The Maestro – An Interview with Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater Part 2: Musical App’s
Click the video above to play the interview.
Jordan Rudess, the virtuoso keyboardist from the progressive metal band, Dream Theater, sits down to demonstrate the IOS musical software applications he has designed and developed.
Over the years many musicians become interested in creating a custom instrument for themselves. Guitarists routinely change pick-ups, re-paint the body, or even modify the shape of the guitar in an effort to produce something unique and meets their artistic esthetic. In the case of Jordan Rudess, seeing the touch screen on the iPhone inspired him to dream of a new musical instrument – a novel way to use his fingers to produce musical tones.
In this interview, Jordon shows off three IOS applications he was instrumental with designing and bringing to market.
“[Synthesizers] opened up a different part of my brain for musicality and expression.”
Jordan’s first major IOS offering was MorphWiz. This instrument is “an advanced pitch control system that is still uncharted territory for many in today’s music instrument world” – but it’s plain fun. Pressing and sliding your fingers produces musical tones via the built-in synthesizer allowing the user to use an iPad as a true performance instrument. It even uses the iPad’s accelerometer so you can tilt the device to manipulate the sound.
Jordan’s second app was SampleWiz, a sound sampler which you can immediately turn around and play what you recorded. It’s very intuitive and pulls the user into exploring a host of options for playback. Jordan was quick to point out that with the app now everyone has a sampler in their pocket so they can record a sound anytime they come across something interesting to save.
“I’ve always been really, really sensitive to sound.”
Jordan’s crème de la crème musical application is GeoShred. It’s a true instrument. Combining the multi-touch playing surface with an advanced physical model of a guitar, GeoShred is very inviting to even a novice to start making music. The visual feedback it provides while you are touching the screen is incredibly intuitive and makes the experience lots of fun. I personally love how some of the presets come with a backing track. Select “Shred House Blues,” kick off the track, and no matter where you touch on the screen, you can play to most awesome blues rifts, even making great vibrato by quickly moving your finger back and forth over a specific note. Quite incredible.
Check out other episodes in the Rock Music Series, including Roger Fisher talking about “Magic Man,” “Crazy on You,” and “Barracuda“
A Big Thank You
Interviews like these never happen without some significant help. Many thanks my friends Jerry and Kathleen LoFaro for hosting Jordan’s double house concert and for making the introduction to Jordon. As always, their generosity and genuine warmth is very appreciated.
And, of course, many thanks to Jordan Rudess. Jordan was very gracious with his time and patient with my questions. I was very honored to have the the extended one-on-one time with him, and very much enjoyed getting to know him better.