HIRIE is a seven-piece reggae band hailing from San Diego which takes its name from the band’s singer, Hirie.
Hirie is very much a “global citizen”, being born in the Philippines and growing up in Italy, before her family finally settled in Hawaii.

Hirie has stated that Hawaii is very much her “spiritual home”, and the bright, sunny vibe of Hawaii permeates her reggae-based music.

Whilst traditional instrumentation is prominent in the music of Hirie, it also contains strong electronic and modern pop elements.

Fusing those electronic aspects of the band’s sound with an energetic and exciting seven-piece live band has proven to be a challenge for the band’s drummer, Matt Benoit. Matt is responsible not only for holding down the band’s groove, but also looking after the backing tracks necessary to translate the sound of Hirie from the studio to the stage.

Until relatively recently, Matt employed a Roland SPD-SX sampling drum pad to trigger and run backing tracks.

Prior to PlayAUDIO12 I was using a Roland SPD-SX for samples, click and backing-track playback. It worked well but we were maxing out the system, pretty good. Also not having any sort of failsafe or redundant mechanism was a little limiting to me.

I don’t have to worry about it [PlayAUDIO12] at all. I know that if anything goes wrong, it’s going to do its job, it’s going to kick over, and we’re not even going to notice it… it’s a big relief to have on the road, that’s for sure.

HIRIE’s Playback rig is simple and compact and uses the common setup of two MacBook Pro laptops running mirrored Ableton Live sessions, connected to a PlayAUDIO12 to form a redundant failover rig. Should the primary computer fail during a show, PlayAUDIO12 automatically switches to the “B” computer.

As is becoming commonplace, Matt uses a MIDI pad controller (in this case the ubiquitous AKAI LPD-8) connected directly to the PlayAUDIO12’s USB-MIDI Host port, to provide transport and song locate control.

I have all the songs in the same [Ableton] session so I can quickly scroll back and forth, play and stop here, and it’s seamless! It’s honestly amazing how well it works.

...when you’re on-stage it’s just split-second, very quick commands, Play, Stop, scroll to what you need and it should all be there and just function properly. That exactly how it works with PlayAUDIO12

Our thanks to Matt Benoit and HIRIE for giving us backstage access to their lively and entertaining show, and for taking the time to show us around their playback rig. If you love your pop-music with a sunny, reggae vibe to it, definitely be sure to check out HIRIE!

Bob Malkowski