Anjunabeats is pleased to announce the self-titled debut album from JODA, aka Jono Grant and Darren Tate, releasing August 26. The new double A-side 'Try / Dark Strings' is out now.
JODA are a fresh musical pairing with shared DNA. Both together and apart, Jono Grant and Darren Tate 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.
An artful evocation of electronic music’s decade-zero, 'Try' is "rooted in classic songwriting", according to Grant, taking a page from classic synthpop. Then there’s the glitchy instrumental 'Dark Strings', influenced by darker sounds.
'JODA', their debut album, releases this summer. For now, though, Jono Grant and Darren Tate are simply happy that a project that began almost when neither of them was looking, in the midst of lockdowns, has turned out exactly and as fully as they imagined. Unforced, unhurried, and only done for love: this is a passion project of the best kind.
“It's one of the great things about doing this job: that we get to do this job!” concludes Darren Tate, beaming. “Jono and I love making music, we get on really well together, so we have fun doing it. We naturally have perfectionist instincts, but the vibe is the most important thing. So this is also rough around the edges in all the right ways."
“It absolutely is a passion project,” affirms Jono Grant. “The other thing was, of course, we've done this over the pandemic. So it was cathartic. We were lucky enough to be able to work. And this was therapy of the best kind.”
JODA’s self-titled debut album is out August 26. Pre-order on 2x12” vinyl and digitally via the Anjuna Music Store.