Prior to DREAM THEATER's performance at this year's Download festival at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England, drummer Mike Mangini spoke with Heavy TV. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his contributions to the group's latest album, "Distance Over Time":
Mike: "It's great to be part of an effort that everybody was on the same page [for]. It's like a sports team — you cannot have a guy or a person taking it away. Otherwise, it's not as focused. That's all I really cared about. Contributing music, songs, parts with bass, guitar. [Saying] 'Here's a song idea' for the first time, it wasn't so much about personally doing it — it was more that everybody was involved doing that, and everybody had something to say about everybody's offerings. It was a team effort. It was amazing to be part of a team."
On the fact that the album's recording sessions took just 18 days:
Mike: "Opinions vary on that — 'Well, that's not enough time.' Whatever. Opinion don't even matter. The fact is, we were on the same page, so when a riff came up, we knew where to go next. We just all knew what we were doing. That's why it went the way it did."
On his "rhythm-on-canvas" art collection:
Mike: "I was asked to take light drumsticks and film in the dark in a very slow exposure. When I thought about what I could do that might represent me or whatever it is I have to say or express artistically, it's about symmetry. I love it — the study of physics; I love math; I love the symmetry of the drums and words that are symmetrical. I just happen to like it — I can't help it. With my artwork, I asked the photographer what the exposure time was. When he told me that it was five seconds per click, I heard 60 beats a minute in my head, and I played shapes so that X amount of shapes would fit in five seconds. That way, when you look at the exposure and then the set of exposures together [and] superimpose them on [one] another, you could see the same symmetrical image. And it worked, but I had to time them perfectly to do it. It's hard. I spent decades understanding what 141 beats a minute sounds like versus 67 beats a minute. I can hear it in my head, and having worked on the shapes, I just picked ones I thought would look good."
On his earliest musical memory:
Mike: "Setting up cans when I was two and a half, playing along to BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS. I think it was [to] 'More And More'. I opened up the record and looked at the shape of the drums and set up the cans so they would look like the drums."
On whether he can think of a country in which he hasn't yet performed live:
Mike: "We haven't been to Antarctica, and I don't want to go. That's for METALLICA. It's too cold for me."
DREAM THEATER's 14th studio album, "Distance Over Time", was released on February 22. The artwork was created by long-time cover collaborator Hugh Syme (RUSH, IRON MAIDEN, STONE SOUR). The disc was produced by guitarist John Petrucci, mixed by Ben Grosse and mastered by Tom Baker.
"Distance Over Time" marks DREAM THEATER's first album for Sony Music's progressive imprint InsideOut Music. The group spent the past 25 years recording under various labels in the Warner Music Group system, most recently Roadrunner Records, which released five albums by the band between 2007 and 2016.