When Portugal-born, Illinois-raised André Allen Anjos started out in the music industry, it wasn’t a hugely successful endeavor right away. “I sent out tons of letters and emails to labels and recording studios,” the 2017 Grammy-winning producer known as RAC says of his humble beginnings. “I got zero responses.”
Together, for a moment, we relish in the idealistic sentiment that things don’t always work out as planned but end up being better than anticipated. In Anjos’s case, he ended up forming RAC (which stands for Remix Artists Collective) in his college dorm room in 2007 and has since worked with the likes of Lana Del Rey, Foster the People and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Most recently, he won a Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording of Bob Moses’ “Tearing Me Up.” I’d say things have worked out in his favor.
“I remixed The Shins right out of the gates. That’s when I knew that I was doing something real,” Anjos says of his first taste of musical success. He continued to remix other songs as RAC, which was still a four-man production unit at that point. Anjos always served as the heartbeat of the collaborative crew, and in 2014 he released his first-ever solo project Strangers under his moniker RAC. He says that introducing himself to the world as a solo artist didn’t feel like that much of a departure from his past work; it was a natural process.
“I was always making music, but I had never made original music under RAC. It was the right time though,” he reveals. “I felt like I matured as a musician and I knew what I was doing by then.” He continues to say that although he had been creating original material earlier, he didn’t feel totally ready to release it. “I didn’t want to jump all over the place with RAC. I needed to develop my own style and my own approach to things.” With collaborations with Tegan and Sara, Bloc Party and St. Lucia, Anjos made an impressive splash as a newly solo indie-electronic artist. Since his debut album, Anjos has been touring the globe, putting on some of the most electric performances imaginable. “I’m a huge technical nerd,” he admits. “I like a big production with lots of lights. But my main goal is for people to just have a good time.”
For this tri-lingual (English, Portuguese and French) performer, his most memorable show came just moments after his first album was released. “Well, back in 2007, I visited New York City for the first time and I went to Terminal 5 with my manager,” Anjos reveals. “I thought it was the coolest venue. In 2014 I had a show there and we sold the place out. It was very rewarding.”
From spinning playful pop songs to electronic dance beats, Anjos has never strayed from experimenting with music. On his newest album, EGO, which will be out July 14th, he features a cast of distinct vocalists including St. Lucia, K.Flay and most notably, rocker Rivers Cuomo of Weezer on the single “I Still Wanna Know.” Other bangers include “Heartbreak Summer” and “It’s A Shame,” featuring Anjos’ wife Pink Feathers. You can find Anjos touring North America this fall, making stops at Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco and Life is Beautiful Festival 2017 in Las Vegas.
Main image by: Claire Marie Vogel