Roland caught up recently with Joel Stouffer, drummer with the Canadian electro-pop group Dragonette. We asked Joel to tell us about Dragonette, how he uses V-Drums in live performances all over the world and where he sees the future of drumming headed.
How long have you been playing with Dragonette?
Since the beginning of time! We formed the band in 2005.
During that time you have toured extensively correct?
We did a short tour with Duran Duran at the very beginning but we didn’t really start touring properly until after Galore came out in 2007. From then on the touring has gradually become longer and farther. We recently took a much needed break from touring to regroup and work on a new album. It’s probably the longest we’ve been off the road since we started! I think it’s safe to say we’re all chomping at the bit to get back on the road again!
How would you define Dragonette’s style of music?
I think most people refer to our style of music as Electro Pop. When we started, laptops and technology weren’t common place on stage. We thought we were making Pop music but I guess the technology on stage made us Electro as well. Now, it’s almost the exception to the rule to see a band without a laptop or at least a synth or two on stage. So, I’m not sure the Electro descriptor is necessary anymore but I guess old habits die hard.
When did you purchase your Roland V-Drums kit?
We got the TD-30K kit back at the beginning of 2012. I think I might have been the first in Toronto (maybe even Canada) to get one!
What made you decide on an electronic kit over an acoustic one?
Prior to getting the TD-30K, I had been using an SPD-S both as an auxiliary sound source and to trigger samples from my acoustic kick and snare using the Roland RT-10K and RT-10S. I think it was Dan (Dragonette keyboardist/bass player) who suggested I look into V-Drums. I remember being a bit reluctant at first but the more I thought about their potential the more I was convinced.
How has your Roland V-Drums kit helped in your live performances?
Helped? It’s completely revolutionized my sound! We don’t use in-ears live so, on a very basic level, the V-Drums have helped us bring our stage level way down which has helped our front of house engineer immensely with vocal head room. No longer is my snare drum completely demolishing the compressor on Martina’s vocals! That’s helpful, but what’s amazing about the V-Drums is the sonic potential. I can be playing a small high passed electro kit in the verse of a song then switch to a massive full on EDM kit for the chorus then maybe a distorted acoustic kit for the bridge. I can have whatever kit I want at any moment and the patch changes are all triggered automatically by Ableton via MIDI so all I have to do is play. Amazing!
Describe your Dragonette rig
TD-30K. Hahahaha…I will be adding the SPD-SX and a NI Machine MK2 to the kit when we tour our next record but it all centres around the TD-30K.
What projects other than Dragonette are you involved with?
I just started touring with theNEWDEAL this year which has been immensely fun!
Do you play V-Drums with those projects as well?
Where do you see the future of drumming going?
Electronic! I mean, it’s rare to see a drummer that doesn’t have some sort of electronic sampler/pad element on their kit these days and I can only see that expanding. The line between production and songwriting has become blurred and so much of what makes a song what it is these days is the sounds used. The sound pallet producers are working from is so broad it’s impossible for an acoustic drum set to keep up with all of the sonic demands. There will always be a time and a place for acoustic drums but the potential that the V-Drums offer live is to enticing to ignore.
If you had one item you’d like to add to your V-Drums rig what would it be?
More V-Drums! Hahahahah