PureGrainAudio recently conducted an interview with guitarist John Petrucci of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. You can listen to the entire chat via the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the members of DREAM THEATER leaving their families and home lives to record their latest album, “Distance Over Time” in an upstate New York studio:
John: “It’s been like that for a long time. We all started families pretty early, so trying to balance between what we do professionally and all the time that we are away and raising our families and stuff, it’s always been something we’ve faced. I think actually as you get older and the kids are adults, it actually becomes a bit easier. You hear that all the time with people whether they’re in the music profession or not, they’re kind of able to have more of that time. Taking a trip like that as guys, the timing was really perfect.”
On whether DREAM THEATER should be known as a “concept album” band:
John: “No. We do have two concept albums, but that’s two out of 14. The one we’re doing now, ‘Scenes’ [1999’s ‘Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory’], it came out 20 years ago, almost 20 years later when we did ‘The Astonishing’, our second one. It’s a part of what we do. But, obviously, the more sort of standard albums is more normal for us. When I was younger, I was influenced by IRON MAIDEN, they always had those long, story-driven songs like ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ and ‘The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’, stuff like that. I think that’s probably where that comes from. You can hear that on our very first album [‘When Day And Dream Unite’] which came out in 1989 and the song ‘The Killing Hand’. Prog music is the perfect setting to do story-driven music. It’s dramatic and cinematic. It’s a lot of fun.”
On performing “Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory” live in full:
John: “We put a lot of work as we always do into the production side so that the show becomes more than just about the songs, but about the experience. We want people to have a very stimulating visual experience. We try to do something new. This ‘Scenes’ show we’re doing is nothing like the original tour we did 20 years ago. This has all new animated content, really depicting the story. That’s what we try to do. Every time we go out, we try to do something fresh and unique, especially for people who have seen the band multiple times.”
On whether DREAM THEATER will record a show from their current “Scenes” tour for future release:
John: “Yeah. We will eventually and we’re talking about where to do that. We have a long world tour ahead of us. There’s going to be a lot of locations. Toronto would have been really cool, but we’ll [decide] that later in the tour for sure.”
On whether he’s always recording his riffs and how large of a back catalog of ideas he has stored on his hard drive:
John: “If I come across like a cool riff, melody or idea, I always record it right away. But I just do it very simply on my iPhone in the voice memos and I label it. It’s very easy to get back to and access anywhere. When we went in to do ‘Distance Over Time’, I had a huge collection. Sometimes they’re only 30-second little bits or riffs or ideas, sometimes they’re a little longer, but for example, ‘Fall Into The Light’, is largely based on riffs I collected and ideas, again, while I’m playing my guitar and something hits me: ‘Hey, that’s really cool. I should record that.’ I don’t step into a studio. I basically record it on my iPhone and it’s an easy way to capture that and it works out great.”
“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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