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Friday 15th, December 2006
Above & Beyond Interview

Reaching a massive number 9 in this years DJ mag top 100, there is no denying Above & Beyond's success over the last few years. We catch up with the Anjuna boys to find out their favorite productions, as well as their fave Anjunabeats tracks, and we ask a few questions fans are gonna want to hear about!

Trance.nu: First off, I'll just say that it's been amazing watching you fellows climb steadily through the Top 100. Are you surprised to reach number 9 this year? And where do you think you will end up next year?

Jono: Thanks!

We have worked very hard over the past few years, and itís very kind of the people to vote for us. It takes years for stuff to filter down to a more mass market audience, which is what the DJ poll has now become. Our productions have been played for years by other DJs before we were playing in places like the USA, but in those days people didnít realise it was our music. That highlights the scary thing about the mass audience and what their understanding of a DJ is! Of course an educated audience such as Trance.nu is on top of whatís what musically.

Itís impossible to say what will happen next year, but the most important thing is to focus on being our best in both the studio Ė with great music we can do great DJ sets. It really is that simple. The poll is regarded as a measure of success I suppose, but these things happen naturally if you do good things. So although of course it would be nice to well in these polls (and anyone who tells you otherwise is most probably lying!) I try not to think about it. As long as you know in your heart you are doing something great, then thatís all anyone can ask for. I just want to make some music that leaves a mark when Iím gone!

T.nu: What can you tell us about your upcoming work? Are there any singles, albums or upcoming projects you can reveal anything about?

Paavo: We've just finished some club mixes of "Good For Me", a single from our album "Tri-State", featuring Zoe Johnston, that will be released in early 2007. We've also been working on some more club mixes of the tracks from the album that should surface soon. We've also spent lots of days drinking tea with Justine Suissa recently...

T.nu: How are things going with your very successful Oceanlab project?

Tony: The long overdue OceanLab album is taking shape slowly but surely. Weíre at the song writing stage right now. We have about a dozen tracks in various stages of completion and weíll keep writing until we have lots of great songs to choose from: the four OceanLab singles to date have all been really well loved and so thereís a lot to live up to.

T.nu: The Oceanlab Remix Competition is still talked about to this day. Have you ever considered another remix contest?

Jono: Weíve certainly considered it, and itís something we may do again in the future. Itís unbelievable quite how much work it is to go through hundreds of remixes, though!

T.nu: Do you each have a favorite Above & Beyond / Oceanlab / Tranquility Base production?

Jono: Iíd have to say ĎAir For Life'. Iím a perfectionist (though there is no such thing as perfect so I live a frustrating life haha!), and whenever I listen to anything weíve done I can always find things to change! With ĎAir For Lifeí, both mix-wise and musically, I can honestly still hear the track and not feel I would have done anything different which is a calm feeling! It also features my favourite synth on bass, the Sequential Circuits Pro One. In these days of most things being software, I feel even more attached to my hardware synth babies!

Tony: For years it was Tranquility base ďRazorfishĒ but this week, Iíve mostly been liking ďStealing TimeĒ.

Paavo: I tend not to listen to our previous work that often but one of the tracks that means a lot to me is "Good For Me", as it was written when Zoe as well as my wife were both pregnant and it's a song for our babies!

T.nu: Aside from your own, what are your favorite Anjunabeats releases?

Paavo: I was handed a CD of 2 Devine "Black Is The Colour" a few years ago and it's not often I come across such powerful and original sounding record, so that would currently top my list. Other firm favourites are tracks like Super 8 "Get Off" and Lucas & Beltram "Trust Me".

T.nu: Tony - the most-wanted unreleased tune from Anjunabeats is definitely Nitromethane - "Religion" (a production by Tony and his brother. The delays have stemmed in getting permission from Madonna as it samples her song, "Drowned World / Substitute For Love"). News seems to have come to a halt with it since you played it out as the finale for TATW episode 1(!), is there still hope for it to see the light?

