Erin "Syd" Sidney

Session Drummer

Erin "Syd" Sidney on SoundBetter

I'm a drummer and producer who writes and loves songs. I've devoted my life to the idea that every recording starts with a great song - that doesn't mean "complicated" or "award-winning" or "famous" - it means a song that's true - one that comes from an honest place. My work has propelled some hits, notably Mia Dyson's "When The Moment Comes"

I work with a group of engineers, producers and writers in the beautiful Ojai Valley just north of LA where we have a pair of studios we call "Echo Magic"

When I'm hired for a drum session, myself and one of my partners will work together to get a great sound and deliver a passionate performance. It's always nice to talk to the artist beforehand and get a sense of where they're coming from and what the song means to them.

All the music samples are examples of my production work as well.

Would love to hear from you. Click the contact button above to get in touch.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Erin Sidney
  • Mia Dyson
  • Mia Dyson
  • Mia Dyson
  • Mia Dyson
  • Mia Dyson
  • Mia Dyson
  • The Hillbenders
  • Syd
  • The Pullmen
  • The Pullmen
  • The Pullmen
  • The Pullmen
  • The Pullmen
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Hotels & Highways
  • Mia Dyson
  • The Pullmen
  • The Pullmen
  • The Pullmen
  • The Pullmen
  • The Pullmen
  • Chris Kläfford
  • Mia Dyson
  • Mia Dyson
  • The Pullmen
  • The Pullmen
  • Syd
  • Syd
  • Syd
  • Syd
  • Syd
  • Zac Clark

Interview with Erin "Syd" Sidney

  1. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  2. A: For drum sessions, I'll be sent tracks by a producer or engineer and myself and an engineer will open them up, mic up the drums and perform along with the track. That's the service I'm offering here. The majority of my work is with songwriters and bands producing full length albums from start to finish and going on tour in support of the projects closest to me.

  3. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  4. A: I love the people I work with at Echo Magic and the greater circle of musicians around me. I have this real allergy to talking shit about records or bands - I feel like if you were able to find the time and commitment to write a song, record it and release it, you deserve my respect.

  5. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  6. A: We have two rooms, both are in the back of homes here in Ojai. The tracking room is a beautifully converted garage and the mixing room is a beautifully converted guest house. Each room has gear that we love working with - both rooms are based around the UAD Apollo systems but incorporate lots of "real" outboard gear and beautiful mics. Whenever we work we cook a meal together and hang out with our families.

  7. Q: What's your typical work process?

  8. A: Setup at 9am, downbeat at 10 if it's a studio day or 10am for writing/mixing days. I'm a day owl.

  9. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  10. A: A love of songwriting and a desire to make honest, fantastic records. That means getting real with each other, not chasing trends or audiences.

  11. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  12. A: My passion - which allows me to really see the superpower of a person I'm working with and chase that with them. Helping to shed any baggage and just highlight the song, the artist.

  13. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  14. A: Music in the rock and roll, country, soul, r&b and dance traditions - I think broadly Americana, but my America includes zydeco and cajun music as well as The Ramones.

  15. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  16. A: Play less.

  17. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  18. A: I'd like to write some songs with Dan Wilson and I'd like to work with Jackson Browne.

  19. Q: How would you describe your style?

  20. A: Classic record-maker. I admire the folks that worked on making records, that toured on those records and then went back and did it again.

  21. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  22. A: I grew up in the business - my father was a production manager for several famous clubs and historic music festivals, he went on to be VP of a chain of clubs - so I grew up beside the stage, under the stage, in the rafters, watching rock and roll. I started playing drums very young and pursued that through high school. I played the guitar "on the side" until I went to college when (I still don't know what got into me) I relentlessly pursued a career as a singer-songwriter. I had modest success, lots of touring, lots of fans - but nobody sat me down and offered me any songwriting advice - and I sort of learned to write songs "in public" which is a little bit cringeworthy now. Those records are still out. But I became part of a group of people that were just like me - obsessed with records from many different angles and pushing themselves to be better. Eventually I settled back in behind the drum set to find my way into songs that way and got into production. I've been in bands and writing songs now for 20 years.

  23. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  24. A: My wife's Yamaha acoustic. I don't know what it is about this guitar, it just rules. An iPod + headphones with millions of songs on it. My gretsch '54 drum set. It was my grandfathers, my uncle's, my father's and now mine. A box notebooks and pens A multitracking device of some kind. Hopefully I'm getting off this island, because I'm basically saying this is how I want to write my next record.

  25. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  26. A: When you're looking for a session drummer, find someone whose playing already speaks to you and be open to hearing what they do without a lot of guidance. The song should say it all.

  27. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  28. A: Well, with session drumming, it's all about the song at hand. What's it about? Where's it going next? What instruments are you expecting to add that aren't there...Just a general chat.

  29. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  30. A: That I might measure my success based on fame. I do not.

  31. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  32. A: I'll add to this section over time - right now I think the most common question I get is "I have these songs, what next?"

  33. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  34. A: I love connecting with people. The musicians I'm playing with. The engineer, producer. The audience. Getting swept away into a little 3-5 minute world that feels self contained.

  35. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  36. A: I will become passionate about your project.

  37. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  38. A: Whatever's handy and right for the job.

  39. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  40. A: Scott Hirsch is on here now. Unbelievable mixing engineer.

  41. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  42. A: Launching Echo Magic, plotting out the next year of recording, releases and goals.

  43. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  44. A: I'm obviously proud of all my work, but for some reason today I'm thinking about a band that's a little off-topic for me. The Pullmen were a punk-rock inspired band that I was in that had musicians of varying levels of experience but raw talent and passion. The lead singer had this scream that was unholy but he was kind of overwhelmed by it and kept trying to "really sing" and it was like "no, no, this guy that comes out of you, be THAT guy" - we all lost someone close to us and made a record basically entirely about that called Going Dark. I produced and engineered parts of it. We all chipped in to make it the best it could be. We toured it in Europe and had some great California shows. I loved the amount of sweat that happened in that band. Every memory is one of full-on athletic intensity.

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Terms Of Service

Setup is $250 // Per song $300 24 hours for recalls or replays. Turn around 12-24 hours. If we have to set up again after final approval, an additional setup fee will be charged.

GenresSounds Like
  • The Band
  • Little Feat
  • Pearl Jam
Gear Highlights
  • We use UAD Apollo interfaces with a range of mics (Coles
  • Shure
  • Royer
  • Manley) to capture the drums in our room.
More Photos
SoundBetter Deal

$150 off our setup fee