Artisan News conducted an interview with DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Mangini at Guitar Center's 27th annual Drum-Off, which was held on January 16 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the biggest challenge during the making of DREAM THEATER's new concept album, "The Astonishing":
Mangini: "The biggest challenge for me was interpreting the initial music that was given to me, because there were no drums. So [I was like], 'All right, I need to listen to this, really, as a whole piece to understand where I should kind of let loose or I should lay back a lot.' All that. Just to see it as a whole, 'cause I don't wanna play blindly or try to fit too much where it doesn't belong. And if I see the whole picture, it allows me to do that. But then again, doing it is a challenge, because someone else composes… A lot of my career is working with people that write music, and the biggest challenge is, 'What can I do that makes sense to them and still makes sense to myself. So it's like being two people at once. It's interesting."
On the writing process for "The Astonishing":
Mangini: "John Petrucci [guitar] put together the whole thing, and he organized it in a really amazing way. I mean, he used software, he had everything mapped out. And then he used our keyboard player, Jordan [Rudess], who is… When he plays, you see things, you see a landscape; you've got a picture in your mind. It's so visual, it's unbelievable. So there really is nobody better to help bring a story to life so you feel it and see it. I mean, it's not something I do on my instrument, you know what I mean? So when I experience it, it blows my mind."
On whether it will be challenge to perform all of "The Astonishing" live:
Mangini: "Ahh… It's always a challenge. Our audience holds up score cards. But that's great, because we do too; we just wanna deliver and make it something that translates. And to give it every night is… That's living. It's not easy, but that's living."
"The Astonishing", which will be released on January 29 via Roadrunner. The CD will be made available in a wide range of distinctive versions, including standard 2-CD set, 4-LP vinyl box set and a limited edition deluxe box set, all of which are currently available for pre-order at this location.