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Tim Brennan Of Dropkick MurphysCranking The V-Accordion Up To 11

Since their beginnings in 1996, Dropkick Murphys have risen from basic Irish-punk roots to become a self-described “rocking & rolling, raging, green-clover machine.” Starting out as a hardcore four-piece punk band, they gradually added Celtic influences and traditional folk instruments to create a unique hybrid sound that’s built them a large international fan base. The hardworking group tours nearly non-stop, and they’re particularly famous for their raucous annual St. Patrick’s Day shows in their native New England, which attract followers from all over the world. Read more…

Omar HakimA Legendary Player Talks In-Depth About The Power Of V-Drums

A true drummer’s drummer, Omar Hakim has enjoyed a longtime career at the very top of his profession. As an A-List player both on stage and in the studio since the 1970s, his incredible versatility puts him in an elite class that few players ever achieve. Omar has performed and recorded with a dizzying array of influential artists, including Miles Davis, Sting, Weather Report, Madonna, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Dire Straits…the list just goes on and on. Along with his wife, jazz pianist Rachel Z, he records and tours with the Trio of Oz, and he’s even stepped into the country/bluegrass world recently, backing renowned Dobro and lap steel player Jerry Douglas.Read more…

Myron Mckinley And The JUPITER-80Earth, Wind & Fire’s Musical Director Takes Creative
Flight With Roland’s Flagship Synth

Keyboardist, songwriter, and producer Myron McKinley is a pro’s pro, enjoying a successful career performing with top artists like Whitney Houston, Stanley Clarke, Doc Powell, and a long list of others. Since 2001, he’s worked with the legendary group Earth, Wind & Fire, and is currently the group’s musical director in addition to holding down the main keyboard duties. Read more…

Jin AkanishiA Japanese Idol Makes His U.S. Debut With Roland’s V-Drums®

Singer-songwriter and actor Jin Akanishi is a true Japanese idol, one of his country’s most recognized and popular personalities. Since 2006, he’s been a member of the pop group KAT-TUN, scoring an impressive 11 consecutive number one singles and four consecutive number one albums on the Japanese charts. As an actor, he’s appeared in numerous Japanese television programs and contributed voiceover work to the Japanese language version of the 2008 film Speed Racer. Read more…

Aron Magner And ConspiratorFusing Live Performance And Edm Tracks With The GAIA SH-01

Looking for an outlet to explore electronic music production, keyboardist Aron Magner and bassist Marc Brownstein of the popular jam band The Disco Biscuits formed Conspirator in 2004 along with DJ Omen. Their 2013 EP Unleashed clearly demonstrates the group’s powerful sound, which combines a heavy, electronically produced core with skilled live instrumentation.Read more…

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Pete Korpela

Around the World with the OCTAPAD SPD-30

Pete Korpela

Since moving to Los Angeles in 1997, Finland native Pete Korpela has built a solid reputation as a top percussionist in many different genres, from orchestral music to jazz, rock, and pop. A diverse résumé of touring and recording gigs includes Robbie Williams, The Lion King musical, Cirque du Soleil, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Jesse Carmichael (Maroon 5), and Melody Gardot, among many others.

Pete was the touring percussionist for singer Josh Groban on his 2011 and 2013 world tours. The busy musician is also an active studio player in L.A., and his work can be heard in soundtracks for the award-winning video games Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, which have sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

Alongside his arsenal of acoustic percussion instruments, Pete’s OCTAPAD SPD-30 Digital Percussion Pad plays an essential role in all his recording and touring gigs. He loves its versatile selection of great sounds, as well as its dynamic, ultra-responsive playability. “As a working percussionist, it’s an absolute necessity to have the SPD-30 in my setup,” Pete relates. “I honestly could not do my job the way I’m doing it right now if I did not have this particular instrument.”

What inspires you as a musician?

Trying to find something new that has not been done before, or trying to find a way to do it so it sounds like me. Where people can say, “That has to be Pete, because nobody else plays like him. Nobody else would come up with such weird sounds or such weird combinations or rhythms.”

How would you define your playing style? What’s your signature?

What makes me sound like me? I guess it’s sensitivity to the song and the musicians around me. First of all, I always try to honor whatever the song is about, and what the sound world of the song is about. Then I always get a much bigger kick out of the fact that I get to make everybody else sound great—I can just lay a big fat groove underneath them, or inspire them to go to some other direction. I’ve always looked for rhythm combinations; I might play rhythms from one region on a completely different drum from another region, and just to mix it up to give it a different edge, a different angle.

