ABGT250 Artist Series || Above & Beyond
Join the EDM Identity Team as we highlight the artists playing in September at The Gorge for ABGT250!
ABGT250 marks a special occasion: it’s the first-ever Above & Beyond weekender, and we wanted to do something to commemorate the experience. Each week leading up to the event, we will feature two of the artists on the lineup, along with some recent releases or mixes so you can get to know their sound. Last in our series, but most definitely not least is… Above & Beyond!
Don’t forget to check out the other artist bios in our series to get hyped for what is certain to be one of the best weekends of the year!
Since officially debuting in 2000, Above & Beyond has been a dominating force in the trance music scene.
It was at the turn of the century when Jono Grant, Paavo Siljamäki, and Tony McGuinness first came together to form Above & Beyond. While Jono and Paavo met at school and released a track under the Anjunabeats alias, Tony joined up soon after. He had been commissioned to remix Chakra’s track “Home” and reached out to the Jono and Paavo after his brother, Liam, had discovered them through a sample library.
The success of this remix began Above & Beyond’s journey in becoming one of the most renowned vocal trance remixers in the scene. Taking on tracks like Aurora’s “Ordinary World”, Delerium’s “Underwater”, Motorcycle’s “As The Rush Comes”, and a major remix of Madonna’s “What It Feels Like For A Girl” in their early years.
Jono, Tony, and Paavo began to find their way into the hearts of fans at shows all over the world in 2002.
Making their DJ debut in Tokyo, they quickly amassed a following that allowed them to take the stage at major festivals and events ranging from Creamfields to Glastonbury, with a solid dose of Ibiza club appearances too.
The trio has also gained serious notoriety through their weekly radio broadcast Trance Around The World, which transitioned to Group Therapy in 2012. Additionally, Above & Beyond has been featured in the Essential Mix Series on BBC Radio 1 in 2004 and 2011 and won Essential Mix of the Year both times. They also played a short set for the series this year at Creamfields Ibiza.
Hosting big events at every 50th Episode of ABGT, there have always been quality sets and amazing settings. Notable venues for previous ABGT have been ABGT100 at Madison Square Garden and ABGT200 at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. Now, they will be making their mark once again with ABGT250 at yet another iconic venue, The Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington.
When looking at their history, Above & Beyond can be explored through different eras.
As artists who have constantly evolved their sound over the course of their careers, something that has never seemed to change is the message and emotion in their music. There are some differences between the releases in the “Tri-State era” compared to those that came in the “Group Therapy era” and later, most of which involve their departure from trance to a more progressive sound.
Their debut album, Tri-State, was hailed as one of the best trance albums to date and is still revered by many as their best work. Tracks featured on the album quickly became classics of the genre and you can still hear “Alone Tonight”, “Can’t Sleep” and more played out around the world today.
As if Above & Beyond couldn’t follow that release up with something bigger, their release of Group Therapy in 2011 absolutely dominated the trance landscape.
“Sun & Moon”, “Thing Called Love”, and “On My Way To Heaven”, along with the rest of the tracks on the stunning album helped the trio ascend to even greater heights than ever before. To this day, their Group Therapy mantra permeates their shows, making them a religious experience for many who have followed them over the years.
Since the release of Group Therapy, Above & Beyond have gone on to produce numerous other singles, two acoustic albums, and a third album entitled We Are All We Need. Their two acoustic releases were paired with live concerts that featured many of the original vocalists and more. With the first shows hitting London and Los Angeles, the second series toured throughout North America to bring fans lasting memories and a unique experience.
Their most recent album, We Are All We Need, was released in between the acoustic series. It is Above & Beyond’s highest charting album to date and was also nominated for a Grammy in 2016. Featuring tracks like “Blue Sky Action”, “Sticky Fingers”, “Hello”, it quickly entered the hearts of the Anjuna-faithful around the globe. Many of the tracks on the album had been played out during their shows post-Group Therapy, specifically “Blue Sky Action” which was known as “King For A Day” during its ID phase.
While there have been many aliases that Above & Beyond have taken over the years, none have been as well-received as OceanLab.
The project, which includes vocalist Justine Suissa, is centered around the vocal trance genre and has many of Above & Beyond’s most popular releases under its moniker. Debuting with the track “Clear Blue Water” in 2001, the project ran alongside other Above & Beyond releases for nearly a decade.
The beloved tune “Satellite” from 2004 helped mark the true arrival of Above & Beyond as a dominating force in the trance scene and paved the way for their OceanLab album Sirens of the Sea in 2008. While the project was put on hiatus in 2014, they surprised many with releases under the alias in September of 2015 (“Another Chance”) and 2016 (“Alright Now”). Hopefully, this means we will see more OceanLab releases in the future.
Whether you fell in love with them over a decade ago or stumbled on them after the release of We Are All We Need, Above & Beyond continue to play some of the best shows in the scene.
Taking the stage at numerous festivals around the world, they bring their signature sound, unreal vibes, and positive message with them wherever they go. Their sets evoke emotion that can bring crowds to tears, paired with beats that keep you dancing it all out throughout the entire time.
I have personally seen Above & Beyond many times, in many different settings, and can honestly say that they are one of my favorite groups currently involved in the scene. Some of my favorite memories include catching them in the rain in Miami and at Electric Forest, their absolutely stunning set at EDC Las Vegas 2014, and surrounded by some of my best friends on New Year’s Day 2016.
When reflecting on my time spent listening and dancing to their music, I can honestly say that Above & Beyond has changed my life and helped me overcome many problems I faced. For this, I thank them, and cannot wait to catch them again at ABGT250.
I can’t wait to catch them at The Gorge for ABGT250 alongside many of you reading this now. See you all this weekend!
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