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Having spent over the past ten years creating, producing, remixing and touring, Rob Garza has been influenced by an endless list of diverse artists. Some surprising, some not. In fact, for DUST GALAXY, he was more influenced by non-musicians. like Fernando Pessoa, Jose Orozco, Diego Rivera, Heinrich Zimmer, and Stanislav Grof.
"People often think that I spend all my time submerged in electronic music," but in reality, people are very surprised to find him at home in dive bars more often listening to rock, soul and psychedelic music. "What I love about some of my favorite records like "Sandanista," "Sgt. Peppers," "Odyssey and Oracle," and "Sunshine Superman" is the way they drift through musical temperaments." You will also hear the impacts of Roy Orbison, The Clash, Alejandro Escovedo, Mano Negra, The Rolling Stones, Sixto Rodriguez, Sam Cooke, The Drifters, Everly Brothers, Caetano Veloso, John Lee Hooker, Donovan, and The Zombies.
"For me, great records are always about salvation, redemption, reflection, the dirt and the beauty, living through your own trials and experiences..." This record taps into numerous different musical styles as well as cultural ideologies.
"Through the course of working as a producer in Thievery Corporation, I've had the opportunity to work with many talented singers and instrumentalists. During this time period, I've also learned to play more instruments myself. This project finally allows me to step out from behind the control booth to continue expressing myself as a songwriter as well as a performer and musician."
His father was an Illinois cop, and his mother is from Juarez, Mexico. "Juarez's a chaotic place where I spent a lot of time during my formative years." "I grew up in a very white small rural town in Maryland and spending time in Mexico with my relatives was always kind of confusing. "For me personally being of Mexican American background with French, Spanish, Arabic, Meso-American roots. I've never known where I fit in. maybe that was the beginning of my personal musical odyssey. Garza has never been a purist, and was always musically inspired by global sounds. Mariachi, old soul, rock, punk.then electronica.
"I bought my first synth at age 14; my father got a new job in Connecticut, which happened to have one of the only high school electronic music programs in the country. Hip-hop was really coming on the scene, so I started programming beats for fellow students. At that time I was listening to a lot of abrasive music where people were experimenting with sampling. It was an opening which I would find my way through. I remember putting out techno records in the early 90's and really being captivated with the new technology, then suddenly gravitating to bossa and jazz." "None of my peers could understand my new direction in any way." Just at this turning point he met Eric Hilton, and they discussed the music they were passionate about and tried to amalgamate it with electronic elements, and the rest is history.
These songs were born out of little musical and lyrical sketches. Singing and playing guitar on a stage is the last thing I thought I'd be doing when I began making electronic records fifteen years ago, and probably the last thing Thievery audiences would expect as well." But maybe this is what makes him different.
"With this new project, people also don't understand why I made a rock record." "Folks are quick to come up with labels to identify you with. The hardest thing is when you create your own label for yourself, and then try to break out of it - that's the real struggle."
"Following the completion of the last Thievery record and tour, and a trip to Sudan for the World Food Program, I was ultimately inspired to make a very personal musical reflection on my continuing journey." This collaborative project allowed me the unique opportunity to collaborate both in the studio and live with artists whom I admire."
In recording DUST GALAXY he enlisted producer Brendan Lynch (Primal Scream, Paul Weller) to push the UK take on older American sounds with more grit and psych, and some guest musicians Shawn Lee, Martin Duffy & Darrin Mooney from Primal Scream, Adam Blake of Cornershop, Jim Townsend (the People's Revolutionary Choir). "It was a quite a change to be on the other side of the booth. I honestly feel like my perspective about music production in general has even evolved."
The touring band will feature such luminaries as James Canty (The Make-Up, Ted Leo/Pharmacists) on guitar and effects, Jerry Busher (Fugazi, French Toast) on drums, Ashish Vyas (GoGoGo Airheart, Thievery Corporation) on bass.
In the end this may seem to be a more reckless endeavor for Garza, but it also may prove to be the most rewarding.