What role does the OCTAPAD SPD-30 play in your percussion setup?

To me, the SPD-30 is almost an acoustic instrument, in the sense that it responds [to my playing]. The dynamic level and the options and the playability are beyond just being an electronic instrument that recreates sampled sounds. Although I’ve used electronic instruments many years, I finally feel like this is an acoustic extension to my other acoustic drums. And the sounds are so amazingly good. I have done recordings and I perform live [with the SPD-30], and people cannot tell the difference between the acoustic and the electronic instruments.

Pete Korpela

There are a huge variety of instruments, obviously, and not just drums, exotic hand drums, and sound effects; there’s a really, really great variety of mallet instruments and orchestra instruments. On tour with Josh Groban, I used some rare mallet instruments. There’s a thing that’s called slate marimba, which is made out of actual stone; there’s a sample [in the SPD-30] that pretty much matched one on one with the acoustic instrument that was used on the album. Traveling with an instrument like that would have been impossible, and now I get to play the part, and I still get to feel that I’m actually playing the marimba itself.

The acoustic nuances that I can get from the SPD-30 are so amazing, and the response is so precise—instead of just hitting the pads and getting a sampled response, I [feel] as if I’m playing the real acoustic instrument. To me, mixing my own acoustic instruments and the sounds that come from SPD-30, it’s getting the best of both worlds. I’m inspired as a musician to perform and use this SDP-30 as an actual instrument that we like to hold and play and touch and feel.

I was so blown away when I started really getting into it, how easy it is to use and how fast it is to use. I’ve done some orchestra dates, and different orchestras, depending on if you’re in the States or Europe, they tune at A440 or 442, 445, whatever. If I’m using a mallet instrument [on the SPD-30], I have to change the tuning, and it takes 30 seconds or so to tune all eight pads, and then I’m matching the orchestra. It’s all those little details that actually mean so much, that are so simple and fast to use. I honestly could not do my job the way I’m doing it right now if I did not have this particular instrument.

How do you blend electronic sounds with acoustic percussion? Are there specific sounds or textures that you find yourself using?

For the instruments that define me as a player for my particular sound, I try to use those acoustically. Let’s say conga drums, because every conga drummer has their own sound. Everybody’s hand is a little bit different—the way we play slaps, the way we play in-between notes, the ghost notes, that all adds to the groove in a very special, specific way. Although the samples here are incredibly clean and they sound so close —they are the closest to the acoustic sound that I have ever heard in an electronic sample—I personally would choose to use live conga drums if possible. But then, for example, cowbells and timbales [and other instruments], I have no problem using from the [SPD-30].

If I need to play a little hand drum [live on a big stage], it gets really difficult to get the sound out of it [with a microphone]. Getting it from the SPD-30 is a great way to mix my acoustic drums and electronics. Using instruments that have a couple of drums mixed together and lot of low end, or shaker sounds, those to me are great when you use the SPD-30. It’s very important because it’s all controlled, and the low end you can actually manage through the sound system, instead of having low-end bass drums that sometimes get out of control. Also, it’s really technically hard or physically [impossible] to get those drums. [The SPD-30] is a super-compact way of getting incredibly well produced sampled sounds and still feel like you’re actually playing the real instruments.

Do you think electronics are essential for the modern percussionist?

A percussionist is asked to do a lot these days—there are so many different instrument families that we get asked to play all the time, and it’s either financially or physically impossible to fulfill all those requests with real instruments, especially if we are playing live. [These] many different instruments would require a ton of microphones, a ton of actual physical gear, stands, everything, plus physically being able to jump from one instrument to another [to play them]. As a working percussionist, it’s an absolute necessity to have the SPD-30 in my setup.

One of the first times I talked with Josh Groban’s musical director, Tariqh Akoni, we were talking about my setup. And one of his comments was, “For the electronics, I’m assuming you’re using the SPD.” His approach is that the [SPD is] standard in the industry for percussion. Why would you use something else? To me right now, and to all the other performers, the Roland SPD series is the standard.

How do you use the OCTAPAD SPD-30 in the studio?

