CONNECTION. If one word sums up the phenomenon of Above & Beyond then that is surely it. Whether it’s the thousands of fans singing their lyrics back at shows around the world, from Bangalore to Beirut to Brixton, or the millions that tune in for their weekly Group Therapy (ABGT) radio show, connection – real human connection – is at the heart of all things that define this multitalented trio.
Above & Beyond is Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness and Paavo Siljamaki, and their story is one of constant movement over a 14-year history. From their early days as hotly-tipped producers remixing Radiohead and Madonna, to their current global standing, Jono, Tony and Paavo have remained as down-to-earth and determined as ever – always focused on the next goal.
The only dance act in history to win the Essential Mix Of The Year award twice (for their 2004 and 2011 efforts), the London-based trio have played to one million people on the Barra Beach in Rio de Janeiro (New Year’s Eve in 2007), sold out the Hollywood Palladium faster than anyone in history, and even had their track “Buzz” chosen to soundtrack the launch of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo in the Mojave desert. As these landmarks rack up, the non-stop pulse of their global touring keeps them connected to their growing international fan base. Each week brings another crowd, another country and often another continent, and an ABGT radio broadcast heard by over 25 million people.
A band first and foremost, Above & Beyond are songwriters as much as they are DJs. Their latest project, ‘Above & Beyond Acoustic,’ showcases their deeply rooted musicianship and classical training. Slated for release as a movie and album at the beginning of 2014, the trio has performed the project live both at London’s intimate Porchester Hall, and in two sold-out performances at LA’s renowned, 6,000-capacity Greek Theatre. Working with three singers, a string quartet, harpist, drummer and bassist, Tony sings and plays guitar, mandolin and ukulele, Paavo hits the grand piano, and Jono plays the Rhodes piano, guitar and vibraphone. The resulting product is unlike any undertaking by a dance music act in history. As Billboard noted: “Above & Beyond created one of the finest and more memorable shows in EDM history.”
Throughout this process, Above & Beyond has continued to release forward-thinking instrumental club music – such as their latest single “Mariana Trench” – on their renowned Anjunabeats label. An essential part of their story, the label is now in its 13th year and has helped to nurture artists like the London-based innovator Mat Zo, the eclectic genius Andrew Bayer and Russian star Arty. Independently spirited but run with ambitious vision, the label has grown like a family. “Dance music tends to be very short term, but we aim to release records that will leave a lasting impression on people and are listened to in years to come” explains Jono. “We try to operate in our own way rather than trying to follow trends.”