Generally when you think of electronic music, the last things that come to mind are acoustic guitars and grand pianos. But on Monday, Tuesday (June 19) and Wednesday, British trance trio Above & Beyond are ditching their CDJs and lighting rigs to showcase their musical talent at the first of three rare, sold-out acoustic performances at London's Porchester Hall, which will be recorded for album release.
The group revealed the inspiration behind the project to MTV News, saying that playing acoustic just came naturally.
"Ever since we've started we've been a band. That's what we are," said Paavo Siljamäki. "We all play instruments. A lot of our songs are written in more acoustic form than they actually end up in so this whole acoustic project has been something that has been at the back of our minds for a very, very long time."
Siljamäki said the acoustic project is "totally the right thing for us to do" following their dance album Group Therapy. And though these type of sets are otherwise unheard of for A&B, member Tony McGuinness, who is credited with the original idea, pointed out that he is no stranger to live performance, having played for years with English indie band Sad Lovers & Giants.
"I actually play in another band and that's been going forever," McGuinness said. "We do maybe four or five shows a year and one of the great pleasures I get from life is when I'm onstage making a part of the music that the band is making. That's the wonderful thing about it. It really is that Group Therapy thing in a tiny little cell. ... I love that moment and I wanted to do it with Jono [Grant] and Paavo.
"It's one of my great joys in life... obviously DJing is very special but it's a different kind of thing to be one of the people making the noise that those people are actually hearing at that particular moment. It's one of the most wonderful things about being a musician and we very rarely do it... I just think it's a wonderful celebration of the songs themselves. It's a very honest exchange of music and reaction in a room and I think for us particularly, given that we're even further away from the live thing. We're not a rock band; we're actually electronic music producers. We don't tend to play stuff. It's a big leap for us — I hope we get away with it."
Although there have been no official announcements, the group casually revealed in Twitter conversation that VICE magazine would be filming and they would be recording the shows for an album release.