Q: We’re loving your EP, “What Feels Good” What was the inspiration behind writing it?
SYD CALDERA: I’m glad you connect with it. The inspiration I guess was this inner transformation I was going through at the time. After moving to New York City in 2016 I had progressed to basically being a hermit. The city challenged me to a point that I was turning away from the world. My world had become very small. By the time I was writing this album in 2019, I had started opening back up to life. I felt (and still often feel) like a child feeling new stuff for the first time who is getting to know herself.
Q: The songs on the EP are very honest, and fit very well together. What was the process in choosing these songs to be on the EP?
SYD CALDERA: Thank you! These songs each developed over a number of months. I am much more prolific now, but these were really the only songs I had at the time, and I have an urge to make records, so I used what I had. Ben Deixler, the engineer and producer on this EP, had expressed that he wanted to work together in his studio, Trudie Studios, so I told him I had some songs to bring to the table, and we got started. I wanted to leave a lot of space in the songs so that I could add drums and bass. Maybe the reason they all fit together is because I wrote them all on my bed with my guitar. Sometimes I can tell a difference between songs written on guitar and songs written differently, like if they were sequenced on a loop or arranged by a composer, the songs have a different quality.
Q: How has moving to NYC from Oklahoma affected you as a musician?
SYD CALDERA: I didn’t expect the city would force me to face myself in the ways it did. I moved to NYC to pursue a career in songwriting, and to make publishing connections to place my music in TV and film. Now, my perspective on my career has totally changed. In Oklahoma my songwriting and performance was about catharsis. It was my release. Sometimes I think of the city as a beast that needs to be fed before it eats me up and spits me back out to where I came from, or swallows me and I die in one of its puddles, still asking what’s in it for me. The better I can dig into who I truly am, and find a way for that to serve people, the more I’m in flow with the city. As a person, I have a well of joy inside me and I’m very fun-loving, so as a musician, my goal is to entertain and to be honest. That’s working for right now.
Q: What has been the highlight of your music career so far?
SYD CALDERA: There’s nothing that I like more than writing and recording a song. I’ve gotten to collaborate with some incredibly talented and generous producers and instrumentalists. Getting into the studio and feeling the support is amazing for me. Ben and I tracked the vocals and guitar completely before he invited Aidan Boardman and Dylan Conley to come in on bass and drums. When Ben sent me the first mix of what they had added, my mind was completely blown. They helped me get to a point that I couldn’t get to on my own. Another major highlight was recording a music video for a song I wrote and recorded in my bedroom during the shelter-in-place in Brooklyn. I got to work with an amazing director and director of photography. They brought out all the stops, and since I have a performance background from doing theater growing up, I felt totally in my element. I can’t wait to record more music videos. I love that collaborating can take this little idea and turn it into a whole world!
Q: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would you choose?
SYD CALDERA: My number one person who I’d like to collaborate with right now is Tycho. I’m very into dance music and ambient music right now, and Tycho’s music has the combination of beauty and drive and rhythm that helps me float and face my day. I love working with producers and exploring new sounds. There are so many producers behind the scenes who are doing amazing work who I’m not up on. I’m especially interested in collaborating with women in the industry, since we make up something like 2% of professional music producers. We need that feminine woven into everything.
Q: If you could describe your EP in three words, what would they be?
SYD CALDERA: I call it Cowboy Alt-Rock because it’s all acoustic with rock grooves behind it. When I was a kid, I used to pretend I was a cowboy and my bike was my horse. Then I’d go hang out in dirty little creeks and wander along railroad tracks or deserted playgrounds. Concrete parking lots were like my great plains. Radio was full of rock music, and I knew every song they would play on those stations. Anyways, I still feel like I wanna be a cowboy, out exploring every where, but close enough to people that we can rock out and talk about the human experience.
Interviewed by Shoshana Silow
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