Rodrigo y Gabriela

For over two decades, Rodrigo y Gabriela have created the kind of music that invites lasting transcendence, mesmerizing audiences across the globe with their virtuosic yet wildly inventive guitar playing. As shown on critically lauded albums like the Grammy Award-winning Mettavolution (a 2019 release largely shaped by their longtime interest in Buddhism), the Mexico City-bred duo have continually turned to musical expression as a form of spiritual searching—a journey that recently led to the making of their sixth studio album. Sparked from their study of Advaita Vedanta (a Hindu philosophy rooted in the concept of nondualism), In Between Thoughts…A New World arrives as one of Rodrigo y Gabriela’s most revelatory offerings yet: a spontaneously composed body of work primed to bring about the very expansion of consciousness that inspired its creation.

Self-produced by Rodrigo y Gabriela at their studio in Ixtapa, In Between Thoughts emerged from a transformative period of spiritual awakening and a subsequent burst of unfettered creativity. Back in fall 2020, while recovering from Covid, Rodrigo stumbled upon an online video on nondualism—the notion that there is a “single, infinite, and indivisible reality, whose nature is pure consciousness, from which all objects and selves derive their apparently independent existence,” in the words of author/teacher Rupert Spira.

“After so many years of being a spiritual seeker, this idea completely shook me — everything changed dramatically in terms of my perception of reality,” he says.

From there, Rodrigo shared his findings with Gabriela, who felt a similar resonance. “What clicked for me was the idea of a oneness that unifies all forms of life,” she says. “Even though the raw material of life can express itself in a million different ways, in essence it’s all the same.”

As they delved further into the philosophy, the duo began channeling their sense of heightened awareness into song form. “The music just started flowing out, without any real intention,” says Rodrigo. “When we looked back we realized we’d come up with nine songs that told the story of our coming to understand the Advaita path, in the exact perfect order. We didn’t change the foundation of the songs from that point, so what you hear on the album is the music as we were creating it.”

Mixed by James Monti (The Who, The Head and the Heart) and mastered by Greg Calbi (Tame Impala, Beach House), In Between Thoughts marks a sharp departure from the signature acoustic sound that Rodrigo y Gabriela first showcased on their 2006 self-titled studio debut. To that end, most of the album finds Rodrigo trading his acoustic guitar for electric, adding a mercurial new energy that’s elegantly amplified by the duo’s subtle use of analog synths, Mellotron, and other electronic instruments. In bringing In Between Thoughts to life, Rodrigo y Gabriela also worked remotely with Vienna-based composer Adam Ilyas Kuruc and The Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, who ornamented their serpentine arrangements with lush strings and powerful percussion. Propelled by a fierce vitality hinting at their thrash-metal roots, the result is an album of relentless movement and endless fluidity, each moment charged with the pure thrill of discovery.

“When the subject matter is something like spirituality or seeking meaning, that can very easily go along with music that’s calming or serene,” says Gabriela. “But we wanted to do something different — we wanted to bring a cinematic quality and a lot of action to the music, and make it feel as exciting as we find all this to be.”

Even as In Between Thoughts pushes into uncharted sonic terrain, the album draws much of its power from the singular dynamic that’s always distinguished Rodrigo y Gabriela’s music: a delicate interplay between Gabriela’s potent and percussive strumming and Rodrigo’s breathlessly fast yet intricate lead guitar work. In a testament to the expressiveness and depth of their musicality, In Between Thoughts wordlessly leads the listener through a complex narrative complete with plot, emotional arcs, and plenty of dramatic tension. Beginning with the birth of its lead character and concluding with a passage into the new world of its title, the album concurrently examines such nuanced matters as illusions of control, the false promise of material success, and the bliss of enlightenment.

“To us the main idea of the album is that there’s something beyond what we think we are,” says Rodrigo. “In between thoughts, there is a space, and that space is where we find the ultimate reality. When people use meditation to try to access the ultimate reality, many of them tend to approach it like, ‘Okay, now I’m going to turn myself into a meditator for this certain amount of time.’ But the truth is we always have that access. It’s there for us all the time.”

