Longtime friends Josh Legg, better known as Goldroom, and André Allen Anjos, RAC, are celebrating the one year anniversary of their record label with new music. RAC and Goldroom are two of the world’s most famous indie dance artists. Their synth heavy songs make it nearly impossible to not tap to the beat, and the duo teamed up to put out new music for the anniversary of Minerva Music. During lockdown, RAC remixed Goldroom’s funky new single “Guess I’m Jaded.” The song reminds us what life was like when our sweaty bodies could touch as we danced in the club.
RAC’s remix of the song is featured on the new EP “Guess I’m Jaded (The Remixes) featuring LUXXURY, Dance Yourself Clean, and Wildfire. To introduce the remix, LADYGUNN thought it would be appropriate to let the two friends interview each other.
FAN QUESTION: ARE YOU GUYS FRIENDS IN REAL LIFE?
RAC: (laughing) No, not at all.
Goldroom: Yes, the answer is yes. It did come from music, and we did cross paths a lot. Interestingly enough, we shared an agent for years, and we both ended up putting out albums through Interscope in one way or another; so we both had an experience putting out music independently & completely on our own, then we had experience releasing music through a major label, and we’ve both had experience releasing full length albums with legacy/large independent labels as well. All of those experiences have had their pluses and minuses, but that combined with all of the stuff we’ve done working remixes with so many labels has given us a lot of experience, and just a look at how all of these different labels work. We would end up having experiences where we would end up in like, Chile playing Corona Sunset Festival, and what else are we gonna do but hang out and talk about music and life. We always did end up bonding over the business side of music, and that slowly led us down the path to starting this.
FAN QUESTION: HAS MAKING MUSIC BECOME BORING SINCE IT’S YOUR JOB NOW?
Goldroom: I always liked this question, because I think there comes a moment when you’re young, for the first number of years making music in your life, you just do it when you’re inspired, because why would you do it when you’re not inspired? Then, all of a sudden, when it does become your career, there are plenty of moments when you might not feel like making music, or you might not feel super inspired, but you have to. When I hear from other artists, even in different types of art, not just music, this is something that comes up a lot, and the people that end up seeing more success and having longevity are people who can figure out paths to find that inspiration.
RAC: I think about this a lot, especially with remixing. I put out a lot of music, and because of that, I need to keep a pretty regimented schedule, and you’re not always gonna feel in the mood to write music that day, especially when it comes to your job; it can easily become a chore. The remixing has been a benefit because I’ve been able to try multiple genres, that’s something that I enjoy doing. If I was making EDM bangers every day, I would go insane. I also think that inspiration is a tricky word, because I always think of inspiration as a plus, and what you should really do is work on some of the baseline skills, figure out a structure to writing music; this comes with time. I have a template, so every time I start a song, I know I don’t have to do a lot of the grunt work; I can just start making music. That makes the barrier to creativity quicker, and I can just immediately get into it. That helps me, because even if I’m not feeling great that day, I’ll just start it. Nine out of ten times, even if I’m not feeling it, I’ll get something out of it. Three hours will go by, and I actually did get a lot done. When you have that inspiration that everyone’s chasing, 6-7 hours just fly by. I appreciate those when those days come, but it’s not a prerequisite.
FAN QUESTION: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT MAKING MUSIC?
Goldroom: It’s that initial part for me. There’s always something that happens in the first couple of hours of making something new, where it’s like you’re inside a room and the door opens, and you all of a sudden can see where the rest of the song can go; usually it doesn’t end up going that way, but it goes from it being you searching for the door, to the door opening and the room is flooded with light, and I can imagine how this can be the coolest f**king thing I’ve ever made. That’s the coolest moment, and everything after that isn’t quite as cool.
RAC: It’s so true how most of that progress is made in the first hour or two. There’s a lot of work after that, but it’s not nearly as fun. Getting that first chord progression, the feel, the beat; that is so quick and so easy, and all the detail work comes later. I can’t tell you how many of my most popular songs have been songs that I’ve done in a day or two. The song that changed my life & that I won a Grammy for was one day of my life.
GOLDROOM: HOW HAS THE INTERACTION WITH FANS AND/OR CRITICS AFFECTED YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
RAC: I go back and forth on this, because I think it’s impossible for me to speak in absolutes & say that I don’t think about my audience at all. I’d like to say that I make music in a vacuum and it’s all in my head, and this is what comes out; but that’s obviously not true. I really ask myself at every stage, “do I personally like this, does this personally make me happy, am I chasing anything else?” I just really make sure I’m happy with it, because, going back to what you were saying about if the fans or critics are going to like it, it almost doesn’t matter. If you personally like it, you’re bulletproof; it doesn’t matter. It took me a while to figure that out. I’ve put out so much music that I’ve gotten some negativity, nothing too bad, but I just sort of roll with it.
Goldroom: I’m in a similar situation for sure. Anybody that says they can actually create in a vacuum, I just don’t believe them. Or they’re really good at being an artist, but better than I am. But, I completely agree, you always have to ask yourself that question, because it will come across as disingenuous. The nature of being an artist in 2020 is that we have an interaction like this, and we’re talking right now, and there are people that want to watch, and we sort of have to sell what we’re doing. It’s gonna come across as so disingenuous if we’re ever something we don’t truly believe in. From our perspective, with Minerva, it’s just becoming so much more clear that respecting artists’ vision and making sure that the work that comes out is exactly what the artist wants, and that the artist is passionate about, is so clearly the right path.
