Journey into 50 years of Roland’s amazing history

Revisit old favorites and meet incredible gear that you didn’t know existed…
Discover the story and origins of Roland’s history-changing gear and dive into the 90+ interviews and stories covering world-famous recording artists, engineers, composers, touring musicians, and more.
“Bjooks tackle one of the biggest brands in music technology with all their usual style and flair.” - Sound On Sound


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    Description of the book

    Since its beginnings in 1972, Roland has become one of the most influential music brands in modern history. In 400 photo-packed pages, this book tells the story of how they got there, and how they brought the music world along for the ride.

    • 60+ feature articles covering 50 years of music tech history 
    • 90+ interviews and stories with artists and engineers
    • Hundreds of instruments with detailed insights
    • Foreword by legendary hitmakers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
    • 400 colorful pages printed on high-quality certified-ecofriendly paper
    • Hardcover format (9.8" x 9.8" / 25 x 25 cm)

    Interviews with artists


    INSPIRE THE MUSIC also celebrates the community that Roland built, bringing you 90+ interviews and stories covering the work of world-famous recording artists, session and touring musicians, beatmakers and producers, award-winning recording engineers, educators, songwriters, and soundtrack composers – and those who designed and built these machines, and the creative impulses that drove them.

    In this book, introduced by legendary hitmakers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Usher, and more), you’ll enter a world of Roland stories. Meet one of Elton John’s favorite pianos, learn how electronic drums saved Butch Vig’s touring career, and how a guitar synthesizer did the same for Joni Mitchell. See defining moments in hip-hop, pop, techno, R&B, and be there when acid house was born. Get inspired by Billy Duffy (The Cult), Bonnie McIntosh (Selena Gomez), Buffy Sainte-Marie, Clint Black, Clive Deamer (Radiohead), DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Pierre (Phuture), Don Lewis (the man who inspired MIDI), The Egyptian Lover, Howard Jones, Jean-Michel Jarre, Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Guy Fletcher (Dire Straits), Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran), Nita Strauss, Omar Hakim (Weather Report, David Bowie, Madonna), Orbital, Peaches, Rachel Z (Peter Gabriel), Richie Hawtin, Roger Taylor (Duran Duran), Sister Bliss (Faithless), Culture Club producer Steve Levine, Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Swizz Beatz, Tadao Kikumoto (inventor of the TR-808), Thomas Dolby, and many others.

    Details of the content


    Few music companies have had Roland’s sheer technological impact. INSPIRE THE MUSIC details the creation of new instruments doing undreamed-of things: rhythm boxes that played what you told them to, guitars that could make any sound imaginable, grand pianos that didn’t need strings, drum kits you could carry in one hand... seen from within the music world in which they were born, and within the musical universe they helped create.


    Roland’s music machines have inspired stories, legends, and outright myths. Through research and interviews with Roland’s designers, we’ll tell the amazing true stories behind gear like the JUPITER-8 and other iconic synthesizers, the Space Echo and its role in the roots of Jamaican dub culture, the Octapad’s conquest of Indian music, the Loop Stations’ reinvention of composition and performance, the inspiration and promise of MIDI, how sampling married synthesis, beatboxes and stompboxes and grooveboxes – including the genre-defining TR-808, TR-909, TB-303 – and much more!

    Fifty years of favorites, fashions, frontiers – and the occasional flop

    Roland gear has helped define genres and build trends from rock to hip-hop to gospel to world music. In six detailed chapters, you’ll revisit old favorites and meet incredible gear that you didn’t know existed – whether you’re a beatmaker, a guitar hero, or a student of classical piano.

    GROOVE: From the original Rhythm Aces and CompuRhythms to the TR-808 and TR-909 rhythm boxes, the TB-303 bass synth, the Grooveboxes, the SP-Series pad samplers, and modern beatmaking from AIRA to Zenbeats.

    DRUMS: The evolution of electronic drums from the triangular Alpha Drums to modern V-Drums that play, feel, and sound like acoustic drums, as well as the Octapad, the Handsonic, and reimaginings of traditional drums like the cajón and taiko.

    GUITAR: Meet the JC-120 Jazz Chorus guitar amp – a classic that’s still being made after 47 years – the iconic BOSS compact pedals, the world’s first guitar synthesizer (and its many descendants), the genre-defining Loop Stations, and more.

    KEYS: The groundbreaking EP-30 electronic piano, the VK-Series organs, revolutions in sound creation and playing feel, the V-Piano, modern digital grand pianos that can fool experts, and the hidden power of the V-Accordion.

    SYNTH: Follow the journey from the SH-1000 – Japan’s first synthesizer – through the iconic JUPITER-8, the seismic impact of the D-50, new explorations like the JD-800 and V-Synth, and the brave new world of Boutique Synths and Roland Cloud.

    STUDIO: Step behind the glass and learn about the Space Echo, the Roland Rack and the many sound effects it inspired, sequencers and how MIDI changed the world, and the ever-growing interaction between the worlds of hardware and music computers.

    And because the endless quest for new and exciting ideas is bound to have some missteps and blind alleys, INSPIRE THE MUSIC includes a number of Roland ideas that didn’t work out. You’ll learn about the studio that needed a stylus, a keyboard that made noise whenever you moved your head, surround sound that didn’t surround, and other interesting Roland moments. 

    The Bjooks team
    INSPIRE THE MUSIC was created by Kim Bjørn with Roland’s full cooperation and assistance. It features contributions from industry experts like Peter Kirn, Alex Ball, Adam Douglas, Collin Russell, Daniel Orkin, Scott Harper, Mike Metlay, Gordon Reid, and others.

