Gear Talk: The Chlöe Howl Set Up

April 24, 2015 - 8 minutes read

Playing a Tama Starclassic Maple drum kit at The Hospital Club for a Sony Experia Showcase with Chlöe HowlLast year (2014) I spent a lot of time on the road with Chlöe Howl (great artist and person too) under the direction of Donavan Hepburn (Musical Director). My set up continued to evolve, change and grow during my time with her and during that time I had lots of questions about my set up, how I integrated electronics into my set up and why I chose particular bits of gear etc. I still get asked questions now so I thought I’d d a brief break down of what was actually going on in my set up. Below are a few pics that will make explaining things a LOT easier. 🙂

When I first started with Chlöe I was using a Tama Silverstar kit. This kit is actually quite affordable and at the mid-level range of kit. Made from Birch, this kit sounded fantastic, really punchy, depth of sound and tonally beautiful. I actually couldn’t believe that it was a kit priced at a little over £500 (I HIGLY recommend these drums). I used them on an arena (support tour – Ellie Goulding) and even BBC Radio1 Live Lounge and had nothing but compliments along the way… Of course it helps that i know how to tune but you get the idea. lol


SHELLS – (Tama Silverstar unless stated otherwise): 22″ x18″ Kick | 14″ x 5″ Snare | 13″ x 6.5 (Tama Hyperdrive) Snare 2 | 10″ x 8″ Tom | 12″ x 9″ Tom | 16″ x 14″ Floor Tom.

HEADS – (Remo unless stated otherwise): Kick – Stock head | Snare’s – Coated Emperor X Toms – Pinstripe’s

CYMBALS – (Zildjian): 13″ A Custom Mastersound Hi-hats | 17″ A Custom Crash | 18″ A Custom EFX/12″ Avedis Medium Thin Splash Stack | 19″ A Custom Rezo Crash | 20″ Avedis Deep Ride.

ELECTRONICS – Yamaha DXTX Multi 12 trigger pad/brain for triggers | Roland RT 10k Kick Trigger | Roland RT 10s Snare 1 Trigger | Roland RT 10T Snare 2 Trigger.

STICKS – Promark 808 Nylon Tip.

Rig 1

For “phase 2” not much changed. I cracked the 17″ A Custom crash and so replaced it with my 17″ K Custom fast crash. I also added an 11″ Oriental Trash Splash to add some colour options to my playing. I also introduced the Roland KD-7 kick trigger for playing patterns where the kick drum sound wasn’t needed and a pure (not merged – live kick + triggered kick) electro sounding kick.


SHELLS – (Tama Silverstar unless stated otherwise): 22″ x18″ Kick | 14″ x 5.5″ Starclassic Bubinga/Birch Snare | 13″ x 6.5 (Tama Hyperdrive) Snare 2 | 10″ x 8″ Tom | 12″ x 9″ Tom | 16″ x 14″ Floor Tom.

HEADS – (Remo: Kick – Powerstroke 3 | Snare’s – Coated Emperor X | Toms – Pinstripe’s

CYMBALS – (Zildjian): 13″ A Custom Mastersound Hi-hats | 11″ Oriental Trash Splash | 17″ K Custom Fast Crash | 18″ A Custom EFX/12″ Avedis Medium Thin Splash Stack | 19″ A Custom Rezo Crash | 20″ Avedis Deep Ride.

ELECTRONICS – Yamaha DXTX Multi 12 trigger pad/brain for triggers | Roland RT 10k Kick Trigger | Roland KD-7 Kick Trigger | Roland RT 10s Snare 1 Trigger | Roland RT 10T Snare 2 Trigger.

STICKS – Promark 808 Nylon Tip.

Rig 2For “phase 3” I changed a lot. Thanks to the amazing Tama team I got a Tama Hyperdrive, changed a couple of cymbals and added another trigger pad.

I changed my hi-hats as the Zildjian A Custom’s were too bright for Chlöe’s music and didn’t have enough body for the bigger rooms. I also changed my ride. Chlöe’s music doesn’t require lots of ride work but the times where it does, it needs to be definite, articulate, bright and cut right through the mix and I felt that the 20″ K Custom Ride did that perfectly.

I used my Tama Iron Cobra double pedal to more comfortably/efficiently trigger the Roland KD-7 (see below pic) which made quick transitions between live kick and trigger kick a LOT easier and fluent.

The change of heads to Remo Coated Emperors really warmed up the sound of the toms. They were less aggressive and had slightly less attack but they brought out the tones of the toms making the kit sit better in the mix. The shallow depths of the Tama Hyperdrive rack toms meant I could be more creative with my positioning, having the toms lower (in particular the 12″). The tone of the shells are richer and more detailed than the Tama Silverstar’s and the die cast hoops really focused the sound and the drums. The extra 2″ on depth on the kick drum really beefed up the sound too, giving a beefy chest thumping quality, and that’s without mic’s.


SHELLS – Tama Hyperdrive22″ x20″ Kick | 14″ x 5.5″ Starclassic Bubinga/Birch Snare | 13″ x 6.5 (Tama Hyperdrive) Snare 2 | 10″ x 8″ Tom | 12″ x 9″ Tom | 16″ x 14″ Floor Tom.

HEADS – Remo: Kick – Powerstroke 3 | Snare’s – Controlled Sound X | Toms – Coated Emperors | Floor Tom – Vintage Emperor (coated).

CYMBALS – (Zildjian): 1K” K Custom Dark Hi-hats | 17″ A Custom Crash | 18″ A Custom EFX/12″ Avedis Medium Thin Splash Stack | 19″ A Custom Rezo Crash | 20″ K Custom Ride.

ELECTRONICS – Yamaha DXTX Multi 12 trigger pad/brain for triggers | Roland RT 10k Kick Trigger | Roland RT 10s Snare 1 Trigger | Roland RT 10T Snare 2 Trigger | Yamaha TP65 single zone pad trigger.

STICKS – Promark 808 Nylon Tip.

Rig 3I did also add some more different crashes towards the end of the festival run but don’t have a picture that let’s you see noticeable change. I replaced the 17″ K Custom Fast Crash with an 18″ A Custom Rezo Crash for a bigger, fuller, more “meaty” sound and a 19″ A Medium Thin Crash which is warmer than a fleece of wool and possibly one of the most dynamic and expressive cymbals I’ve ever played. No matter how hard or soft you hit it, it opens up.

Thanks for taking the time to check this out. I’m always interested to see how and sometimes why people set their kits up so I can learn and maybe find solutions for any problems I may have for the ever changing demands on a drummer these days.

Special thanks to Chris and Simeon at Tama and Tina at Zildjian. Without their help I would not have been able to progress like I have. Also to Donavan Hepburn who has helped me in more ways than I can say and trusted me to lead a band he MD’s while he’s not present and we’re on the road. Also many thanks to Dean at Protection Racket, 1964Ears and Meraki Cajons (never in my life did I think I would play so much cajon haha).

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