British pianist and composer bringing together elements of classical contemporary music with jazz and classical connections. Influences include Phillip Glass, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Tigran Hamasyan, Arvo Part and Michael Nyman. His debut solo album "Under the River Water", described as an improvisational minimal ode to the landscape of Dartmoor in which he grew up, was recorded in one take at Alice's Loft Studio in London and released in December 2015. Since its release, tracks have been featured on various radio stations including BBC Radio 3 and local radio. He took up the piano at an early age and quickly developed a enthusiasm for playing. Being brought up in the middle of Dartmoor's rugged hills allowed both the space and time to pursue ideas whilst drawing from its ever-changing landscape.
"Early on I had an interest specifically in melody, simple lines and tunes such as hymns and local folk tunes entranced and captivated me with their lure. Two particular tunes that I loved were "Morning has broken"and the hymn "Jerusalem" both of which I got to know well at school. These were the first tunes I learnt to play by ear at the piano. Despite taking classical piano lessons I was often distracted by these little pieces in my ears and so reluctant to learn pieces by the book. The more I learned by ear, gradually the more I started to understand melodic structure and the idea of chord progressions, that certain chords sounded nice, happy and light together whilst others would turn darker. After a number of years I then started to move into my own little tunes, inspired by the tunes I had learnt and so the process started of improvisation. I found a passion in improvisation very quickly, it allowed me to express and enjoy the instrument in a way that suited me, what ever day it was, whatever mood I was in."
"At the age of thirteen, after finishing Exeter Cathedral School, my parents took me and my twin travelling around New Zealand for six months. Of course I had a keyboard for this trip and so the excitement of travelling, new sights and sounds I think further ignited my motivation for playing, I recorded ideas each day almost as an audio diary. On returning home, once reunited with my old upright I had a renewed sense of energy as well as appreciation for the piano I had learnt on. Time passed and I played piano more and more, most days I would sit for at least an hour, during holidays sometimes three or four if it was rainy outside or quiet in the house. At college I was in numerous bands and ensembles including a jazz ensemble that used to play live shows in Exeter. Despite playing a lot and developing my technique I didn't do well in music theory, my composition ideas were way beyond my ability to write theoretically and so in essence I couldn't articulate in musical form what I meant to say."
Johan is currently working on his second release aimed more at exploring intricate and complex patterns and utilising more of his technical capabilities as a pianist. "Rhythm and timing is something that has fascinated me for a long time but out of a sense of safety I had avoided exploring these aspects. Naturally I have always been drawn and had a tendency to delve and focus more into the melodic aspects of music. I was interested in melody very early, becoming entranced by simple lines and tunes, its only more recently that the rhythmic side has captured my enthusiasm. Perhaps that's down to Tigran, a big inspiration of mine, who is well known for his rhythmic experimentation".