Ambient Multi-Instrumentalist JOHN HAYES Announces New Album + Listen to Title Track “Beautifully Lost Mind”
July 22, 2022 BY George Chammas
Today, Minneapolis multi-instrumentalist and producer John Hayes is proud to announce his new album Beautifully Lost Mind, due out November 11th via Nettwerk. He unveils the title track that explores the depths of isolation with pulsing synths and sullen muted piano chords. The first song written for the new project; it provides the thesis statement for the expansive new album.
Hayes explains, “It is an extremely simple song with only a few elements featured. It really captured the feeling of that “drifting” and “lostness” I was feeling at the time. The call and answer of the piano and synthesizers are almost like a conversation between two friends.”
Known for expansive, atmospheric sounds, his delicate blend of ambient and electronic music has garnered fans worldwide, including KEXP, BBC, and James Heather’s Soho Radio Show ‘Moving Sounds.’
Listen and Share “Beautifully Lost Mind” on all digital retailers (here).
John Hayes is a multitalented composer and producer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. With a childhood spent playing classical piano and a unique understanding of production, he makes rich, beautifully minimal ambient and neoclassical music recalling the icy environment he grew up in and conveying a spectrum of profound emotion. He is now preparing to release his fifth studio album, Beautifully Lost Mind, a work of finely tuned piano music inspired by the solitude of lockdown.
While growing up in Minneapolis, John was exposed to Chopin and Beethoven thanks to his parents’ love for classical music. When he was old enough, they took him to see the local orchestra, where John was transfixed by the experience of listening to a complete symphony. He learned piano from an early age, sitting through lessons every day after school, but he was less interested in rehearsing the same standards over and over than he was in working out theme songs he heard on TV, from films like Lord of the Rings. He would often draw the ire of his teachers. Eventually, he quit lessons and began teaching himself.
When he was old enough, John discovered Sum41, Linkin Park, and later hip-hop acts like MF DOOM and Gang Starr. He spent much of his teen years producing hip-hop beats for aspiring rappers from his college. Among his most crucial influences are Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon — who comes from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, just across the Mississippi from John. The way both these artists could convey emotion while also experimenting with form was a major inspiration for John, who would later explore a similar approach in his own work.
After graduating, John lost his best friend to cancer when he was just 23. Having made music as a hobby his entire life, John suddenly felt a renewed urge to pursue a career in music, writing compositions as a way of processing his grief. It was a difficult time, leaving John with a feeling of abandonment and melancholy that still finds its way into his music today.
Until then, he had never thought about releasing his own music, partly because he assumed there was no market for modern classical like he was making. Then one day he discovered Nils Frahm, a like-minded pianist and experimental composer from Germany. A world of possibility opened up, giving John all the encouragement he needed to record his first release.
His debut album By the Woods arrived in 2018, followed by The Last Best Place in 2020. Two collaborative albums came next, the electronically minded Borealis with Maxy Dutcher and the gorgeously spacious Du Nordwith Elskavon. Through collaborations and solo work John established a truly unique sound influenced as much by ambient musicians like Brian Eno as it was by the sparsely populated landscapes of Minnesota. Before lockdown, John was employed as Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport’s resident pianist, reinstating a connection between airports and ambient music that dates back to Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports.
Though he’s now based in Denver, John recorded Beautifully Lost Mind in Minneapolis while the pandemic had much of the world stuck inside. As he began writing, George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police, prompting protests worldwide. Isolated and surrounded by a planet in turmoil, John learned to appreciate the strange beauty of his own mental instability, which eventually gave his new album its name. It came out as some of his most emotionally fraught music to date, a work of tense piano and meticulous production that captures a unique perspective on the world into which it was born.
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