Jordan Rudess is renowned for his virtuoso keyboard talent. He is not only the keyboardist in progressive metal band Dream Theater but also a composer and producer. With prestigious classical roots, his technical skills are immense. Jordan's real passion however, is pushing musical boundaries and playing with sound.
“My background is as a classical pianist, until one day some friends brought over a Moog Sonic 5, the predecessor to the Minimoog. And, you know, I'd been totally wrapped up in my classical world, but they came to my door, walked into my bedroom and I put the thing down on my desk and I started to play. Right there and then my whole world changed. It was an awakening, turning knobs and thinking oh my god, it's not just like playing keys on the piano, I can change the sound, I can press a key, turn a knob, I was totally taken with that whole thing. It lead me down this path of being really interested in not just playing on the keyboard, but experimenting, experiencing all of these cool sounds. That passion has lead me to all these amazing tools.”
One of Jordan's tools is the Eigenharp. “The Eigenharp is an instrument that's really forward thinking and super cool and expressive and new and different so I'm really excited.”
Jordan's primary motivation for playing the Eigenharp is not purely an interest in the technology.
“What it comes down to is, can I get the sounds I want? I hear something in my head, I'll do whatever it takes to express that, so that's kind of lead me to all the things that I play.”
The music Dream Theater reflects Jordan's ethos. “It's an interesting band in the sense that we try to be very honest about our music. We're not trying to fit into a commercial idea. We just have music that we love, and we've always been very good at just expressing that, being very true to it and the fans really respond to that. There's a lot of people who are very bothered by the packaged, over-produced music that we hear too much of today. Certainly Dream Theater isn't background music, so our goal is to continue to be true to ourselves.”
This free spirited approach certainly works, as Dream Theater have a following on “every continent pretty much.” Jordan's open mindedness means he's particularly thrilled about the Eigenharp.
“It's an eye opener, a new way to think about making music... From the moment I picked it up I thought this is so awesome. Things are very quick. The instrument is designed with a lot of expression in mind. Whatever you really wanna do, you can do. Right from the start this instrument is all about that. It's gonna be exciting moving forward with the group and bringing this new technology in to it.”
“The way that the Eigenharp keys respond is so incredible to me because it's like I've been practicing all these years to play this. What I can do on the piano is one thing, but when I take that skill and start playing on these keys, its like 'wow this thing responds incredibly.' I can play like double the speed. It's pretty crazy!”
Jordan plans to use the Eigenharp in the studio for Dream Theater's next album and on tour.
“Over the course of the next year, I'm gonna be able to really highlight this and do cool things nobody's ever seen before. That to me is awesome. I'll be playing this and all the Dream Theater fans in the world can check out something new. This is something that really matters. It's a beautiful instrument, it's well designed, it looks good and I'm happy to be playing it.”