As one half of electronic music pioneers/producers Thievery Corporation, Rob Garza has been at the forefront of music and has traveled the globe performing, remixing, djing, recording, and composing.
Since Garza’s recent move to San Francisco, he has begun a re-exploration of his love for electronic music and beats focusing on Nu-Disco and Deep House, while keeping very groove-oriented and outer-national based rhythms. Recently he has been djing and remixing, taking things to an even more spaced out and trippy level.
Two years ago, Rob started fielding requests from all manner of musicians to remix their material. He began honoring those requests as a labor of love and opportunity to explore new directions with his creative output. After amassing more than a dozen remixes, Garza decided to compile the tracks into one single collection.
“Remixes” showcases Garza’s mastery as an electronic musician and reveals his passion for left-of-center dance genres. “There was a lot of experimentation in coming up with these remixes, and they very much reflect what I’m drawn to as a DJ,” says Garza. Kaleidoscopic, but intensely groove-oriented, the 12-track album represents a dizzying number of sounds from all corners of the music world, unified by Garza into a lush, shimmering soundscape.
For Garza—who’s devoted much of the last 18 years to creating the richly textured, endlessly innovative electronica that’s defined Thievery Corporation —there’s a certain freedom in the limitations of remixing. “When you’re making original music, there’s more exploration involved and you never know what’s going to come out of it,” he says. “Remixing is more like piecing a puzzle together —I look at the elements that grab me, then pull the track apart and reconstruct it into something new.” In remixing Tycho’s “Ascension,” for instance, Garza zeroed in on “these cool, ethereal arpeggios I was grooving on,” stripped those notes away, deepened the beat, and ended up creating a blissfully hazy track that’s nearly trance-inducing.
Garza delivers infectious remixes of tracks by deep-house DJ Miguel Migs (“The System”), Afro-Peruvian/electronica act Novalima (“Festejo”), Latin-influenced neo-soul act AM & Shawn Lee (“Promises are Never Far from Lies”), dancehall veteran Sleepy Wonder (“World Citizenship”), ambient musician Tycho (“Ascension), and electro-chanteuse Shana Halligan (“True Love). Also featured are Garza’s remixes of Gogol Bordello’s “Through the Roof and Underground” and Federico Aubele’s “No One”—as well as a reworking of Thievery Corporation’s fiery, Afrobeat-infused “Vampires” with San Francisco-based collective Afrolicious.
For inspiration in his puzzle-piecing, Garza heavily mined the dance styles and sub-genres he’s discovered through DJ-ing in his newly adopted hometown of San Francisco over the past few years. “When I first came to San Francisco, I got more into the dance scene and also started spending a lot of time in Mexico, where there are some great DJs coming through,” says Garza. “There’s so much going on in terms of people taking influences from all these different genres—like house and dub and new wave and disco—and putting it all together in a way that’s very new and original and inspiring to my own music.”