DREAM THEATER's JORDAN RUDESS On 'Distance Over Time': 'This Album Is A Bit Of A Return To Roots and Getting Back To Basics'

April 14, 2019

"Bods Mayhem Hour" recently conducted an interview with keyboardist Jordan Rudess of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether he feels DREAM THEATER is "lucky" to still be releasing new music considering the current state of the music industry:

Jordan: "Absolutely. We feel privileged to be one of these bands that has lasted for a long time. It's not without a lot of hard work and touring all over the world, being in the studio. Just a lot for all this time and it's been a journey, but it's really worth it because we put out an album like this one, 'Distance Over Time' and the reaction is so great and everyone is feeling good and excited to get out on the road again and keep doing it."

On why "Untethered Angel" was chosen as the first single from "Distance Over Time":

Jordan: "What made the decision and there were definitely some good choices, we felt like it had all the core elements. It had heavy riffs, it was melodic, it had good hooks. It was offering all the bits that we think make up our core sound. That's the reason that we put it out there and we just wanted to give something to people that they would just enjoy, especially if they were longtime DREAM THEATER fans. This album is a bit of a return to roots and getting back to basics and that tune was meant to let people experience that."

On whether guitarist John Petrucci pushed his DREAM THEATER bandmates hard in his role as producer:

Jordan: "He's a really good producer. He knows how to work with people. He knows, kind of like the right thing to say at the right time. He's very smart. That's why this works. He can really manage it. There's a lot of personalities in the band, there's a lot of talent. There's just a lot to work with and John recognizes the reality of what's going on there with all the abilities of everybody and the situation and needing to put out a very together and very happening album. He does a good job. Everybody kind of, I think, feels good about our process."

On what he hopes people get out of listening to "Distance Over Time":

Jordan: "Well, DREAM THEATER has never really been so much about fitting into one particular fashion statement, any present scene, if you will. It's more about creating really cool music that you can kind of sink your teeth into. You spend a little time and energy, kind of an investment in listening and you get a little out of it. That said, this album is a little bit easier to immediately digest, if you will. We want people to really enjoy it. There are certain songs that you can just sit back and kind of dig and other ones you maybe have to not listen to as background music and go for the ride and fasten your seatbelt and go for it, then you get a whole lot out of it. We make this music to bring people enjoyment, pleasure, to make their heads spin and it's an experience, that's what we're aiming for."

On whether he sees DREAM THEATER still having room for "growth":

Jordan: Definitely. We learn a whole lot every time we record, every time we make music, there's always lessons to be learned. We take what we do very seriously. This is a tremendous thing for us. It's a responsibility, if you will, to the fans, to each other, to our business, it's our livelihood, it's our music. There's so much to learn from it and we tend to really take those lessons into everything we do. Personally speaking, I'm always practicing on different — whether it's keyboard techniques, compositional techniques. I'm always looking to reach a higher level and maintain what I've got. I'm interested to get better and improve."

On whether he likes the era of social media and faster delivery of music:

Jordan: "Yeah. There's so much about social media that I like. It's fun to be able to engage people more quickly if you're trying to invest in social media, you can really have a good time with it and get some excitement and energy and again, the engagement is what's really cool. I'm a big fan of it. I do a lot of livestreaming myself and really enjoy being able to reach out to fans all over the world and the get the messages quickly and bring them into some of the things that I'm doing."

On what DREAM THEATER album he thinks deserves more attention:

Jordan: "There's a lot of stuff and the first thing that comes to mind is the last album we did, 'The Astonishing', which was a bit polarizing to the fans because it was different than a lot of our stuff. It was a little bit more time-sensitive dynamic and emotional, not quite as consistently heavier. With that album, I'm actually fine with what happened, but I think that over time, we'll talk in five or ten years and we'll see where it kind of sits. Something like that takes more time for people to understand and see where it kind of fits in the grand scheme of things."

DREAM THEATER's 14th studio album, "Distance Over Time", was released on February 22. The artwork was created by longtime cover collaborator Hugh Syme (RUSH, IRON MAIDEN, STONE SOUR). The disc was produced by Petrucci, mixed by Ben Grosse and mastered by Tom Baker.

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