24 Nov 2020

John Psathas and the music of tomorrow

From Upbeat, 12:30 pm on 24 November 2020

John Psathas has a new album which brings together 14 New Zealand artists from around the world. 

Inspired by the isolation so many artists have been experiencing, he and his former student Jack Hooker, set about a long-distance lockdown collaboration with New Zealand producers and guest performers living in Germany, Greece, Serbia, and home in Aotearoa. 

John Psathas

John Psathas Photo: Robert Cross

He tells David Morriss about how the new album It’s Already Tomorrow was born.

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

It's Already Tomorrow, a new album by John Psathas

It's Already Tomorrow, a new album by John Psathas Photo: John Psathas

John Psathas’ music has probably been heard by more people worldwide than any other New Zealand composer. He wrote and arranged music for the Athens Olympics of 2004, and he’s worked with star artists like Evelyn Glennie, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble and saxophonist Michael Brecker.

He’s also been enormously influential as a teacher at the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University in Wellington; when he recently gave up that position he was appointed Emeritus Professor.

John Psathas is the guiding force behind a new album called It’s Already Tomorrow. But if you’re expecting to hear something like his earlier ‘View from Olympus’, ‘Three Psalms’ or even ‘Matre’s Dance’, you’re in for a surprise – these pieces, which are a collaboration between nine producers and five performers, range from introspective ambient tracks to dystopian synth-rock.

During lockdown earlier this year he and his former student Jack Hooker received money through Creative New Zealand’s Emergency Arts Funding to create a treasure trove of musical seeds which they shared with nine Kiwi producers, who were given total freedom to use as much or as little as they wanted. No restrictions on style or genre. Just one condition: every song had to emerge from these seeds in some way. 

It’s Already Tomorrow  album cover

It’s Already Tomorrow album cover Photo: Supplied

The result is eight new tracks by Kiwi artists living in Germany, Greece, Serbia, and New Zealand. 

It’s Already Tomorrow features brand new work from Indira Force (indi), James Euringer, Grayson Gilmour, Briar Prastiti, Arjuna Oakes, Emanuel Psathas (Name UL), John Psathas, Jack Hooker and Valentine and Clementine Nixon (Purple Pilgrims), with guest appearances from Hayden Chisholm, James Wylie, Ariana Tikao, Sofia Labropoulou, and Vagelis Karipis.

From introspective ambient tracks to hybrid folk-electronica to dystopian synth-rock, It’s Already Tomorrow  belongs to no one genre, rather it reflects the music of tomorrow.

It’s Already Tomorrow  will be released on digital platforms on 27th November with a vinyl release planned.