Jordan Rudess is well known as the keyboardist for Dream Theater. Voted the Best Keyboardist Of All Time by MusicRadar, Jordan was a child prodigy who was accepted into New York’s prestigious Juillard School of Music at the age of nine.
Today Jordan travels the world as the keyboardist with Dream Theater, and when he is not shredding on the keys, finds time to run his own app company-Wizdom Music. We caught up with Jordan at his home in New York to find out how he uses Xkey.
CME: “How does Xkey fit in with your busy schedule?”
Jordan: “My Xkeys go everywhere with me. The ultra-portable 25-key model goes in my flight bag, and the extra octave 37-key model in my suitcase.”
“This makes me very productive but, more importantly, means I can capture an idea as soon as it comes into my head. If i’m on my tour bus or in flight I can simply put on some headphones, connect my Xkey to my iPad or laptop, and I’m ready to make music!
“It amazes me that with my Xkey plugged directly into my tablet or smartphone, it’s like having a recording studio wherever I go. The new mobile technology has really changed the lives of all musicians. You can be engaged with music whenever the muse takes over!”
CME: “So what is your favorite music software?”
Jordan: “The apps I’m using a lot right now with the XKey are ThumbJam, Arctic Keys, Nave, Animoog and SampleWiz. But I also love my own Jordantron for iPad app. I worked with a great developer in the UK to create a really awesome way for people to work with an incredible library of sounds that I’ve developed over the years.”
“But I don’t want to plug just my own app. I think the important thing for your readers to know is that the Xkey is 100% MIDI. That means it’s plug and play compatible with all the great music software, such as Apple’s GarageBand. And because the USB connection is pretty ubiquitous, Xkey will work with Mac, PC, Android and, with a USB adapter, iOS devices.”
“In my own music work I mostly use Apple devices, but I know a lot of musicians feel more comfortable with Windows computers and software. With Xkey it doesn’t really matter what platform you prefer.”
CME: “What are your favorite Xkey features, and what features would you add?”
Jordan: ” I think it’s great that such a compact device has full size piano keys, and that the keys react to how hard you press them, just like a piano does. The velocity-sensitive and polyphonic-aftertouch features never cease to amaze me.”
“One of my interests in the future of XKey products would be to examine the controls for things like pitch bend and modulation. Developing new technology to make those controls really expressive given the size factor would be important to me”
CME: “What’s the most exciting thing you’re doing with Xkey now?”
Jordan: “I’m playing with hooking multiple keyboards into a USB hub to give a mega Xkey experience. Put the keyboards in a line and it’s like having a piano that’s ten feet wide … or put them in front of each other and you feel like you’re sitting at a cathedral organ.”
“I’m also looking forward to the new bluetooth-enabled Xkey Air being launched. I had a go on a prototype at the Xkey labs and it was absolutely awesome!”