“Sector 9 is one of my label partners.” It’s Congo Sanchez, the Thievery Corporation drummer on the phone to talk to the Reader about the label he’s founded, Herb Records. “[Sector 9’s] Garret [Meister] got snuck in through the back door at one of our shows when Thievery Corporation was in San Diego and he was, like, 18. After the show, he took us around and gave us a tour of the factory,” which manufactures skateboards near Bay Park. Sanchez is on the road in Salt Lake City.
“We started the tour in New York on a Tuesday night. Boston was the next stop, and the Red Sox had just won the series. That was a no-brainer. We waited until after the game was over, and then we just partied. And then we played Halloween in Telluride.”
Herb Records 2013 was released on November 5. The 40-minute mix compilation includes Sanchez, DJ Hydrophonics, and Groove Status, all deejays on this project. “I started this as a way to have an avenue to release my own stuff. I have a hard drive full of rare sounds, and as much as I love roots reggae, I wanted to get that stuff out.”
He likes where the interplay between the deejays on Herb is going during the live shows. Sanchez says that though most of their show is worked out, there is room for experimentation as well. “Groove Status is quite young. He’s holding down a cool demographic of younger listeners, and DJ Hydrophonics is bouncing around between places to play. We’re getting comfortable in our own skin. I love jazz and jam bands. I was a jazz major in college,” Sanchez offers an explanation of the improvisational structures that liven up the group’s festival jams.
This past Sunday (November 17) Sanchez and his crew held a Herb Records Listening Party at the Tekst Gallery in Carlsbad. “We’re working with a charity [BandofParents.org] that my mom started for the cancer that my brother passed away from,” says Sanchez. “At a time when music is basically free, we’re trying to connect with the world on a different vibe...we’re having a deejay listening party at an art space.”
Does this mean the end of Thievery Corporation?
“No. Thievery is still going strong. We’re getting ready to do Sea of Dreams for New Year’s [at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco] and we have a new record coming out soon.”