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“John Petrucci and I sat in a room and put this together. John had an idea of where he wanted it to go. The concept was basically that, instead of using somebody else’s big movie score to open our show, we would write our own piece of music to bring us out onstage. The plan sounded good to me, so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’
“John explained that he wanted something very big and cinematic, like the kinds of things we would use in the past, and I was like, ‘I got this.’ [Laughs] I called up the biggest patch I could on my Kronos. Brass, timpani, strings, voices – you hit the keys and it’s like, ‘Wow!’ Just two hands on the keyboard gives you all that sound. So that was very inspiring to write with that kind of tool.
“It was me at the keyboard the whole time; John was going back and forth with ideas: ‘Yes, no, maybe. Try this, try that’ – he was very much producing it and shaping it while I was composing. It was a lot of fun. After two or three hours, we emerged with a base.
“Then demo was on my Kronos, but then when we fleshed it out, with Mike adding drums and the two Johns adding guitars and bass. That’s when I pulled out my software, like the Vienna Symphonic String Library and CineSamples CineBrass. Oh, and I used a library from Heavyocity called Damage – that sounded pretty cool. All the big guys in Hollywood use Damage for crashes and explosions. We had such a blast with that.
“Of course, the other big development was when a young protégé of mine, Eren Basbug, took what I played and fleshed it out for a string ensemble. We arranged it all, and then he came in and conducted the strings. The whole thing really sounds incredible.”