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Saturday 14th, March 2009
Above & Beyond 2009
Updated: Monday 16th, March 2009

: Trance.nu caught up with Tony from Above & Beyond about their latest project, Anjunadeep:01 and their upcoming appearances at WMC in Miami.

Thank you Tony McGuiness fromAbove & Beyond for speaking with Trance.nu about your upcoming Anjunabeats night in Southbeach, Miami during WMC 09.

Trance.nu: How would you describe the difference between the Above & Beyond, Oceanlab, and Anjunadeep sounds?

Tony: Above & Beyond is the name of the group, OceanLab is a project we do with Justine Suissa and Anjunadeep is a label which concentrates on the area between house and trance: so there’s some overlap but they are really chalk and cheese. And crisps.

Trance.nu: Can you tell more about some of the artists featured on Anjunadeep 01, such as Jaytech, Michael Cassette (aka Komytea), Interplay, Joonas Hahmo and recent high profile addition 16 Bit Lolitas.

Tony: Jaytech is a major new star from Australia, who makes chunky, funky trance inspired progressive and has recently released his first artist album “Everything Is OK”, following a slew of successful singles. Michael Cassette is the name of an 80’s inspired project from two very clever Finnish producers called Matti Heininen & Erkka Lempiäinen, who also record under the name of Komytea. Interplay hails from Holland and, with Electrobios, released one of the big Anjunadeep hits last year called “With You”. Joonas Hahmo is another very clever Finn who has had some excellent release on Anjunadeep including the massive “Cocktail Bar”, a piano house monster! 16 Bit Lolitas are the most recent high profile defection to the label: I’m sure they need no introduction!

Trance.nu: Should your fans expect a different style and play list during an Anjunadeep night, such as the one your hosting during WMC in Miami.

Tony: Not really. We’ve been doing the same kind of thing since we started: depending on how long we play for we always try and cover a broad range of melodic music: our first ever DJ set had Max Graham and Brothers in Rhythm in it as well as banging trance. And the first ever Anjunabeats release (“Anjunabeats Volume One”) had an Anjunadeep mix on the B side, so the success of the label is just balancing things out. We love music that gets your heart, mind, soul and feet moving, regardless of genre.

Trance.nu: You have been performing at WMC for a few years now, is a conference and gathering on this scale, of the world’s top electronic talent, still important or even necessary?

Tony: That’s a good question. It’s a zoo, that’s for sure. There’s too much on for any sane person to be able to see it all, but that’s always been the case. It has its own, Inbuilt importance and necessity.

Trance.nu: Do you prepare differently for a large show or conference like WMC.

Tony: Definitely. Quite often at a big festival you only have a short set, so preparation and some careful editing is crucial.

Trance.nu: Are there artists who will play some of your Anjunadeep tracks, who would not usually be playing music from Above & Beyond.

Tony: Absolutely: there are very few DJs who are as catholic as us. A lot of the high profile house guys are huge fans of Anjunadeep, people like James Jabiela (who guested on our radio show Trance Around The World last week), Desyn Masiello and Eric Prydz. These guys never get much past 128 BPM.

Trance.nu: You have become one of the veterans of the electronic music scene, can you describe the responsibilities you have in helping the younger talent on your labels and friends in the business.

Tony: All three of us have specific A&R responsibilities within the label, so we’re constantly helping and encouraging the up and coming talent on the label (and even people outside the label we come into contact with). And I think anyone will tell you we are pretty approachable guys and not short of an opinion.

Trance.nu: Do you still have the same affection for music as when you started in this industry.

Tony: In some ways more so. We don’t feel quite so pigeon holed as we once were and that gives you a great deal more freedom: finally with Anjunadeep and Anjunabeats attracting the very best of talent from right across the musical spectrum we like we’re not only playing all of that music but are involved withy its creation at every level.

Trance.nu Which DJ or musician do you enjoy listening to, that would most surprise your fans.

Tony: I love tech house, so people like The Timewriter, Terry Lee Brown and Neil Quigley will get me scampering across muddy fields at any festival we’re all playing at. Music-wise I love almost anything except death metal and reggae, so I’m bang up for The Script, Kings of Leon, Telefon Tel Aviv (RIP), Cliff Martinez or Frank Sinatra.

Trance.nu In this era of digital music, high quality recorded live sets, and streaming videos, is attending a live Above & Beyond show still important.

Tony: It is for me, yes! The feeling you get being in a room full of people, listening to a group you love and realizing everyone feels the same cannot be replicated by listening at home. That’s why there are still cinemas and theatres, years after the advent of TV. Its partly the human fragility of a live performance that draws people in, but it is mainly the sense of community you feel being in a room with lots of like minded people. I'll give you an example. A year or so ago the original drummer from Crowded House, his name was Paul Hester, committed suicide. The very next day the band played at the Albert Hall and I was there - I'd bought tickets weeks before and had been looking forward to the gig. And it was intense. The singer, Neil Finn, said at one point “in view of what happened last night, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be today than in this room with all you people”. Its all well and good to interact with people on the web, but the sense of belonging you get from a gig or a football match or any big gathering like that can’t be replaced.

Trance.nu What do you believe is the role of a site like ours, Trance.nu, and social networks (Facebook, Myspace) in your career.

Tony: I think forums like trance.nu and our own forum at Anjunabeats have been incredibly important in building a community of fans of the group and Anjunabeats, especially in the early days. We’ve been active on the web right from the start and were one of the first labels to sell downloads. There are so many options now with MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and so on: they all play a role and it is changing and evolving all the time.

Trance.nu In general, how would you describe the direction the music industry is moving towards and are you happy with it?

Tony: The big record companies are becoming more and more risk averse as the market is shrinking and live performance is becoming more important. That suits us: we have a medium sized label that works perfectly well without the majors, and we love live performance and are planning more of it, so its all OK.

Trance.nu: More specifically, where is EDM heading, and does that direction please you.

Tony: It is becoming a bit more mixed up in terms of genre and, as we were saying at the start, that suits us just fine.

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