Daniel Johnson

Drum Tracks, Editing, Tuning

Daniel Johnson on SoundBetter

Solely focused on helping the artist/producer achieve the vision of their song. I record live drum takes and will edit and process them to fit your specific needs. Need percussion? I got you. Need programmed drum elements? I got you. Need someone who will invest in your success? I got you.

I've been a professional drummer since 2014, most of that time being spent touring the country with various artists. I love touring and the companionship that is formed through that experience. I got into recording and engineering drums at my personal studio at the very beginning of 2020 and quickly realized that the same companionship can be built through the recording process. I love seeing an artist's vision come to life. I love supporting artists and building relationships. I don't view this process as a transaction, but as an opportunity to serve others. If this sounds like what you're looking for, I could not be more excited to begin working on a project with you. I love sending edited and processed drum tracks that leave room for the mix engineer to do their thing. I am also happy to send raw drum tracks. I also love programming percussion and drum elements, as well as tracking live percussion.

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

Interview with Daniel Johnson

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

  2. A: That I will always serve the song above anything else. I am in a position of foundational support and will make choices from that place.

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

  4. A: What are some of their musical influences... so I can get an idea of their expectation and serve them well. I love for the client to send me a song that is similar to what they're trying to achieve, and then a different song that they just like the drum tones of. That helps me achieve a great sound for the artist/producer quickly and we can get to creating quickly.

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

  6. A: I think you really need to think about what you value in your music. Do you want production that supports the song? Do you want to hire a musician who is looking to serve you as the artist/producer? That's what I would be looking for. That's why I choose to do this.

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

  8. A: 1) Macbook 2) Focusrite interface 3) A great ribbon mic 4) SM57 5) Barefoot monitors

  9. Q: How would you describe your style?

  10. A: I would describe my style as less-is-more. I love thoughtful playing. I don't particularly love it when musicians play a lot of interesting things for the sole purpose of flexing their chops. I'm truly a drummer who is interested and excited to support other instruments and the song itself.

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

  12. A: I would love to work with a guy like Brandon Flowers. He is always seemingly on the forefront of popular music. He also has musical density that I find compelling. He seems to never be afraid to go somewhere fresh.

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

  14. A: Learn some rules and techniques, so that you can purposefully break those rules. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to what you should or shouldn't do in a song. I am always looking to learn and enjoy working with people who are also curious.

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

  16. A: Most of the music I work on is for independent artists. I love working with these artists and producers because they love to explore sounds and feels outside of convention. I also love providing simple, great sounding drum parts for these projects, where I simply need to be a foundation piece.

  17. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  18. A: I have a home studio in Nashville, TN that is a little larger than 350 square feet. I have a full kit setup at all times, with plenty of drum options to swap in and out to achieve the specific sound each song needs. I appreciate and value both modern and vintage drums, and love mixing and matching them together. I have a percussion shelf just to my right that houses all my favorite go-to's to bring some personality to the track. I have a microphone setup and running at all times so I can record those percussion tracks efficiently, so inspiration never escapes. I have a collection of microphones that can get all the sounds I'm wanting for a production.

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

  20. A: Aaron Sterling for sure. A lesser-known drummer, Jesse Proctor, his choices are impeccable. The thing about both of these guys that I love so much are the unique style they bring to each song. There is a definitive character to what they do that elevates the production. That is my target with each production.

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

  22. A: I track drums from my home studio in Nashville, and usually supplement those with percussion elements, both recorded live and programmed samples.

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

  24. A: Yet to be released, but I am working heavily with an artist that goes by the name The Retrospecter. I am recording drums for his current project, as well as tuning vocals for mix. I am so proud of what he's writing and recorded, and so thankful that he's asked me to play a significant role in how his music is being created.

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

  26. A: That a drummer isn't a true 'musician.'

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

  28. A: Demos and masters for some producers here in Nashville.

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

  30. A: Brandon Chase. He's a great singer/writer/top liner.

  31. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  32. A: My strongest skill is communicating with artists and producers. I want to get in their headspace and really understand the vision of the project, so that I can serve them the best way possible. I love taking direction and being produced.

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

  34. A: I bring creativity and a fresh approach, while keeping the song the main focus. I bring a positive and engaging attitude to everything that I'm asked to work on.

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

  36. A: I listen to the song twice, get a feel for the energy and different sections. Then I come up with the main theme to the song and make sure it fits with the vocal, leaves room for other instruments. Then I'll do a few passes to make sure all the content is there. Listen back, and tweak anything that isn't just right. I will edit my takes, unless asked not to, and send the stems with some processing. Any heavily-charactered processing is sent as a separate stem, giving the producer and mix engineer total control of the space and vibe of the drum capture.

  37. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  38. A: Why not both? I love blending the two, when appropriate, to achieve a great sound. They certainly both have their merits, depending on what you're looking for musically. The song determines it all.

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

  40. A: That I get to create and make relationships along the way. I love the personal connection.

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Demo Track for Artist

I was the Live Drums, Editing, Percussion in this production

GenresSounds Like
  • James Bay
  • The Night Game
  • Harry Styles
Gear Highlights
  • Various Vintage and Modern Drums
  • Preamps and Studio Mics
  • Various Zildjian & Dream Cymbals
More Photos