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Considering Dream Theater

Q&A with DT keyboardist Jordan Rudess

By Luke Winkie, 9:07AM, Wed. Jul. 4, 2012

Considering Dream Theater

Boston prog-metal veterans Dream Theater load into ACL Live at the Moody Theater this Saturday, July 7, with the Crimson Projekct opening. We spoke with keyboardist Jordan Rudess to lead off the Music Listings page in the Chronicle on Thursday. Here's some of what didn't make it into print.

Austin Chronicle: How’s the tour been going?

Jordan Rudess: It’s been great! The band is doing so well. My run with Dream Theater of almost 14 years has been a good experience in general, but in the last year with these major changes the vibe has been really, really cool. When I go onstage I feel like we’re lifting off the ground. It’s a real high.

AC: Is it fair to say that Dream Theater's live show is a completely different dynamic than the albums?

JR: Yeah it’s a totally different thing, but we’ve always enjoyed both elements. Personally speaking, when I’m in the studio I’m using tons of gear and toys, but live I focus it into a single keyboard. It’s different in every way. We really take our shows seriously. We have a whole media presentation. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to present my own rig. People enjoy that, and we certainly take it into consideration.

AC: Dream Theater fans are known for being a little on the cultish side, and I mean that in a good way. What’s it like having fans that are so keyed into what you guys are doing?

JR: It’s intense. And it's certainly something we keep in mind. We always get reminded of it. When we’re in the studio, we’re just writing our music and hanging out. But when we get out on the road, we remember how many people are paying attention to us. There’s extra pressure and extra consideration, but it’s a great thing.

AC: You've been at the forefront of innovation with music and technology by developing apps and writing music on the iPad. Can we expect anything else like that in the future?

JR: I’m working on a new app right now. It’s called SpaceWiz. It’s an app that involves a planetary system – what you’d call a “generative music app.” All of these planets are flying around and each one gets assigned a timbre and a visual effect. It’s almost done and coming out soon.

AC: Tell me about the solo work you have coming up.

JR: I’m really thinking hard about the solo stuff, since I have a block of time before I hit the studio again. One, I wrote this piece called “Explorations for Keyboard in Orchestra,” and I’m researching how to record it properly. I’m also working to come up with my next solo rock album, which will be all original stuff. I’m just planning that out right now, talking to record company people.

Whenever I have a break I think about the solo stuff. My life is made up of either Dream Theater work, the apps, or the solo stuff. It’s good to stay energized.

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