Jordan Rudess keyboardist of progressive metal band Dream Theater talks about his new solo album INTERSONIC
Jordan Rudess may be one of the most influential prog musicians in the world, but he's surely not one to rest on his laurels. In addition to touring the world with Dream Theater celebrating the 25th anniversary of seminal album Images & Words, he’s found time to record an ambitious album named INTERSONIC. Written and performed in partnership with Steve Horelick, a composer of music for TV programs and videogames, the album explores electronic/ambient sounds, and will surely catch the Dream Theater fans by surprise. I spoke with Jordan via email regarding his new release and some of his other endeavors, and his answers are below:
1 – Congratulations on the new album INTERSONIC, yet another unique release! How did you and Steve Horelick get to know each other, and what drove you guys to explore ambient sounds like that?
I first was introduced to Steve through his work in online Logic tutorials. I use LOGIC for all my recording on my computer and I was drawn to his approach and what he was doing with the platform. When I reached out to him we immediately hit it off, realized that we lived pretty near each other and had a lot in common! Steve was one of the first synthesists to use synthesizers in commercials for TV and radio and he has a lot of experience and knowledge on music technology. We started to get together years ago and our music sessions were always inspired, spontaneous and fulfilling. I love the textures Steve conjures out of his EuroRack and Buchla Synthesizer. We both have a passion for instruments that drive musical expression. Things like the Roli Seaboard or my own GeoShred for iPad. Interestingly there is also kind of a homecoming for me in that there is a lot of acoustic piano! We both love sonics and that inspires us to explore together and create this music!
2 – The album shows a different side of your work, with new textures added and new avenues to explore. Did you make a conscious decision to do something completely different than your “day job” with Dream Theater, or was it a coincidence that the album turned out like that?
The music i made with Steve is a very natural kind of musical output for me although it´s not what most people are used to hearing from me.
In that sense the recording naturally evolved and became what it is.
Through the years I’ve had a few partners to explore sound with and journey into more Ambient and Electronic spaces.
This album definitely represents a side of who I am and what I like to express with my music.
3 - The album cover compliments the album quite well. Tell us about the process to choose Thomas Pasieka as the artist to provide it.
Thomas and I have done a lot together!! He also did the artwork for my last solo piano album entitled The Unforgotten Path. In addition, Thomas and I worked together on some visuals for Dream Theater shows. I knew he would be able to do a beautiful job as always.
4 - After releasing The Astonishing and this album, you now have at least two releases under your belt with quite a cinematic approach. Would you consider doing an actual soundtrack for a movie?
I’m ready willing and able...
5 – A musician with such a high profile like you must receive a million different proposals to do side projects like INTERSONIC. How do you choose which ones to take on?
Good question. It really has to be something worth my time. There are many factors. Of course the quality of the music is a big one - but also who the people are!
There are some people out there with such wonderful spirits and artistic natures that I just love to work with them. The other factor that does often come into play is financial.
In general it´s about balancing these elements!
Photo taken from https://web.musicaficionado.com
6 – When Scott Schorr from Lazy Bones Records posted a photo of you on Facebook recently with the caption “Who are these dudes and what are they scheming?!”, mine and everyone else’s guess was the release of Levin Minneman, Rudess 3. Is that still in the cards? And if so, can we expect a tour sometime in the future?
At this moment I’m not sure about that. Everybody is so busy that it’s hard to say if that project will ever come around again. That said- it was musically really fun for me and I think we made some great music!
7 – You’re now an Artist in Residence at Stanford University’s CCRMA (Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics), just released INTERSONIC, you’re supporting the new platform Artistco, just released an album called “Light Becomes Day” with musicians from India, and also develop work with Wizdom Music. Even without your steady job with Dream Theater, that’s a lot to take! Do you have a process to juggle all those different endeavors?
It´s all about passion for music and a strong work ethic. It’s about not having many other hobbies and it’s about having a wife that is loving, supportive, helpful and smart.
8 – When you start writing a keyboard part, or have a cool idea for a riff, how do you figure out if it’s suitable for Dream Theater or any of your other projects/bands?
I’ve learned a lot about what works for Dream Theater over the years. That said it is still possible that I would present something that might not be suitable.
My musical interests are very broad and the styles I play range over a wide spectrum so it can get a little confusing!
9 - It must be a special time for you and DT to be celebrating the anniversary of Images and Words on the road...I for one can't wait for you guys to hit Toronto in mid November. How's the tour going so far, and what are DT's next steps after that?
The tour has been long for sure but GREAT! So much love out there for what we do. People are especially excited about the Images and Words celebration and Anniversary.
The band is playing well and strong and there is a great feeling every night when we make music together. After this tour will all take a break and start recording again around May 2018.
10 - One last question to wrap it up: since 2010 you and John Petrucci have taken the helm as main composers in DT. A lot of old time fans miss a more collaborative effort from the band as a whole, where the other members contribute in equal measures in the making of an album. Is this something you guys discuss and would be willing to try in your next albums?
I’m smiling: John and I have always done a great deal of the writing for Dream Theater. The Astonishing just happened to be a different kind of approach in that it was just us working in the room together. That said - we look forward and are excited about getting contributions from everybody in the band on the next record!
Thanks for the interview!
INTERSONIC is scheduled for release on November 14th via Lazy Bones Records. The tracklist is as follows:
1 - Child Mind
2 - Particles
3 - Quantum Fuzz
4 - Submergence
5 - Into Tranquility
6 - Northern Lights
7 - Unfolding
8 - Swarm
9 - Dreaming Aloud
10 - Elias's Lullaby
11 - Beyond Time
Pre-order the album here:
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