Why dREAm THEATER are getting down’n’dirty in the studio.
Do not adjust your sets: the kings of progressive metal are going basic… kinda
Dream theater’s last studio album, The Astonishing, was an elaborate, 130-minute fantasy concept piece that spawned a board game, a novel and the band’s most absurdly over-the-top tour production to date. For new album Distance Over Time, as guitarist John Petrucci tells Hammer, the prog metal legends are getting back to “down’n’dirty” basics again. But what does that mean for a band like theirs?!
how the hell do you follow something as epic as The Astonishing?
“Ha ha ha! Well, that was a very special and unique release for the band and especially for me, because it was a project I had brewing for a number of years. A lot of people loved it and the tour was really successful, but a lot of people didn’t really get it and I anticipated that would be the case. But I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished. It was a pretty amazing undertaking. But now we are onto the next one and we’ve taken a completely different approach.”
so what’s different this time?
“We weren’t looking for a studio, we were just looking for a space to set up our gear and write a record, without distractions. We found a place called The Yonderbarn, in upstate New York, which was exactly what we were looking for. We’ve never gone away as a band before, not like this anyway. There was a little house on the property and we all stayed there. In the morning, we’d get up, make breakfast, walk up to the barn and start writing. Within less than three weeks we had the album written and we could’ve kept doing it for another two months and had another two albums written.
It was such a cool vibe and chemistry. It wasn’t until we wrote the record that we decided, ‘Hey, this is such an amazing place, maybe we should record it up here, too!’ and that’s what we ended up doing.”
how would you describe your new music?
“It definitely differs from The Astonishing! That was about two-and-a-half hours of music, but this one comes in at around the hour mark and it’s not a concept album. It’s more organic. There’s no orchestra, no choir, Jordan [Rudess] played a lot of Hammond organ. It just sounds like the band going for it. It’s more immediate and down’n’dirty, for sure. Between the length of it and the style of music, it’ll definitely leave your head spinning a little!”
What inspired the album title, Distance Over Time?
“Basically, there’s this formula for velocity, which is D over T, distance over time. Me and my guitar tech were just joking around, like ‘I wonder if we could make a formula for my guitar sound?’ and we discovered ‘distance over time’ and it just stuck. It just sounded very Dream Theatery! It was perfect. When you think how far the band has come and how far the music has come and the great distances that we’ve covered touring the world, it works on so many levels.
Will the next tour necessarily be a more stripped-down affair than the last one?
“We always try to present something that’s entertaining, fun and interesting, and visually exciting as well. So it’ll be cool, but the level of production on The Astonishing was something we’d never done before. It won’t be that crazy or over-the-top. That was the kind of thing you can’t do too often!”
Distance Over time is due out February 22 via insideout
can’t believe Dream theater are going full nu metal, mates
Whatever, John, we all know you’re jamming cardi B through those cans