Keyboard wizard and piano virtuoso, Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment) recently spoke with Metal Wani’s Carl Rourke about the many creative plates he is currently spinning in 2021. From the upcoming new Dream Theater album (‘A View From the Top of the World’, out October 22nd) to writing a new solo record, the pair talked in-depth and at length about all of this and much more.
Discussing ‘A View From the Top of the World’, Jordan shared his thoughts on whether the album was thematic,
“It’s not a concept album, that’s for sure. It’s more an album of individual songs, kind of where we’re at at the moment. So, there’s not necessarily any tie-in between one song and another other than people being in the same general headspace when they’re writing lyrics.”
While touching on some specifics around the writing process, Jordan also talked about whether other musical outputs he is involved with may have informed his writing on the album.
“That’s interesting, that whole topic. I mean when I’m in the studio with Dream Theater and we’re writing music for an album, I do tend to think ahead a little bit, trying to get together whatever it is in the moment that we’re doing, But thinking ahead because we do a lot of writing right there and then. It’s not like somebody just comes in with a tune and we just learn it. We’re bouncing ideas, we’re going for it, just inventing it all while we’re together.”
“But interestingly, like you said, ‘the big picture’, ’cause the big picture is not part, part, part, part. The bigger picture is what you are creating, the architecture of the thing. And lucky I’m in a group that has always thought architecturally.”
“And I would say absolutely. There’s no reason to completely separate the headspace from one project to the next. I mean, I did ‘A Chapter In Time’, and that’s certainly a very different kind of music. That’s like, gentle, mindful, healing, it’s got all these other properties that music is great for and that I was after on that. Then having that experience and going into the next project, certainly some of that stays with me and I learn something from it. And when we did the LTE (Liquid Tension Experiment) sessions, I think we experienced a lot and learned a lot and then we went into the Dream Theater sessions after that and it’s like okay, we have the benefit of all that experience in this chapter in time of recording and composing.”
In March 2021, Jordan released his solo album “A Chapter In Time” and is now planning on writing a new solo effort.
“In other news, now that the Dream Theater tour is postponed, it does give me some time to think about what’s next for me personally, because I have this unexpected period of time. So yeah, I’m gonna start working on another solo album for sure. Something fun, cool, not piano. Something more in the rock vein, I think. It’s time for that, to let my prog hair down. [Laughs]”
“It’s a pretty blank slate. I’ve got a couple of ideas, but I haven’t really sat down to start yet. But any moment I’m just gonna go in there and start going crazy.”
On joining N.F.T, Jordan explained what the platform has allowed him to do creatively.
“This is a whole new world, and it’s really an interesting world. Let me speak totally creatively. N.F.T is something that came into my life over the last year or two. I think, like a lot of people, I started to hear about this stuff and I thought, ‘what the hell is that? What does it mean?’ Then you find out a little bit about it but you’re still wondering ‘what is it? What’s going on?’ So, there’s a lot of questions about it.
“Creatively speaking, I was like, wow, NFT’s, and I started to look at them and a lot of the things I looked at were like visual kind of things. Like, really cool visuals that people were making and selling as NFT’ and I thought, oh, this is a great opportunity to go and so something that’s like audio and visual combined, which is what I love! So I remembered that I had some wonderful contact some years ago with a guy named V.J Bater, who did some visuals for Dream Theater. I found him and I arranged for him to do a bunch of cool stuff for Dream Theater, and so I reached out to him again and said, “would you wanna work on an NFT with me?”
“So, we started to work on this idea, and I didn’t exactly know what I was getting into at first. I knew that I wanted to work on a shorter kind of, form factor. I didn’t need to write a whole song, I needed to write something that would go with a visual, that would be ultra-cool, if you will. So I went to the studio and started working on this dense kind of thing. Dense meaning a lot of tracks that went into making the sound that I got and I was having a really great time doing it.”
“The creative side is that this NFT thing that people have been hearing about is allowing me to do some things that I haven’t really done before this way, and I’m very excited about it. Because it’s really cool. It’s awesome!”