The Rise of ROLI – Riding the Wave of Digital Technology
Back in May 2014 the London based music start-up ROLI received a £7.6million investment for their Seaboard GRAND Keyboard. This investment, one of the largest ever for a music hardware company was backed by financial giants: Balderton Capital (LoveFilm, Kobalt Music) and FirstMark Capital (Pinterest, Shopify) .
It’s easy to see why they wanted to invest – the Seaboard GRAND had just picked up major awards such as the 2014 Design Of The Year (Design Museum) and the SXSW Music Accelerator award in 2013. CNN had declared the controller – “The Piano of the future” and ROLI were seeing a rise in worldwide demand with waiting lists rising to a year for delivery.
So what makes ROLI special? Well, the re-imagined piano has a soft to touch, continuous surface that allows for polyphonic pitch bending, vibrato and per-note dynamic changes. For us it’s the marriage of the traditional keyboard with the versatility of digital technology that sets it apart. The sound can be manipulated by five gestures: striking, gliding, pressing, sliding up and down and lifting off.
With the well-placed investment ROLI received they increased their product range with the introduction of the ROLI Seaboard Rise 25 a 25 note (or key-waves, as ROLI calls them) variation of the GRAND stage. Fast-forward to NAMM 2016 and ROLI announced the Seaboard RISE 49 a 49 key-wave variation alongside their first iPhone app Roli NOISE.
ROLI founder and CEO Roland Lamb (a jazz piano student from Harvard University) stated: “When we released the RISE 25, our goal was to establish it as the must-have tool for the contemporary musician. We feel that we are bridging the gap between electronic and acoustic instruments for musicians in the digital age”.
With high profile endorsees such as: Hans Zimmer, Jamie Cullum and Cory Henry the future is incredibly bright for this forward thinking Pro Audio brand.