Dream Theater's Astonishing take on technology

John Petrucci says Dream Theater’s upcoming album The Astonishing was heavily inspired by today’s fast-moving technology.

The band release their 13th record on January 29 and have previously described it as having a “retro-futurist dystopian setting.”

And Petrucci says his fears about technology’s long-term effect on the planet impacted the album’s central concept.

He tells the Huffington Post: “It’s happening in all other areas — with jobs that people once held in manufacturing and everything else, they’re automated now.

“There’s already self-driving cars that they’re experimenting with. Pretty soon, we’ll be looking back, like, ‘Oh, remember when you used to have to drive yourself?’

“Being a musician, and since music is such an important part of my life and people that surround me, I knew that music had to be a central theme. That with all the advances in technology, how music becomes less and less important and just really easy to stream and quickly listen to a song and make something up on your phone.

“As the importance kind of went away, I thought it would be really crazy and a travesty if people didn’t make music or didn’t participate in the arts anymore and it was all artificial – it was all done by machines.

“So that’s this dystopian future in my story, that’s the setting. It’s about 300 years into the future and people don’t make music anymore – it’s done by machines.”

Petrucci says the concept is continuing to evolve as the band prepare their live show for upcoming tours in support of The Astonishing.

He adds: “The concept right from the beginning was to do something big – to make this cross different mediums and to be not only about the music but about the story, about the visuals, about the lyrics, about the live show and about any other thing that it could turn into.

“That was the intention from the beginning. And so it did take a lot of planning, a lot of thought. And it’s actually still in development and there are still things that we’re working on and we will continue to be over the next couple of years.”

Dream Theater begin their 2016 touring schedule in the UK next month.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.