A fittingly majestic introduction to In Between Thoughts, “True Nature” sets the album in motion with an immediate rush of momentum, powered by the feverish urgency of Gabriela’s strumming and building to a frenetic explosion of raw electricity from Rodrigo. From there, the duo shift into a softer mood with the stark opening moments of “The Eye That Catches The Dream,” an achingly lovely number that soon launches into a glorious whirlwind of galloping rhythms, sweeping strings, and brightly bubbling effects. As In Between Thoughts unfolds, Rodrigo Y Gabriel adorn their sonic and spiritual exploration with an abundance of unexpected details: the reverb-drenched slide guitar of “Egoland” and bombastic percussion of “Descending To Nowhere,” the kinetic beats of “The Ride Of The Mind” and passionately chanted vocals of “Broken Rage.” After drifting into the dreamy mystique of “Finding Myself Leads Me To You” (a surreal and sprawling piece embedded with robotic vocal effects), the album closes out with its title track: an all-encompassing epic whose unearthly textures and spacious riffs echo the sublime sensation of absolute surrender.

For Rodrigo y Gabriela, In Between Thoughts is only the latest achievement in a career defined by constant adventure and innovation. Bandmates since the mid-’90s (when they played together in a Mexican thrash-metal act called Terra Acida), both grew up on an eclectic mix of classic rock, heavy metal, and flamenco, a rare alchemy of influences that still informs their work today. Not long after the dissolution of Terra Acida, the two musicians set off with their acoustic guitars and ended up in Ireland, where they soon ran out of money and began busking on Dublin’s Grafton Street — a turn of events that led to their crossing paths with Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice, who then asked them to open for him at an early headline show. As they developed their distinct breed of guitar music, Rodrigo y Gabriela quickly gained recognition for their extraordinary live show and made their full-length debut with 2004’s Live: Manchester and Dublin. Along with turning out a series of acclaimed and kaleidoscopic albums over the years — including Area 52 (a 2012 effort made with a Cuban orchestra) and 9 Dead Alive (a 2014 release that spotlighted their more rock-leaning sensibilities) — the duo has since cemented their status as a globally renowned live act. Among their many successes: performing at The White House for the President and First Lady of Mexico at a 2010 event hosted by Barack Obama; headlining the Jazz World stage at Glastonbury; selling out major venues like the Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and the Sydney Opera House; and performing to massive crowds in such far-flung cities as Tokyo and Paris.

Reflecting on the making of In Between Thoughts, Rodrigo y Gabriela are quick to note the charmed spontaneity that guided their process — an element that extends all the way to their serendipitous discovery of conceptual artist Jeremy Gluck, who created the album’s cover art and whose work is partly inspired by the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj (an Indian guru of nondualism).

“I think one of the main things we’ll take away from this experience is to let the music flow, let it live and breathe without judging it first,” says Gabriela. And with the release of In Between Thoughts, the duo feel a similar sense of openness when it comes to the album’s potential impact. “We didn’t work on this record thinking, ‘Let’s share this message with the world’ — we’re not interested in preaching anything,” says Rodrigo. “If it benefits people in any way to learn about this, then that’s wonderful. But for us it was a way to explore something that’s brought us a lot of peace and freedom — something that we love talking about because it’s changed our lives in an incredible way.”

Past Shows


Jun
13
th
2023
The Fitzgerald Theater
Jun
13
th
2023
The Fitzgerald Theater

Rodrigo y Gabriela

In Between Thoughts...A New World Tour
with Honeybutter
Jun
2
nd
2017
Mainroom
Jun
2
nd
2017
Mainroom

Rodrigo y Gabriela

with Ryan Sheridan

More Shows

Jul
26
th
7th St Entry

Thank You, I’m Sorry

Jul
15
th
7th St Entry

Rosali

with David Nance & Mowed Sound
Jul
11
th
First Avenue

OK Go

with Winona Forever and MIRTHQUAKE
May
31
st
The Fitzgerald Theater

Dungeons and Daddies