Matt Johnson

Session Drummer

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32 Reviews (24 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!

Send me a note through the contact button above.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Matt Johnson
  • 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
  • Supine To Sit
  • Suffering and the Hideous Thieves
  • The Profits
  • The Profits
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Josh Kelley
  • Dean & Britta
  • Dean & Britta
  • Rocky Votolato
  • Beth Orton
  • Lori Andrews
  • Speedloader
  • Rocky Votolato
  • 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
  • Blenderhead
  • Blenderhead
  • Blenderhead
  • 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
  • Sarah de Bono
  • Old Blood

32 Reviews - 7 Repeat Clients

Endorse Matt Johnson
  1. Review by Dean R.
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    Wow. I'm still reeling, Matt has delivered everything I could have hoped for; Brilliant sounding tracks with everything I could ever need for mixing, quick turnaround, an exceptional performance and an innate understanding of what I was after/what the song needed. I have no hesitation in recommending his work and look forward to working with him again. Brilliant stuff!

  2. Review by Michael B.
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    Matt was great, as expected, and very quick and professional. Provided a ton of extra percussion and options and was really focused on getting the right vibe for the song.

  3. Review by Tessa B.
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    True to his word, Matt is incredible to work with. He delivers tracks fast without compromising on feeling or cutting any corners. We have completed three tracks so far and have had some great conversations along the way where we exchanged ideas and discussed sections in detail which I have found invaluable. The drum tracks are rich with layers and variations of percussion to play with. Thanks again, Matt, it’s been an honour to work with you.

  4. Review by Linus Fenton
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    Matt's drumming is unique, powerful, emotional and legendary. I'm so proud to have Matt on my record - his musicality is inspiring beyond belief. He delivered quickly and his communication was clear.

  5. Review by J.S.
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    What can I say that hasn't already been said? Matt is an incredible drummer. I can't tell you what an honor it was to have him play on my songs. I've been listening to him for 20 years. He playing brought added breadth and dimension to each of my songs and helped to make the compositions pop. His kit also sounds amazing. Great recordings. Professionalism. An artist's commitment to the endeavor at hand. Humility. Matt, you are the GOAT!

  6. Review by Tess H.
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    Really impressed with the quality of the recordings, the performance, professionalism and the quick service! Thanks Matt! :)

  7. Review by Matt
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    Matt is a legend. Delivers tracks fast, and always on point. Can't go wrong. Easy to work with.

  8. Review by Joe Marson
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    Matt Johnson is a legend. So stoked he played on one of my tracks. The drums he laid down make the song. I highly highly recommend!

  9. Review by Astro James
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    Matt is professional, efficient and delivers high quality recordings and a beautiful performance on your song. He'll play exactly what your song needs. He has great feel and his playing is in the pocket and extremely precise. If you need an outstanding session drummer Matt is the guy!

  10. Review by Ben Gurvich
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    This is the second track I've had Matt play on and just like the first, he really made it better in every aspect. His ideas on how to technically make it work, creative input and of course his kit just sounds so good. You will be lucky have him on your track!

  11. Review by Kurtis S.
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    Pro Level! Matt is an excellent musician! Thank you Matt

  12. Review by Ben Gurvich
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    Rich warm sounds, effortless sounding groove, friendly and professional and a résumé to rival the greats!
    I cannot believe I even had the opportunity to work Matt on my EP. His history speaks for itself (Jeff Buckley's Grace), and his playing is thoughtful, dynamic and musical. Highly Recommended!

  13. Review by Chris Garcia
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    Great sounds great vibe total pro and gave me extra percussion. Dream drummer!

  14. Review by Joey F.
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    I've worked with Matt on multiple songs now and plan to work on more with him. He's truly an incredible drummer and consistently comes up with awesome parts that enhance the song. The stems he provides are super well recorded and his drums sound great.

    I look forward to the next track!!

  15. Review by Christian D.
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    Matt delivered 9 tracks of awesome sound live drums and percussion. He is quick to deliver and a true professional. I think I only had 2 revisions over all, most takes he nailed first try. He will give you beautiful sounding drums that fit the song perfectly and gives you a wide arrange of every mic choice you could ever need to create the perfect drum mix. Highly recommended, Thanks Matt!

  16. Review by Andreas Hedlund
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    Matt is the man who understands what your song need and the drumrecordings he does are really well recorded.

