I just hope one day that people realize that the Democratic and Republican parties are both owned by the same corporate masters and that we need more choices. I'm so frustrated with people who believe in the positions of third party candidates and then say, "But they can't win." Since when did it become about winning?
When you guys got your start in the mid '90s, what were your intentions as musicians? Could you have envisioned this kind of success back then?
Never could we have envisioned any success at all. We just made music in the only way we could – an MPC 3000 and an ASR 10 and a DAT machine. I can't believe it worked, and I tell everyone that we've been in the "bonus round" for a long time.
Before Thievery, who were some of your musical influences? How did your style develop?
I grew up in suburbia listening to rock mostly. I had one P-Funk record which I liked very much. Then, I discovered WHFS, 102.3 FM [long-since gone] and my horizons broadened considerably. They played punk, reggae, new wave and other interesting new music. That radio station was independent and family-owned, and they programmed the music very freely. This, sadly, does not exist anymore. The NAB, Michael Powell, Clear Channel and an army of combovers has seen to that. Like The Ramones said, "We want the airwaves."
Living in D.C. you're right in the thick of American politics. What impact does that geographical location have on your daily life?
D.C. is a surprisingly nice and beautiful city; with perhaps more diversity than any I've visited in the U.S. - only Toronto seemed more culturally diverse. This international flavor certainly piqued our interest in global sounds and travel from an early age. At a local used book and record shop, I often find collectible Brazilian records and other gems. On the down side, it really is Hollywood for ugly people. The people in power are some of the slimiest individuals you can meet, and the young people who come to D.C. to work in politics are so fucking naïve it's startling.
It seems that you guys are constantly busy with music, whether it be in the studio, on tour, or whatever. What do you do when you're not doing all that?
I work with some friends opening restaurants, clubs and bars. In that sense, I never quit my day job. We recently opened Marvin, a Belgian/soul food bistro and bar in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C. Other than that, I just read a lot, and a bit of basketball. Nothing too exciting there.
Your music is such a meshing of the world's varying cultures and rhythms. Do you find that in life, music is truly THE universal language?
I think so. It's something that many people across the globe can commonly share. It's an incredible feeling to go to a place like Portugal and play to people who know the lyrics to our songs.
Of all the music that's out today, both popular and not so, who are some of the artists that really grasp your attention?
I'm sorry to say none. Of course there is a song or two, here or there, but no one artist. I think I'm stuck in the past in that regard. I'm waiting for someone of the stature of Bob Marley, The Clash, Bob Dylan, Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions. We need music and a message like that.
At festivals or shows worldwide, who are a couple acts you've witnessed live that you may not really have known about that blew your mind?
The only three groups that have ever blown my mind live are The Skatalites, Public Enemy and Paul Weller.
I just read that Radio Retaliation will be part of Facebook's first significant music promotion. How did you end up combining forces?
They simply called and asked us if we would do it. I think we had a couple of Thievery fans in their ranks.
On the business tip, Thievery's music has also been featured in countless TV shows, commercials and movie soundtracks. How do you get approached to do all these?
Usually, these requests simply come from music supervisors and we are often all too happy to comply.
Where does Thievery Corporation go from here?
Like I said earlier, we're in the bonus round. We've gone further than we ever imagined and we just want to continue to enjoy ourselves and make the music that we want to hear. As long as it's fun, we'll keep doing it.
For more on Thievery Corp, check out our exclusive video interview on JamBaseTV.
JamBase | Everywhere
Go See Live Music!