Google hosts intimate Q&A with Above & Beyond (Video)

Tony McGuinness stated Above & Beyond’s New Album will be “A mixture of Reggaeton and Trap”

Yes, he actually said that. But don’t worry, the British are known for their sarcasm and quick wit. All jokes aside, McGuinness and his other Above & Beyond group-mates Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamaki actually got quite serious in their recent 40 minute interview with Google that took place two weeks before their ABGT 100 show at Madison Square Garden, revealing information that even I as a super fan have never heard before! Too lazy to watch it? Don’t worry guys, I’ve got you covered with the highlights below.

What to expect in the album:

As with any Above & Beyond album, the boys are always striving to to push the envelope in what they put out there for the crowd. “We Are All We Need” is no different; according to Tony the album contains a whopping 16 tracks along with collaborations with Justine Suissa, who we haven’t heard much of since their most recent Oceanlab releases. The album concept, he says, “suggests a mutual self-reliance…it comes from Group Therapy; it’s about what you can achieve with other people.

Choosing vocalists:

“We try to dig a bit deeper and look outside of the genre that we have roots in,” said Jono in reference to how many electronic musicians choose their vocalists. As opposed to finding a fresh, “off the shelf” artist that is popular in the electronic world, Above & Beyond like to find vocalists that are off the beaten path and make music that they feel fits their music.

ABGT 100 at Madison Square Garden:

The boys never dreamed of playing Madison Square Garden, and humbly said “the response was incredible” when it came to the announcement and quick ticket sales. Getting there was quite a process as well; the wheels had been in motion for the show since January. One easy thing, however, was choosing the artists; Tony said they chose themselves. “This year is Ilan Bluestone’s year…Mat Zo, goes from strength-to-strength, and Andrew Bayer is an enormous and important part of the label and Above & Beyond.”


Above & Beyond

Their time at Burning Man:

They found it quite fun and interesting to do a “yoga (chill)” set and a deep house set during the fest; their performance at White Ocean was more traditional, but the crowd they said was not. Paavo in particular was greatly touched by the festival; “Burning man is about doing really cool things for each other, and when you see people doing cool things for each other then you also want to do the same thing. If the world was like Burning Ma it would be a better place.”

Going acoustic:

It was Tony’s idea to do the acoustic project; Paavo and Jono were skeptical at the idea of putting themselves up there with other established bands when they had only been known before for their dance music.

Deep sets:

The boys are “deeply involved” in deep house and have a deep liking for it, but they don’t have much of a chance to do it. In the future, they would like to play the genre more and have a “broader canvas” for sets.

Names on the album cover:

Names were picked randomly via social media, but Jono wouldn’t disclose how exactly they chose them.

Typing messages on the screen and Paavo’s hidden genius:

The typing started from always having a backup laptop around, according to Paavo. Then on a whim our favorite Finnish guy decided to type messages and show it to fans in smaller venues. At EDC 2010 they showed these messages to the cameraman and then they were forwarded to the crowd. Shortly after Paavo came up with the idea of live messaging and encoded a system to be able to type on the screen. Paavo also created a clocking system where he could send BPM from the decks to the visual team to sync timing, and he got pioneer to change resolution on their equipment in order to work with their shows. This man is a smartie!

Above & Beyond

Evolution of the internet and its role in music:

Fun fact – Anjunabeats was among the first wave of record labels to distribute music online! Moving forward with new technologies, Jono is particularly amazed at all of the musical knowledge that could be found through a Youtube search. Paavo noted the rising importance of social media and how people are trying to use it to gain fans. However, he also described Above & Beyond’s own theory behind their success through the World Wide Web: “I think if we really concentrate on the core of what we do – if we try and make the best song that we can and give people the most amazing experiences at shows and online, then hopefully they’ll tell others, and it works.” Adding on to that statement, Jono said, “In a cold-hearted business sense, the product is the music, and you’ve got to put that first. Social media is very much a secondary thing.” According to him, having a good management team is all you need to be well advertised through social media, but the right ideas are what maintains artist success.

Their song writing process:

Tony said the group writes music based on moments in their lives that particularly affected them. Media is also important in the writing process.

“Everything that we see and experience in our lives; every book that we read, record that we hear, and film that we see goes in then comes out somewhere,” he declared.

Paavo chimed in with what inspires him to write music:  “The moments where I felt really inspired is often where I could really connect with an emotional state that I can remember from having experienced [it].”

Jono says he writes personally for himself. When it comes to working with vocalists, the trio and the vocalists write the songs together in order to ensure a smooth process between them.

Favorite remixes/mashups of their own tracks:

Tony without hesitation answered, “Seven Lions’ remix of ‘On My Way to Heaven.'” Jono couldn’t pick any specific favorite but did agree with Tony that the “On My Way to Heaven” remix was a quality track. Paavo said that he enjoyed the Jono/Tony bootleg of “You’ve Got To Go/Believe In Me.”

Christina Hernandez

Christina Hernandez

A die-hard trance family member and a lover of all things related to electronic music, this Oaklander lives for the times when she can let loose and dance. Maybe prone to make corny pun jokes and clichés.
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