DREAM THEATER keyboardist Jordan Rudess spoke to Metal Wani about the writing and recording process for the band's upcoming follow-up to 2019's "Distance Over Time" album. He said: "I've gotta say I laid down what I think, sonically speaking at least, are the best keyboard tracks of any DREAM THEATER album. And I guess there are different factors that have influenced me and the reason I'm expressing that. One is we learn so much from every album that we do, and we take those lessons into serious consideration, and so when we go to do the next album and the next album, there's always something that we feel we can do better.
"Everything we went for, we took the time to make it a little bit more special," he continued. "Instead of finding the usual DREAM THEATER pads sound or whatever, I'd be, like, 'You know what? Let's find something a little bit cooler. Let's get something more sonic.' And so we would take the time and go, 'Yes, that's it!' Or, like, you're looking for a drone. [And we'd be, like] 'Let's add some movement to the drone.' Just something."
Jordan went on to agree with DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Mangini's recent comment that the band's upcoming LP will be more "energetically unrelenting" than most of the group's recent efforts.
"I said to John [Petrucci, guitar] one day after working and reviewing one of the tracks," he said. "We were leaving or walking out to the parking lot, and I was saying, 'You know, John. This is crazy, but here we are. I'm, like, 64 years old. You're a little bit behind me, but we're getting older.' And people ask me nowadays, 'Do you feel yourself slowing down? What's going on?' And I'm, like, 'No. I don't.' And like I said to John, 'When I listen to this album, it's like we're 20 years old or something. What is happening? What kind of vitamins are we eating?'
"I'm really proud of us, 'cause everybody — not one guy, everybody across the board in this group — is vital as ever," he continued. "When you hear this album, you'll know exactly what I'm [talking about]. You'll be, like, 'Oh my god. I see what he's saying.'
"James [LaBrie] is doing vocals now, and I was listening to something that he just put together — kind of the final rough mix; it's not mixed, but it's just a rough mix, if you will — and I was, like, 'Holy shit. People are gonna freak out.' I can't wait to share this album."
Earlier this month, Petrucci told Metal Injection about the making of DREAM THEATER's new album: "Everybody just came to the table to play. Everybody is on fire. The best ideas and best playing. And so the album, it's lit up. There's definitely a lot of energy and excitement to it. I'm really pumped about it."
"Distance Over Time" marked DREAM THEATER's first album for 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.
DREAM THEATER recently released its ninth career live album, "Distant Memories - Live In London". Recorded at DREAM THEATER's sold-out show at the Apollo Theatre in London, the live release documents the band's world tour in support of "Distance Over Time" and the 20th anniversary of their seminal concept album "Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes From A Memory".