Enjoy the final cadenza of my first blog

My last blog post for CATwithHATs. Instead of drums, I hit a dead-end street. But I need to keep moving. Get a better picture of why I am letting go.

No more blog – going with my gut

I had this idea for a last video for my blog. There would have been three balloons with the name CATwithHATs on them. I would have told you goodbye from eye to eye and then release them – let them fly to wherever the wind takes them. But then a week ago my wonderful new Lumix GH5 got hijacked and returned, being not so beautiful at all anymore: it was broken. Was that a sign? Hmm, oh well. On the other hand, I could have just filmed the scene with my iPhone. As you see, I didn’t. I chose written farewell over a filmed one.

And here I am now, writing my last post entry for my own blog. I had to try this – create my own thing with videos for drummers on WordPress, YouTube and other socials. And I did. It’s been an interesting journey. To be honest, it ends sooner and different from I expected. But that’s okay. I’ve learned a lot and I know some of you took something out of it as well. And of course it will stay right here, for I will leave everything for you and whoever cares. However, I won’t add anything new to this blog anymore.

Thank You, supporters and blog lovers!

All of my active supporters at one glance.

It’s that time – it’s time to move on. During the last months I put a lot of time, energy and money into CATwithHATs. On the other end, there wasn’t really much I got back. Well, I don’t only do things to get something in return. One way streets can be cool and fulfilling. Yet, I had the feeling I turned into a dead-end street. And how much fun is it at the end of a road, where you can’t even get out of your vehicle? Is anything happening there? Not much.

But I need to keep moving and therefore turn around. That’s probably also due for I must have lost something on the way. Some part that’s necessary to continue and maybe simply search for a detour. But I think my gear, heart and I need to explore a whole different area now.

Although there are still many master drummers on my wish-to-interview list, it’s time to say thanks so much again! To all the heavy hitters, who jumped in front of my camera and shared some of their time and insights with me and YOU! And also to the drummers, who became my keypals and invited us into their lives that way. Last but not least, a few companies dared to support me, my blog and my ideas. Thank you as well.

And now have fun exploring the world of drums and music some more. Enjoy!


Drummers in front of my camera

Keith Carlock (Steely Dan) – Kai Hahto (Nightwish) – Dom Famularo (educator) – Ray Luzier (Korn) – Questlove (The Roots) – Gabor Dornyei (tHUNder Duo)– Claus Hessler (educator) – Thomas Lang (solo) – Markus “Onkel“ Lingner (Ohrbooten) – Vinnie ColaiutaJ.R. Robinson & Nicko McBrain (Paiste endorsees) Ralph Humphrey (Frank Zappa) – Walfredo Reyes Jr. (Chicago) – Mikkey Dee (Motörhead), Mike Terrana, Rick Latham, Derrick McKenzie (Jamiroquai), Karl Brazil (Robbie Williams), Wolfgang Haffner (session), Jost Nickel & Marko Dungjak (Andreas Gabalier) – Joe Porcaro (educator) – Randy Black (W.A.S.P.) – Ari Hoenig (freelance) – Don Lombardi (DW & DrumChannel) – DoubleBeats (percussion duo) – Jared Falk (Drumeo) – Jan „Stix“ Pfennig (Sido) – Furunkulus (darg age music) – Brad Webb (Jamie Cullum) – Nick Petree (Beirut) – Simon Gattringer (Johannes Oerding) – Matt Halpern (Periphery) – Jojo Mayer (Nerve) – Emmanuelle Caplette (freelance) – J.R. Robinson (session) – Adam Markó (Special Providence) – Pete Lockett (session) – Brian Frasier-Moore (Madonna) – Mark Guiliana (David Bowie) – Russ Miller (session) – Eric Moore II (Lillake) – Jason Sutter (freelance) – Chris Coleman (The Paradigm) – Brendan Buckley (Shakira) – Steve Smith (Journey) –Will Hunt (Evanescence) – Michael Schack (educator) – Jost Nickel (Jan Delay)

