Dream Theater (John Petrucci)
What else can be said, when everything has already been said about Dream Theater? They're loved, they're hated, after all these years fans and killjoys have always argued whether the New York-based band truly represented progressive metal and technical music... Well, we'd rather put all this fuss aside and talk about music, that's all that matters, with John Petrucci, focussing on the band new record, entitled "Dream Theater". Enjoy!
Article by Alessandra Leoni - Publish on: 08/10/13
dream_theater_intervista_2013_02It's definitely hard not to avoid puzzlement and skepticism, when you have in front of you the 12th Dream Theater album, a self-titled one with a black cover and simply the logo of the band. Lack of inspiration in finding a suitable title and an appropriate cover, perhaps that would be a prove of uninspiration and tiredness - this is what the neverending killjoys would say about Dream Theater this round. Sorry, but John Petrucci has a different idea about that: ""Dream Theater" is our second album with Mike Mangini and in this album, just like in "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", there's a return to the more progressive and more melodic side of Dream Theater. We just felt very much comfortable and relaxed in doing this album, because this time we had Mike in the band after one album and a tour together - so, everything went really well". "We just wanted to have an album with a very dramatic sound, musically interesting of course, with a very progressive and melodic vibe" Petrucci added "and the melodic part that catches the most of the attention are the vocal lines of course. For example, for the vocal parts of "The Looking Glass" I sat with my acoustic guitar only, playing and singing the melody, to make sure that it was suitable, catchy and melodic. A very stripped down way to write vocal parts, but it worked". Moreover, just like "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", John Petrucci is the producer of this album - how is it like producing your own album? "It's a great experience, you have to learn a lot, but you also have to step back and have a look at the bigger picture... That's why I wrote that song: you have to look at your songs, your music very objectively, only to keep the goal in mind and you have to make sure that every piece you have written makes sense, it's interesting enough. Writing all together means that there are a lot of ideas, but you have to step back and choose, decide which ones are going to stay and which ones not. You have to be precise and you have to keep that bigger picture in mind, that's it".

dream_theater_intervista_2013_05The Italian fans on our Official Facebook Page wanted to know Mangini's contribution this time, besides playing drums, it is a common (and quite obvious) thought that he played a bigger role in the songwriting of the album, this time: "Mike has been with us since the very beginning this time" he explained "He sat with us talking and discussing our ideas, he contributed ideas, he gave a lot of ideas while writing this album. All the drums you hear, they're coming from his own brain, they are his own. He is a very creative drummer, and very sensitive - we were so lucky to have him in the studio since the very beginning". Mike Mangini did a remarkable job as a drummer, in "Dream Theater", proving to be a very refined and sensitive drummer, with a sense of taste that not so many drummers possess when it comes to progressive music and play technical music: "He always got what to play in each song - he immediately understood when he had to be soft and gentle, or when he had to sound aggressive. I believe he really shined in this album, he really did".

In this album, it seems that the New York-based band had a look to the past, not only with the instrumental "The Enigma Machine" (the last instrumental song was "Stream Of Consciousness" in "Train Of Thought", released in 2003), but also with the cinematic opening piece, "False Awakening Suite" (the last ouverture they wrote was in "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence"): "Yeah, we just wanted to try that, we wanted something dramatic, as we said earlier, to open our concerts with". So, let's say goodbye to Hans Zimmer's music from "Inception" and welcome their own opening song, that was recorded with a true string section, by the way. Another significant Dream Theater trademark is the classic suite - this time we discuss about "Illumination Theory" and my licit question "Did you know right from the start that "Illumination Theory" was going to be 20 minutes long?" got this answer: "Yes, we knew that right from the start that it would be that long. Knowing that, before we put all together, we also had some melodies and themes in our mind to develop. So these were the reference points in the song, the most important part was the development in between those reference points".

dream_theater_intervista_2013_03Another question from the fans, that is always interesting to ask to one of the most popular guitarists in the progressive metal scene, is the one about the equipment: "For this album I have used a JP13 Music Man Signature guitar, which sounds incredibile on the album. I also used another guitar in "The Looking Glass", which is called Axis, but other than that, I have only used a JP13 in the rest of the album". Another interesting aspect is John Petrucci's way of using the acoustic guitar, often used to double the clean sound of the electric instrument: "The acoustic guitar, when it doubles the electric guitar, it adds an interesting texture which I really like a lot - it makes the sound thicker and very interesting". Sadly, though, John is not going to play the acoustic guitar like he did in the past tour on "The Silent Man" or "Beneath The Surface": "No, I don't think I am going to do that in the next tour, that was fun to do, but this tour, as for now, since we have brought back the "An Evening With..." format, I don't think I will do that".

Speaking of the upcoming tour, it will start officially on January 2014 and the Italian gigs are scheduled as follows:

20th January 2014 @ Mediolanumforum, Milano
21st January 2014 @ Obihall, Firenze
22nd January 2014 @ Palalottomatica, Roma
23rd January 2014 @ Gran Teatro Geox, Padova




Of course, John and the rest of the band are looking forward to come to Italy and the last question is about the secret of creating good music after all these years: "I believe you just have to enjoy what you're doing, that's being passionate about your music, your instrument, besides being a well-trained musician. You also have to find passionate people, in order to create a synergy together, that allows you to write music together".

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