What I mainly get called for in the studio is to give a human feel to a specific track, and I bring a lot of acoustic instruments and I record those. And these days, I always have my SPD-30 there too, because I can get so much done with this instrument and nobody will know the difference. I’m still recording live drums with the live feel, and I just have, you know, four more truckloads of instruments in my arsenal, instead of trying to find a big enough studio that can handle some of the huge drums. A lot of times you need the big room to capture the sound, and you need very expensive microphones—expensive this, expensive that. Right now, all we have to do is plug the SPD-30 in, and I’m still giving it the human, real feel; I still get all the dynamics. To me it’s just an additional instrument that I get to use in the studio.

Aron Magner and Conspirator

Fusing Live Performance and EDM Tracks with the GAIA SH-01

Aron Magner and Conspirator
Photo: Dave Vann

Looking for an outlet to explore electronic music production, keyboardist Aron Magner and bassist Marc Brownstein of the popular jam band The Disco Biscuits formed Conspirator in 2004 along with DJ Omen. Their 2013 EP Unleashed clearly demonstrates the group’s powerful sound, which combines a heavy, electronically produced core with skilled live instrumentation.

Augmented on stage by drummer KJ Sawka and guitarist Chris Michetti, Conspirator blends electronic rock sensibilities with dance-floor-shaking dubstep rhythms. Touring coast to coast across the U.S., they’ve built a legion of devoted fans by delivering a captivating, high-energy show that’s equal parts inspired musicianship and pulsing EDM precision.

Aron uses Roland’s GAIA SH-01 on stage with both Conspirator and The Disco Biscuits, and he’s created a custom patch collection that you can download for free at the Axial sound library site. Insider talked with the busy keyboardist recently, and he shared many insights into Conspirator’s unique approach and how the GAIA SH-01 fits into their stage show.

Tell us about Conspirator’s live show and how you’re using the GAIA SH-01.

The SH-01 is definitely a staple of the setup with Conspirator. We do all of the pre-production in advance in the studio, and then we remove from the computer mix what we can physically play: lead lines, bass lines, and all the drums. KJ Sawka, our drummer, plays a real drum kit, but he uses Roland drum triggers to trigger the actual drum sounds that we used to create the music. Things that stay in the mix are fast arpeggiators, sound effects, risers, downlifters, wind noises, some wobble basses, and extra lead lines to just beef up the sound.

Aron Magner and Conspirator
Photo: Dave Vann

What we get when we put the instruments and the synthesizers back into the mix is this really cool sound that harnesses all of the energy that EDM music has. It’s a perfect hybrid of both live playing and the precision of produced tracks. There is response from the crowd that we’re playing what they’re hearing, in addition to being augmented by everything that has been previously pre-produced.

I use the SH-01 for some leads, and I use it for a couple of pads. It’s definitely a left-hand synth of mine in the setup.

What do like about the GAIA SH-01?

I still like the hardware synthesis aspect of playing in general. That’s where the GAIA SH-01 falls into that mix. With the world that I come from, I like to have everything laid out in front of me. I don't use all of the VSTs live from how we wrote the tracks in the studio, so I use the SH to emulate the sounds that were originally in the computer. That’s kind of the SH’s role within Conspirator, and I feel like its flexibility gives me the ability to quickly dial something in.

How do you recreate the sounds from the recordings with the SH-01?

There is more of an interpretation on the SH from what is happening on the recordings. The recordings are very finely tuned and automated—instances of massive [sound] or silence. I have other keyboards as well within Conspirator, but a lot of what the SH does is supersaw-type sounds and stacked waves.

What we do live that is really cool is side-chaining all of the keyboards individually to KJ’s kick drum. This is great for making chords pump, especially with an oscillator like a supersaw. It gets done out at front of house, and we work with our FOH engineer to alter the ratio and threshold from song to song. That's how we’re able to get the full, pumping electronic sound out of a hardware synth in a live setting, which is really cool.

Aron Magner and Conspirator
Photo: Dave Vann
How does that setup work?

My computer is the master; I’m actually like the DJ as well as the computer player and the synth player. I’m controlling Ableton Live, I’m moving around tempos, and I’m sending out my click to the drummer. He’s playing an acoustic drum kit, but each piece of the kit has its own individual Roland trigger that triggers sounds from the drum rack in Ableton. The trigger from his kick drum is being sent back through front of house, and that’s the side-chain input for the keyboards.

