Interview: Joey Arias Talks About 'Past Present Future' Album, Influences, & Much More

November 13, 2023 -

Justin Angle

Joey Arias, renowned for his contributions to New York's performance art and drag scenes, is set to release his first feature-length album, 'Past Present Future'. With a career that spans over five decades, Arias has been an inspirational force for notable figures including Andy Warhol, Thierry Mugler, David Bowie, and even house DJ and Beyonce co-producer Honey Dijon.

Joey Arias isn't just any artist; he's a revolutionary. While mainstream milestones like Cirque du Soleil’s 'Zumanity' and 'Arias With A Twist' form part of his oeuvre, it's his influence on cultural icons like RuPaul that underscores his impact. Despite personal setbacks and struggles, Arias's unyielding spirit has brought him back to the forefront, joining hands with Beige Records NYC.

The album, 'Past Present Future', is a tapestry of Arias's journey. While some tracks, such as 'Ooh, What A Feeling', hark back to familiar ground, others have sprung from introspective sessions during the pandemic at the renowned Pachyderm Studios in Minnesota.

The pièce de résistance of this musical endeavor is the mesmerizing single 'Your Science (Better Half)'. Portraying an AI-centric love narrative, this song stands tall as a testament to Joey's genius. Its majestic aura is punctuated by futuristic synth lines, punctuated by an iconic 80s snare drum. With a melody reminiscent of legends like Sade and Lana Del Ray, this track is the embodiment of Joey Arias’s singular artistry.

As Joey Arias charts new sonic territories, blending genres and creating masterpieces, he remains grounded in his roots, still performing with his jazz ensemble. 'Past Present Future' promises to be another gem in his illustrious career, releasing on October 31st, 2023. For enthusiasts and newcomers alike, it's time to delve into the world of Joey Arias at


Joey, you've been in the game for an impressive five decades! How has the ever-changing world of entertainment shaped 'Past Present Future'?

It's like playing tennis: you've got to keep hitting the ball. If you miss it, you've got to keep going and never look back. Never be held back by your past; only let it propel you into the future.

Hanging out with the likes of Andy Warhol and David Bowie must've been wild. Got any unforgettable stories or life advice from those legends?

Regarding Andy Warhol, someone said you should listen to this Joey character; he sounds like Billie Holiday. And Andy said, 'I wanna hear you,' so I sang 'Good Morning Heartache.' He had his eyes closed listening, and then he opened them and said, 'Wow… I like your new voice. This is you.'

As for Bowie, as we were mounting the SNL stage for the first number, David looked at Klaus and me; he said, 'Today is the day, you're never going backward, your future is at hand, this is going to change your life tonight, I hope you enjoy yourselves, I know I am, goddamit,' holding a glass of milk and a cigarette.

'Your Science (Better Half)' is already getting so much love. What's the story behind the track, and why did you pick it as the lead single?

The song is about connection, connecting within your deep self - and your strangest desires. It is the lead single from my upcoming album. It is a cinematic song, and it's a seed for each individual's own romantic cinematic dream.

Your voice in 'Your Science (Better Half)' is so distinct and raw. How do you keep it sounding so unique, and how has it changed over time?

My voice has different vibrations and qualities depending on the story I am trying to tell. I use different facets of my voice. I keep my voice powerful and unique by a strict daily regimen of the spiciest peppers, raw garlic, and a cigarette.

There's a bit of Lana Del Rey and Billie Holiday influence in the track. Was that on purpose? How'd you mix up those influences?

If you're picking up on those influences, it is unintentional for this song. However, in the case of Billie Holiday, she is certainly a major influence on my entire career.

Mixing cinematic pop with jazz in 'Your Science (Better Half)' sounds so cool. How did you come up with that combo, and what guides the sound of your songs?

Well, I feel like there are always two major musical influences in my life, and those are jazz and rock and roll.

With gigs coming up in the US and Europe, how do you plan to bring 'Past Present Future' to life on stage? Especially jamming with your jazz crew?

Eliot Douglas on piano, who I've been working with for 30 years, represents my past; and Brandon Seabrook is from outer space, and when you hear him play, you'll know he's from the future, and me: I am your present.

We've been doing some mini-tours through the US the past two years, which have been wildly well received. And now, with the release of the album, we're excited to get this to bigger stages.

As you keep pushing boundaries and doing your thing, what's the vibe or message you hope fans get from 'Past Present Future'?

Remember that when you work, there's always something new ahead, but you've got to work and you've got to sell yourself. Never let the past drown you. There are beasts in the ocean. Be a phoenix.


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