Keypals I exchanged emails with

Alireza Tabatabaei (Iran) – Sahar Shateri (Iran) – Axel Fagerberg (Sweden) – Turgut Alp Bekoglu (Turkey) – Khosh (Ukraine) – Alan Velasquez (Guatemala)

Companies that supported me

Hieber LindbergSchlagwerkYamaha DrumsZildjianSennheiser















Jost Nickel on improving your groove

Is there a way to improve one’s groove on the go? Jost Nickel should know since he wrote a whole book about groove. So I asked him and he gave away interesting details.

Passion Wants To Groove

Some drummers don’t know Jost Nickel at all: keep reading and watch the video – of course it includes a short profile about him! Drummers from Germany most likely know Jost from his biggest gig: Jan Delay & Disko No. 1. And drummers from all around the world might have taken notice when Jost was nominated for best “Clinician / Educator” in Modern Drummer‘s latest polls. That nomination didn’t come from anywhere of course. Jost has been in the music business for nearly 25 years now. Why he loves his job, he reveals in the video. I can give away that much, it has to do with passion.

No surprise, numerous drum festivals around the world invited him to be among their performing artists – so have the guys from Drumeo in Canada. Jost knows what he’s talking and teaching about. That’s because especially in Germany and France you might have heard some songs in the radio and haven’t been aware that Jost Nickel once held that band together. Scroll down for an incomplete discography and some of his hit records. Furthermore, Jost compiled nearly all of his knowledge about groove and fills and published it in two books. Scroll down again to find out what I’m talking about.

Groove-On-The-Go Exercise

At this year’s Musikmesse in Frankfurt Jost Nickel was one of the performing and teaching artists in the so-called Drum Camp. I was able to lure him away from there for some minutes. Even though one could imagine that Jost has made every point on the matter groove already, the main question I had for him aimed exactly at that: “Do you have a lesson to-go for drummers who want to improve their groove when away from their kits?”

Of course you should watch the video to find out what the maestro’s secret sauce for rich grooves is. But let me tell you that we touched the following words / subjects in our coversation: polyrhythms, dancing, how to identify the groove switches, beautiful innocence of young drummers, what to do when it doesn’t feel right. Jost’s answers offer lots of interesting views to think about.

Stay on or by(e),
Yours Cat

👍 Like what you see, watch and read? Let me know through the ❤️ or 💬 at the bottom ⇣⇣⇣
Stay in touch, subscribe to my YouTube channelfollow me and like me, if you do. Thank you! 👍

Get in touch with Jost Nickel


Jost Nickel plays in these bands

Jan Delay & Disko No. 1 || The Bad Barry Finnerty Collective (BBFC)

Media and artists Jost Nickel mentions in the video

Peter Criss: Peter Criss (CD | 1997)*
KISS: The Very Best Of (CD | 2002)*
AC/DC: Highway To Hell (CD | 1979)*
Kim Plainfield: Advanced Concepts (Book | 2003)*
Al Jarreau: This Time (CD | 1980)*
Dave Weckl: Hard Wired (CD | 1994)*
Vinnie Colaiuta with Karizma: Document (CD | 2005)*
Dennis Chambers: Planet Earth (CD | 2006)*
Omar Hakim with Sting: Bring On The Night (2CD | 1986)*

Jost’s educational books

Groove Book (2015)*
Fill Book (2016)*

Some hit records Jost Nickel played on

Christophe Willem: Inventaire  (CD | 2007)*
L5: Turbulences (CD | 2005)*
Jenifer: Le Passage (CD | 2004)*
Linkup: Mon Etoile (Single | 2003)*

Johannes Oerding: Alles brennt (CD | 2015)*
Jan Delay: Hammer & Michel (CD | 2014)*
Johannes Oerding: Für immer ab jetzt (CD | 2013)*
Jan Delay: Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Soul (CD | 2011)*

Jost Nickel’s Gear

Sonor Drums
Meinl Cymbals
Vic Firth Drumsticks
Ahead Armor Cases
Beyerdynamic Microphones




* Affiliate Link
An unique link provided to affiliates to promote an online service that is then used to credit sale commissions to the affiliate. If you buy through these links, you help me to continue my blog CAT with HATs. Thank you. Thanks a lot!

