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Taken from Stuff (Feb 16, 2018)

The Questionnaire: Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza


The Thievery Corporation's Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. Credit: Jen Marler

For the last 22 years US DJs and producers Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have been at the forefront of modern electronica and mashing up the sounds of the world. When they set up their own label and lounge bar in Washington DC - Eighteenth St Lounge - they had no idea it would go global.

What are you plugging right now?
Well we released an album last year called The Temple of I and I that we recorded in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Right now, we are releasing a companion piece called Treasures from the Temple. It is a continuation vibe wise and features some gems that didn't make the last record.

What's your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is having peace of mind in whatever type of situation I'm in and being around the people that I love, doing what I love.

Which living person do you most admire?
Probably my father. He never ceases to be a great sounding board in all sorts of different dilemmas.

What's your most embarrassing moment?
I can think of a few but finding examples I can actually share is harder. We have one bus we call the Holy Roller where the environment is a bit more, tame and calm. The female singers and staff along with the non-smokers ride this bus. But the other bus we call the Liquor Wagon. That is a tad more like prison where only the strong survive. I usually sleep on the driver's side of the Liquor Wagon and exit the bunk to my right. One night I fell asleep across the aisle on the passenger side of the Holy Roller. When I woke up I tried to exit the bunk to the right and hit the bus wall. I was confused and thought I had been somehow trapped. Being half asleep I panicked, I started pounding on the wall. I thought I'd been buried alive only I could hear all of my band mates laughing. That was a bit embarrassing

What is your most prized material possession?
Hmmm, probably my laptop, just because that's where my music lives - and mainly because I haven't backed it up in a little while.

What is the most adventurous thing you have done that has taken you out of your comfort zone at the time?
When I travelled with World Food Program in an old Russian helicopter visiting monasteries, villages and glaciers. You always hear of these helicopter accidents up there where the weather can change at the drop of a dime. It was an exhilarating and beautiful experience that I wouldn't change for anything.

What gets your back up?
The desire to transform negative situations into positive situations. Some mornings you wake up and you're like 'Oh lord this is gonna be rough' but I love the feeling at the end of the day when you feel like you've spun everything around.

If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
I would probably go back to 1960s Rio de Janeiro, Brazil just because I'm so influenced by the music at that time and it seems like things were really vibrant and exploding culturally.

What life lesson would you pass on to your children?
To lead a life that's soulful and to care for others.

What job would you do other than your own and why?
I don't surf but when I see professional surfing on television, I'm like 'man that probably has to be one of the biggest rushes'.

If you were given three wishes that would be granted by a magic genie, what would they be?
Make the time I enjoy last longer, the time I don't enjoy go quicker and one more wish ...

The Thievery Corporation play WOMAD in New Plymouth on March 15.


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