Above & Beyond's Tony McGuinness isn't shocked that he and his partners, Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamaki, have sold out their Madison Square Garden show on Saturday. But he understands why people would be -- and he's thrilled about it.
"I've always liked stuff that was big and important to me that it turned out that nobody had heard of," McGuinness says, calling from the London studio where he and the group are preparing for their show at the Garden. "Music affects people. The best relationship you can have with music is a very personal thing. You can find other people who like it and that's kind of exciting. We make music that we really like, that excites us. The people who like it feel an attachment to us."
And that attachment is strong. Though Above & Beyond may not be household names, their sway in the EDM world is impressive. Their "Group Therapy" radio show reaches 30 million listeners in 35 countries each week. They run two labels, Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep, that are dance music staples, and they have sold more than a million records of their own.
It seems ridiculous now, but it wasn't that long ago that some music industry execs and ranting bloggers were predicting that arenas would soon have trouble finding acts to fill their schedules because there weren't enough mainstream rock bands that could draw big crowds. Well, Above & Beyond -- along with acts like Japanese heavy metal heroes X Japan, who filled the Garden Thursday, and upcoming EDM headliners Hardwell (Nov. 15) and Skrillex & Diplo (Dec. 31) -- haven't had any problem selling tickets.
McGuinness says he wants to keep plans for Above & Beyond's show, which coincides with a celebration of the 100th episode of the "Group Therapy" show, a surprise, though he does expect to unveil new songs from the group's upcoming album, as well as some new remixes.
"We want people to have a good night out," he says. "We want this group of people who get to see us to have a date in their calendar that they'll never forget."
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