Perfect vlogging audio: Sennheiser AVX

I boosted my vlogging audio gear. How does recording with a digital Sennheiser AVX system feel like? Since I own the lavalier version, let me briefly tell you as much as I know so far.

Quick, easy and light is what I need

I really like living and travelling light. And I also like it when I can handle technical and tricky things myself with ease. That’s why my first computer was an Apple laptop. And that’s also why I still only have a MacBook Pro – everything I do, I do it on there. When it comes to my vlogging audio gear, I try to pack as light as possible. That way I am most flexible when going from home to a filming location: I can either do that by bike, train or airplane.

As far as getting a good sound for my videos is concerned, when I started out I was on a budget. If that’s the case you need to get a little creative and make things work with fewer and maybe less ideal options. Therefore, at the end of each interview I was able to add three separate audio tracks to my Final Cut library: one from my camera and two from my two Zoom recorders. But wouldn’t it be nice to have only one audio track at the end? How about feeding my camera directly with additional audio instead of running extra recording devices? Yes, I know some vlogging audio gear that can pull that off …

Outstanding vlogging audio gear: Sennheiser AVX system

… Sennheiser’s AVX system. According to its manufacturer it is the “perfect digital wireless microphone for film projects”. Thus it should be more than useful for me and my purposes. Sennheiser gives you various options: 1) A great fit for spontaneous, quick interviews on the streets is the AVX-835 SET*. It comes with a handheld microphone. 2) If you need your hands for other things and want to be more free overall, you might prefer the lavalier version. The AVX-MKE2 SET* comes with a high-level microphone. 3) If you don’t want to be limited at all, just get the AVX-Combo SET*.

While doing interviews I prefer to not distract my opposites with a microphone in my or their own hand. Further more, because I prefer to be behind the camera and want to do more of documentary style videos in the future, I got the AVX lavalier version. Here’s what it includes:

  1. Digital PlugON receiver
  2. SK AVX bodypack
  3. MKE2 lavalier microphone
  4. Battery pack BA20 and BA30 for transmitter and receiver
  5. Hot shoe mount
  6. USB charger, belt clip
  7. Adapter cable CI 400 XLR to mini-jack stereo
  8. Pouch


Why the AVX works great for vlogging

The Sennheiser AVX system quickly replaced my current vlogging audio gear because it’s small, incomplex, effective, high quality and timesaving. It’s just plug in and talk. Since receiver and transmitter talk to each other digitally, I don’t need to worry about finding the right radio frequency. I don’t even need to worry much about the audio levels – no matter the surroundings. That’s because the AVX comes with a wide dynamic range and adjusts itself to my camera’s levels at any time. Only when using it for the first time you need to set up the recording level on your camera and on the receiver correctly.

According to Sennheiser I can save battery power because the AVX “switches on and off automatically with your camera.” It really does, but only if you use the receiver with phantom power. Just be careful! If you don’t film for a while the receiver also goes on standby. Give it a few seconds to be ready to record again. In case of using the adapter with mini-jack straight into the camera, you need to do the work yourself. On the other hand, or rather on the other end and due to the bodypack’s display, I always know how many hours of battery life I still have left on there.

My Sennheiser AVX system works great together with my Panasonic GH5 plus mic adapter.

Speaking of batteries, luckily the AVX uses storage batteries. And charging them is simple: it can be done via a micro USB cable. Finally, there are two things I will have to find out later: 1) Will my camera really record the voice of my interview partner when he or she is up to 30 meters away from me and my camera? 2) And what will happen when I unpack the AVX set outside of Europe? I better don’t sell my Zoom recorders yet. It’s always good to have a back-up.

