CHROMA KEY - KEVIN SPEAKS OUT!
by David Perri

Friday, December 1, 2000

2112: If you had to describe You Go Now to someone who has never heard of Chroma Key, what type of adjectives would you use to describe the album?

Kevin Moore: Every time I try and describe it, I hate the description that I gave and then I have to change it the next time. So, letís see what I can come up with. I think itís electronic. Itís hard to categorise electronic music beyond that. I think it has trip-hop elements, but I donít think itís totally separate from my progressive past. I still think there is a progressive element to it. Not Dream Theaterís kind of progressive, but... (long pause) Iím having trouble speaking (laughs).

2112: Iíve been telling people itís ambient trip-hop when they ask me about it. Would you agree with that description?

KM: Iíd agree with that, but if I heard that an album was described as ambient trip-hop and then I heard You Go Now, Iíd say well... thatís not what I was expecting. I definitely think it has those elements, but I still think itís progressive. But itís progressive in a different sense -- in the sense of arrangements. Just trying new arrangements and new approaches to song-writing. Ambient doesnít really imply song structures -- traditional song structures -- and working with traditional song structures and experimenting further is what itís about.

2112: Do you plan on touring to support the record?

KM: No, there wonít be a tour for this one. Chroma Key hasnít toured yet. Itís really been mostly a studio project. The thing is, itís mostly Steve, the co-producer, and I. It would be just as much of a big thing to get this thing on the road as it was to make it, and I donít think... (tape gets cut off for a second or two). For the next one, Iíll be working on it a little differently. Iíll be working on performances. There will be a performance that goes along with each song.

2112: So what type of sound can we expect on the new record?

KM: It will be neither You Go Now nor Dead Air For Radios. Youíll have to wait and see. Iíve been working on new stuff, but nothing thatís going to happen on the album. I think itís going to end up being a little more out there. A little more experimental.

2112: The mood on You Go Now is a lot more somber and reflective in comparison to Dead Air For Radios. Was that pre-meditated when you went into the studio?

KM: Definitely not. There wasnít too much that was pre-meditated when I went into the studio. Originally, I was planning on having a more acoustic album -- more acoustic instruments, like acoustic bass. I wanted to have a few electronic songs on there, so we started with those because those are the easiest. I wouldnít have to get a band together and stuff like that. That ended up going so well, we enjoyed working that way, so we just kept on going. As far as the mood of it, I think they both have similar moods. There are a few songs on Dead Air For Radios that are a little more upbeat, though.

2112: My favorite track on You Go Now is ďAnother Permanent AddressĒ. Can you tell us a little bit about that song? How it came to together and what itís about?

KM: That started off as a simple piano idea. When we decided it was going to be an electronic album, we tried out some things that were supposed to be acoustic and on that one, Steve started making loops for it. It then took a whole new direction. Iím trying to think of things I havenít already said on the website. Have you seen the song descriptions?

2112: Yeah, I saw the lyric descriptions and the press release and all that stuff.

KM: (laughs slightly at the mention of the press release) Well, as far as what itís about itís definitely a relationship song. All of my songs are about relationships, but thatís the most obvious one about a break-up. I sort of like the way the lyrics contrast with the music. The lyrics are sort of tragic and sad, and the music is upbeat.

2112: Was that song coming from the same place as ďSpace Dye VestĒ? The lyrics seem to have a similar theme.

KM: (long pause) Sort of. But I think ďSpace Dye VestĒ is definitely the most tragic thing I ever wrote (chuckles). I mean, that was really in the middle of it. All of You Go Now came after the relationship, well after it. So You Go Now is sort of when you have a chance to step back and look at it really objectively, and say something about it. Whereas when I wrote ďSpace Dye VestĒ I was right in the middle of it, and it was a mess. So thatís where that song is from.

2112: In terms of Dead Air For Radios, a lot of people really like the song ďColorblindĒ. Can you do a similar type of analysis for ďColorblindĒ as you did for ďAnother Permanent AddressĒ?

KM: ďColorblindĒ. That was... letís see... Iím trying to recall what went into that song. I just remember Steve doing a lot of production stuff. I mean, the piano part was first, of course. Then I had another part that I wanted to use as a chorus, a piano part, and we were sequencing it and working on the idea. Then, by mistake, we messed up the sequencers and instead the wrong part started playing. We played it back using this weird patch that had a slow attack, and thatís why the song starts with all the strange effects. It was all just a mistake. What else can I say about it? Well, the lyrics are based on a story I read by, I canít remember his name, Oliver Sacks (Note: this could quite possibly not be the authorís name... the fidelity of the tape kind of gives out as Kevin is mentioning the authorís name). Anyway itís the true story of a guy, an artist, who gets into a car accident and loses the ability to see colour. So, he starts painting in black and white. So, yeah, itís sort of based on that.

2112: As a musician, was that story able to affect you on an artistic level? Is that what spawned the lyrics?

KM: I donít know if it affected me on an artistic level. It affected me on a human level, I think. Itís about an artist, I donít know the name of the artist, that was supposedly known for his work with colour. Thatís what his calling-card was. But a lot of that album had to do with visual stuff , mainly with video and film. So ďColorblindĒ sort of fit into place with the overall theme of that album.

