If you're planning to attend a few yoga classes at next week's Wanderlust festival, don't be surprised if you find Rob Garza doing the downward dog next to you.

The co-founder of Thievery Corporation has played several Wanderlusts in America and says he always takes part in the alternative activities on offer.

"I've done a couple of yoga classes," he says. "I've seen some cool seminars on breathing. The festivals are held in these beautiful settings. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised and enjoy it."

Thievery Corporation top the bill at the four-day Taupo-based festival with their first full band appearance in New Zealand, alongside sets by Xavier Rudd and Tahuna Breaks.


But it's not just a music festival, with classes on everything from yoga, meditation, hiking, massage, dancing and things called "the exhilarating power of twisting" and "handpan sound healing".

Don't get too chill during the day, warns Garza. He and his Thievery Corp co-founder Eric Hilton have 20 years and seven albums to get through, and they're planning to play a full-on set of their multi-lingual musical mash-ups.

"We're super-excited to come down and it's a pretty full-on show. People think it's going to be down-tempo but it's quite the opposite: it's a very energetic, enthusiastic show," he says.

"It's great because there's such a positive vibe. People are very health conscious but they really want to dance. Being in those poses all day they're probably ready to move their bodies."

With a live show that includes up to 15 band members, there's a lot of movement on stage too. Garza says they've been "picking up musicians" since they started the band in 1995, with their multi-cultural musical attitude encompassing dub, reggae, hip-hop and jazz attracting like-minded artists.

Their sound comes from their formative years in Washington DC, making music in a studio with "a West African bar right across the street, next to an Argentinian restaurant and a French cafe and a place that played straight-up jazz.

30 Jan, 2016 9:00am
2 minutes to read

"We were just hearing these sounds, so we would go in and find a singer from Colombia and say, 'Hey you want to come to the studio and do a song?'"

From there, they released their first album, Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi, an album that attracted fans at a time when Moby, St Germain and Groove Armada were starting a chillwave movement.

"We were like, 'Shall we press 500 CDs or 1000?' We were brave and pressed 1000. The first week we got a call from this German record store saying, 'Can you give us 2000 more?'

"We were just getting together in the evening making songs and telling stories and having drinks.

"We never though we'd have a career - much less be here 20 years later."



Thievery Corporation

Where and when:

Wanderlust, February 4-7, Wairakei, Great Lake Taupo


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