Above & Beyond:
CONNECTION. If one word sums up the phenomenon of Above & Beyond then that is surely it. Whether it’s the thousands of A&B fans singing their lyrics back at them in concert halls from Beirut to Brixton, or the millions that tune in for their weekly radio show Group Therapy, connection – real human connection - is at the heart of all things that define Above & Beyond.
Much like acts like The Smiths or Joy Division before them, Above & Beyond find themselves embedded at the heart of their fan’s lives. Some walk down the wedding aisle to their songs, others ink their bodies with their lyrics, often a proud couple will choose to get engaged at one of their gigs. All that pledge their loyalty to them, are moved in a way that goes beyond most electronic music out there.
Above & Beyond is Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness and Paavo Siljamaki and their story is one of constant movement. From their early days as hotly tipped producers to their current global standing, Jono, Tony and Paavo have remained as down-to-earth and determined as ever – always focused on the next goal. Over their 11-year history, this dedication has continually paid off.
The only dance act in history to win the Essential Mix Of The Year twice (for both their 2004 and 2011 efforts), the London-based trio have remixed greats like Radiohead and Madonna, played to one million people on the Barra Beach in Rio de Janiero (New Year’s Eve in 2007) and even had their track “Buzz” chosen to soundtrack the launch of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo in the Mojave desert.
And as these landmarks rack up, the non-stop pulse of their global touring keeps them connected to their growing international fanbase. Each week brings another crowd, another country and often another continent, while their weekly TATW radio show now reaches over 30 million people worldwide.
A band first and foremost, Above & Beyond are songwriters as much as they are DJs and their second album “Group Therapy” has taken their sound to new heights. The follow-up to 2006’s widely acclaimed debut “Tri-State”, the album draws on musical reference points as diverse as French cosmic pop heroes Air, American singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley and soundtrack master Hans Zimmer. “We are always looking to explore new territory but try to operate in our own way rather than just trying to follow trends,” explains Jono. The combined result on “Group Therapy” was unmistakably Above & Beyond – a cohesive album that was described by Mixmag as “the artist album of the year”.
At the heart of the album’s allure, of course, were songs of loves lost, confused and found; sung by the distinctive Richard Bedford and former Faithless singer/songwriter Zoë Johnston. “Songs have an impact which is quite unparalleled in art,” believes Tony. “Poetry can be powerful, great literature is another great informer and educator, but few of us can remember any significant words from the great books or poems we read. But something amazing happens when you put words to music.”
Featuring two BBC Radio 1 playlisted singles (“Sun & Moon” and “Thing Called Love”) and a Sirius BPM Chart #1, the album’s many songs have connected in a way that so few dance tracks – vocal or otherwise – ever manage. “Since releasing our Group Therapy Album last year, it's brought us even closer to our audience around the world,” explains Paavo. “The one thing I didn't expect to happen on the scale it has, is how people from around the world have shared their stories with us as they go through amazingly positive or incredibly difficult times in their lives. It's really touched us all and feels like a driving force for new creativity.”
In the months since its release, the intense atmosphere at Above & Beyond’s increasingly ambitious live performances has redrawn the parameters of the DJ set. While so many superstar DJs place themselves at the heart of their performance, Above & Beyond’s focus is always on getting closer to their crowd and making them part of the action. Whether that is by bringing fans up on stage to press the play button on their CDJs or communicating with the fans via their visual screens, the effect is to make everyone in the room feel like they are part of an experience that is at once epic, immersive and interactive.
“Some time ago we realised that on the best nights we have it's always a three way thing: us, the music and the people, and we see improving the communication between all three as helping a good party turn incredible, “ explains Paavo. “The soundsystem, lights and visuals are all there to help people connect to the music, with each other and with us better. A Group Therapy experience, ideally, is positive, uniting and life-affirming for all involved.”