2112: On a cynical note, Iím going to ask about sales and the like. Are big sales and mass success your goal with Chroma Key? Or is Chroma Key just an expression of another side of Kevin Moore?

KM: The goal for me is to be able to make another Chroma Key record. Well, itís more like the enjoyment of doing it. To write music that interests me, and writing -- itís something I want to do, and I want to record, and I want to be there in the studio doing this stuff and having a good time. And, itís nice not to have to do stuff on the side in order to live, yíknow? To pay the rent, and stuff like that. Financially, itís definitely part of it, but thatís just how I support myself. So far, itís working out okay.

2112: So, mass success for Chroma Key isnít the goal? Itís just writing the music you want to write?

KM: Yeah, Iíd say that. Definitely. Just writing. I think thereís people out there who want to hear this particular kind of music, so itís not a bad way to make a living.

2112: What is more important -- technical skill, or the emotion that one elicits when they play?

KM: The challenge for me is really song-writing. (pause) I think with people who get too involved with the technical stuff, people who practice six hours a day like I did when I was starting with Dream Theater, you get carried away with that. All you have is technique, and you canít even write a song that anyone wants to listen to (chuckles). I still think I have a lot of work to do. I mean, I spent so much of my life not working that way, just concentrating on technical stuff. I think for someone who is just starting out, a good idea is to balance song-writing and technical stuff. If youíre going to practice for three hours doing scales, practice for three hours writing songs and recording, also.

2112: How come Mark and Joey from Fates Warning werenít involved with You Go Now?

KM: It wasnít really a decision. I guess working with the musicians I was working with in this electronic way was going so well and we enjoyed it, so we really didnít need any other musicians. Had we needed a drummer, maybe I would have called Mark. Bass was mostly synth-bass, and the real bass stuff which didnít call for any crazy parts like... what is it... I canít remember the name of my song (laughs slightly)... ďSun Orange SmallĒ? Thatís the old name, isnít it?

2112: Yeah. ďS.O.S.Ē itís called.

KM: ďS.O.S.Ē, thatís it. For instance, Joey played that. And ďUndertowĒ. Stuff like that was more a little more articulate. The bass on You Go Now wasnít like that, so I just did it myself. The only thing we were missing after that was the guitar player, so...

2112: Are you going to be working with Fates Warning again on the bandís next album?

KM: Youíd have to ask them that question.

2112: You toured with a band called On. Is that still going on, or was that just a one-off deal?

KM: It was pretty brief, actually. We must have played like five shows or something like that. That was back in January or February... March... or April... or something like that. They had already recorded the album, and I just came in and programmed the live patches for the synths when I played live for them. It was pretty keyboard oriented, and electronic oriented, so it was interesting work. But it was a short-lived tour. Just because they couldnít get the support from the label, and it didnít have the reaction that they expected. So I think theyíre just going to record another record.

2112: Iíve just got three Dream Theater questions now. Is that fine?

KM: Yeah.

2112: Do you still keep in touch with the band?

KM: By email, occasionally. But, weíve pretty much gone our own way, Iíd say. For the most part.

2112: Do you resent the fact that a lot of people still know you from Kevin Moore from Dream Theater, the player on Images and Words and Awake? Or are you happy you still have that legacy attached to your name?

KM: If people donít know me as Kevin Moore from Dream Theater, people donít know me. Itís either that or nothing (chuckles). Itís not like Chroma Key is huge. I really donít have a problem with the Dream Theater thing at all. I mean, Iím happy with the work I did with Dream Theater. We did some interesting stuff.

2112: What was your favorite Dream Theater album to record?

KM: To record?

2112: Or maybe just your favorite Dream Theater album, sound-wise.

KM: I donít know. I think the best sounding album is Images and Words. I think my sound is better on Awake, even though I hate the mix. The mix is terrible on Awake. But I like the sounds used on Awake better.

2112: Are you glad that Dream Theater recorded ďSpace Dye VestĒ? I read an interview with Mike (Portnoy), and he said that if he had known you were leaving, they wouldnít have recorded the song. Because itís really your song, you wrote it. Are you glad you presented it to the band and it ended up on Awake?

KM: Yeah. Iím glad because that song kind of helped indicate the direction I was going to go with Chroma Key. Because that song might fit on a Chroma Key album. So it really gave people a hint, and Iím really just talking about Dream Theater fans, what kind of music I was going to be doing. Once they found out I left, they had that song to refer to.

2112: Have you heard the new one, Scenes From A Memory?

KM: I havenít. Mike was supposed to send it me, but he hasnít.

2112: Just one more question, and of course, itís related to Chroma Key. This question is from a friend of mine who I introduced your work. She wants to know why Chroma Key is so dark and introspective?

KM: I donít know. I mean ask her why she is the way she is (laughs). No, I didnít mean it like that. Itís sort of like why are you the way you are? Iím not going to say Iím introspective, but I mean itís definitely the music that represents who I am better than I can explain who I am. I canít even explain it.

2112: So when can we expect the new album to be out?

KM: Iím shooting for the summer. Iíll just say that and see if it works (chuckles).

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