Stay on or by(e),
Yours Cat

📌 in cooperation with Sennheiser

* Affiliate Link
An unique link provided to affiliates to promote an online service that is then used to credit sale commissions to the affiliate. If you buy through these links, you help me to continue my blog CAT with HATs. Thank you. Thanks a lot!

Michael Schack talks past, present and future of e-drums

Finally I got to see “AcouTronic Beat Freak” Michael Schack perform live. That raised questions in me – about e-drum history, hybrid drumming and the future of it all. The expert from Belgium was happy to answer me.

Insights From An E-Drum Expert

So do you play acoustic drums and nothing else or do you have some hybrid drumming going on for yourself? Maybe you don’t even own an acoustic set but only an e-drumkit? Whatever set you are drumming on, each type has its purpose and advantages. I wanted to find out more about the history of electronic drums from someone who has witnessed its development at first hand: Michael Schack.

He has been a professional drummer for 30 years now. And in 1992 he became a demonstrator for Roland in the Benelux countries. Can you imagine the number of sceptics towards electronic drums back then? Michael Schack remembers well. I asked him about conservatism in the drumming world, some turning points within the e-drum history, about how far music and drummers have changed through the availability of e-drums and what might happen in the future.

Important Messages To Teachers & All Drummers

Naturally you can learn from Michael by watching my video with him. Get your note-taking app ready and find out about what I mentioned above, and receive some helpful tips. Michael Schack wants to share important info with drum teachers, drummers, curious about hybrid drumming and every drummer who wants to improve his / her timing, creativity and mood. 🙃

Also I included my standard profile of course, in which Michael Schack reveals a lot of personal background info about him. For example, did you know he was kicked out of music school as a kid and that he holds a Bachelor in economics? Also find out what AcouTronic Beat Freak stands for and about his mottos about music and life. I find them quite inspiring.

Learning From Michael Online

Inspiring was also Michael’s appearance in a small sound-proof booth at this year’s Musikmesse in Frankfurt: lots of energy, positivity, meshups, fun and high level low-end. The show only lasted about 30 minutes, but I am sure a complete clinic would be worthwhile to visit. Just check Michael Schack’s facebook page for upcoming dates.

Oh and in case he’s never close to where you live, luckily there’s the online drum school Drumeo. As an Drumeo Edge member you are able to learn from Michael Schack online. He’s Drumeo’s expert when it comes to  e-drumming: drum ‘n’ bass, techno, house and more. Have you ever tried Drumeo? It’s an incredible source of drum wisdom, brought to you by some of the the world’s greatest drum instructors. Interested in a 7-day free trial? Enroll now.

Now enjoy meeting the AcuTronic Beat Freak from Belgium!

Stay on or by(e),
Yours Cat

👍 Like what you see, watch and read? Let me know through the ❤️ or 💬 at the bottom ⇣⇣⇣
Stay in touch, subscribe to my YouTube channelfollow me and like me, if you do. Thank you! 👍

Get in touch with Michael Schack


Michael Schack plays in these bands

Netsky | #sMashUpMilk Inc.

Media and artists Michael Schack mentions in the video

Gene Krupa: 7 Classic Albums (4CD | 2015)*
P-Funk All Stars: Hydraulic Funk (CD | 2008)*
Billy Cobham: Spectrum (CD | 2001)*
Bootsy Collins: Back In The Day, Best of (CD | 1994)*
Vaya Con Dios: Ultimate Collection (2CD | 2010)*
Foo Fighters: Wasting Light (CD | 2015)*
Queens Of The Stone Age: … Like Clockwork (CD | 2013)*
Muse: Drones (CD | 2015)*

Michael Schack’s gear

Roland Electronics
Tama Drums
Meinl Cymbals
Vic Firth Sticks
Ableton Live
Strezov Sampling


* Affiliate Link
An unique link provided to affiliates to promote an online service that is then used to credit sale commissions to the affiliate. If you buy through these links, you help me to continue my blog CAT with HATs. Thank you. Thanks a lot!


