By Ray Downs
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By RFT Staff
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"Even if they do something that isn't approved and causes some problems initially, if it's done well enough, that may turn them into somebody that everyone wants to work with," says Shiv. "Because they're like, 'Oh my God, did you hear what he did? He had Del Tha Funkee Homosapien rap over Radiohead, he did this amazing version!' Anything you can do these days to get yourself noticed over all of the other loudness that's out there.
"It's obviously only going to work for a select few. But for some people, it's certainly a great way to get themselves out there."
Anjos and the RAC have built their reputation via a cautious approach. The vast majority of their remixes are official; he'll either approach a band or a label and offer his services — or vice versa. He's also careful about not posting any MP3s until he gets clearance, and the RAC's online portfolio utilizes streaming (i.e., non-downloadable) audio.
Anjos has posted a few downloadable, just-for-fun "mini-mixes" on the RAC's blog (found on www.theremixcompany.co.uk, its official site). It was one of these, in fact, that caught the ear of Shiv and led to the Xtrabeats gig. An Anjos remix of the Who's "Baba O'Riley" also found its way from the RAC blog to other Web sites.
Anjos isn't concerned about the potential legal consequences of posting these tracks; of the mini-mixes, he says, "I'm thinking of it more like a radio-station feel. My Web site is kind of like my station: I'm just playing some of the songs I like." And if people did object to anything he posts? Anjos says no one ever has, but if they did he'd "immediately take it down." In fact, opposition to his interpretation of "Baba O'Riley" was more aesthetic than ethical.
"A lot of people were like, 'That's blasphemy! The Who would never want this!'" he says. "It was really funny. It was like, 'I'm doing this for fun! I'm not making any grand statement.'"
At the same time, he's not shy about being proactive. When he felt the RAC's remix of Tegan and Sara's "Back in Your Head" wasn't getting the promotional push it deserved, he "took matters into my own hands" and e-mailed it out to blogs himself — though he adds that he sought approval from the band before doing so.
Anjos first contacted Tokyo Police Club about doing a remix in December 2006. Back then the quartet had only sold a few thousand copies of its A Lesson in Crime EP and didn't have money to spare for remixes. (Says band manager Rich Cohen: "The fact that anyone would want to remix them seemed really cool.") But Anjos' reworkings of the band's songs struck a chord.
"So many remixes, they zoom in on one aspect of the song and you've got a really one-dimensional remix," says vocalist/bassist Dave Monks. "Or they'll simply rearrange a song, and you just kind of get a different version. But he seems to, like, take the elements of the song and rewrite something entirely different with them. His remixes are a totally new entity, a totally new piece of work."
When the group's profile did elevate — Elephant Shell, Tokyo Police Club's debut album, is set for April release on the well-regarded indie label Saddle Creek — Anjos' goodwill and talent were rewarded. Paper Bag, the label that released the band's EP, Smith, retroactively paid him for its use of "Be Good." He'll also be compensated when his recent remix of Elephant Shell's "Sixties Remake" sees the light of day.
"I feel like you can't really turn your back on people who helped you," Cohen says. "He's done these remixes for us for little to no money. In a managerial sense, I totally appreciate and want to do it and try to get him work. But I also have tried to explain to him after he's given us our remixes for no money that he should start charging people for remixing. It's a livelihood. And when you're talented, you deserve to get paid for talent. Once people start seeking you out, you have to start getting paid for your work."
This dues-paying has begun to reap dividends. Entourage's Scott Vener first noticed the RAC's Shins remix posted online. After visiting the collective's Web site, he struck up a relationship with Anjos when he saw the latter's impressive résumé. That résumé was enhanced when a snippet of "Be Good" appeared in an Entourage episode called "The Day Fu*kers."
"You have all these sort of indie artists that were considered the A-list indie bands that were lending their material to him to remix," says Vener. "You could tell he was, like, the musician's musician."
Like many kids, Anjos took piano lessons. And like many kids, he hated them. He was more enthusiastic about guitar, which he picked up in his early teens.
"I begged my parents. I wanted one of those fake guitars you buy at Wal-Mart, with the buttons and stuff," Anjos recounts. "They bring me this classical guitar and I'm like, 'What the heck?' But it got me started playing."