Whether they are a gear nerd or a gear noob, the type of gear an artist uses has a huge impact on their signature sound. In this regular series called My Gear, Noisegate picks the brains of exciting and diverse artists for a behind-the-scenes scoop on their favourite piece of music gear.
Etching its beginnings in 2013 as a project for songwriters Chloe McGrath and Jane Azzopardi, Perth-based shoegaze quartet Calmly can be described as grim, gritty, angelic and beautiful all in one sentence. Following the 2014 additions of drummer Ashlyn Koh and bassist Rhian Todhunter, the band have toured extensively including appearances at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas and have also released a number of singles and EPs. Rhian and Jane from the band kindly let Noisegate in on their set-up secrets in our regular feature MY GEAR…
Can you describe your current live set-up? What instruments do you have in your band/what equipment do you use?
We have two electric guitars, bass and drums. Chloe plays a Fender blacktop jaguar through a hot rod deluxe, and uses a Boss DD7, Boss RV5, Boss OD2 (they’re pretty boss) and Behringer Tremelo pedal. Jane plays a Fender Jazzmaster American Standard through a Roland JC-40 and uses a Hall of Fame Reverb, Blues Pro Overdrive and Aquapuss Delay pedal. Rhian uses a Fender Jazz Bass (Just sponsor us already, Fender) through an al head & a 4 x 10 cab, with a Diamond Compression and a Aguilar Agro distortion pedal. Ash has a Mapex kit but will usually just play whatever’s available.
How does your live setup differ to your recorded music?
It’s actually pretty similar! We usually use our own gear in the studio, but we add a few bits and pieces like piano, vibraphone and a few extra vocal layers.
Is your gear integral to your sound?
For sure! Our pedals alone are pretty telling, basically all reverb, delay and overdrive – classic shoegaze band. A lot of the time we have just made-do with what we have available, but it’s ended up contributing to our sound a lot.
What was the first piece of musical equipment that you ever bought (or came into contact with)?
Jane: Mine was a Squire Strat and a little 15w Fender amp. I bought both for $150 from a friend when I was 15. I still have them!
Rhian: A Yamaha CG 100A classical guitar that I got when I was about 7 (which I also still have!)
What is a dream piece of gear that you would love to own?
Probably a really nice piano. I have a nice acoustic guitar (Gibson J45) and it almost makes it easier to write songs because it sounds so good! I think a really nice piano would be awesome for songwriting – mapping out chord progressions and coming up with melodies. I don’t know enough about pianos to be able to name the exact one, but I will know it when I hear it.
Keep up to date with Calmly: