So, if you didn’t know, I’ve been working with a new up and coming artist called Tayá (Atlantic Records). She’s a lovely girl with an amazing voice and an absolute pleasure to work with.

Earlier on this year (2017) I came on board as the Musical Director, overseeing Tayá’s live shows/performances, working to the brief I was given by her management and label A&R. In a bid to make sure Tayá wasn’t drowned out by the drums, and also to keep the music (which is production heavy) sounding like the records, we tried the stripped back “Hybrid” drum set up and also just a pads (Yamaha DTX Multi 12) set up and had good results for both.

SHELLS – (Tama Silverstar Cocktail-JAM Birch): 16″ x6″ Kick | 12″ x 5″ Snare | 10″ x 5 Tom | 14″ x 5.5″ Floor Tom.

HEADS – (Remo unless stated otherwise): Kick – Coated Powerstroke 4 | Snare 1 – Coated Powerstroke 4 | Snare 2 – Coated Emperor | TomFloor Tom – Tama 2 ply stock heads.

CYMBALS – (Zildjian): 14″ K Custom Dark Hi-hats (later changed to) – 13″ A Custom Mastersound Hi Hats | 11″ Oriental Trash Splash | 18″ A Custom Rezo Crash | 20″ S Trash Crash.

ELECTRONICS – Yamaha DXTX Multi 12 trigger pad/brain for triggers | Roland RT 10 Tom Trigger (RT10K won’t work on the kick drum as it’s made for a bass drum hoop not a normal tom/snare hoop) | Roland KD-7 Kick Trigger | Roland RT 10s Snare Trigger.

STICKS – Zildjian Super 5A – Wood Tip.

When it came time for us to start putting together Tayá’s headline show (4th October 2017), we wanted to make a statement and have the band bringing the energy of live performance but still with the detail of the production from the tracks. We were working with a small stage too so keeping the drum footprint small was a necessity. After many thoughts, I went down to Tama UK HQ where Ian Aguado-Bush and Simeon Read (the guys who look after all of us artists so well) helped me to build a rig that was perfect and ticked all of the boxes in terms of sound, looks, footprint and flexibility.

This came in the form of the Tama Cocktail-JAM, an all Birch shell kit with shallow, single-headed shells (apart from the snare) that are flexible in terms of set up (see the out-of the-box configuration to the left). The Cocktail-JAM can be played standing up or sitting down (like a conventional drum kit) and one of the greatest features… All of the shells fit in an over the shoulder bag, and the hardware in a small hardware bag, making it really easy to transport.

Truthfully, I didn’t expect much from the Cocktail-JAM in terms of sound. The depths are shallow and there’s no resonant head so I expected more of a thud than a sweet tone, but the latter is exactly what I got. The snare and toms have a great tuning range and sing like a bird and (to my surprise) are quite straightforward and easy to tune. The kick drum is quite deceptive as, acoustically, it sounds pretty flat and thin, but the closer you get to it is the more low-end you hear/feel. Mic’d up, it sounds like a dream and has a great attack and punch that is quite hard to believe (even pre EQ/Compression) and the rest of the kit sounds great too.

I’m currently with Tayá doing the support for the Zara Larsson UK tour and since the previous photo’s where I had an “imposter” snare have since upgraded to a 10” x 5.5” Tama Soundworks Steel snare drum, which sounds amazing and offers a more powerful crack and overall drier sound with less overtones which is great in live situations.



  • 16″ x 6″ Kick Drum – 7ply, 8mm Birch
  • 12” x 5” Snare Drum – 6ply, 6mm Birch
  • 10″ x 5.5 Snare Drum – Steel (Soundworks)
  • 10” x 5” Tom – 6ply, 6mm Birch
  • 14” x 5.5” Floor Tom – 6ply, 6mm Birch
  • Star Mount System
  • Sound Arc Hoops
  • Drum pedal (set up to be played on the Cocktail-JAM)
  • Over the shoulder Drum Bag
  • Hardware bag
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