ACL Music Festival Interviews
Friday, 5:30pm, Heineken stage
"The expectations are for psychedelics to transport you to another dimension, yet it works differently for everyone based on their mindset. While for some it takes a magic mushroom, others can get there by doing breathing exercises or listening to music."
Peeling the glass onion back at its fringes, Eric Hilton unravels the multihued inspiration for The Cosmic Game, Thievery Corporation's fourth album in eight years.
Along with longtime D.C. running mate Rob Garza, Hilton looks beyond the usual fare, bending classic themes into genre-twisting hallucinations of electro-organic pairing. Whether referencing backward guitar loops, the incorporation of Eastern instruments, or the production tricks of dub, Thievery Corporation embraces the interconnection of all things.
"You can't do music in a void, in that you always have to consider what came before you," explains Hilton. "We've been looking to the works of Jorge Ben and Antonio Carlos Jobim for ideas on how we'd like to sound. Then of course there's 'Cosmic Sea' by the Mystic Moods Orchestra, which is out of sight. We've found that when early-Seventies easy-listening producers did something rock or psychedelic, it was typically really good."
With such luminaries as David Byrne, Perry Farrell, and Wayne Coyne joining them on Cosmic Game, Thievery Corporation dances the fine line between hero-worship and iconoclasm.
"Musically, it was punk rock that gave us our nerve to make music. That's kind of what punk is, getting up on stage and doing your thing even before you are technically ready to do so."
Hilton is also quick to reveal an interest in radical politics.
"You either believe in conspiracy theories or you believe in coincidence theories. When big events occur, you go through a classic pattern of denial, shock, depression, then acceptance. I'm no longer surprised by the crazy things I see."