My first year at Musiversal as a Session Drummer
Hi! I’m Chris, UK-based Session Drummer with Musiversal 👋
I joined Musiversal shortly after its inception in November 2020 and have completed hundreds of online remote sessions ever since from my studio in Sheffield, UK.
In this blog post, I’m going to share my experience so far and what it's like to be a professional Session Drummer at Musiversal.
My music background
I started playing the drums at the age of 11 after my brother received a drum kit for Christmas but wasn’t too bothered about playing it. I picked up the sticks and started jamming along to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ trying to learn the parts by myself...
...shortly after, my Dad found me a private drum teacher in Sheffield Called Toni Canelli and we booked in my first lesson. I remember the lesson going well - turns out I wasn’t that far off teaching myself the drumbeat from Nirvana, but I quickly learned how to do things the real way.
I carried on having lessons every other week for a few years and Toni became my mentor as I grew up - I knew straight away that school wasn’t for me as I was going to pursue a career in drumming!
I began touring at the age of 17 around the UK where I had to lie about my age to get into some of the club venues, or just play and leave before the nightclub opened! I was playing with a number of different bands in the rock & metal scene including and eventually started touring internationally when I was 19 with ‘Empires Fade’. We toured around Europe regularly and this led me onto playing for ‘Crazy Town’ an established band from Los Angeles a couple of years later. We played all over the world including Europe, USA and India during 2017 & 2018. Since then I have been playing with the UK band ‘Fast Car To Florence’ and as a session drummer for a few different artists.
My music production career was put on hold for a few years. I left my production degree at Leeds College of Music early to pursue touring with bands instead, but I was always producing and recording drums on the side when I was home. I’d been recording drums since an early age, starting off on an old Zoom HD recorder before DAWs took over! My YouTube channel is the main reason I got into music production, as I’ve been posting drum covers on there for about 10 years now which I always produced myself. This helped me gain the experience I needed over the years to become very proficient at drum recording, which has obviously turned out to be a very important part of my career.
Musiversal and me...
I first heard about the job in October 2020 when I received a phone call out-of-the-blue from a recruiter at Musiversal. They told me about the job and asked if it was something I would be interested in - of course, I said I would be, it honestly sounded too good to be true! I had heard of something similar a few years earlier which never really took off, so I was a bit skeptical at first especially when they mentioned that it was a salary based job - something that doesn’t really exist in the music industry.
At the time it was right in the middle of the pandemic, and since March my entire gigging schedule had been canceled so I had been working in my studio ever since doing remote drum recording for my own clients. This was just about paying the bills, but the thought of a guaranteed wage every month as well felt like an absolute blessing especially during Covid-19!
A day in the life at Musiversal
Since then I have recorded hundreds of remote drum sessions with clients all over the world, in real-time over Zoom, which has been truly incredible. The styles I mainly play are rock pop and everything in between, but during my time at Musiversal I have got the chance to play every style imaginable including Jazz, Prog Metal, Latin and even film scores. Working on so many different styles every day has made me into a better player overall and improved skills that I might never have worked on if it wasn’t for these sessions.
A typical day for me at Musiversal starts at around 10am when I arrive at my studio and set up Logic sessions for the day ahead. The sessions start at 12pm and usually finish at 5 or 6 in the evening with shorts breaks in-between. Musiversal is extremely flexible when it comes to choosing a schedule, which is perfect for us musicians and means I can plan my sessions around what else is going on in my life!
Having a stable job in music
I feel extremely lucky to have a salary-based job as a session musician, especially during the pandemic when the music industry was one of the hardest hit.
It has taken so much pressure off of me financially, as I now know that no matter what happens with my other work (gigs, other session work) I will have a fixed wage every month that I can rely on. It has even allowed me to get a mortgage during the pandemic which to most musicians has been a pretty impossible task, but being able to provide a contract with a salary has completely changed the game.
I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and hope that it will continue to provide the kind of security that we musicians previously could only dream of.
“It has even allowed me to get a mortgage during the pandemic which to most musicians has been a pretty impossible task”
This has been my first time working for a startup so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the experience has been amazing!
The team are all so nice and easy to reach when needed. Even though we have never met in person, I have spoken to most of the team and a few musicians through Zoom so I feel like I know everyone quite well.
As the company is so new, things are always changing for the better, and everybody has a chance to voice their opinions to the rest of the team so we can improve things as quickly as possible. I think this makes everyone feel really valued because our feedback directly contributes to changes the company makes.
For example, I remember when the company first launched their website and moved all of the sessions over from Google Drive to the new system built in-house, which had a few problems straight away - it was originally a lot slower than Google Drive and affected our workflow to begin with. This is understandable when you’re competing with one of the biggest tech companies in the world! Within days though, the team had fixed most of the issues we had raised and continued improving things with our feedback in mind.
The website has continued to evolve into what it is today, which is honestly much better than the Google Drive method we started with. Everything works so well and you can tell the team have tweaked things to make our lives as easy as possible.
I have also been impressed by how easy the management is to get in touch with, especially when resolving any issues. There have been a few occasions where I think every musician has encountered some sort of technical issue that has affected the day's sessions, but the team are always on hand to try and resolve them whilst letting clients know in the meantime.
Everybody is also extremely friendly and easy to talk to, which makes a massive difference in any job but especially in the music industry when people can be so ruthless. It makes working for Musiversal a very satisfying task indeed.
A win-win for the industry
I think what Musiversal is doing for musicians and the industry is absolutely revolutionary, not only are they offering working musicians a chance for a stable career with a salary, but they are also giving other people around the world the opportunity to work with professional session musicians in real-time for an extremely good price.
The ability to pay for a subscription rather than per session means that the client gets more for their money and the session musicians get a fixed monthly wage. It’s a win-win.