That’s a pretty cool setup. You’re making use of both a hybrid electronic kit and other electronics in a live show.

It’s really cool. I think that now, when hearing electronic music, we’re just so used to the sound of something ducking underneath the kick drum. You know, it’s a staple of any style of electronic music. There are other ways you can replicate that [effect], but nothing sounds the way that it should unless you’re actually physically side-chaining it and ducking it underneath the kick drum.

It’s also really fun, because you don't really normally get that experience of playing it live that way and hearing it in real time. On the computer, you put the compressor on and then alternate your thresholds and ratios until you get the desired tone that you’re looking for. It’s actually great to be able to hold out a chord and get the sucking sound from [a live musician] playing that kick drum.

How is the audience reaction to Conspirator? Do you get a strong reaction with live players as opposed to just a computer and a DJ?
Aron Magner and Conspirator
Photo: Dave Vann

It’s interesting. I feel that we’re at a tipping point right now where live musicians are starting to go back towards being live musicians. Not to say that DJs are gone, but I feel like the height of DJ as rock star is really two summers ago. When you’re a DJ, you can plug in everything, so you’re full production and everything is perfect: your video walls are perfect, your risers are perfect, your intensity, all that stuff was done in advance with absolute precision, which is why it sounds so amazing.

I’m trying to be careful with my words here, but I definitely feel that the audience needs something more. Conspirator kind of brings the niche back. We’re able to fuse the power of pre-produced music, harnessing the power of the computer, with the musicianship on stage. And I feel that we’re connected to the audience because of that. The audience is reminded that music comes from a place, not from a box, and that people masterfully control what goes on in the box. I feel that’s the really interesting and unique part about Conspirator as a whole.

In your experience with EDM, are you seeing more and more artists bringing synthesizers and samplers on stage?

Definitely. I think it’s more proving to both themselves as well the audience that they’re not just DJs. I mean, it’s almost that DJs [have gone] the way of the dinosaur, and it’s producers that happened to evolve in the last ten years to actually become DJs as well. I’m seeing a lot more where, even if you are a DJ, you may supplement it by also having a synth up there or a rack of MIDI synths. Even if you’re not physically playing, the computer is sending MIDI [data] out to the rack, and then you can control the filters yourself. So you’re doing somewhat of a performance with it, as opposed to just playback of zeros and ones.

I feel like I’m seeing it a lot more—people are bringing back the source. But not that many people are bringing a full band into the electronic world. As a musician and a producer, you are always trying to push the envelope. And at the end of the day, it’s always more fun to be physically playing something rather than just triggering something.

Would you say that the SH-01 is a good synth for live EDM artists?
Aron Magner and Conspirator
Photo: Dave Vann

Yeah, of course. The simplicity of its layout is what I particularly like about it. The fundamentals of synthesis are laid out right there for you. There’s really no putzing around—there’s no screen with edit menus and drop downs and pull downs. Everything has a dedicated knob and a fader. And that’s kind of the world that I come from, I guess, so I’m used to it. When I first put the JP-8000 into my other band, The Disco Biscuits, it definitely transformed the sound of it. The JP-8000 is still a staple of The Disco Biscuits. So I come from that world, especially with Roland-centric layouts with knobs and faders.

It’s nice to have it all laid out where you know where everything is, and I know how something is going to affect something. I know specifically that if I want to bring something up live I can dial it up instantly, and I can tweak a parameter or two or add another oscillator or move some filters around. That being said, it’s also really fun to take these little journeys and start seeing where sounds can go. It’s nice to be able to have such quick, easy access, and that’s why it parlays so nicely to a live setting. You know, my son was sitting on my lap earlier today with the SH-01. He was just randomly turning knobs, and that little 18-month-old kid was coming up with some pretty cool sounds.

How many custom SH-01 sounds do you use for live performance?

I try to keep it simple, because I have other boards as well. I stick to one bank of sounds in my Conspirator setup. I use eight patches, and I rarely stray from that bank. That’s mainly because there are a certain number of songs that we do, and Conspirator isn’t really improvisational or anything like that. I have brought the SH out with some other projects that have a lot more elasticity. You know, you go to a bank and go to a sound and then start to mess with it until you have what you’re looking for.

Before we close out, what’s going on with Disco Biscuits?

