Above & Beyond has become world-famous for its brand of hypnotic, uplifting and melodic trance. But rating highly in international DJ polls is only a fraction of the hype for Jono Grant, Paavo Siljamäki and Tony McGuinness.
The trio’s radio show, “Trance Around The World,” reaches over 30 million listeners in 35 countries. Their impressive collaborations can’t go unrecognized either—a quick discog glance highlights names like Gareth Emery, Andy Moor and Tranquility Base. Above & Beyond can even boast remixing tracks for Madonna, Britney Spears and Dido.
And their live DJ shows are things to behold. From Coachella to Electric Zoo to Ultra Music Festival, fans are synched to each beat from slow tempos to upbeat bangers. Currently on tour to support Group Therapy, the group’s recent Anjunabeats release, Above & Beyond’s Grant and Siljamäki sat down with DJ Times.
DJ Times: There’s a weird rumor about your technical rider that your opening DJs are not allowed to play over 128 BPM. Is this true or is that just an urban legend?
Grant: We didn’t write it. Our management did, but it makes sense to have a warm-up DJ warming up rather than sort of trying to steal the show. It’s nice to be able to play a full Above & Beyond set starting at a slow tempo and building up to more banging stuff. If someone’s done that job beforehand, it’s not too helpful. So I’m sure that’s why that’s in there.
DJ Times: When you’re out there, do you find a lot of resident DJs just don’t have patience or that DJs in general have trouble with that?
Siljamäki: Well, obviously there are lots of resident DJs around the world, lots of people with different styles and everything, but I think all the good resident DJs always have a progression of the night in mind. We really love playing with Jaytech—he’s doing a lot of dates on this tour with us. The other guy we really love playing with is Mat Zo—he’s also doing about half the shows. I think the best nights are ones where the artists naturally end up creating a wonderful progression from sort of groovier, more downtempo stuff and into a really uplifting, absolutely having-it moment—and I think that’s what we’re about, giving people a night like that.
Grant: I think it’s different if you’re on a festival lineup. The lineups kind of pre-determine, but when it’s your night, you want to plan it out as you are. So that’s probably why we like to have the right sort of warm-up DJs before us.