  17. Review by Hayden S.
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    Matt delivered a really well played drum track, played perfectly for the track. Very professional and delivered in a timely manner. Matt provides more then enough tracks for mixing purposes, real pro would recommend to anyone.

  18. Review by koko
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    i would very much recommended Matt!! He works really fast ,easy to comunicate and delivered a great work!! im very satisfied and will definately work with him again

  19. Review by Joey F.
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    Matt keeps coming up with inspiring drum tracks that are recorded superbly. He really grasps the vibe of the song and drives it forward with creative and fitting drums!

  20. Review by Hommie G.
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    Matt is a great professional. We had a talk, explained what I needed and we came to an agreement. After that I only got happier and my music is sounding great with his drumming! The guy is a find!

  21. Review by Allie
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    Matt does it again! We sent two songs that called for two very different approaches. Matt quickly delivered crisp parts that work perfectly and elevate our songs to a new level.

  22. Review by Joey F.
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    Matt was great to work with. He came up with a pretty incredible drum part for a song I wrote. The drum tones were also really cool and fitting of the song.

    Super happy with how it came out!

  23. Review by Travis C.
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    Matt nailed it! We provided a demo of an original song, a couple reference tracks and some general things that we like. Matt promptly delivered a sizable collection of pristine tracks, professionally recorded with plenty of mic options to work with in mixing. Our song was a bit unconventional and did not call for a basic backing beat. Matt perfectly captured the vibe of our song, and even managed to add some gold that we didn't even know we wanted. Super pro!

  24. Review by Dave H.
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    Being a massive Jeff Buckley fan, it was truly an honor to work with Matt. And while my song is certainly no “Eternal Life,” Matt handled it with respect and delivered his drum tracks quickly. I’ve performed this song live with another drummer, and Matt came up with cool creative takes I’d never have even thought of. Thanks, Matt!

  25. Review by Michael R.
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    Matt is simply the best. Incredible musician, a wealth of technical and creative engineering knowledge, and most importantly, an amazing person. I've been working with Matt for several years, and am always impressed and inspired by his work. Getting your drum stems from Matt is like being 7 years old and unwrapping your Christmas gift.

  26. Review by Tessa B.
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    True to his word, Matt is great to work with. As well as being extremely friendly, he works fast without cutting any corners. I requested his expertise for a track that just needed more lift and I'm completely thrilled with the final result.

  27. Review by Jeff M.
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    Having Matt play really brought something spacial to my tracks. He's recorded on so many classic albums and he brings this experience and his unique style with him as well as sonically high quality recordings... Do yourself a favour.

  28. Review by Andreas Hedlund
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    Matt has been a pleasure to work with. His work is excellent, and his knowledge is very impressive. Everything he does including interviews on youtube channels really shows where is heart and mind are at. I would recommend Matt to anyone who wants to work with a true professional who has amazing drums skills and know-how to play the drums on recordings. Very excited to work with him on more stuff. He has played with so many artists like Beth Orton and as the Beth Orton fan I am, it was so cool to have him play on one of my songs.

  29. Review by Andreas Hedlund
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    Matt has been a pleasure to work with. His work is excellent, and his knowledge is very impressive. Everything he does including interviews on youtube channels really shows where is heart and mind are at. I would recommend Matt to anyone who wants to work with a true professional who has amazing drums skills and know-how to play the drums on recordings. Very excited to work with him on more stuff. He has played with so many artists like Beth Orton and as the Beth Orton fan I am, it was so cool to have him play on one of my songs.

  30. Review by Andreas Hedlund
    starstarstarstarstar

    Matt has been a pleasure to work with. His work is excellent, and his knowledge is very impressive. Everything he does including interviews on youtube channels really shows where is heart and mind are at. I would recommend Matt to anyone who wants to work with a true professional who has amazing drums skills and know-how to play the drums on recordings. Very excited to work with him on more stuff. He has played with so many artists like Beth Orton and as the Beth Orton fan I am, it was so cool to have him play on one of my songs.

  31. Review by Rob Calder
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    I’ve been very lucky to work with Matt on a few projects. He’s not only creative, and rock solid, he deeply cares about your project sounding the very best he can make it sound. And to be sure, it will be unique. You won’t regret hiring Matt.

  32. Review by Eric J
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    Matt Johnson is the most creative drummer I’ve ever worked with. He approaches every song with a unique perspective and always makes sure that his parts are elevating the track

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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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