Podcast 640: GARZA
Melodic grooves to brighten your day.
Podcast 640: GARZA
Melodic grooves to brighten your day.
American native Rob Garza is a founding member of Thievery Corporation, formed in 1995 and today one of America’s most forward-thinking and politically conscious music groups. Alongside partner Eric Hilton, Garza has gone on to amass an expansive discography featuring Grammy-nominated albums, as well as numerous remixes and EPs that bend through hip-hop, jazz, classical, Middle Eastern, electronica, dub, and so much more.
Garza and Hilton came together in Washington DC., unified by a mutual friend, an admiration for the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and a love for dub, bossa nova, and jazz. Meeting in the studio for the first time, they set about trying to mix these sounds together, and the first taste of these experiments came months later with EPs Shaolin Satellite and 2001: a Spliff Odyssey, before their debut album, Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi. Thievery Corporation was up and running, and they haven’t stopped since—nine albums down, and this work has positioned Garza as a pioneer of the West Coast’s flourishing electronic music movement, admired by generations of aspiring music producers.
Late last year, Garza launched his new project, GARZA, which sees him bringing together a diverse collective of musicians, producers, visual artists, and videographers. The output of this meeting of minds is an aesthetic that’s different to his previous work, combining esoteric electronica and a pop sensibility, harking back to his love of ‘80s electronic music and indie synth-pop. GARZA’s first EP, Where the Moon Hides, was released in November 2019 and features vocalists Seann Bowe and Emeline, as well as co-production with LA-based SMLE.
The release capped off a busy 2019 for Garza, which also included the inauguration of his own Magnetic Moon label, a content portal working with young artists on music, as well as with technology. He also completed an original score for the King Tut virtual reality experience, “Tutankhamun: Enter the Tomb,” which is traveling worldwide through renowned museums, and he continued his work with Dr. Adam Gazzaley of UC San Francisco, creating music along with virtual reality video games designed to assist with neurological disorders.
More recently, as GARZA, Garza contributed an exclusive remix of “Floating Through My Bones,” the second track on Where the Moon Hides, to XLR8R+, alongside the Ableton project behind it. You can download this package, which comes with two more tracks from Mike Shannon as Blue Fields and Toada, here.
In the meantime, and in support of the release, Garza has compiled an XLR8R podcast, recorded in his home studio in San Francisco while under lockdown. You’ll hear his XLR8R+ contribution near the beginning, sandwiched between tracks from Rhye (a poolside remix) and Toby Tobias, which gives you an idea of how this mix starts out: smooth and gentle, but the beats become harder around the 15-minute mark, and from there you’ll hear some of Garza’s favorite tracks right now, focused on melody and picked for an easy-listening experience.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been locked down in San Francisco and playing catch up on a lot of things I’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t had the chance because of touring etc.
02. When and where did you record this mix?
My CDJs are somewhere else so I recorded it at home on a friend’s old DDJ Serato thing that I’m kind of unfamiliar with so it was interesting putting it together!
03. How did you choose the records that you included?
I’ve been doing some livestream DJing lately with everybody self-isolating, so those have been sort of quarantine solo dance parties. For this, I wanted it to be more melodic and be about listening as well. Almost imagining taking a drive in the desert and putting this on.
04. How do you go about finding your new music?
A lot of it is random. I do a lot of Shazam-ing on tour. I also like to find a lot of “new” old music; things that I may have overlooked.
05. How are you dealing with the lock-downs?
I’m keeping really busy. We (Thievery Corporation) decided in 2019 to take 2020 off. So it hasn’t dampened any touring plans. I’m enjoying time with my son and working on music. I toured a lot up until March. So despite the gravity of the situation, I’m enjoying the pause.
06. How’s the new GARZA material coming along?
The project is coming along great. It’s been refreshing working with different artists and expressing myself in different genres. There is a new EP coming in a couple months, and a single that’s a cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”
07. What’s up next?
I just turned 50 and so officially I’ve been doing music professionally half of my life now. My intention is just to continue to be inspired, open-minded, and creative.
XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to download the podcast you will need to subscribe to our Select channel. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
01. Tycho “Ascension (Rob Garza Remix)” (Ghostly/Magnetic Moon)
02. Francis Inferno Orchestra “Time For Tea” (Wolfmusic)
03. Rhye “Feel your Weight (Poolside Remix)” (Luna Vista Recordings)
04. GARZA “Floating Inside My Bones (Floating Breaks Mix)” (Magnetic Moon/XLR8R+)
05. Toby Tobias “I Give you Love” (Delusions of Grandeur)
06. Icarus “October” (FFRR)
07. Maya Jane Coles “Something in the Air (Bonobo Remix)” (Hypercolour)
08. Sabo “Oud Dreams (featuring Zeb)” (Magnetic Moon)
09. Betoko “Raining Again” (Diynamic)
10. Mind Against “Walking Away” (Afterlife Records)
11. NekliFF, Rafael Cerato “Marrakesh (Kaspar Koman Remix)” (Manual Music)
12. Maxxi Soundsystem “Medicine” (Culprit)
13. Mirror People “Kaleidoscope (Psychemagik Remix)” (Discotexas)
14. Wax Poetic “Tonight (Rob Garza Remix)” (Magnetic Moon)