James Cairns is an experienced session drummer specialising in pop and mainstream genres, tracking and electronic drums. He is a versatile musician, playing a wide range of genres with over fifteen years of drumming experience in different musical settings.

Based in Brighton, James is at the heart of the UK music scene and is currently playing in six bands and collaborations.
He originally trained with Grant Allardyce, gained Trinity College Grade 8 Drums with Distinction, a Distinction* Diploma in Drum Performance, and in 2024 was awarded a 1st Class BA (Hons) in Music.
As well as live and studio sessions, James provides one-to-one tuition in his drum recording studio.


‘James’s understanding and approach to drumming is meticulous, with a good sense of timing and accuracy. He understands what is needed in a song, and knows when to underplay to service the track and enhance any recording. He is solid to a click and has extensive knowledge of drum styles, especially in the pop arena. I would recommend James in a professional capacity and to fulfil any music brief presented to him.’ Stu Brewer

‘James is a very neat player – no flailing, no panicking, no mess’ Hannah Boulton

‘A highly sought-after session player – always early, on time, and reliable. He’s got quite traditional training and always has control of the band’s dynamic when on stage.’ Sam Clines

‘James is a fantastic up-and-coming drummer, who would be a welcome addition to any musical project or gig. He is organised, thorough, punctual, and has an exceptional eye for detail. His drumming is always solid, and musical. He plays with a driving sense of pocket, and just the right amount of flair when required.

James would elevate any gig scenario he is involved in, and I’m confident he will always go above and beyond to deliver exceptional results!’ Greg Walton

‘Super versatile, professional. He pushes himself and when he meets resistance, gets through it and progresses forward. Good awareness of tracking and ability to play to click.’ Abi D’Arcy