The website Prog Sphere has a lengthy interview up today with DREAM THEATER vocalist James LaBrie, which was recorded when the band performed at the Night of the Prog Festival in Loreley, Germany. The discussion revolves around the current lineup of the group, the music on their forthcoming album (A Dramatic Turn of Events, due out September 12th) and much more.
Regarding the shift in band dynamics following the departure of drummer and unofficial band spokesman Mike Portnoy, LaBrie says, “It was such a weird dichotomy, if you think about it. It’s funny, you mentioning that, because we, the guys in the band, we were talking about that everything is much more balanced, everybody is in their role or in their position. So it’s where things should be on stage, where it’s not somebody in the background trying to grab the limelight when maybe they should just be grooving or whatever. But I mean, that’s [Portnoy’s] character, that’s just his personality. He’s big and he wants to be in the limelight. But, unfortunately, the problem with that is that it takes away from the bigger picture — and that is the band as a unit. And a lot of people have been commenting on that since we started out on this tour, saying, ‘It feels more like I’m watching a band,’ with somebody up front singing and interacting, everybody else just back there and (makes drumming and guitar playing gestures). Everyone kind of assumes what they’re doing. And then there’s always moments in the night when there is the spotlight on these other members and it should be. But it creates more a balance. And we were talking about this, we were saying, ‘You know, this is really cool.’ It feels like a unit. So it’s a lot better.”
When speaking about the sound of A Dramatic Turn of Events, LaBrie says, “[W]e don’t sit down and go, ‘We can’t sound like Muse, we can’t sound like…’ We don’t do that. But I think that we’re all subconsciously thinking, ‘Whatever we’re doing here, we gotta feel right about it — that it sounds like us, first and foremost.’ And especially with this album, because we knew there was going to be a lot scrutiny, there was going to be a lot of room for skepticism. So we knew that the best thing we can do here is be true to ourselves, first and foremost — which we always have been — but let’s bring it to another level. Let’s really push the envelope here of who and what we are and really make it something that is undeniable, that it’s definitely who and what we’ve always been — but better.”