Returning to their rock roots is also part of the personal growth the pair has experienced through the whirlwind success of the past couple of years. "I've learned how not to give a lot of value to things that aren't worth it," Sanchez notes. "I don't look at the reviews, and I don't get involved in the industry. I stopped being obsessive and got older and more mature — let's just say older. I'm just trying to enjoy it." Part of the ability to enjoy and care a little less about critical response comes, of course, from being in a far better financial situation than either of the musicians ever dreamed possible. "We have our space in the industry, and we're in a financial situation where we can decide what to do and what not to do. We have to take advantage of that."

For Sanchez, regaining his center and focus required going back home to Mexico. "I love Ireland. It's a very musical country," he muses, "but they have a lot of money now and it's changing. Now you go there and every cute old pub is all new and trendy, and I don't like that. I think it's losing a bit of its character and personality, and it's a shame. These people are naturally organic, kind of hippie people, but now they're wearing suits and trying to look trendy, and they look funny trying to be trendy. Even my Irish friends agree."

Sanchez now calls the western Mexican beach town of Ixtapa home. Though the village, just north of Puerto Vallarta, sees its share of tourism, it's still admittedly sleepier than Dublin — and far from trendy. "Ixtapa is still a small town," Sanchez insists. "If I need some strings or something, I cannot get them in Ixtapa, and that's kind of good. I love going on tour, because I can get what I want abroad, but I can come back here and it's this little town."

No, you won't be hearing "Stairway to Heaven."
Courtesy of Big Hassle
No, you won't be hearing "Stairway to Heaven."

Even with the precipitous rise to international fame and the resulting constant touring and intensive practicing that Sanchez and Quintero endure, they still maintain their friendship. "We have a lot of respect toward each other," Sanchez says. "It might have been different 10 years ago, but we don't really get into trouble anymore. We don't fight when we're writing music. We know that the most important thing is to go back to the times when we were writing for the sake of writing, when we didn't have any particular goals and weren't trying to make it." Beyond music, the two also share a passion for ecological issues, which they work on together and independently. "We have the same views," Sanchez explains. "That helps to not fight or get caught up in stupid shit."

Although lifestyle changes and concerns outside of music cause Rodrigo y Gabriela's sound to change and evolve, lovers of the act's more traditional songs needn't worry. Sanchez says that even after traveling all over the world and refocusing on heavier music, there will still be plenty of Latin American influence in their new work.

"The Latin thing is always gonna be there," the virtuoso says excitedly, "because we're fucking Latin people."

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