In the next issue of HEAVY Mag, we’ve got a full interview with Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater. Here’s a couple of snippets of our interview that we couldn’t squeeze into the magazine. For the full interview, check out the next issue of HEAVY Mag, which is free to on 18 February.
Steven Jenkins spoke with Jordan Rudess and here’s what he had to say about creating a huge concept album like The Astonishing: “It’s a concept that is about hope and how music can be a healing force with how it functions. There’s a main character (Gabriel) and he’s the person in the story that has the gift of music. The story takes place hundreds of years in the future where people have really forgotten what true and organic music really is. So the other side of the story is that there are these machines called the NOMACS and they’re the noise machines. They’re kind of like the idea of technology taking over, and they make a particular type of noise that’s the result of machines basically having their own way and just going off on their own.”
“They probably started out making what could be related to music but they ended up just taking over and making noise. But now they’re controlling this society, so what happens is people kind of get a glimpse of this Gabriel character and realize that they’ve been missing something emotionally which comes through on the music. There’s a whole divide between the government, the kingdom, the rebellion group, and there’s a whole story between two dynamics. There’s a love story that’s tied into it, there’s drama and some violence. So that’s pretty much what it is.”
Rudess continues: “We wanted the music to be as helpful as a support of the story as possible so we would have meetings in the morning, the two of us, and decide where we were in the story and what was going on and which characters were present and what the mood was, where we were going and what we needed to write because of that. So we ended up having themes – themes throughout the album that are connected with the different characters and the mood.”
“Moods that kind of go with the different characters as well. So throughout the course of the album you have these things that come back but the content of the story is connected and so is the music. So that’s kind of what it was. So it was a really enjoyable process, it was deep. John and I were working everyday on this, up to the point where we both handed off stuff to the orchestra and David Campbell and we also had the other guys come in to do all their parts – vocals, bass and the drums, which were no small achievements in themselves.”