Who won my Zildjian cymbal?

My first contest is over. Drawing a winner was the easiest thing in the world. One question remains: whom will I ship a brand new Zildjian A Custom 16″ Crash to? 

Luck Verse Outstanding Creativity

About one month ago I reached out to the drummer community. I roughly told you that a I had one cymbal to many at my house and that you could have it – for free, a 300 Euro worth Zildjian cymbal. There was only a small obstacle, these three conditions: post a picture on a certain topic, be creative and fill in a form. I am amazed of how many drummers participated in my contest. On Facebook more than 18.000 people found out about my give-away, on Instagram it’s been over 7.000. Consequently one could assume it was pure luck to win this cymbal. But as so often, luck was not a part of the game at all.

Very Few Desperate Drummers

Now I am getting to the part where I tell you why drawing a winner was the easiest thing in the world. “In desperate need of a lovely Zildjian cymbal“ was the topic for the pictures. It seems like not many drummers out there are in need of an extra cymbal. That’s cool. But 7, yes, S-E-V-E-N, drummers are and I wanna thank you for posting a photo with the proper tags somewhere online. Thanks a lot to Nils, Kornél, Erick, Pierre, Raphael, Isobel and Dario. ✌️ If you do the math, your chances of winning were really high.

But I can’t throw 300 Euros out the window just like that, can I?! I love to listen and watch creative drummers who still serve the song. Therefore, some creative effort was due to win the cymbal. Drummers who sent in a picture of themselves just sitting behind a drumset had no chance of winning really. A picture of a broken cymbal alone wouldn’t do the trick either. More creativity was shown by drummers who added one and one: their broken cymbal plus their meaningful facial expression. However, the creator of the winning picture did something totally different.

How To Win A Zildjian Cymbal

She (now the six guys know they didn’t win) put in some thought, came up with an original story, got creative and visualized it. The winning picture could be the next Zildjian ad campaign really, it really should. Hence, tomorrow I’ll ship a box with you know what to London, where the winner of my first contest ever lives: Isobel P.

This is her story behind the picture: I have been on an epic quest, travelling through perilous lands to find the dragon who guards his hoard of Zildjian cymbals, hoping to slay him and claim them for my own.” Well, this is the end of your epic quest, I assume. Congratulations!

The Future Of The Cymbal

Of course I was curious about Isobel’s background. Along with the prize notification I therfore sent some questions. Here are the answers:

  1. I’m very new to playing the drums, I only started at the beginning of this year. I always wanted to learn but didn’t have the money when I was still in school, then later I thought I was too old to start. This year I just thought better late than never and started taking lessons. I love drumming and even if I never get anywhere with it, I’m very glad I picked it up as it brings me a lot of joy 🙂
  2. Mainly I was interested in this cymbal because of its popularity in metal (my favourite music genre). I became more familiar with Zildjian thanks to Frost, from Satyricon and 1349, who is IMO one of the all time metal drumming greats.
  3. I’m a big sci-fi and fantasy fan and I’ve been re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so unsurprisingly this idea popped into my head. I created the image in two stages, firstly by going out to my local wood and shooting lots of photos. Then I went a bit crazy in Photoshop 🙂 I used a stock image of a dragon and edited it using custom brushes and overlays, added the cymbals, and then added shadows, highlights and textures to make it all blend in.
  4. I have a degree in illustration but I now work as a paralegal in Actions Against the Police, and I’m working towards qualifying as a solicitor. I still paint and take photographs in my spare time though.

Enjoy playing the drums, too – wherever you are, however old your are and on what equipment soever.

Stay on or by(e)
Yours Cat