Thievery Corp's Rob Garza DJs "Melodic, Deep Grooves" Tonight at Stache
Garza: "With my own solo work, I'm more interested in exploring the electronic side of the spectrum."
Photo courtesy of Rob Garza
Adam Foster is a South Florida-based DJ and producer, founder of twilightnotes.com, and entertainment director for the Restaurant People. He was named best DJ of 2014 by New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Follow him on SoundCloud, and like him on Facebook.
As half of the groundbreaking electronic duo Thievery Corporation, Rob Garza practically created and then popularized downtempo throughout the world. Their music is a slow-paced blend of electronic, bossa nova, jazz, dub, and other musical styles from around the globe. While Garza has been DJing since before he met Eric Hilton at his Washington D.C. nightclub and formed Thievery, the last two years have seen the downtempo beatsmith begin to produce dance tracks and focus on playing more solo gigs around the world.
For those who still insist Fort Lauderdale’s music scene is lacking, shows like Garza's DJ set tonight at Stache stand in contrast to this long-held misconception. When people assume there's no good music around, they make little effort to go and find it. Music-loving South Floridians, take advantage of this exciting night; Thievery Corporation’s “Richest Man In Babylon” album undoubtedly helped turn many onto electronic music. For me, it spurred my desire to become a DJ, and then helped inspire me to create music of my own.
Ahead of tonight's set, we had the chance to speak with Garza about what life is like wearing hats as a musician, DJ, restaurateur, and bandleader.
New Times: As both a successful musician and restaurateur, I was curious if you see any similarities between being successful in the music business and the restaurant business?
Rob Garza: I think that there are similarities in running other businesses and your own label/act. We've been independent since we started, and in some ways, we see ourselves as a mom-and-pop operation. With that, it comes down to self-reliance. There's nobody who's going to motivate you other than yourself. You can't sit back and expect a record label to do all the work. You have to get into all the different aspects of your business. It's also about putting together teams of people you trust and being diligent when it comes to navigating your own career. In the end, it has been very rewarding for both Eric and myself.
Recently, you've been DJing more and playing fewer live shows with Thievery Corporation. What do you find different about performing live with the band versus playing a DJ set?
They are two very different experiences. DJing, for one, you're playing other people's music. When I DJ it's expressing my love of electronic music, which is where I started. My sets are a bit more up-tempo and based more on house and techno. DJing is a way I enjoy connecting with other people's music. Playing our own music live with the band is connecting with our audience and our own catalog. There's something special about having that connection with the audience. I enjoy the synergy and energy on stage perffacorming with our musicians. Both experiences have qualities I really love. I wouldn't trade one for the other.
How about the music-making process? How do you approach making a solo track differently from a track that will be on a Thievery album and eventually played with an entire band?
I think that they both come from the same place originally. The big difference, to me, is how they are expressed in the end. With Thievery, we have a lot of sketches that start with just Eric and me playing, and then eventually we start to incorporate other musicians and players. So in the end, it winds up being more of an organic process. With my own solo work, I'm more interested in exploring the electronic side of the spectrum. So it really comes from a place of doing something that is very different from Thievery.
What producers are you playing out lately? What should the crowd expect to hear on Friday night?
To name a few, I enjoy producers like Downtown Party Network, Psychemagik, Todd Terje, and Neighbour. I think that the crowd should expect something very different than what they might expect to hear with Thievery Corp. It's more of an up-tempo dance floor thing —melodic, with deep grooves.
Rob Garza DJ Set
10 p.m. Friday, November 6 at Bar Stache 1920s Drinking Den, 109 SW 2nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale 33312. Cover costs $5 before midnight, $10 after. Visit Facebook.
Get the Music Newsletter
Find out about upcoming concerts and special offers happening in the South Florida music scene.