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June 8, 2012

Nokia Presents: Above & Beyond at Music Matters in Singapore

We continue to highlight our partnership with some of the best artists on the planet today here on Nokia Connects. Listening to one of the Top 5 DJ acts in the world whilst chilling out by the pool is definitely a match made in Singapore heaven! A few weeks ago we fused together Above & Beyond, ten bloggers, a big crowd of music fans and an awesome off-the-hook location in Singapore for an explosion of sound and partying.

I mean who doesn’t love a pool party? Your average club barely has a few toilet sinks, let alone a huge square tub of watery fun, but the location of this event was no ‘club’, the venue was the glamorous Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Singapore. A fine location selected by the event organisers over at Music Matters.

So I think it was safe to say that our bloggers and all of the attendees at this event were excited beforehand. Our recent Nokia artist partnerships have included the likes of DeadMau5, Nicki Minaj and RocNation, so there is no point stopping. We must continue adding to the list of superstars and music labels!

Nokia were the official mobile phone sponsors at this annual Music Matters Conference so we decided to surprise the Nokia and Above & Beyond fans with an exciting private pool party gig! We have a cracking interview with Tony McGuinness (Above & Beyond DJ) coming a little later on in this post.

So, we rocked up to the party with some music-loving members of the Nokia Connects community out in South-East Asia, and each attendee was handed a Lumia 800 to capture the whole event. You can find out more about the stunning Lumia 800 over on our website.

Two lucky community members were interviewed as part of the gig coverage (Priscilla Tan @Priscias and Joyce Sims @jovenatheart) and went on to write some awesome blog posts about the evening, here are Priscilla’s and Joyce’s thoughts.

Two of our community members managed to meet Tony McGuiness, one of the legendary Above & Beyond DJs after the gig (pictured above), also, Andra Zul – another one of our guests, kindly decided to write a piece about the event for a local Singapore magazine, due to be published on very soon! The event was hosted by Music Matters and all of the fans tweeted throughout the night live from the crowd.

Here is a video that illustrates the whole event in its entirety. Anyone a tiny bit jealous? I know I am…

Here are some facts about Above & Beyond that you might not know:

They remixed tracks for Madonna (twice), Radiohead and Miguel Bose

Supplied the sound track for the launch of Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Galactic Space Ship 2

– Top 5 most popular DJs in the World (Voted by DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJs 2011)

We managed to grab Tony before he went on stage at the party to talk about everything Above & Beyond; here is what he had to say:

You’re about to play at a pool party in Singapore in partnership with Music Matters and Nokia – what are your thoughts ahead of the gig?

It’s always exciting to do something a little different like this, we’ve managed to smuggle in 200 of our fans and I think they are going to be excited because this is an extra date we have added to our tour. We are not due to play Singapore until September so the Twitter feed went mental when we announced it! We usually do much bigger gigs in Singapore so a smaller more intimate one will be very exciting.

Is the crowd in Singapore as hot as the weather?

The crowd in Singapore is very knowledgeable actually, Singapore has always been a really important market for European and American DJs partly because of the importance of it as an airport/airline hub, lots of acts come through Singapore if they are playing in Japan or Australia and some very clever promoters noticed this, so they thought why not make this is a destination for big gigs. That has really been happening for the last 15 or so years now and we’ve been coming here for about 10 years. It was actually the first country we ever played a gig in Asia so it holds a special place in our hearts. They really are one of my favourite audiences.

Have you ever played in Finland, the home of Nokia? 

One of our members is from Finland actually, so I think when we first started Paavo was the most famous person in the band because he had remixed Madonna and the Finnish media found this extremely exciting, so the first few times we played in Finland Paavo was treated like a superstar and it’s always really nice to hear the audience chanting his name when we play there. We try and play there at least once year and the crowds are getting bigger and bigger. Electronic music in Finland is an extremely important genre and per capita outside of Sweden I think Finnish people have had the most success producing music in our field, so it’s really important that we keep playing there.

Are you going to play at a sauna party in our headquarters in Finland?

Ha ha. I’m going to ask you a question. Are we? Are we playing a sauna party at the Nokia HQ? I will do it if you hold my towel!

Pool parties, tropical weather, this all sounds like the high life! What’s the craziest gig/party you’ve ever played?

Probably the craziest party we ever played was New Years Eve 2007 in Brazil on Barra Beach, there was close to a million people there. We will probably live our whole lives and never play a gig that big again; it came at a very important time for us and certainly is one of the most memorable gig moments of my life.

Speaking of high life, what’s the highest gig you’ve ever played? 

The highest gig we ever played was probably in La Paz in Bolivia, I was there for just the wrong amount of time, apparently if you stay for one day it’s ok, or if you stay for 1/2 weeks your body gets used to the altitude, but if you stay somewhere in between, like 4 days you can get altitude sickness pretty easily. So that’s exactly what happened to me at whatever it was, like 3,500 metres or something, my skin started to dry out, I got really really ill, it’s very hard to breath going up stairs at that height. We also did a gig in a hot air balloon once, but I’m not sure how high we went!

The summer festival season is about to kick off, what’s your favourite festival to play?

My favourite festival is Glastonbury, we headlined the Dance Tent there on their 40th anniversary and it just blew me away, I’ve been going there for a long time and it was by far my favourite gig of that year. We had 2 days of watching bands around the site and 1 day of just being really nervous about headlining! But we filled it up and all was awesome, the crowd were really good.

You guys have played all around the globe, where is the crowd most responsive to your music?

Historically South America has always had a healthy favouritism towards electronic music, especially Argentina. They have produced some really great progressive DJ’s like Hernan Cattaneo. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the nature of the music we make and the temperament of the people there. They just go crazy for us, we get insane reactions! Although we get a similar vibe from people in Southern California.

Your music definitely has an autumnal feel – is autumn your favourite season?

Our music definitely has a more autumnal feel, but I’m not sure autumn is my favourite season. I think one of things that is great about music is the fact that it gives you a release from certain emotions and certain feelings, whilst those emotions and feelings are very productive for writing music I’m not sure I like to dwell on them for too long. Autumn is like Sunday night, just a little bit depressing haha.

What do you think of the Dubstep hype that has been around for the past 2 years or so?

Dubstep has really given pop music a shot in the arm, I think the success of Skrillex at the Grammys was also really great for the scene as a whole. You can really start to hear the effects of the scene on our music, Skrillex is a great guy and he is extremely level headed and talented enough to outlive the hype.

What’s next for Above & Beyond, any big things coming up?

We are about to enter the festival season and we’ve got Group Therapy stages [Group Therapy is the name of their last album] at some of the bigger festivals including Electric Daisy Carnival in Vegas. Gigs like this are a great opportunity for us to invite some of our friends and favourite artists to play alongside us. It also gives us a chance to go and see them, you know, that’s the kind of life we live, you usually arrive half an hour before you go on and leave ten minutes after, so you don’t get a chance to see people play. So, playing in Vegas along with some of these other festivals gives us a chance to catch up with some of our peers for a good old chat.

Let us know your thoughts about the gig as a whole and some of the interesting points Tony made in the interview above @Nokia_Connects using #NokiaPoolParty. Have a great day!

****Check out Above & Beyond on Nokia Mix Radio for exclusive tracks and playlists from the group****