Above & Beyond “confident we can do something amazing” in Australia

The last time we saw Above & Beyond in Australia, it was Paavo Siljamí¤ki and Jono Grant on the Creamfields mainstage alongside Alesso, David Guetta and Dirty South. This week, the Anjunabeats bosses return on their own terms for a headline tour, beginning at Brisbane’s Family on Friday night. For all five shows, Above & Beyond will be joined by two standout acts from the Anjuna family: Norin & Rad and Andrew Bayer. Ahead of the tour, inthemix got on Skype to Siljamí¤ki to see how the preparations are going.

While the trio’s next album is in its “very, very early” stages of production, we can expect to hear new music from the forthcoming Anjunabeats Volume 10 compilation, which arrives on March 4. As Siljamí¤ki told inthemix, the three acts on this tour will make for a cohesive night of music.

“Andrew Bayer is just mastering his new album at the moment, and it’s even more out there than the last,” he said. “We love him for that – he’s a visionary songwriter and producer. With Norin & Rad, we play all their music all the time, so when they’re on after us we can’t actually play their records. Maybe it wasn’t a clever move! They’ve been playing some really interesting sets. We’re all different – Andrew, us and Norin & Rad – and there’s a natural progression there in what we all play.”

“These days there’s so much variety in the sonics of the records. It reminds me of when I got into dance music in the mid-’90s.”

2012 saw Above & Beyond retire the Trance Around The World radio show, launching Group Therapy Radio in its place. ‘ABGT001’ was beamed in from a huge party at Jayamahal Palace in Bangalore, India, with the headliners joined by Mat Zo, Norin & Rad, Andrew Bayer and Jody Wisternoff. From the perspective of the hosts, is there something freeing about taking the word ‘trance’ out of the show’s name?

“A lot of music we make is trance, but there’s also music we make where I’m not sure what genre tag you’d put on it,” Siljamí¤ki said. “Like for example the track in the ‘Small Moments…’ video – is that trance? Does it matter? Tempos have been coming down, with a lot of influence from house and techno. There’s been a lot of genre cross-pollination. I feel five or six years ago, the sound of the records was more similar and these days there’s so much variety in the sonics of the records.

“It can now be more challenging to put together DJ sets and radio shows in the way that it wasn’t a little while ago,” he went on. “But it’s also exciting because it reminds me of when I got into dance music in the mid-’90s. There were lots of records with different tempos and sounds.

“One of our recent Records Of The Week was James Zabiela’s The Healing; I never expected he’d come up with a track like that, but I absolutely love it. It’s more ambient. Then on the other hand, you have Mat Zo and Porter Robinson making Easy, which is more from the commercial end. We had Guy J do a guest mix for us a couple of weeks ago, and to be honest, I hadn’t quite realised before how good he is. I like to be surprised like that. I don’t know what next month is going to bring, and that’s a nice feeling.”

As for the production Above & Beyond is bringing to Australia this summer, there’s a simple promise from Siljamí¤ki: “I’ve been very involved in our show development over the last year, and I feel confident we can do something amazing.” We expect that confidence is shared.