DREAM THEATER's JAMES LABRIE On 'Distance Over Time' Album: 'Each Track Is Very, Very Exciting And Very, Very Unique'

November 20, 2018

Lotsofmuzik recently conducted an interview with DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Lotsofmuzik: For [DREAM THEATER's upcoming] album ["Distance Over Time"], you guys decided to convene in an isolated property and work together in the album. When I heard about that, I couldn't help but think about the old LED ZEPPELIN albums when they'd go together to Headley Grange and write and record the whole thing. Did anyone make that connection at the time?

LaBrie: "I think first and foremost, John Petrucci [guitar], John Myung [bass] and I recalled the last time we did that as a band, when we were recording the 'Images And Words' album. We were at BearTracks Studios in upstate New York, and we actually all lived in this house. It was about 10 minutes from the studio in Tomkins Cove. That was the name of this town that we were in, and we were all living together in the house throughout the duration of the recording. So we were all talking and kind of reminiscing about those times, and so it was kind of cool to come back to this. It was like a summer camp, but at the same time, what you're doing is you're there to produce a new album, new material. And it was cool, because I think what it allowed us to do is that it enabled us to come up with ideas together and slowly but surely we formed them into complete songs. Sometimes we'd just be chilling out, sitting around one another, and more often than not the conversation obviously comes back around to the music and where things are at and how we feel and the direction that it's going and maybe even focusing on that particular song at the moment that is being worked on. So it's kind of cool because it, it doesn't allow you many distractions, right? You're not getting away from it, but you're in that zone and you're there. Pretty much 24/7."

Lotsofmuzik: We have a couple of tracks whose names were already revealed: "Fall Into The Light", "Paralyzed", "At Wit's End" and "Barstool Warrior". How have you contributed to those ones? And did you have any involvement in the music this time or just the lyrics?

LaBrie: "Only the lyrics. I was there the whole time though, observing the music and if anything felt a little weird to me, then I'd voice my opinion. But the amount of times that I would say that is not even worth mentioning. When it came time to write the melodies to the songs I got involved, I wrote lyrics to three songs. And we had this discussion about me being involved and being a part of the process so that I could listen and kind of gauge where we're going and where we're at and what the end result is going to be. And so for me it's kind of cool because part of the whole process with any band that when they're writing is that you'll leave all your egos at the door and you're just basically candid with one another. What was surprising with this was just how quickly it was going on. I don't know if you were speaking to any of the other guys, but I believe you did an interview with Jordan [Rudess, keyboards] and he might've mentioned to you that at the end of the day, the actual days of writing worked out to be something like 17 days! That's how prolific, how fast things were coming together. Like I said, I wrote the lyrics to three songs, one of the songs being the bonus track on the album. I think everything came out exactly as we had hoped and as we had been discussing leading up to the actual time in the studio to actually start writing."

Lotsofmuzik: And it seems that you took the same approach as the self-titled album to a certain extent, in the sense that the songs are a bit more direct, right? Not necessarily shorter but more direct, more straight to the point.

LaBrie: "Yeah, absolutely. Our last album was very conceptually based and very theatrical as well. So it was about getting back and about encompassing or encapsulating all of our roots, where we came from and our influences originally and what does that say to each and every guy in the band. And also chasing something that's a little more organic, and then ultimately creating something where we can say that each song is always going to be who and what we are. It always has to be identified as DREAM THEATER. But we felt that we were creating something a little more than what was previously done. I think when everyone hears the songs they're going to be going, 'Wow!' I think each track is very, very exciting and very, very unique."

Read the entire interview at Lotsofmuzik.

"Distance Over Time" will be released on February 22, 2019. The artwork was created by long-time cover collaborator Hugh Syme (RUSH, IRON MAIDEN, STONE SOUR). The disc was produced by Petrucci, mixed by Ben Grosse and mastered by Tom Baker.

"Distance Over Time" will mark DREAM THEATER's first album for Sony Music's progressive imprint InsideOut Music. The group spent the past 25 years recording under various labels in the Warner Music Group system, most recently Roadrunner Records, which released five albums by the band between 2007 and 2016.

The "Distance Over Time" tour of North America kicks off on March 20, 2019 in San Diego, California. The tour will run for seven weeks before wrapping up in Mexico City on May 4, 2019. Information on tickets for all upcoming shows as well as VIP packages can be found at DreamTheater.net.

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