The Disco Biscuits just finished Camp Disco, which is the big 25,000-person festival that we do annually in upstate New York. We’re in a really interesting stage of our career right now, where everybody is getting a little older. I’ve got a family, our bass player and drummer have families, and our guitar player is trying some new business ventures. We haven’t really been touring at all, but we still play shows. And what’s interesting is that the two or three dozen shows we play a year are bigger than any of our shows have previously been. Our fans are so loyal, and we’re picking up new fans somehow along the way; their numbers just keep on going up. I would love to play more and more shows for sure, but everybody is in different places in their lives. Therefore, my desire to continue as a musician and explore new territories has been satiated to some extent by Conspirator.

Learn more about Conspirator at the group’s website.


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  • JUPITER-80 Analog Synth Collection

    “Analog Synth Collection” by Bernd Kistenmacher.

  • JUPITER-80 System Update Version 2.10

    This is the latest version of operating system for the JUPITER-80. Along with the updates that came with version 2.0, this update adds support for Roland Wireless Connectivity with our WNA1100-RL Wireless USB Adapter. After downloading and extracting the compressed file, please refer to the “JUPITER-80_System_Update_Procedure” pdf document included for the update procedure.

  • JUPITER-80 Control Surface Plug-in for SONAR

    The "JUPITER-80 Control Surface Plug-in for SONAR" is compatible with software in the SONAR or SONAR LE series. After installing the "JUPITER-80 Control Surface Plug-in for SONAR", you will be able to use the JUPITER-80 Version 2 for controlling SONAR using the ACT function. Please refer to the included "JUPITER-80 Control Surface Plug-in for SONAR.pdf" document for the installation procedure.

    Important Note: The JUPITER-80 Control Surface Plug-in requires the JUPITER-80 System Program Version 2.00 or later.

  • JUPITER-80 Version 2 ReleaseNote for iPad

    To view this iBook on your iPad, make sure you have Apple’s free iBooks app installed. Then, download this file, unzip it, drag it into iTunes, and sync your iPad.

  • JUPITER-80 USB Driver Ver.1.0.1 for Windows 8/8.1

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: When the Windows SmartScreen is displayed upon installing the driver, please perform the following procedure:
    1. Click [ More info ]
    2. Click [ Run anyway ]
    * Skip Step 1 If your PC is not connected to the internet.

  • JUPITER-80 USB Driver Ver.1.0.0 for Windows 7/Vista/XP
  • JUPITER-80 Video Tutorial Data

    This data file is meant to accompany a series of online video tutorials on YouTube.

  • SONAR Instrument Definition File for the JUPITER-80

    This is the SONAR Instrument Definition File for the JUPITER-80. This allows you to select a Live Set, Tone or Rhythm in the JUPITER-80 from a friendly name within SONAR software.

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Artist Profile

Yana Reznik

Gear

“With the first note played on the V-Piano Grand, I get transformed into the world of music making.”

Bio

Russian-born classical pianist Yana Reznik has stunned the audiences across the globe with her passionate, captivating performances. Not only a pianist but an ambassador and entrepreneur, Ms. Reznik believes in presenting classical music to broader audiences by creating inspiring programming and breaking the boundaries between the performer and the listeners.

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Video

Artist Profile

Sean Murray

Gear

“If you close your eyes, you’d think it was the real thing.”

Bio

Sean’s scores have hit on every musical genre from the gothic horror of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to hip-hop action in the successful video game True Crime, Streets of L.A. by Activision. His music for Call of Duty: World at War has been described as “some of the coolest music we’ve ever heard in a game. The darker texture of the music, the somber and hostile emotions it elicits, does a powerful job of capturing the gritty, unsanitized vision of war that Treyarch is going for.”

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Consumer Limited Warranty

PRODUCT LINE PARTS LABOR
Home pianos (in-home service), Classic keyboards, and BOSS compact and twin pedals 5 Years 2 Years
Stage pianos and amps 3 Years 2 Years
All other Roland and BOSS products 1 Year 90 Days
All Roland and BOSS accessories: AC adapters, footswitches, headsets, clamps, etc. 90 Days 90 Days
Roland Corporation U.S.
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Welcome to the Roland U.S. Email Support system. All information provided by this service is specific to Roland and BOSS products sold in the United States only. If you’re outside the United States, please refer to our list of international contacts.

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