Matt Johnson

Session Drummer

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138 Reviews (128 Verified)
Matt Johnson on SoundBetter

From recording the seminal cult-creating album Grace with Jeff Buckley to years of touring with the beloved St. Vincent, I've worked with a wide spectrum of artists over the past two decades including Rufus Wainwright, Angus and Julia Stone, and recently Miike Snow.

I'm originally from Texas but living in New York City opened up the most opportunities for developing a drumming career. I've recorded and played with Rhodes, Jade Bird, Teddy Thompson, Jeff Taylor, John Mayer, Dan Mangan, Dean Wareham of Galaxy 500, Tal Wilkenfeld, Will Stratton, Elysian Fields, Cones, Dope Lemon, Martha Wainwright, The Walking Who, Gabriel Kahane, Chris Stills, Anna Calvi, Duncan Sheik, Vivian Bond, Harper Simon, Keren Ann, Gerry Leonard, Reeves Gabrels, Tom Freund, Beth Orton, Suzanne Vega, Rickie Lee Jones and Miirrors.

I have also have worked with great producers such as Marius Devries, Rick Rubin, Simone Felice, Andy Wallace, Eric J, Andrew Wyatt, John Agnello, John Alagia, Thomas Bartlett, Tony Buchen, Tony Visconti, Tony Berg, Ben Harper, Hod David, and Kieran Kelly.

Moving successively from NYC to Los Angeles, and then to Austin has allowed for an expanded studio setup that is ideal for remote recording. Signature drum parts, rhythmic hooks, hypnotic patterns, contrasting textures, and heavy grooves have always been my passion.

I'm looking forward to creative interfacing with great musical minds, either in person or across the world!

Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Matt Johnson
  • Hey, King!
  • Angus & Julia Stone
  • Angus & Julia Stone
  • Will Stratton
  • Jade Bird
  • Jade Bird
  • Jeff Buckley
  • 54-40
  • Dan Mangan
  • Dan Mangan
  • Jane Lynch
  • Jane Lynch
  • Buenos Diaz
  • Buenos Diaz
  • Angus & Julia Stone
  • Angus & Julia Stone
  • Hamish Anderson
  • Hamish Anderson
  • Angus Stone
  • Angus Stone
  • Angus Stone
  • Pat Boone
  • Lia Ices
  • The Damnwells
  • The Damnwells
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Tony Guerrero
  • Debi Nova
  • Will James
  • Mary Flower
  • Mary Flower
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Soname
  • The Blues Gangsters
  • The Blues Gangsters
  • Teddy Thompson
  • Leon Jean-Marie
  • Apache
  • Apache
  • Apache
  • Amazon Dart
  • Martha Wainwright
  • The Out_Circuit
  • The Out_Circuit
  • The Heavy Circles
  • The Mighty Orq
  • Dean & Britta
  • Duncan Sheik
  • Duncan Sheik
  • Jon Regen
  • People Noise
  • David August
  • David August
  • Anne Loo
  • Anne Loo
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Rocky Roberts
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeremy Enigk
  • Jeremy Enigk
  • Dana Parish
  • Dana Parish
  • Dana Parish
  • Mandy Moore
  • Mandy Moore
  • Mandy Moore
  • Duncan Sheik
  • Duncan Sheik
  • Chris Stills
  • Chris Stills
  • Jeremy Enigk
  • Shane Gamble
  • Shyne Factory
  • Shyne Factory
  • Shyne Factory
  • Tristan Prettyman
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Kate & Anna McGarrigle
  • Tristan Prettyman
  • Tristan Prettyman
  • Tristan Prettyman
  • Suffering and the Hideous Thieves
  • The Profits
  • The Profits
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Josh Kelley
  • Dean & Britta
  • Dean & Britta
  • Beth Orton
  • Lori Andrews
  • Speedloader
  • Die Symphony
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Beth Orton
  • Tess Wiley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Duncan Sheik
  • Duncan Sheik
  • Suzanne Vega
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Tim Finn
  • Susan McKeown
  • Robin Spielberg
  • Cathie Ryan
  • Duncan Sheik
  • Tom Freund
  • Morley
  • Seedy Arkhestra
  • Shyne Factory
  • Shyne Factory
  • Shyne Factory
  • Shyne Factory
  • Shyne Factory
  • Tom Kubis Big Band
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Tom Kubis
  • Tom Kubis Big Band
  • Trudy Lynn
  • Matt and Kim
  • Max Johnston
  • Negative Press Project
  • 54-40
  • Diana Demuth
  • Sarah de Bono
  • Dope Lemon
  • Old Blood

138 Reviews - 32 Repeat Clients

Endorse Matt Johnson
  1. Review by Álvaro H.
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    Amazing playing and work ethics from Matt, we loved what he did elevating the track!

  2. Review by Henrik S.
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    I needed drums for a jazzy song, and Matt completely nailed it! He really put the time and effort to capture the feel of the song, and gave a stellar performance.
    I definitely recommend working with Matt - he is very professional with great attention to detail, yet very easy and cool to communicate with.
    A lovely musician!

  3. Review by galla
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    by galla
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    Echoing everyone here, Matt is awesome. Really talented & super speedy. Book him for your project!

