Making Music that Does its Job
Recent Projects: Papa Roach
Selling more than 10 million album copies around the world, American rock band Papa Roach has been cranking out hits for over a decade. Originally from Vacaville, California, the band- consisting of Jacoby Shaddix, Jerry Horton, Tobin Esperance and Tony Palermo- has been able to consistently showcase their musical abilities and mainstream appeal to a growing audience with each album, a rare feat in today’s music scene.
Currently on tour across the United States, tech-savvy members like bassist Tobin Esperance have learned to make the most of their time on the road by writing and recording their next album whether on the bus, in the hotel room or anywhere inspiration hits them. Tobin puts his hard rock stamp of approval on the Apogee ONE as his reliable one stop shop for recording on the road.
“…Dude, I really like this and I got an idea right here,’ and that’s when the built-in mic has really come in handy because he’ll just scat ideas on the spot without having to go through the process of plugging in cables and a mic”
Q. What specifically about Symphony was appealing to you and made you want to make the crossover to fully commit to a Native DAW?
A. “As a long-time Logic user, the synergy that has developed over the past few years between Apple machines and the Logic software is amazing. Apogee have always been “go to” converters for me and when the Symphony System was announced as an expandable I/O addition to the Apple/Logic family, it become an absolute no-brainer.”
Q: What was your main use for ONE on tour?
A: I incorporate ONE heavily in my demo and songwriting process. Because it’s so compact and portable, I can fit everything I need to record in a backpack. The ONE is great for use in the dressing room, hotel room, even in the back of the bus. I think a lot of bands when they’re on tour come up with ideas in the back of the bus and it’s perfect for that.
I had a friend send me a demo that needed some bass, so I plugged straight into the ONE and the pre amp sounded great so I sent it back quickly. It was almost too easy. ONE is also great for warming up, because no one wants to hear a bassist warming up, running through scales and finger exercises, so I plug in direct with a pair of headphones and get down without distracting anyone else.
Q: What computers are you running the ONE on?
A: I actually have two Mac Book Pros; one is a new version that I take on tour with me which has Logic, GarageBand, Live and an older version of Pro Tools on it. I usually run through Logic or MainStage.
Q: Do you let anyone else in the band use your ONE?
A: Oh yeah, I mean, I let them use it to record their ideas but I think everyone will have his own by the start of our next tour.
Q: How did it hold up on tour? Do you consider ONE road ready?
A: Absolutely. It stuck with me through our freezing cold Canadian tour and I didn’t have to travel lugging heavy gear. I keep everything in my backpack. I have my Akai MPC mini for a MIDI controller, ONE, and my laptop. I never want to keep that backpack out of site. If I’m on a plane, I know I have my whole recording set up with me in a bag I can easily access and store away.
Q: You’ve been touring for over a decade. Was this mobility possible when you first broke onto the scene in the late 90s?
A: No, it was way more complicated back then. You could write a whole record with my set up now, like a radio quality record and a lot of the bands we tour with are thinking small now. Before we didn’t quite get it. Back in the day I remember we had MIDI drums in the back of the tour bus, Pro Tools, and big huge racks taking up tons of space.
We basically forfeited sitting down and having a TV to have the mess of cables and gear we could barely operate. The sound of the bus would always seep into the recordings too. It was just way too complicated to truly be creative. That’s the big thing with me, just having things not be so complicated. I want making music to be easy, assessable, compact, and ultimately, to sound great.
Q: What will your next Apogee purchase be?
A: I’ve got my eyes on the Duet 2 for my personal use and the Ensemble for our recording studio in Sacramento. We have a few smaller rooms where we do mixing and tracking that the Ensemble would serve perfectly.
Q: What is your typical recording process when working on a demo?
A: Well, it can start so many different ways, but typically it will start with a beat followed by some basic melodies- whether it’s bass and guitar or synths and violins, or it could just start with a nasty bass line. I’ll present a folder of ideas to Jacoby and he’ll sift through it and be like, ‘Dude, I really like this and I got an idea right here,’ and that’s when the built-in mic has really come in handy because he’ll just scat ideas on the spot without having to go through the process of plugging in cables and a mic. When we have the template made, we’ll go into our studio and start jamming it out as a band and it’s like we’re 75% of the way there. I have written full songs just using the virtual instruments in Logic and ONE.
Q: What puts the finishing touches on a song?
A: The finishing touches would just be making sure that the chorus is popping. There needs to be a good hook, melody, or message of the song. You know we gotta make sure it’s doing its job to make you wanna dance, hook up, drive fast, fight or whatever music makes you wanna do!
For more on Papa Roach, visit their official site at: www.paparoach.com