t really until I started getting out there playing, and touring, that I developed appreciation for DJ-ing. I didn’t know much about dance music when I first began doing this.” And if you look at many of the artists that RAC has worked with, it is plain to see. Their first single released to the public was for The Shins “Sleeping Lessons”, which caught the attention of bands like Bloc Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Phoenix, Kings of Leon, and even Lady GaGa and U2 (check out RAC’s take on “Magnificent”).
As this was my first time seeing RAC, I was intrigued to find out about the hype. After checking out Orgone funk it up something proper, I was hoping that there would be some more get-down time, and that RAC would provide what we all were looking for; a legitimate heart-pumping late-night set. After interviewing Andre, I headed back downstairs to grab a beer and get prepared for the dance party that I was eagerly anticipating. What happened was extremely gratifying, and made me totally content with the fact that I didn’t leave Brooklyn Bowl until 4am. RAC threw down a set that I was told would be a little “house-y”, and it blew my expectations away. The remixes that these guys weaved together and the artists that they are remixed made for an incredible musical experience. RAC selected a who’s-who in the music scene today. I kept finding myself pleasantly surprised, song after song, all while just grooving along with the packed floor at Brooklyn Bowl.
Andre and Karl create some truly melodic hooks that can’t help but catch your ear and make you want more. I invite anyone that just needs to get-out and get-down to visit an RAC show. They will not disappoint. Take a listen to a couple of their more recent tracks below. For some more information on RAC (new single, new album, etc.), check out our interview with Andre. Can’t wait to see these guys again at Equifunk; going to be a great weekend.
Interview w/ Andre Allen Anjos
CM: So you recently came out with a new single, and are working on new material. Tell us a little bit about what’s going on.
AAA: Yeah, the new single came out around early May. The song “Hollywood” features Chris Glover, aka Penguin Prison. We have known each other for a long time, and have worked together before. He is a great guy, super talented. When it came down to writing our own material for a new album, he was the perfect candidate. He is a great singer.
CM: And what’s going on with the album?
AAA: Well, we have kind of been working on it for the last year. I’m really stoked on it, it’s different from the other stuff we have been doing.
CM: How so?
AAA: It has different singers on every single track; it’s less dance and more of a pop album. When I say “pop”, I mean pop structure, like old-school song writing. Definitely more structure, like verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. No key changes, but kind of taking that formula that works, and just trying to be as creative as possible, while still working within those limits.
CM: Who is on the album?
AAA: Well, I’m not really allowed to say. It’s one of those legal issues (laughs). But I can say that there will definitely be some recognizable names, some that we have worked with before as well. We are very excited to get it out to the masses.
CM: Now you have worked w/ so many artists (Bloc Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tokyo Police Club, Edward Sharpe, etc.) Do you get commissioned by the artist to do the remix?
AAA: Everything since 2007 has been official. Either me reaching out, and asking ‘Hey, do you want to pay me to do this?’ which is a weird position to be in, but people just kind of expect it. Sometimes artists reach out to us though. And the past five years has been crazy working with so many artists….I don’t have the exact count, but if it’s not two hundred, it’s pretty close to around 200 remixes with various people. We have worked with almost every label, a wide spectrum of artists from U2 to Lady Gaga, crazy stuff like that, and then small indie bands. It’s been the best school, and learning experience of my life.
CM: When you saw this all actually happening, what were the thoughts going through your mind at this time?
AAA: I was just like ‘How is this happening? Is this actually happening? I don’t know.’ I was in college in Greenville, IL, and by the time I graduated, I kind of already had a little hold on the remix scene, so I was actually able to move forward and do this full time.
CM: At that time, who were your influences in the music scene?
AAA: I kind of credit this Japanese guy, Cornelius, he is very interesting. He creates almost a sort of art-pop. He hasn’t done an album in a long time. He was taking things like Sting, Moby, and Beck, and just completely changing it. And it wasn’t a dance remix at all; it was just a really intricate sound, collage structure. It’s something that you definitely want to listen to with headphones. The basic concept of what he was doing was extremely interesting to me.
CM: So RAC is playing the Equifunk festival, which is right around the corner from August 17th-19th in the Poconos. Have you heard about Equifunk? What is your impression?
AAA: I think one of the things that is very interesting about Equifunk, in particular, is that with all the other acts, and being in such an intimate setting, people are going to be there for the music and having a good time, and it’s not some super trendy thing. And it will be a very genuine festival, and that is what I got out of it, and that is why we wanted to do it. It just looked like a cool event to be a part of. And there is a pool too, right?
CM: I can assure you it will be great. It’s like summer camp for adults. And yes, there is a pool, with a waterslide. There will be a pool party with bands playing poolside, and people just having a great time in general. RAC’s style will be a perfect late-night addition to the festival; people are going to love it.
AAA: Well, that’s good to hear, because so much of what we do is actually done in the studio. While we obviously get on stage and DJ, so much of what we do takes place in the studio. We are big studio nerds first. Because we play everything you hear, and that is our goal, so playing a festival like this with a bunch of bands, it’s important that we can connect on that level too.
CM: Well, Andre, I know you are heading on to stage soon, so I won’t take up any more of your time. Thanks so much for answering my questions, and we at Live For Live Music are extremely excited to have you at the Equifunk V Music Festival this year.
AAA: No problem, anytime. Definitely looking forward to it. See you in August!
Here is a look at the new RAC remix of Bloc Party’s new single “Octopus”:
RAC’s new single “Hollywood” (ft. Penguin Prison) and other remixes on SoundCloud:
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