Jono Grant and Darren Tate have history. Both together and apart, they have been there, done that, and bought the vintage synth gear to celebrate.
Grant is one-third of Above & Beyond who, over the course of a two-decade career, have established themselves as one of the biggest electronic groups in the world. Eight studio albums (including one as vocal trance group OceanLab and two acoustic reworks), 17 compilation albums, a film score, and nearing 100 singles speak to output as varied as it is prodigious. Their label Anjunabeats is home to a bustling community of artists with over twenty years of catalog.
As a classically trained musician, songwriter, producer, and hitmaker, Tate is an OG Top of the Pops-botherer. In the early Noughties, at the outset of his career, he appeared on the show three times, once with Angelic, his collaboration with Judge Jules and the latter’s wife, performing classic trance banger It’s My Turn, then twice under the name Jurgen Vries. The following years saw more musical adventures, more Top 40 UK hits (12 in total), and more pseudonyms, including the trance-facing DT8 Project.
In 2003, the pair managed to sync their schedules to work on a couple of tracks, ‘Let The Light Shine In’ and ‘Nocturnal Creatures’. Clearly, there was chemistry here. But as the pair’s respective careers subsequently took them off around the world in opposite directions, reconnecting other than fleetingly was never easy.
Then in 2019 Tate returned to his trance roots and signed to Anjunabeats for his DT8 Project releases. Around the same time, Above & Beyond received an offer to score an environmental documentary, ‘The Last Glaciers’.
“I’m musical, but I’ve never done a score before, which would be quite an undertaking. And I knew Darren was massively experienced at doing that, and I’ve always admired what he does in his film work. So my first thought was: why don’t we do it with Darren?”
Jono and Darren got stuck into composing together, and it became a dream project all-around – not least because it sparked further ideas. So, JODA was born. Working in Tate’s studio in suburban north London, and A&B’s south London HQ, the pair were in a creative bubble during the early days of the pandemic. And the partnership proved fruitful.
It was as if this pair of young-minded veterans were finding themselves all over again. Aptly enough, that fed into ‘We Find Ourselves’, featuring Grant’s own vocals.
“Darren had the idea of using the ARP Odyssey for the bass sound,” explains Grant, “and it sounds very retro. We were listening to stuff like the Drive soundtrack by Kavinsky. So the tempo of the track actually comes from that style of music. We wouldn’t have ended up at 110 BPM if it wasn’t for listening to that kind of music.”
Watch this space for more from JODA across spring and summer 2022. ‘We Find Ourselves’ is out now on Anjunabeats.