Thievery Corporation is a Washington, D.C.-based recording artist and DJ duo consisting of Rob Garza, Eric Hilton, and their supporting artists. Their music style mixes elements of dub, acid jazz, reggae, Indian classical, Middle Eastern, and Brazilian (such as bossa nova) with a lounge aesthetic.
Thievery Corporation was formed in the summer of 1995 at Washington DC's 18th street Lounge. Rob Garza and Lounge co-owner Eric Hilton were drawn together over their mutual love of club life, as well as dub, bossa nova and jazz records. They decided to see what would come of mixing all these in a recording studio, and from this, the duo started their Eighteenth Street Lounge Music record label.
The duo drew attention with their first two 12" offerings, "Shaolin Satellite" and "2001: a Spliff Odyssey" and with their 1997 debut LP, Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi.
In 2002 they released The Richest Man in Babylon on their ESL label. This fifteen track album is similar in sound and timbre to their earlier 2000 release, The Mirror Conspiracy, and features performances by vocalists Emil?ana Torrini, Pam Bricker, and Loulou.
In 2005 they released The Cosmic Game, which has a darker, more psychedelic sound than The Richest Man in Babylon. The album also featured more high-profile guest singers on it, including Perry Farrell, David Byrne, and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.
In 2006 the group released Versions, a selection of remixes done by Thievery Corporation for other artists. They toured around the United States, playing at Lollapalooza. The tour was photographed by Rob Myers, Thievery Corporation's sitar and guitar player, in the Blurb photo book Thievery Corporation 2006.
The group released their fifth studio album, Radio Retaliation, on September 23, 2008. It was nominated for the Grammy for best recording package. Thievery Corporation's tour started out with 5 consecutive sold out shows at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC.
The language of the group's lyrics throughout their career include English, Spanish, French, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian and Hindi. This reflects the group's world music influences.
They were the opening act on August 1, 2009 for Sir Paul McCartney at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
Thievery Corporation's lyrics are highly influenced by their opposition to certain political events. Tracks such as "Amerimacka" and "Revolution Solution" from their album The Cosmic Game and Richest Man in Babylon from the album of the same title reveal the group's opposition to the positions and initiatives of former president George W. Bush's administration and supporters.
In September 2005, the group participated in the Operation Ceasefire concert, with the objective of ending the Iraq War.
From their press release regarding their album Radio Retaliation Garza said:
Radio Retaliation is definitely a more overt political statement There's no excuse for not speaking out at this point, with the suspension of habeas corpus, outsourced torture, illegal wars of aggression, fuel, food, and economic crises. It's hard to close your eyes and sleep while the world is burning around you. If you are an artist, this is the most essential time to speak up."
Thievery Corporation are vocal advocates for the World Food Programme, seeing hunger as "...something basic, really elemental, that transcends boundaries around the world."
At Lollapalooza 2009, with some of America's largest bank's skyscrapers towering in the background, the group spoke out against the IMF after playing the politically charged song "Vampires". They were met with cheering from the audience.
Use in media
"Focus on Sight" from The Mirror Conspiracy, is featured in the 2000 film Memento
"Indra", the third track from The Mirror Conspiracy, was featured in the opening shots of The West Wing season five episode "Gaza"; in an MTV (India) promo for the programme Non Stop Hits; and the Vanilla Sky soundtrack
"Une Simple Histoire (A Simple Story)" is played during a segment in Roam, a freeride mountain biking documentary
"Lebanese Blonde" was used on the soundtrack for Zach Braff's 2004 film Garden State; it also featured in Alias episode "Mirage", and included in the best of season 4 soundtrack
"Shaolin Satellite" featured in The Sopranos second season episode "D-Girl"
Their collaboration with Emil?ana Torrini "Until The Morning" was used in a 2003 Lexus RX UK television advertisement
"Vivid" was used in the 2002 Honda UK television advertising campaign "What If?"
Several tracks from their 1999 DJ-Kicks compilation were used by Dockers as part of their "Nice Pants" TV ad campaign
"DC 3000" (1999) appeared on the compilation The Wired CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share. (2004)
Their song "Coming From The Top" from their DJ-Kicks album was used in the BBC's Football Focus in the 2005-2006 season for their "Cult Heroes" segment
A few of Thievery Corporation's songs from Richest Man in Babylon and The Cosmic Game are featured as menu and in-game music on the 2005 EA Sports release Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 video game
The songs "All That We Perceive" and "From Creation" from Richest Man in Babylon is also in 2005 EA Sports release Cricket 2005'
The song "All That We Perceive" is featured in the Season 1 Veronica Mars episode, "The Wrath of Con"
Solange Knowles sampled their track "A Gentle Dissolve" for her album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. She used it for "God Given Name"
The song "Facing East" from Richest Man in Babylon is used in the on-phone presentation of the Nokia 6210 Navigator. The full song is also provided/bundled in the phone's gallery
The song "The Time We Lost Our Way" from The Cosmic Game is bundled with Nokia Xpressmusic 5310
The song "Liberation Front" was used on The Weather Channel's Local on the 8s segments
The song "The Forgotten People" from "Radio Retaliation" was used in the HBO show True Blood, Season 2, Episode 4