Niclas Müller-Hansen of RockSverige.se recently conducted an interview with guitarist John Petrucci of progressive metallers DREAM THEATER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow
RockSverige.se: Listening to the [new DREAM THEATER] album [“The Astonishing”], you really get the feel of a movie going along with it. Any plans for something like that?
John: Right. When we first started thinking about this, again, it wasn’t that we were just writing an album, we wanted to write something that would cross different medias and could be whatever we imagined it to be and I was always so impressed with rock musicals like “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Tommy” or “American Idiot” and it was like “We’re like the perfect band to do something like this. We’re called DREAM THEATER.” Doing that, is a goal that’s on the horizon. Being able to score a movie is something that people have always said, “You guys should score a movie.”, but we never did, so it’s kinda like we scored our own thing. To have that turn into something visual like a movie would be awesome. Some of the things that are already in development, are a videogame, which it is perfect for, and a novelization, which we haven’t announced officially, but we’re in talks with that. We’re taking the steps to get there and hopefully it will turn into this other thing.
RockSverige.se: When you were writing this story, did you try to work office hours or did you just write way into the night?
John: In the beginning, when I was writing the story, that’s when I really needed very private, quiet time, so I would pick the time to do that. Whether it be when I was travelling and there was nothing else to do, or at home late at night, that was necessary. When it came to actually writing the music and not just musical ideas that I would throw on my phone, but really sitting down and saying, “Okay, let’s storyboard this out and organize it,” we knew that we needed blocks of time, so we would just be in the studio for 10-12 hours. That’s how we did it, and it was the only way to get that really focused creative time. At that point, it’s not so much about inspiration, it’s about craftiness. There’s 34 songs and that takes time.
RockSverige.se: How do you feel about the way music has changed and the way people listen to music today? You were there when bands sold records and now it´s so different.
John: There are two ways to look at it. Back in the day, just for example of having commercial success and charting or whatever, so many records were sold, so the pop artists kinda took over with that stuff. You couldn’t even compete, because they were selling millions of records. Now there are so many less physical sales of CDs and records that for a band like ours, with such a powerful worldwide audience, we are actually able to compete and we don’t have to sell a million records to chart in the Top 10, so it’s pretty crazy when you look at that. The thing is, and, again, it’s the underlying message with this album, music is being consumed in more of a passive way. With streaming and downloading, it’s just too easy to kind of make it some background thing, so the idea that we wrote something that almost forces you to have to sit down and listen to it, we used to do that and we base a lot on our own experiences. As teenagers, we used to listen to entire RUSH albums, entire PINK FLOYD albums and shut down the lights and it was great. It was not like today when you listen to a song for 30 seconds.
Read the entire interview at RockSverige.se.