Exclusive Interview w/ Remix Artist Collective (RAC)

rac

RAC finally made their way to Orange County this past Wednesday night, and my friends and I weren’t about to miss the occasion. If you’ve never had the pleasure of listening to them, check out all their tracks here. They played at this small club in Costa Mesa, aptly named MESA. The name makes it a little harder than it should be to Google, but the place makes up for it in more ways than one. 1) On nice nights they pull up the retractable ceiling so the party goers can smoke and dance in peace while the artists perform. 2) The bathrooms. A unisex waiting room for individual bathrooms tell you when one is open with red and green lights. It’s the little things like these (that actually aren’t that little at all) that set clubs apart. After their epic throw down of my favorite indie tracks remixed to perfection, I got to sit down with the brains behind the collective, and here’s how it went:

C+A+D: okay SO! Standard operating procedure: tell me a little bit about RAC. Who you guys are. What you do.

RAC: (André) Let’s see RAC (laughs), is an ever changing thing. We actually talked about that for an hour today. I started in 2007 when I was in college. Didn’t really have any job prospects. So, with the extra time I was doing a lot of remixes for fun and thought, “Why don’t I give this a try, you know? I really enjoy it. Let’s see how it goes.” The first one we got was The Shins…got super lucky with that. Cold called their manager, he showed some interest and said he’d get back to me later. Few days pass, I’m in class and I get a call from the Shin’s manager. First thought: Can’t stay in this class. I ducked out and they said they wanted the remix! James Mercer said he really liked it, and after that it just got a lot easier to get remixes. It’s been snowballing ever since to what it is today. But we’re doing some stuff with film and advertising, so the remixes are just a piece of the whole thing.

C+A+D: When you started, were you planning on make it a remix thing? Or did you have any plans of producing and making your own music?

RAC: (André) I had absolutely no plan when I started this whole thing. I had initially wanted it to be a collab with a bunch of people, but the logistics of that was kind of a nightmare. So eventually it turned into me, Karl, and Andrew having our own projects under the RAC name. We work with each other in a sense that we critique each other, but it’s not like we’re sitting in a studio pumping remixes away. They’re all done individually.

C+A+D: I’m pretty big on remixes myself. I love when someone can take a song and change it into something it could have been, and your guys’ sound is really unique. It’s really approachable and I haven’t seen many replicate it. Are there some artists that influence where you guys try and go with a given remix?

RAC: (André) I listen to a lot of different music, and I feel like that really influences me in a way. I feel like what sets us apart is that we use real instruments.
(Karl) As far as influences go…I feel like the stuff we play in our DJ sets are pretty good examples, as far as the dance-side of it goes at least.
(André) Some of our songs just don’t belong in the club, so we’re not going to try and force anything. A lot of people request our Edward Sharpe remix, and I just don’t know how I’d play it in a club setting.

C+A+D: So Karl, you’re the latest addition to the collective, as far as your websites concerned. What were you doing in the years that you were helping but you weren’t fully a part of the crew yet?

RAC: Well André and I started a band about a year after RAC started called The Pragmatic. I think through that process and learning how to make songs with that band, I became more involved. André and I were DJing a lot during college, so it seemed appropriate to combine forces.

C+A+D: I was gonna ask actually, what’s the deal with The Pragmatic? Are you guys going to take that anywhere?

RAC: (André) We’ve got an album in the works actually. It’s always perpetually being worked on. Or perpetually in progress! (laughs)
(Karl) I think it’s going to turn into a series of singles while we’re working on RAC. We put out an EP a couple years ago that had a very specific sound, and we ventured pretty far from that as far as our aesthetic. We’re still working on it.

Here’s their SoundCloud because their FaceBook doesn’t load their songs for some reason.

C+A+D: On your guys’ SoundCloud player you’ve got a whoppin’ 109 songs, but your volumes don’t have all of them. So I guess, how do you choose what goes on the volumes and on the player?

RAC: (André) Well for the volumes, all the tracks are recorded specifically for that. Like with Volume 2, I approached all the artists. “Hey I’ll do a remix for you if you don’t tell anyone and let me release it on my own.” So every remix on their was very intentional and meant for that album. The other ones were pretty much promotional. A band has a single. Want some extra exposure. They get me to do a remix and everyone wins. The volumes are sorta my project.

C+A+D: I always want to ask artists this, but before you got big, were you going to a lot of shows? Who were your favorites?

RAC: (Karl) I never really went to see DJs. But in the last year I went to see The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Simian Mobile Disco…don’t think anyone will ever beat that LCD show.
(André) This is sort of a long time ago, but couple years back we went to see Peter Bjorn and John. Incredible. It was Beach House, Peter Bjorn and John, and Grizzly Bear at SXSW. Peter Bjorn and John blew everyone out of the water.
(Karl) They put on such a rock show! Which was surprising to me, I don’t know about other people. But to me they’re a lot more of just easier listening, and the live show was just so much more abrasive than I was expecting..in a good way!

C+A+D: Last question, I always gotta ask: you’re stranded on an island. you can have one album and one bottle of alcohol. What would it be?

RAC: (laughs)
(Karl) [without hesitiation] LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver and Evan Williams.
(André) Uh I’m try to not gonna give this much thought [gives it thought] … I’m gonna have to go with Third Eye Blind’s Blue album.
(Karl) BLUE!? You’re gonna choose Blue over their self titled?? We’re gonna argue about this…(André) (laughs) and for bottle of alcohol. I.Just.Don’t.Know. Pretty non-picky.

There you have it ladies and gents. Be sure to go see them if you like their remixes. They pick and choose the most fun energy filled songs of the lot. Real stand up guys. Check my post on them for all their songs by clicking here. Check back on our facebook for some videos I got of the performance.