Throughout this process, Above & Beyond have continued to release forward-thinking instrumental club music – such as their own tech-fused rollercoaster “Formula Rossa” – on their renowned Anjunabeats label. An essential part of their story, the label is now in its 11th year and has helped to nurture artists like the London-based innovator Mat Zo, the eclectic genius Andrew Bayer and Russian star Arty. Independently spirited but run with ambitious vision, the label has grown like a family.
“Dance music tends to be very short term, but we aim to release records that will leave a lasting impression on people and are listened to in years to come” explains Jono. “We try to operate in our own way rather than trying to follow trends.”
Like just about everything they turn their attentions to, it is labour of love as well as a collaboration of the trio’s energies.
De La Soul weren’t wrong. Three is the magic number. And in Above & Beyond’s case, the magic is spreading faster than ever before.
Young The Giant:
Sameer Gadhia - vocals
Jacob Tilley - guitar
Eric Cannata - guitar/vocals
Payam Doostzadeh - bass
Francois Comtois - drums/vocals
"This is one of the best bands in town, period. Their songwriting, their vocal arrangements, their tight playing and their polished yet completely unspoiled, cheery stage presence put them head and shoulders above volumes of their drinking-age peers." -The Bay Bridged
The Who are an English rock band that first formed in 1964 and grew to be considered one of the greatest and most influential bands in the world. They are also famed for their prowess as a live band - winning awards and being described as "possibly the greatest live band ever."The primary lineup consisted of Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon.
The Who rose to fame in the United Kingdom with a pioneering instrument destruction stage show, as well as a series of top ten hit singles (including the celebrated "My Generation") and top five albums, beginning in 1965 with "I Can't Explain". They first hit the top ten in the USA in 1967 with "I Can See for Miles". The 1969 release of Tommy was the first in a series of top five albums for the group in the USA, followed by Live at Leeds (1970), Who's Next (1971), Quadrophenia (1973), and Who Are You (1978) among others.
Keith Moon died in 1978, after which the band released two more studio albums, the top five Face Dances (1981) and the top ten It's Hard (1982), with drummer Kenney Jones, before officially disbanding in 1983. They reformed on several occasions to perform at special events such as Live Aid and for reunion tours such as their 25th anniversary tour (1989) and the Quadrophenia revival tours of 1996 and 1997. In 2000, the three surviving original members began to discuss the possibility of recording an album of new material. These plans were delayed following the death of John Entwistle in 2002. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey continue to perform as The Who. In 2006 they released the studio album Endless Wire, which reached the top ten in the USA and UK.
For the first time in a long time, Hip Hop can genuinely say that a new generation of MC’s have arrived. Sure, there are those who helped birth the culture and music and people who can say they grew up with it. But now, you are witnessing perhaps the first generation that can say they were raised on Hip Hop almost exclusively. If you don’t agree, you’re probably not listening to enough ScHoolboy Q.
Although the artist born Quincy Matthew Hanley has only been rapping since 2007, his bluntly charismatic presence on wax should’ve already put him on your radar as one of rap’s emerging voices. After his new project Habits & Contradictions (#HnC) makes its way into your rotation though, he’s sure to be a fixture.
Born in Germany to a pair of military parents, Q spent the first three years of his life in Texas before his family eventually settled in Los Angeles. Like so many before him, the ScHoolboy’s L.A. experience provided a lifeshaping balance of sports, school, drugs and gangs.
“I got the bad, the good, and the real bad,” says Q who earned his name from being known for going to best schools, but also being heavy in the streets. “I learned what to do, and how to get into trouble. A lot of the stuff I did, I regret. Shit I hate talking about now because I’m over it. Stuff I regret. But it all made me who I am.”
Growing up on the corner of 51st and Figueroa, ScHoolboy Q lived just 8 minutes away from the Staples Center where Kobe Bryant and the Lakers hoisted trophies every other year. For a while, Q looked to be on his way to a similar path as he played football, baseball, basketball and even joined the swimming team in high school. Unable to resist the lure of his surroundings, he soon found himself drowning in a abyss of slanging crack, shootouts and jail time.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself until 2007,” he admits now. “That’s when I first really started rapping. I thought my shit was tight, but it really wasn’t. But I found out that had a passion for it that I didn’t know I had.”