Tony: Oh God! I really need to get this out in some form just to stop all the agony thatís flying around. Sorry, everyone. Madonna said no to the sample and even said no to a version with a re-recorded vocal (which Iíve already done). Maybe Iíll stick it out as an instrumental!

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T.nu: Your gigs have been spanning the entire globe. What would you say has been your favorite place to play out in the last year?

Jono: Itís totally dependant on the venue and crowd but South America has a great vibe to it. The sound system is very important too Ė it helps make me really enjoy the music and that rubs off on the crowd. I also love playing in the States or even Turnmills in London. I say ďevenĒ Turnmills, because although itís a great club itís perhaps not the most exotic answer from me Ė I could just about walk home after the show! Part of the charm somehow!

T.nu: Your weekly show, Trance Around The World - broadcast every Tuesday from your own website - is bigger than ever these days. Are you surprised by the fast growth in audience?

Paavo: It's really amazing what a wide audience the show is getting these days; wherever we travel we always meet people who follow it each week even if to them catching it live means waking up in the middle of the night! So yeah, we've all been thrilled, and this autumn we're not even sure what happened but the listener numbers have multiplied suddenly. It's great to see so many people appreciating the music we love.

T.nu: Will you be playing at Space @ Ibiza in the near future? Those episodes certainly seem to be favored among your most popular broadcasts.

Tony: It was great to play at Space for a change Ė we played there as part of a Radio 1 broadcast as the club really doesnít have anything remotely trancey in their schedules as itís all famously about house and techno. So I think that was a one off.

T.nu: Do you plan on adding any other shows to Anjunabeats Radio?

Jono: Itís certainly a possibility, but itís not something Iím personally focusing my energy into.

T.nu: Back in 2004 you were invited to do an Essential Mix for Radio 1. Your appearance became the most popular mix of the whole year. Have you been asked back for round two?

Paavo: Yes, we've been talking with them to find a time that suits both. It's been rather hectic here with all the touring and songwriting but we'll be returning to the decks soon.

T.nu: You recently merged your Anjunabeats store into a new website, CDJShop.com. Do you find the transition working well?

Tony: The shop was getting too big for us to be able to manage it internally, so the new business (a joint venture with Brisky from Chemical Records) is in part a way of putting some proper back end behind our web shop to make it run more efficiently and reliably. But more than that itís a way of finally getting dance music available on CD singles. Unlike most other genres of music, dance music went from vinyl straight to MP3, bypassing CD singles which were only rarely available for cross over dance tracks. But since weíre all DJing on CD nowadays this seemed a little stupid to us. We have close to 40 labels signed up and so now DJs can get CD sound quality on their CD singles, instead of crappy sounding MP3s, with smudgeproof, scribble proof CDs.

T.nu: The three of you have been stopping by your forum more often as of late, surprising some of the newer members. How do you guys manage to find time to browse the forums with your busy schedule?

Jono: We have? Oh, Iím glad you think that! Itís not easy to find time to do, not only because of the busy nature of the job, but also because when you do finally get a moment sometimes you need to relax and do nothing! As we are doing this interview now Iím looking at my watch to make sure I donít miss my flightÖ.! I donít feel I get to check the forum enough! Weíre only human, but I think our fans would rather we make something great in the studio than spend time in the forum. You learn to be disciplined with your time. I must admit I have often answered forum questions when stuck in an airport!

T.nu: Tony, Paavo, Jono, thank you for taking time to participate in this grand interview for trance.nu!

Jono: Thanks a lot for inviting us to participate, and we really appreciate the support of Trance.nu and all our friends there!

You can catch Trance Around The World with Above & Beyond, on Tuesdays at 8pm GMT, @ http://www.anjunabeats.com

Time Zone Conversions:
9:00-11:00PM Europe
3:00-5:00PM East USA
12:00-2:00PM West USA
5:00-7:00AM Australia (wake up early!)


Interview by Steve Bolger and

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