    This is the comprehensive story of Roland’s 50 years of history, passion, creativity, and the machines that drive them. This is INSPIRE THE MUSIC.

    Mentioned in

    Meet the Artists

    Dive into their inspiring stories, discover their unique creative processes, and witness the masterpieces they've brought to life.

    • Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis

    • Duran Duran

    • Johnny Marr (The Smiths)

    • Richie Hawtin

    • Sister Bliss (Faithless)

    • And many others...

    James ‘Jimmy Jam’ Harris III and Terry Lewis have been making music together for over 40 years. Friends since their teens in Minneapolis, they toured as Prince’s opening act and contributed to four albums as members of The Time. Their production history began with hits like ‘Wild Girls’ by Klymaxx and ‘Just Be Good To Me’ by the S.O.S. Band. The pair formed Flyte Tyme Productions, and began a decades-long partnership with Janet Jackson in 1986. Their career as songwriters and producers has encompassed over 100 top-selling albums, 41 Top 10 hits on the US Billboard charts (including 16 that reached Number 1), an unparalleled 11 Grammy Award nominations for Producer of the Year, and five Grammy victories. They have been nominated for an Academy Award and a Primetime Emmy Award for their work with Janet Jackson and Sheila E. Their roster of successes includes work with Michael Jackson, Yolanda Adams (with whom they won a Grammy for ‘Be Blessed’), Mariah Carey, Usher, Boyz II Men, George Michael, The Human League, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, and many others.

    Roger Taylor is best known as the drummer for Duran Duran. Joining the group in 1979, he played on the band’s first three studio albums, as well as their 1984 live record Arena and Number 1 single ‘A View To A Kill’, before departing to pursue other interests in 1985. He rejoined the other original members for 2004’s Astronaut, and has performed with the group ever since, recording five albumsand touring extensively. He has built a successful career as a DJ in clubs around the world, scoring a Top10 dance single with his band Freebass in 1997. In2022, alongside releasing a new album, headlining prestigious festivals, and playing to sold out audiences across several continents, Duran Duran was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Johnny Marr is an English musician and singer/ songwriter, best known as the guitarist and co-founder of The Smiths. Born and raised in Manchester, he taught himself to play guitar by listening to records and learning chords from a book, and formed his first band at age 13. His tenure with The Smiths established him as one of the most influential guitarists of the 1980s and well beyond. He has been a member of the Pretenders, The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse, and the Cribs, and has done session and live work for artists including Bryan Ferry, Pet Shop Boys, Talking Heads, Oasis, and has played on soundtracks by Hans Zimmer as well as live in concert with him. In 2018 Johnny Marr released his solo album Call The Comet.

    Richie Hawtin is a techno DJ and producer currently based in Berlin. Part of the second wave of techno DJs and producers Hawtin has since the late nineties been a leading exponent of minimal techno. He became known for his recordings under the Plastikman and F.U.S.E. aliases. Under the latter, he released his debut album Dimension Intrusion (1993) as part of Warp's Artificial Intelligence series. In May 1990, Hawtin and John Acquaviva founded the Plus 8 record label, and in 1998, Hawtin launched M-nus Records. In 2016, Hawtin launched his own technology company called PLAYdifferently, and released the MODEL 1 mixer, co-designed with Andy Rigby-Jones.

    Sister Bliss is a producer and multi-instrumentalist. Classically trained in piano since age 5 and proficient in violin, sax, and bass, she was already well known as a house DJ when she released her first demos in 1989. In 1995, she formed Faithless in the UK with producer Rollo Armstrong and vocalist Maxi Jazz. Faithless’ seven albums have sold more than 15 million copies, with the song ‘Insomnia’ from their debut album Reverence becoming a timeless classic. She has played keys on lots of artists’ projects including Dido’s latest album Still on My Mind, and co-produces Faithless and R Plus with Rollo. She DJs, runs the Junkdog Records label, and composes music for stage, TV, and films, including Sex & The City 2 and Danny Boyle’s adaptation of The Beach.

    Thomas Dolby, Orbital, Nita Strauss, Billy Duffy (The Cult), The Egyptian Lover, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Johnny Marr (The Smiths), DJ Pierre, Peaches, Bonnie McIntosh (Selena Gomez), Guy Fletcher (Dire Straits), Omar Hakim (David Bowie, Madonna). Howard Jones, Clint Black, Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Rachel Z (Peter Gabriel), Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sunshine Jones, "Weird Al" Yanovic, Butch Vig

    Have a look inside!

    Below you can have an exclusive sneak peak into the book: INSPIRE THE MUSIC. Prepare to be captivated as you enter the world within these pages. Take a moment to begin your exploration and uncover the enchanting magic that awaits you within the pages of this remarkable book.

    Key elements of the book

    50 years of Roland history

    Roland gear has defined genres from rock to hip-hop. Revisit old favorites and meet incredible gear that you didn’t know existed – whether you’re a beatmaker, a guitar hero, or synth enthusiast.

    Discover unique stories behind the gear

    The amazing true stories behind gear such as the JUPITER-8 and other synthesizers, the Space Echo, the Loop Stations, MIDI, sequencers, beatboxes, stompboxes and grooveboxes... and much more!

    Get inspired by iconic artists

    90+ interviews and stories covering world-famous recording artists, session and touring musicians, beatmakers and producers, award-winning recording engineers, songwriters, and composers.