  4. Review by Brew
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    by Brew
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    Nailed it (again!). Thanks Matt

  5. Review by Peter
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    by Peter
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    So much feel in Matt’s playing. Will be my go to from now on. Turnaround time is exceptional and no revisions required. Nailed it the first time. Exceptional talent and experience.

  6. Review by Brew
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    by Brew
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    My 5th time using Matt, definitely my go to drummer. Feel privileged to be able to link in with such an amazing musician.

  7. Review by Emily J.
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    Matt is wonderful to work with and very talented!

  8. Review by Brew
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    by Brew
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    4th time working with Matt, I feel lucky to be able to have access to such a pro drummer. Don’t think twice!

  9. Review by Alan A.
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    Just had Matt do drums for my whole album. He's a pro! Fantastic, high quality recordings, quick turnaround times, and best of all, a he plays his instrument with a lot of feeling.

  10. Review by Anitha G.
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    Matt is a highly professional drummer who goes beyond boundaries with his work and creative approaches to projects- in the best possible sense…

  11. Review by Leon M.
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    Matt is a top class drummer and a hero of mine as well. To have him play on my song feels a bit crazy to be honest! His instincts and ear for playing for the song and not over drumming is what makes him a cut above the rest. He delivered exactly what I wanted and I will.be back as many times as he can stand. Thanks Matt. Legend

  12. Review by Logan J.
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    Hands down, AMAZING. Matt studies your song in depth and goes to great lengths to visually compose and arrange each of his parts in preparation for recording. Then the magic happens! I'd love to play with him in person, he's a legend and everything we've worked on together he has spun into gold!

  13. Review by Tom C.
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    by Tom C.
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    Matt was an absolute treat to work with. His performance was full of subtle but incredibly thoughtful ideas that serviced and lifted the song. He really understood what I was going for and elevated it in creative ways.

    He's exactly the sort of person you want to collaborate with. He's open with his ideas and oozes passion for music, which was apparent even when he was talking about my humble track. I found him very inspiring to work with and he got me hyped about my own song :D

  14. Review by monoplayground
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    My second project with Matt. Everything has been said already, a pro! Will happily use again in future.

  15. Review by Claudio
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    The results of my collab with Matt were better than I hoped. He was able to transcribe drum parts I provided and perform them perfectly with feeling, style, and attitude. He even recorded aux percussion parts that blew mine out of the water. Turnaround time was baffling! An incredible drummer with an incredible work ethic--can’t recommend him enough.

  16. Review by Martin
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    by Martin
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    Amazing musician! Very precise and attentive, Matt went above and beyond. I highly recommend

  17. Review by ian c.
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    by ian c.
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    Always an immense honor to work with Matt, really one of the best ever i couldnt emphasize it more. If you get the chance with Matt please take it. SUPER creative

  18. Review by Logan J.
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    A superb musician. Every track we throw at him has a little curve ball in style and genre and Matt takes time to carefully consider what your song needs and knocks it out of the park each and every time. We couldn't be more pleased. A pro from start to finish.

  19. Review by Shaun
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    by Shaun
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    Matt was quick to respond and deliver. He kept to my production notes and vision while elevating my song to the next level. He is a pro who goes the extra mile for you. Highly recommended!

  20. Review by monoplayground
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    Matt created an amazing part for my track and was really comprehensive with his communication and detailing. Multiple mic placements given to play with and all top end gear.
    A true pro!

Interview with Matt Johnson

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

  2. A: Jade Bird touring before Covid. Lots of recording on lockdown

  3. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  4. A: all. why not?

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

  6. A: professionalism

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

  8. A: music

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

  10. A: It's easy

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

  12. A: Do you have reference music that could point to relevant sounds and approach?

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

  14. A: Have your tracks ready. know what you want.

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

  16. A: Kick snare hat floor cymbal

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

  18. A: Drumming, recording, touring, songwriting, production. 40 years

  19. Q: How would you describe your style?

  20. A: Dynamic and hypnotic

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

  22. A: Listen and commit

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

  24. A: Beautiful

  25. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  26. A: Intuition

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

  28. A: Inspired insight

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

  30. A: Concise and colorful charting of compositions on iPad using visual art app. I move over to practicing and doing preliminary recordings wherein I mock up what I intend to do, listening back for perspective. Sleep. Then I go in for the master takes, usually shedding charts and the prep mentality, using intuition and inspiration to summon the forces.

  31. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  32. A: Rupert Neve Designs, Great River, API mic pres. Some tape emulators for crunch. Soyuz tube condensers, AEA big ribbon, sE, various dynamic mics like SM7, RE20, 201

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

  34. A: Debussy Metallica Tame Impala L Subramaniam PJ Harvey

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

  36. A: Commonly I work with artists and producers, providing drum tracks according to a wide spectrum of sounds and musical approaches. From atmospheric coloration and textures to driving grooves of all sorts, generally I come up with rhythmic signatures or hooks that contribute to the impact of a composition.

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Jade Bird - Side Effects

I was the Drummer in this production


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    Cones - Later
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    Dope Lemon - Uptown Folks
Terms Of Service

The session fee includes one revision.

GenresSounds Like
  • St. Vincent
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Miike Snow
Gear Highlights
  • Rupert Neve Designs
  • API
  • Great River
  • Soyuz Tube Condensers
  • Universal Audio Apollo
  • Shure
  • Electro Voice
  • Istanbul
More Photos