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MASTER OF THE REMIX

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MASTER OF THE REMIX

MASTER OF THE REMIX

During his sophomore year at Greenville College, André Anjos '08 cold called the manager of The Shins, an indie rock band, and pitched the idea of a remix. "I was nervous," he says, "but I got over it. I'm sure he could tell I didn't know what I was talking about, but no one had approached The Shins before about a remix. They just weren't that kind of band. They thought the idea was fun, so he called back and gave me a shot."

From the third floor lounge of Mannoia Hall, Anjos remixed the song "Sleeping Lessons." It took him several tries to complete the full remix, because students walking through the lounge area interrupted the recording process. Even so, The Shins were impressed with Anjos' final product and released the remix as the B-side of a UK single. Remixing "Sleeping Lessons" for The Shins was Anjos' big break. He contacted several other remix artists, and the Remix Artist Collective (RAC) was formed.

A remix is essentially a reinterpretation of a song that is produced from its original, unmastered multi-track files, which Anjos receives from his clients. Artists benefit from remixes because they introduce songs to broader audiences and offer increased exposure. In recent years, remixes have become a standard part of promotional budgets. RAC remixes are in demand because of their distinctive style. Rather than simply adding a dance beat to an indie song, RAC produces remixes that are creative works in their own right.

It was a challenge for Anjos to manage RAC while he was still in school, but he was intensely motivated. He spent his days in classes and working at the IT Help Desk, and his nights at the music studios. "I'd take over one of the practice rooms in Whitlock Music Center. It was quiet; often no one would be there that late at night. I would bring my laptop and headphones and get to work. The studios had some pretty nice synthesizers that were great to use, too."

Upon graduating, Anjos and his wife, Liz (Derstine '07), left for Portland, Oregon. He immediately began pursuing RAC full time. In fact, a position in the IT department during the four years he was a student is the only "real job" he has ever had. RAC is no longer a collective of remix artists, but the name stuck for Anjos' remixes.

In just a few years, Anjos has worked with a wide variety of high-profile artists from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Ra Ra Riot, Lana del Ray, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to U2, Lady Gaga, and the Kings of Leon. RAC's reputation developed quickly with remixes receiving attention from key music tastemakers and blogs.

Anjos has developed a unique philosophy on remixing. He aims for a style that strays from the typical "club mix." He creates new incarnations of songs by expanding their genre and musical arrangement. RAC remixes feature a unique blend of hip-hop and electrodrum samples, analog synthesizers, melodic hooks, and original performed instrumentation.

In February 2011, Anjos was surprised to hear his remix of "Rescue Song" by Mr. Little Jeans during Super Bowl XLV. Honda had negotiated with his company for rights to use his remix in an ad, but he didn't expect it to air during the competitive advertising environment of the most-watched television event in America.

It wasn't the first time Anjos' work has appeared in television and film. Since he founded RAC in 2007, his work has appeared in TV ("Entourage," "90210," "How to Make It in America"), film (the soundtrack for the 2010 Sundance selection "Holy Rollers") and advertising (Verizon, NBA, Coca-Cola and JC Penney).

Anjos and fellow Greenville College graduate, Karl Kling '09, launched the RAC DJ tour in 2011. The tour schedule allowed them to promote their music, win fans across the country, and keep in touch with friends and fellow alumni living in various cities. They flew over 180,000 miles in 2012, touring the United States, Canada, Europe, and South America.

Anjos' first solo recording, "Hollywood," featuring Penguin Prison, reached number one on all four Hype Machine charts upon its release in summer 2012. Then, early in 2013, Anjos signed with Cherrytree Records, which helped launch Lady Gaga's career, and will release an album of original music this fall. Anjos joins the roster of artists like Ellie Goulding, Feist, Sting and Keane.

"In the past six years I've done remix work with just about every label out there," Anjos said in a press release. "I couldn't be happier about this partnership with Cherrytree. It was the obvious choice. Their enthusiasm about my music was really what drew me to them and their past and recent success speaks volumes."

Look for an EP due out this summer, the full-length album in the fall and a U.S. tour to promote RAC's first album later in 2013 and into 2014.

"Listen along" to Andre's work. 

This story was published on June 25, 2013




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