Why Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess Is Actually Excited About AI in Music
Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess has expressed his feelings on AI (artificial intelligence) and explained what actually makes him "very excited" about the technology and its potential application in music and visual arts.
During an interview on SiriusXM's Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk, Rudess and Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci both shared their thoughts on the rapidly advancing technological tool that is causing widespread panic and even has some people in the field concerned that AI will ultimately lead to the destruction of the human race.
Aside from the end of humanity, another primary concern about AI is how it will impact the arts and if it will lead to the downfall of human creativity, instead flooding the world with computer-generated music and visual art.
But not even that is enough to curb Rudess' enthusiasm to see where this all goes.
What Has Jordan Rudess Excited About AI
The prog metal icon tells Trunk (transcription via Blabbermouth), "It's a very big topic, and I personally am very excited about it. If people are being nice, that know about AI, like artists, musicians, graphic artists, they'll usually say, 'Oh, we can use it as a tool. And we've had tools before. And that's kind of a cool thing.'"
It's a fair point — throughout history, musicians have found innovative ways to create using newly developed technology. Although AI is quite a bit different than, say, a guitar synth in the '80s, it really comes down to what you want to make of it.
Rudess goes on, "But the reality is that the technology — as it's really always done, but now maybe even more — opens up all these incredible possibilities for new levels of creativity that we haven't seen before. So, it's, yes, a tool, but it's a complete door opener and it kind of shatters what we know in a lot of ways. And it can be used in so many ways so we can hear and we can see things that we've never really seen or heard before."
He sees more benefits than just music, too.
"I myself am somebody who works not only in the audio domain, but I'm also really involved in the visual domain. I'm what's called an ambassador for a company called Lightricks, which is out of Israel, and they do incredible things with AI and photo and video," Rudess explains, "And I've also been involved in the AI part of music as well. And I'm very excited about it."
As to whether or not Dream Theater will find ways to apply AI to their own creative whims, Rudess said "that's a whole other question" and noted that the band has a history of being open to using new technology in a way that isn't totally overbearing.
He concludes, "But in general, [I'm] really, really excited about it. I think it's cool. People should pay attention to it. And as a creative person, I'm very involved in, let's say, the positive sides of it."
What John Petrucci Thinks of AI
Petrucci, however, didn't exhibit the same openness to AI and instead referenced Dream Theater's 2016 concept album The Astonishing, which tells a story about AI assuming the role of human creativity and making music that controls people, prompting protagonist musician Gabriel to step into the role of savior.
"Well, you might have to start calling me Nostradamus," he says before dipping into the album's concept, citing the 1500s French astrologer and purported seer of the future.
Dream Theater on Tour
Catch Dream Theater supporting their latest album, 2021's A View From the Top of the World, on the Dreamsonic Tour featuring Devin Townsend and Animals as Leaders at these dates and head to this location for tickets.