As it winds down the cycle of its latest album, 2008's Grammy-nominated "Radio Retaliation," Thievery Corporation is planning to start the new year in the recording studio.
"We're going to start recording in January," Rob Garza, who formed and leads the collective with Eric Hilton, tells Billboard.com. "This year we kind of marked for doing a lot of touring, so 2010 we have marked down as being a studio year." And, he adds, the pan-global duo is likely to go in with a blank slate.
"That's how all our records start," Garza explains. "We always have ideas in the back of our minds, but once you start (recording) it's like some strange road trip; all of a sudden you wind up some place completely different. So there's no sense in trying to choose a direction; in the end the record kind of dictates what it's about rather than you."
Garza and Hilton, meanwhile, are happy to be giving "Radio Retaliation" a victory lap, still basking in the Grammy nod for Best Recording Package. "It's great to go out and see that the audiences were really receptive to this record and just love a lot of the songs," Garza says of the set, which includes guest appearances by Femi Kuti, Chuck Brown, Anoushka Shankar, Seu Jorge and others. "We're not a band that gets any radio airplay, and to go out and see how receptive people are and how familiar with the work they are is great. A lot of our records are slow burns; they don't hit and then are gone the next day. They build up over the course of years, sometimes. We're still kind of feeling that right now."
Among those fans this year was Paul McCartney, who tapped Thievery Corporation to open his Aug. 1 show in Landover, Md., and asked Garza and Hilton to come to the stadium the day before the concert to say hell.
"That was pretty insane," Garza recalls with a laugh. "To meet Paul McCartney was pretty wild; the people around him were like, 'Oh, he likes your music,' he wanted us to show up the day before so we could meet him, and we were pretty surprised by that. It was just, like, 'Hello...' I mean, you feel very star struck in a way, like, what do you say to one of the Beatles? 'Hey, nice day?' We just kind of shot the breeze, but that was still...surreal."