We Are All We Need
Not only was Above and Beyond’s Jono Grant on hand to deliver an ace NYE set at Eden this year, he also had time to sit down with Infusion’s Matt Zaharias to talk trance, group favourites and new album We Are All We Need...
Dubai is a classic kind of transient audience,
so you’ve got a lot of people coming in on holiday, a lot of expats, a lot of people checking out what all the fuss is about, so you obviously do get a local audience as well, but I think there’s a big transient audience that come through every week, so you’ll catch people who have seen you in other countries a lot.
I think we set out to make an album that was slightly less clubby than Group Therapy
and more song led, and then when I played it to someone, they said it was more clubby than Group Therapy. So maybe we didn’t achieve our goal in that sense, but I don’t know (what to expect) really – it’s an album that’s got sixteen tracks on it, mainly songs, a few instrumentals on there as well.
I think every member of the band ata ches different meanings to that We Are All We Need,
for me it’s certainly not in a narcissistic sense…”We’re all we need, Above and Beyond is all we need” – it’s certainly not meant that way! It’s more like, we’re all we need as in terms of community, family friends and also you know, do you need to look for something else, when you have right in front of you all you need to change the world. It’s sort of an empowering thing in my view, you know.
Technology in the studio changes a lot, the writing process doesn’t change so much.
It’s still the same way we work, we did try new things out here and there, but we write a lot of stuff on the piano or guitar, a few simple sounds, and then get the singers in and write stuff over the top. But the technology’s changed a lot, studio stuff is getting better and better at emulating old analogue studio equipment, which is really nice for getting a good sound, so that’s exciting. But obviously the production style changes over the years as well, and you’re influenced by other artists, and other music, so that changes too…
Trance… trance is like, well, I see a lot of trance artists saying “trance is going to come back”
– my answer is “has it ever gone away?”. It’s always there, you know, the trance fans are the most loyal fans you could possibly have, it’s like heavy metal, it’s the same thing but a different genre. Heavy metal fans, they get the tattoos, buy all the
merchandise, get really into it, and trance is the same, but you might not see heavy metal fans in the street, or recognize them… well, you might with the tattoos sometimes, but what I’m saying is, you put Iron Maiden on at a festival, suddenly fiftythousand people turn up from nowhere and it’s the same with trance music.
In a sense, I’m not so interested in what Trance is, I just like good music…
for me, the genre thing… if I hear like… what we’re hearing right now in the background, what is this, ‘Body Language’? That’s a great record, but what is it, techno, I don’t know what it is, but it’s a great record, and that’s what I listen for when we get sent records and want to add stuff to our set, it’s not a case of “does it fit above and beyond’s genre” – I don’t really care!
The best advice I can give is ‘be yours elf’.
Make sure you follow your heart with your sound. You’ll find you’ll be pulled in a lot of directions in terms of social media and stuff like that these days, and if you listen to too many people, you’ll actually end up losing the core of what you do. If you’re not sure if something you do is good, that’s ok too. But if you believe that something you are doing is really really good, stick with it. Just because you’re not getting traction straight away doesn’t mean what you’re doing is not very good.
The biggest production tip is get on on Youtube,
look at some of the videos of other producers because you’ll learn a lot from them. I still do that now, and I still watch as much stuff as I can on Youtube from other producers, programs like Pensado’s Place is a great studio program, and watch all those, absorb all the information from the guys who’ve been doing it for years. You can never stop learning
and that’s why I keep doing it, because it’s still interesting.
We don’t really hang out as friends because we’re always on the road to gether.
I think we’d be beating each other up if we were! I couldn’t pick a favourite, I love them both. But you know, if you spend too much time with Paavo then you want to be with Tony for a bit, and I’m sure they’re the same with me. So you know, they’re both great – they’re both great people to tour with.
Selling out Madison Square Gardens was great
, but what I would say is it’s not about the size of the gig, you can have a great gig with 400 people in a dark club, just as you can in MSG, so I think the important thing to remember, and I always say it to the other guys, is we can’t always get bigger and bigger and bigger, you’ve got to go sideways or do something different sometimes. So that’s my take on that – you don’t top it, you do something different. And don’t always try and grow - the myth of eternal growth is a capitalist ideal that doesn’t really exist in my opinion.
The chalenge is still there for me,
and as long as the challenge stays to make music and you know, every record is a challenge, it’s like a painful experience sometimes, because you want to try and make it perfect and as long as that stays there, I think I’ll keep doing it. I’ll certainly be doing music of some kind in five years, hopefully still dance music, and hopefully still DJing, but you never know what tomorrow brings, so we’ll take each day as it comes.
Above and Beyond, We Are All We Need is out now aboveandbeyond.nu