When your first gig of the year is playing to one million people in Rio Di Janeiro you know you're in for a good one. But while the Above & Beyond trio of Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness and Paavo Siljamäki cite their set at Rio's Barra beach as an undoubted highlight, it's still just one of many glorious moments. Spreading their sound across every corner of the planet, their '08 highlights as the UK's global trance ambassadors include excursions in Eastern Europe, their 'Anjunabeats Volume 6' launch at The Gallery and a 26-date rock & roll styled bus tour of the State's West Coast. "Let's just say that we had plenty of fun and we didn't spend much time sleeping," jokes Paavo. "The States is somewhere we definitely get a lot of love." Recently returning from San Francisco's equivalent to the Love Parade - LoveFest - Above & Beyond have been embraced to the heart of a notoriously tough US market and they're now looking to ever more far-flung locales following encouraging forays in the uncharted trance territory of Asia this year. "It's really special playing in places that are new to the sound," explains Jono. "We've been to some great places like Malta, which had an amazing vibe, and strong gigs in Italy were also really encouraging as there's not much of a trance scene there right now." "We've been all over the globe but wherever we go people know our stuff and it's still kind of hard to take that in," he adds. "You're sat in your own world making music in this little room in London and then you get on a plane to South America and find one million people singing your tracks back at you. It's amazing." At the start of the year, the Above and Beyond trio swapped that "little room in London" for three weeks in Ibiza where they soaked up some Balearic calm as they finished work on their downtempo LP as Oceanlab. Entitled 'Sirens Of The Sea', it's July release was the trio's first major production outlay of '08 with tracks like 'Breaking Ties' and 'Miracle' receiving the big room Above & Beyond trance touch soon after. "We're just starting work on the second Above & Beyond album now," explains Tony McGuinness. "We're a bit ahead of ground zero because there are some tracks and ideas that didn't make the Oceanlab album." Classically trained musicians, Above & Beyond's pledge towards song-based material is also finally transferring itself to the live stage. A recent Tawain date saw them testdrive their live show with their long-term chanteuse Zöe Johnston singing alongside them. "We've said it's our ambition to push a live thing every year but we're finally getting into it now," explains Jono. "We needed a bit more of a repertoire," continues Tony. "We'd only done one album and a few singles. If you're going to do live properly you need at least a couple of albums under your belt so our time is coming." Amidst all this production and DJ activity, the trio continue to expand their Anjunabeats empire as they nurture their label family through to full album level. This year their proggy electro influenced hotshot Jaytech released his 'Everything Is OK' LP back in June, with Oliver Smith and Norwegian funk master Boom Jinx now being groomed for LPs also. It's a pledge to longevity and artist growth that has seen the label respected as one of the standard bearers of modern trance, whilst their Anjunadeep sub-label continues to pick up props from the SOS crew, James Zabiela and countless other non-trance jocks. "We're still releasing every Anjunabeats single on vinyl and we're one of the only labels do that," exclaims Tony proudly. "There's still demand for a nice physical product. Something that is entirely electronic isn't really as collectable in the same way - you don't see people selling their mp3 collections on eBay."