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!”
You can see Jordan’s Jordantron iPad app on the iTunes store, and a Jordantron demo on his website.
I love the idea of the xkey37 keyboard. Most airlines allow 55 cm of length for carry-ons. Would it be possible to have two xkey 37s plugged into my computer, place the keyboards side by side and alter the octaves to have one continuous keyboard? I wish CME would explore creating a master/slave version of the xKey37. When plugged in together the side buttons would allow you to set the octave range of each keyboard independently but all other functions span the two keyboards. 49, 61, 76 and 88 note keyboards are too big and therefore too painful for short trips. Instead, stack two 37s and they are still only 55cm long! Then, just place them side by side and play! Could this be something that CME would consider? I can’t be the only person who would love to toss a longer piano keyboard into a carry-on.
Exactly! I have a snapdragon folding electric guitar with an evertune bridge. It’s an amazing, full guitar, folded at the neck/body point, it’s 21 inches long folded. Permanently in tune until you break a string. I’m travelling in Europe right now with it.
I need a foldable keyboard. How about the 37 key unit with a folding hinge attached to a 2nd unit? I’m considering purchasing 2 @ 37’s. A “double ” unit could be 2 @ 36. 72 keys folding in half makes a very small compact travelling rig. I’d buy that right now.
I totally agree with Brian and Darryl; it would be great to have some sort of 37 key keyboard that either folded over, or some way to attach two of them together. I am certain that there would be many buyers interested in this.
100% with the commenters above. I’d buy right now!
Ditto! I would buy them in a blink.
It’s always a pleasure to hear from someone with exrtiepse.
What are the logistics behind setting up two xkeys to play the same app ultimately creating a 74 key xkey? Is it just a matter of using a powered usb hub? I’d like to set them at different octaves ect. I know it could be done using two iPads but how do we do it using one iPad or computer? An answer to this question in specifics would be highly apppreciated. Come on Jordan Rudess.
Dear user, you can simply use a normal usb hub to connect multi Xkeys with one iPad or computer, then press the octave button to set, nothing special, that is all.