In December, Thievery Corporation played to another sold-out crowd at the Van Buren.
Now nearly two months later, on February 9, one half of that legendary electronic duo — Rob Garza, known professionally as GARZA — will make his inaugural solo performance at Crescent Ballroom.
Garza is currently touring the country in support of his debut EP, Where the Moon Hides, a lush work that calls to mind a more futuristic-sounding Thievery Corporation.
But before he brings his new act to Crescent, the multi-instrumentalist talked to Phoenix New Times about his decision to give the solo thing a try, as well as the plans for Thievery Corporation’s future. And what you think may have pushed him to make music on his own may come as a surprise.
“I started off writing songs for other singers that my publisher and manager put me in touch with," Garza explains. "The singers were into more straight-ahead pop stuff and wanted to be like the next Ariana Grande."
He continues: “The sketches I wrote were more indie electronic, not really up their alley. In fact, they had never heard of Thievery Corporation. I had these sketches that had a tinge of synth-pop, so I started just opening up and collaborating with other producers, songwriters, and singers. It was fun and a great exercise in letting go. I really embraced the spirit of collaboration.”
Where the Moon Hides features young singers EMELINE and Seann Bowe tag-teaming vocals, a move reminiscent of Thievery Corporation albums where artists like Emiliana Torrini often took turns singing over the duo’s music.
Garza says he plans to continue with his one-man act in the future.
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“It’s another expression of myself," he says. "One that is a little more youthful, whimsical, and optimistic, which was sort of the opposite of how I was feeling when I started this project, Looking at the world and all its chaos. It was interesting to see that side of me reveal itself.”
Longtime Thievery Corporation fans (who have largely been receptive to Garza’s efforts) need not despair, though. Garza says the duo have many more years left in them, even as their members branch off to explore other creative endeavors.
“[Thievery Corporation] have an orchestral record coming out in March, and some remixes and rarities coming out later in the year to celebrate our 25-year anniversary,” Garza says. “[There will be] more music in 2021 —Thievery and Garza. I also will be putting out a bunch of new music by other artists on my label, Magnetic Moon.”
GARZA are scheduled to perform on Sunday, February 9, at Crescent Ballroom. Tickets are $20 to $30 via Eventbrite.