Above & Beyond Biography:
Above and Beyond could be considered one of the best acts in the EDM industry. Currently at the #5 spot in DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll, Paavo Siljamäki, Jono Grant, and Tony McGuinness have solidified their eternal presence on the scene. Their newest album, Group Therapy, was celebrated around the world and saw commercial success across the globe. Besides touring and producing their own music, they are the proprietors of the world renowned record label, Anjunabeats, which has signed massive artists such as Arty and Mat Zo. Above and Beyond truly defines what it means to be at the top of the business and Techibeats had the distinct pleasure of having the undeniable honor to interview them…
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today! How are you guys doing?
Jono: Very good. Just completed an 18-show US tour which went really well.
Your highly-successful UK based trance label, Anjunabeats was once described by MixMag as, “…the blueprint of how a trance label should be”. To whom or what do you attribute that success?
Jono: I think it’s a case of putting quality first and doing old-fashioned A&R with the artists. We work hard to try and get the tracks as best as they can be with each individual artist. It takes a lot of time, but I think the results are worth it.
Many people look fondly back on your Oceanlab project with Justine Suissa. With tracks like “Breaking Ties” and “Sirens of the Sea” still fresh on the minds of A&B fans, is there any chance that we’ll see this collaboration again in the near future?
Jono: It’s certainly something I’d love to resurrect in the future as Justine is so talented and as you say, I think the fans would like it.
The air is buzzing with excitement due to the fact that you guys are doing a Group Therapy Miami show during the Winter Music Conference right before the Ultra Music Festival, how excited are you guys for that event and what surprises can fans expect to see?
Jono: Other than previously playing at Ultra Fest, it will be our biggest Miami show to date so that is exciting. We’ll be playing some new material, plus the production is going to be pretty immense.
We’d like to congratulate you guys on winning the prestigious award of Essential Mix of 2011! You gentlemen also won the award back in 2004, explain the mindset and mentality you had to have to accomplish this feat twice in one decade?
Jono: It’s wonderful to win Essential Mix of the Year. I have to be honest and say that I don’t get overly excited about winning industry awards for the most part – it’s best just to stay focused on what you do. I do feel slightly differently about the Essential Mix as it has always been a really important piece of radio historically, largely thanks to Pete Tong’s careful input and all the DJs who have historically been on the show. Also it was a Paul Oakenfold Essential Mix back in the 90s that made me listen up to EDM.
Your “Group Therapy” album was long awaited by many A&B fans and upon its release touched many lives. In some of your live sets, you guys have LED screens that convey messages of love, peace, and understanding to your audiences, how did this idea come about and what is the meaning behind the name “Group Therapy”
Paavo: The live messaging thing began some years ago when we felt we wanted to communicate with the crowd, but didn’t want to shout on a mic. We had a laptop in the booth and started writing words and small sentences on it and showing those to people and instantly found it a lot of fun and a great way to add meaning to what we were all listening to at the time. As the laptop trick didn’t really work on bigger shows we looked for a way to keep the same ‘live feel’ and making it simple for us to write live messages during the show and developed our own geeky way of doing it that’s been great from small shows to stadiums. The messages themselves are often what our songs core idea is about and we tend to write true stories about our real life experiences.
What up and coming Anjunabeats artist productions are you looking the most forward to hearing in 2012?
Paavo: Every single time I’ve heard something new from Parker & Hanson i’ve been amazed about the songwriting talent they have. They’re working on an artist album and i feel their style’s naturally going to create a legendary album.
The weekly radio show, Trance Around the World with Above & Beyond always features many great tracks from talents like Solarstone, Nitrous Oxide, Maor Levi, Arty, and Mat Zo. You guys must receive tons of music all the time from artists looking to debut on your show. What is the process that goes in to listening to and then selecting these tracks?
Paavo: We have a couple of people helping us with the submissions each week and get presented with the ‘cream of the crop’ from which we then compile the show from. It’s often obvious what won’t and will work well on the show, but it can take some time to hear them as we can get over 800 mp3s in the busiest weeks.
You recently had the 400th episode of TATW in Beirut, Lebanon that was broadcast live around the world! Tell us about that experience and what that huge milestone means for Above & Beyond as a group.
Paavo: Our radio show has grown to be one of the most important ways we keep in touch with others around the world enjoying the same music as us. Being able to do the 400th episode live from Lebanon was truly amazing, not only being at the heart of the middle east, but in a city with an incredible clubbing heritage, not only where we did our first ever live show, but a city that lives and breathes dance music. The day and party itself was one of the busiest of our lives but seeing the response around the world to what we were doing in Beirut was just incredible: We went #1 global trending topic on twitter and then beyond and the amount of love out there was so nice to see.
Thank you so much for your time here with us at Techibeats. Keep making the music that both you and the fans love, and we are looking forward to seeing you perform in San Francisco very soon.
Paavo: See you there!
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