Noting The Notorious B.I.G., Nas and 50 Cent as his biggest influences, the California lifestyle can easily be heard in his voice, slang and content. His ability to mesh the two allows a delivery that makes him standout on every track he hops on.
“Everybody expects me to say 2Pac is my biggest influence because of where I’m from,” he says respectfully. “But he didn’t have a big influence on my music. I always listened to a lot of East Coast rappers. I used to get in arguments all the time about who was better, Dogg Pound or Mobb Deep.”
Q got his first chance to start arguments over his music with his 2007 debut mixtape, ScHoolboy Turned Hustla introduced to audiences on the West Coast. In hindsight, Q says he doesn’t think it was his best work. Regardless, the project generated enough attention for growing imprint Top Dawg Entertainment to recruit him to the label that was already home to his future Black Hippy costars Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and AbSoul. While his raps illustrated the life of a man who had one foot in the street and the other in the studio, that lifestyle almost closed the door on his rap career before it even got off the ground.
“Top Dawg almost kicked me out of TDE for being in the streets,” he says. “Ali sat me down to talk with me to get my shit together. He told me they saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. That talk saved my
Convinced that rap was the road for him, a newly focused ScHoolboy Q followed up with his sophomore mixtape Gangsta & Soul in 2009. While the project showed growth, it wasn’t until his debut album Setbacks hit the streets that ScHoolboy Q felt that he had finally arrived.
“The other two projects were very premature,” says Q, whose profile was rising due to solid cameo appearances on tracks like Kendrick Lamar’s “Michael Jordan.” “People just thought I was a dude with funny name. By this time I had some verses that people remembered from other songs. It was the perfect way to let the world know where I was coming from.”
Powered by instant favorites like “#BetIgotsomeweed,” “I’m Good” and “Birds & The Beez” Setbacks offered a balance that most young rappers don’t achieve until their lucky enough to call themselves a veteran.
And while Q personally labels Setbacks as the story of his life up to that point, the highly anticipated Habits & Contradictions offers another chapter in a book that will surely flip the page on what you may expect a West Coast Hip Hop album to sound like.
“I just feel like I need to give people me, I can’t be out here faking,” says Q about #HnC. “I’m a happy energetic dude but I want people to know me, my ups and downs. Some songs I talk about clothes, bitches and weed, but other ones I hit you with the real.”
Describing the album as a prequel to Setbacks, Q picks up where he left off with “Druggy And Hoes Again,” an uptempo remake of a song from his previous project. #HnC also has Q working with one of his alltime favorite producers The Alchemist for “My Homie.”
“It was like a dream come true working with him,” he says about the track that speaks on his experiences with fake friendships and betrayal. “I damn near wanted to start crying when he told me he knew who I was.”
Q offers another unique perspective on the tongueincheek “Hatin’ Joint” produced by Mike Will.
“Rappers act like they never hated on anybody, I have,” he admits. “We all have, trying to get a bitch I was younger. Rappers love talking about having so many haters, why not be the hater sometimes.”
If the hits on Habits & Contradictions are any indication, ScHoolboy Q will surely have his share of haters too. But it’s a safe bet that he will have even more supporters.
“Everything I put on paper is a true story,” says Q. “Some of it may have a little something added or taken out because I can’t put the real out there all the way. But it’s always true.”
Rebelution is one of the latest reggae bands to emerge from the burgeoning California reggae scene. Rebelution has their reggae roots in the fertile ground of Isla Vista, a Santa Barbara community in California, and initially made a name for themselves playing local shows. These laid-back, relaxed concert dates that shaped not only their future music, but also their hugely successful tour dates. The band's popularity is due in part to the velvet smooth vocal stylings of lead singer Eric Rachmany and simple yet melodic reggae riffs. Recently, Rebelution spread the seeds of their homegrown reggae at tour dates on the 2011 Winter Greens Tour. Now fans can look forward to tour dates on the 2011 Seedless Summer Tour with Slightly Stoopid.