FAN QUESTION: IT’S REALLY HARD TO TRUST YOURSELF AS AN ARTIST, I ALWAYS DOUBT MYSELF. HOW DO YOU GET OVER THAT?
Goldroom: From my perspective, from the time I was about 10-20, I was just in my room with an acoustic guitar, writing songs & recording them on my own, never thinking that they were good enough. One amazing thing about the internet is that if you do put things out there, somebody is gonna hear/see them and give you feedback. It took putting things into the world and being willing to say, “this is done”; that process alone gave me a lot of the ability to stop doubting myself. I think that for a lot of artists, it’s a really easy defense mechanism. I think we all know that in the producer world, people have a lot of fire beats but aren’t finishing anything, and part of the reason is that they’re doubting that they can do that. The single goal that I have is that it gets far enough along where I can bounce it and put it in my iTunes and listen to it somewhere. Even if it’s a 16-bar loop that I’ve done a simple arrangement with, at least I have something that is done, so that nothing gets left in the recesses of my hard drive. A huge part of me not doubting myself is finishing things, and making sure it gets out into the world.
RAC: I completely agree, I experienced that in a slightly different way. I keep going back to this with remixes, because this is how it started for me, but I never really saw myself as an artist before that, I was just trying to remixes. Remixes are interesting because there’s a timeline, you have to deliver, and it’s gonna come out, and it’s relatively low pressure. If people don’t like a remix, they’re not gonna get that mad about it. So it was kind of this weird middle ground where I was kind of okay with failing a little bit. I certainly had plenty of dud remixes that didn’t do anything, but the ones that did well gave me the confidence to continue to develop it and build my own thing.
FAN QUESTION: WHICH ONE OF YOU WOULD MAKE IT FURTHER IN A HOT WINGS CHALLENGE?
RAC: I actually have a stomach for it. I don’t know how we’d compare, but I’m pretty confident.
Goldroom: Well good, I guess that means we’re going to have to have some sort of hot food challenge.
RAC: GOING BACK TO THE LIVE MUSIC THING, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?
Goldroom: It’s funny because when I started Goldroom, my old band Nightwaves was a new wave band, and we used a lot of electronic instrumentation, and people started to ask us to DJ around the city. So that’s how I learned how to DJ, because people would just ask me to DJ and I had to figure it out. What I found was that it really scratched an itch that I didn’t know was there, and I loved being in front of people & controlling a party, doing this & that. Then of course when I started Goldroom, with the goal of just being able to DJ around LA, so it started off with just making dance music. I guess what I’m saying is that it first started off as very DJ-centric, and then I started to play live & that changed my impression too. Since it’s gone in so many directions over the years, as your live performances have as well, it doesn’t really affect things. Certainly there are times when I miss making dance music & I’ll go to make something that I imagine would work great on a dance floor, but I was doing that even before I was actually performing. I think the big key is not trying to make something for your specific audience, and if you do that, you’re going down the wrong path. The most important thing I ever did for Goldroom was write a song like “Fifteen” or a song like “Pacific” — two songs that were on my Embrace EP, that have no business being on a dance floor ever, but were just songs that I loved & needed to write. I think if I hadn’t done that & that whole EP was dance music, it would have taken me down a path where I would have felt an obligation to do that.
RAC: What happened with me, kinda like you, is that I had been doing remixes & I had been DJing all over, and that career was going well. I was traveling a lot, everything was good, and then I decided, “okay, I’m going to make an album of original work.” Immediately, once I started writing stuff, everything was just not dance music at all. It was, for a lack of a better term, more indie & songwriter oriented.
FAN QUESTION: WHAT ARE YOUR IDEAS TO BRING CONCERTS BACK DURING OR AFTER COVID?
RAC: I feel like I’m somewhat uniquely positioned for it (streaming), in the sense that I had somewhat taken a step back from touring as much as other people in the past couple years. I had already always been sort of interested in streaming, so for me it was more of a natural transition. I dove into it headfirst and decided that I can’t really do a DJ set three times a week; that’s not my skill set, that’s not really what I wanna do. I took some of my learnings from DJing with Ableton, and merged all these worlds together, and incorporated that along with talking to the chat & being more interactive. It’s had a really positive effect & it’s been growing quite a lot, to the point where it’s completely replaced my income that I made from live touring. Again, it’s also a tremendous amount of work, and not everybody wants to do that, so I get it.
Goldroom: For me, if I were to do something like what you were doing, I would probably be taking the producer angle and working on a remix or a new idea. But that’s not something I want to spend 10 hours a week doing. The thing that I didn’t anticipate was that I would miss it. Opportunities would then start to come up with these digital festivals, and I sort of immediately found that I was excited to do that & enjoyed it. I enjoyed being able to gather fans in a singular place and the chat sort of takes on a community, in an not too dissimilar way to how it worked before. Where I landed was that I like doing this once a month. That’s been really fun for me, and I also think it’s something that will continue past COVID, because I love the idea of taking performances and putting them in unique places. Doing these Sunset Sessions for me has scratched that same itch, and it’s something that I wanna continue anyway. So, I’m excited about the prospect of growing that channel and bringing other artists in to doing things similar to the sets that I’m doing, & to build a community around that.
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Goldroom photos / Jasmine Safaeian
RAC photos / Jules Davies
story / Sam Berlin