The monthly thoughts from one of the Above & Beyond guys continues again this year and with January nearing its end Jono Grant looks back at the opening few weeks of 2020…
Before 2019 drew to a close, I found my way to Val Thorens in Les Trois Vallées (or the 3 Valleys) ski area as part of my birthday celebrations. Technically there is a 4th “secret” valley, Orelle (and possibly my favourite hideaway on a good snow day), so it’s surprising in a world where size is everything that it hasn’t been renamed! Regardless, it’s considered the largest interconnected ski area in the world (with around 600km/400miles of marked runs) and is located in the French Alps.
I find skiing to be a very freeing and exhilarating sport, and the snow gods were on our side with this particular trip. Skiing also makes winter something to look forward to at a time when I tend to think more about increasing my vitamin D supplements!
I hope I can see you on the slopes of Avoriaz for the Anjunabeats Elevations festival at the end of March. I’ve never skied at Avoriaz (or the huge Port du Soleil ski area for that matter) before, but have only heard great things. Maybe I’ll get to ride in one of the horse drawn taxi carriages the resort is famous for with some of you!
After spending time with my family over Christmas - always a welcome few days of doing very little - we headed to North America for some really enjoyable shows in Toronto, Montreal, Atlanta and, finally, New York for New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve can be a strange night in some ways from a musician/DJ’s perspective. It’s a night where often the motivation of people going out is to just party, rather than to see a concert or artist. That said, I was really pleasantly surprised by the audience we played to in New York. Our show at the Expo centre in the Bronx was a New Year’s Eve I will certainly remember, I hope those of you who joined us feel the same way!
We kicked off our 2020 by heading to Park City, where we played at Park City Live, wheeling out some classics such as our remix of Gabriel & Dresden’s Motorcycle “As the Rush Comes” (an opportune moment for a gratuitous plug - Josh and Dave have a new album out called “Remedy” ). Between shows, yet again I found myself in a ski resort, so it would have been rude not to take time to test out the famous Utah snow I’d heard so much about - it did not disappoint! Dustin, the promoter of Park City Live, also kindly took us to Snowbird for a day. Snowbird is a dramatic mountain and is famous for its steep runs. Similar to the European alps but with exceptionally high snowfall.
January has seen me back in the studio with Sam from Opposite the Other . He is a very talented singer/songwriter from South Africa, and we had a brilliant week of writing. The writing process always takes me back to my early passion for music - jamming out ideas, and having no idea where it will all end up. Sam also helped me with some vocal tracks that I had started, which was great as I have never considered myself a singer, despite ending up on a few tracks…. Such as "Blue Monday" which is out right now (that makes two plugs in one newsletter!). I’m very much looking forward to further developing the songs we’ve started, as I’m a big fan of Sam’s voice and writing style.
SOMETHING I'VE BEEN WATCHING
I’ve just started watching season two of The Kindness Diaries (though I have not watched season one yet!). It’s a documentary series in which a former stockbroker, Leon Logothetis, performs acts of kindness on his travels. There are some real tear jerking moments, and it’s definitely a series that inspires me.