Thievery Corporation, tour, interview

MP3 TOURS: Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza Dives Into Their 2024 Intercontinental Tour

Welcome to MP3 TOURS: An inside look at music’s most exciting tours in real-time and exclusive interviews with the biggest superstars about life on the road, behind-the-scenes antics, and what makes each show unique. Everyone loves a good concert — but GREAT concerts keep the world turning. Learn how your favorite artists are redefining what it means to share their music live and create unforgettable, dance-fueled experiences.

For nearly three decades, Thievery Corporation has been a pioneering force across music, bridging together electronic, indie, reggae, and a melting pot of other genres.

Founders Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have championed D.I.Y. principles and cultural inclusivity, which have now become mainstream themes. Their extensive discography, including a dozen acclaimed full-length albums, remix LPs, and electrifying live performances, underscores their enduring relevance and influence.

Thievery Corporation’s music uniquely blends international cultural styles, drawing inspiration from a broad spectrum of global sounds. Their debut LP, Sounds From The Thievery Hi-Fi, set the stage for this innovative approach, combining elements from various musical styles and featuring a range of vocalists. This commitment to overall diversity and artistic integrity has allowed them to forge timeless and forward-thinking bodies of work.

As they embark on their 2024 tour across the United States, Canada, and Europe, Thievery Corporation continues to push boundaries and captivate audiences worldwide. What can fans expect from this groundbreaking live music experience? MP3 MAG sat down with Thievery Corporation’s founding member Rob Garza to find out. Dive into this exclusive interview below.

Rob Garza, Thievery Corporation, Interview

With nearly three decades of touring under your belt, how do you keep each tour fresh and engaging for yourselves and your fans? What major changes do you notice from your first major tour compared to now?

After almost thirty years on the road, we have learned that the key to keeping things fresh is embracing change and staying open to new influences. We constantly update our setlists, and have so many great musicians on stage to bring a fresh perspective to our shows. We also have added an acoustic part to our set which is a beautiful intimate moment.

It has been almost three decades since our first tour, and the musical and technological landscape as well as the world has changed. However, it is still all about the connection with the audience, the energy, and the music that is being shared.

Two of the characteristics that make your sound so captivating is the combination of its eclectic and multicultural nature. How do you translate this mixture into the visual and thematic elements of your current tour?

Our music has always been a melting pot of different cultures and genres inspired by our vinyl collections, and we strive to reflect that in our live shows. Our live performances are a mix of visual art, lighting, and a mix of music from all different corners of the globe that draws from various cultural aesthetics.

It is beautiful how it all comes together seamlessly and almost feels like a template for what life could be like without so much division.

Having performed across the globe, how do you tailor your sets to cater to the different audiences across different regions, such as the US, Canada, and soon, Europe?

Each part of the world has its unique vibe and energy, and we love to tap into that. We pay attention to local music scenes and cultural preferences. Sometimes we will tweak our setlist to include tracks that resonate more with a particular audience, country or city.

For example, in Europe, we might lean more into our electronic and dance influences, while in the US, we might play more of our hip-hop and reggae tracks. In Latin America, we might lean towards our more Latin sounds. We played a gig in Transylvania and had to play our song “Vampires,” haha.

You have already performed in cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati, Nashville, and Pittsburgh to kick off your tour. Could you share a standout moment or a particularly memorable show that you have played so far?

Every city has its magic, but our show in Nashville was particularly memorable. The crowd’s energy was incredible, and the synergy between the band and the audience was electric.

We had a spontaneous guest, the legendary and lovely Lucinda Williams, who joined us that night. It wasn’t planned, yet it turned into one of those unforgettable moments where everything just clicked.

Supporting you throughout your tour is innovative artist and producer Matthew Dear. Why do you think Matthew’s style and identity as an artist is a solid match for the Thievery Corporation experience? What does his project and live performances bring to the table on this tour?

Matthew Dear is a fantastic artist, plus a great guy with a unique sound that feels like a wonderful addition to our tour. His ability to fuse techno, house, and experimental sounds adds a fresh flavor to our tour.

He brings a high level of creativity and sense of fun to his live performances, which complements our eclectic style and keeps the energy high throughout the night.

Can you describe the technical setup behind your shows and how it enhances the overall performance?

I have keyboards, samplers and trigger pads, while there are traditional instruments played by our highly talented musicians. I always see people get very entranced by the sitar. I don’t think there are too many bands in the states with their own sitar players.

Your live performances involve a band of players and vocalists. How did you navigate recruiting such a dynamic, multi-talented group for the tour?

We found them at various truck stops and homeless shelters, haha. No, we have been lucky to grab an amazing and talented group of singers and musicians from many cities, different parts of the world, playing a variety of styles. It has been an honor and I feel blessed to be traveling with them.

Whether performance-related or more logistical, what are some of the biggest challenges you face while on tour, and how do you address them?

Touring can be fun, chaotic, grueling, and challenges are inevitable. Logistically, coordinating travel, equipment, and schedules can be daunting. On the performance side, maintaining our energy and health is crucial.

I think the energy and connection and realizing that there are few people who can make a living performing music gives us an immense sense of gratitude. There is a lot of camaraderie and we all look out for each other.

Do you have any pre-show rituals or routines that help you prepare for the delivery and energy of your live performances?

We do have a few pre-show rituals that help us get into the right mindset. Before each show, we get in a huddle and have a group clap that takes us out of our own individual worlds and brings us together so we can focus on coming together and putting on a great show.

How does touring influence your creative process? What sources of musical or nonmusical inspiration have you discovered during your travels?

Touring is a profound source of inspiration for us. Being exposed to different cultures, landscapes, and people continually fuels our fire and creativity. We often incorporate elements from the places we visit into our music, whether it is a local instrument, a rhythm, or a thematic idea.

Non-musically, the stories and experiences we gather inspire us as well as make us laugh.

If you could perform anywhere in the world for a live recorded set, without having to worry about logistics or preparation, where would you want to play and why?

If logistics were not an issue, performing at Machu Picchu or the Pyramids would be a dream. The mystical energy and stunning backdrop of the ancient ruins would create an unparalleled atmosphere. It.would be surreal to play in a place which aligns perfectly with the spirit of our music.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Looking ahead, what are some of the most anticipated dates on your tour schedule? Are there any shows or destinations that you are especially excited to travel to and perform at?

We are incredibly excited about our upcoming shows in Europe, especially Eastern Europe and Greece. These places have an extra special connection with our music and we feel the enthusiasm.

We also love London, Spain, and Madrid…  actually, we love traveling and touring all through Europe. We are excited for it all.