Last week in Los Angeles, CA there were several chances to see synth-pop legend Thomas Dolby between the Largo Theater and Microsoft Theater. On Thursday, July 26, Roland Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Dolby stopped at The Roland Artist Relation offices and studio in Bell, CA for a very exclusive performance which was live streamed. This performance revolving around the Roland Cloud included Dolby’s classics “Europa,” “One of Our Submarines,” “Hyperactive” and “She Blinded Me with Science.” Along with the songs, Dolby told the stories of how we wrote them and showed how builds a song up starting with a drum sampler then adding synths and vocals. For me my favorite part Dolby’s story about meeting the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson and visiting the Jackson’s Estate in Encino which had the intimate audience there laughing. Following the performance, Dolby did a meet and greet and signed copies of Hyperactive and his book The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology: A Memoir. To me, Dolby really is a fully functioning band as he can play an entire song with various instruments between a laptop, drum pad controller, and keyboard as well as sing.
I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Dolby the following.
MC: What does the Roland Cloud allow you to do now that you couldn't do before?
People get nostalgic about old analog synths, but believe me, they were a pain in the ass! Now I can have all my favorites from the past 80 years—like the System 100 modular, the JP8 and the D50—on my laptop, and they sound every bit as good, without the backache!
MC: Who are you looking forward to seeing again at Lost 80s Weekend?
I love Adam Ant, he’s a little piece of cultural archaeology. And Blondie are eternal pop gods—Debbie has still got it in in her 70s, and their tunes are fantastic.
MC: What you like your fans to learn from your book?
How to use obstacles and roadblocks as an opportunity for creative mayhem!