Interview: Thievery Corporation

By Dom Smith
By January 27, 2017 April 4th, 2017 Listen

It was a pleasure to catch Eric Hilton from legendary trip-hop group, Thievery Corporation to talk about new music and inspirations.


Talk to us about the development of ‘The Temple Of I & I’ – what were some of the best experiences you had?

The best experiences we had according The Temple of I & I were in Jamaica. Choosing a Geejam Studios in Port Antonio, overlooking the sea, was the best way to jump start our recording process – especially coming from a snow-covered Washington, DC.

While we were in Jamaica, our tight group was pretty much all business. We recording for 12 hours a day, every day. But it never felt like work as we were constantly cracking each other up, taking quick dips in the sea, or hits from a spliff. It was truly a musician’s heaven.

What about the challenges?

The challenges in recording were focused around the “influx” nature of our own DC studio. We built our new studio during the process of completing this record. So we often had to rent other studio space to record vocals and there were many stops and starts to the process. But it’s challenges like that that make me marvel at the commitment and discipline it takes to complete an album. You really feel like you’ve accomplished something in the end. And that LP is there forever.

What keeps you guys passionate about creating outside of music, think films, people and places for example?

Honestly, I think we simply love music. My entire life has been centred around music and I was destined to do this. I’m never short on ideas or inspiration. The only limitation is time. Real life, outside of making and performing music, can often call you away.

‘Let The Chalice Blaze’ has got to be my favourite chill-out track of the moment, can you talk me through what went into that one, and the types of experiences and atmospheres that inspired it?

I’m glad you like it. I agree, and it’s a classically 90s trip-hop cut; I think that’s why it sounds so special. That sound is almost old-school at this point. The song was made with a lot of cutting loops, audio snippets, dubbing, and typical Thievery Corporation techniques. In someways I feel like it sounds very Kruder & Dorfmeister – our close cousins in music.

How do you look back on the success of your earlier work, ‘Radio Retaliation’ for example, at this point in your career?

We’re very proud of our body of work. I’m especially gratified that we’ve made albums, because that’s part of the art form to me. All my favorite artists I grew up with worked in the album format. Some people, in our world of reduced attention spans, think albums are out-dated. I disagree.

Another thing about Thievery Corporation is that we have grown and progressed. Our first record, Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi, was quite minimal and simplistic. In fact, that’s part of it’s charm. Since then, we’ve branched out stylistically, and in song structure and musicality. We really have to thank our fans for following us through so many genres and musical detours.

How has your attitude to touring changed since you started out?

Connecting with fans is a special thing for us. More so than festival dates, I especially like our own shows – preferably in cities we don’t visit ver often. It’s always cool to turn up in Prague or Warsaw and find droves of Thievery Corporation fans. It amazes me every time.

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