On The Road with Above & Beyond
We recently hit the road with Paavo and Jono of British DJ group Above & Beyond as they were on their way to headline Electric Zoo in New York City. Read on for the inside scoop and to hear some insights from these seasoned musicians on how to be successful.
How did you meet and how long have you been together?
Jono: We met at University one night while watching a friend’s band. We’ve been working together for just over 15 years. As for touring, probably heavily around 10 to 12 years. We didn’t used to tour at this level but now we do about a hundred or so a year.
Paavo: 160 this year!
Back in October you became the first British DJs to sell out Madison Square Garden for your 100th episode of your Group Therapy Radio show. Why’d you choose New York?
Jono: It’s such an iconic venue, so that’s why we chose it. Years ago when we came to New York we found it like London — such a hard city to crack as an artist because people are so selective about what they do and don’t like. I like that challenge, and it’s taken us a long time to get to the stage we’re at here.
Uber is in 60 countries around the world, and your weekly radio show has a reach that is not far behind. How have you built such a devoted fan base around the world?
Jono: If you have an idea about something that you believe in, and it’s shared by the people that you work with, there’s probably something in that. The key is to stick to your core values and beliefs as an artist. Chances are other people will have those beliefs and values, too. It’s important to have a laser focus on what you’re trying to achieve and stick to it. You change, the world changes, but it’s about having the solid core of what you do rather than being a bit undefined and changing with the wind.
Paavo: The internet has been such an important medium for us, and we have our fans to thank for introducing our radio show to other people. It’s definitely been word of mouth discovery of the radio show over the years. Thank you to all of the fans who have introduced it to other people!
You are headlining Electric Zoo’s main stage tonight. Is this your first time playing at the festival?
Jono: No it’s not, it’s our 3rd, if not 4th time. Glad to be back, it’s a great festival. It’s nice having an extended summer as it is quite cold in London, so good to come over here and get some sun!
If you could put up a billboard in Times Square, what would it say and why?
Jono: “If you live your life just once, then dont forget about a thing called love.” I’d try and write something that would inspire people to live a better life.
Paavo: Similarly, “we are all we need” is probably what I’d write. In today’s media there’s so much negativity and highlighting the difficult side of life. There isn’t enough of that positive message and there are so many wonderful things happening all over the world. What we need more of in media and billboards is positive and encouraging things to see.
Where were you before New York?
Jono: Well we were in London together. I also played Ibiza quite recently as well as Malta and Portugal.
Paavo: I was just in Switzerland and Finland with the family. I’m all recharged and ready for action! It’s nice getting a little break from touring. It always makes us really excited and a bit nervous, but I think that’s a good thing.
What is your next destination?
Jono: Headed back to London soon.
Paavo: On the way to ABGT150 in Sydney, we’re going to go to Kuala Lampur and Vietnam. I think it’s going to be a little bit of studio work and getting new bits ready for the show. We want to give people the best possible show! It’s going to be quite special.
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