Rebelution began as a college band between friends Eric Rachmany (lead singer/guitar), Matt Valesquez (vocals/guitar), Rory Carey (keyboard), Wesly Finney (drums), and Marley Williams (bass). The band played local concert dates and their slight popularity prompted the group to produce a self-titled EP in 2006. With both their album and shows becoming popular in a town known for its love of music, Rebelution found the perfect company to release its first full-length album: Controlled Substance Sound Labs.
Rebelution's album, Courage to Grow, released in June of 2007 to great success, with the single "Safe and Sound" playing on radio stations from San Francisco to San Diego. Commercial success continued when the album reached #4 on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums, launching Rebelution into the public eye. Unfortunately, guitarist Matt Velasquez left shortly after the album's release, leaving the band short a guitar and a set of pipes. Instead of replacing Velasquez, Rebelution continued to record albums and play tour dates as a four-piece band.
However, Velasquez's departure didn't hinder Rebelution, as the reggae group founded their own record label - 87 Music - to release their follow-up album. Bright Side of Life was released in August 2009 and earned even more success than the previous album, this time reaching the #1 spot on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums. The album also took the #1 reggae spot on iTunes, placing #3 in overall top albums in the United States.
The success of the album sent Rebelution on a number of concert dates in 2010, including the Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, CA with label mates The Expendables and Slightly Stoopid. Even after recently releasing their Remix EP, Rebelution is continuing to perform a number of 2011 tour dates. Rebelution is starting summer off right with a number of scheduled tour dates for 2011 music festivals in the states, including: The Wakarusa Music Festival, CrossroadsKC, the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, the Dave Matthews Band Caravan Festival, and the High Sierra World Music Festival. After a concert dates at the All Good Music Festival, Rebelution is heading out on 2011 tour dates on the Seedless Summer Tour with Slightly Stoopid and Shwayze & Cisco Adler. The first concert date is on July 21 in Missoula, Montana and end on August 27 in Chicago, which will subsequently end Rebelution's scheduled tour dates in 2011. With such a busy year, fans can't expect Rebelution to schedule many more tour dates in 2011, so they take the opportunity to these darlings of the reggae scene.
i grew up outside of chicago,
starting writing songs in san francisco,
and now live in brooklyn
my music is a version of indie hip hop
mixed with electronics
mixed with me headbanging
but i'm still figuring it out
How to Dress Well:
Tom Krell leads a double life. During the day, he’s a research fellow currently translating a book of post-Kantian philosophy in Cologne, Germany. But after work he’s making narcotized, below-fi R&B as How to Dress Well. In October of last year, Krell started posting batches of his clouded tunes to his blog. They’re marked by his high voice, piercing and fragile like the rest of this music.
At this point, he’s got nearly 30 songs up for download, and the recently P4k-highlighted tracks “Decisions” and “Ready for the World” are great places to start.
Lee Fields & The Expressions:
..FOR BOOKING AND PUBLICITY.. please visit ..www.truthandsoulrecords.com.. for contact info.....
..FOR LEE FIELDS & THE EXPRESSIONS.. updates, release dates, tours, and more, sign up for the Truth & Soul mailing list or visit the website: ..www.truthandsoulrecords.com........
+ ..Lee Fields on YOUTUBE....
+ ..Lee Fields Bio..
The young New Zealand artist whose real name Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor was signed to a record label before she was in high school. Her first EP, The Love Club featured the now infamous hit single "Royals" made her the first New Zealand solo artist to have a #1 song in the US. Her debut album, Pure Heroine was released a year later in 2013, and received an enormous amount of praise from critics, as well as two Grammy Awards. Not only has her record garnered acclaim, but she has been praised for her vocals and stage presence at live shows.