Matt Johnson

Session Drummer

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229 Reviews (213 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
  • 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

229 Reviews - 51 Repeat Clients

Endorse Matt Johnson
  1. Review by J Shark Soundlab
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    Matt always produces intentional quality work that really serves the song. Very happy with the direction of my new track.

  2. Review by Tyler D.
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    I've worked with Matt a few times now and couldn't be happier with the experience!

  3. Review by Mark P.
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    Matt is very good at producing drums that sit in the track just right. He’s very intuitive and thoughtful about how his drum part fits with the other instruments / vocals. His drum parts sound like they were always supposed to be there.

    Matt is a great communicator and takes musical direction well. A pleasure to work with.

  4. Review by Richard C.
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    Matt was an undiluted joy to work with, he's super talented and comes across as a groovy guy. I'm beyond please. Another five star review with thanks!

  5. Review by Shaun
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    by Shaun
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    I'm a repeat client, and for good reason.
    Matt provided his usual high quality tracks and quick turnaround. He followed my notes and more than met my expectations.
    It is a pleasure to work with Matt!

  6. Review by Theis W.
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    Matt was great as always. This project was a little different from previous. The things I had in mind on the demo, didnt really work too well in real life. Matt was on board to do a revision based on his own ears - which turned out great. Thanks Matt!

  7. Review by Mike E.
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    Matt always does an amazing job- he really brings out the best of every song.

  8. Review by Michael J.
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    Matt is a phenomenally talented drummer and very easy to work with. He individually tracks each section of his kit (which my studio guy absolutely loves) and provides multiple takes to give you different approaches to experiment with. On top of that, he has great communication skills and exceptional turnaround time. I'm convinced there's no better drummer on this platform to work with.

  9. Review by Graham M.
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    Tight performances, interesting fills. Great communication as well.

  10. Review by Drew Dockerill
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    Matt is an amazing drummer and understands what a song needs. Easy to work with, super fast turn around and amazing tones!

  11. Review by Henrik Strang
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    My second session with Matt, and I can´t wait to work with him again. He is not only extraordinarily talented and musical, but also super cool to work with.
    Highly recommended!

  12. Review by Mike E.
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    As always Matt is the absolute best. He really goes the extra mile, is very creative as well as laser focused at delivering awesome totally professional quality results. Look no further for the best drummer out there- you've found him.

  13. Review by Cormac Kavanagh
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    Matt was everything I wanted on this project.
    He was very quick with getting back to me and provided a lot of different feels for the song and also changed a few things when needed, with great communication. Great quality audio tracks, well recorded, with a great feel.
    He provided percussion too which I didn't expect and the experience overall was just wonderful. No hesitation recommending him.
    Thanks Matt!!

  14. Review by Mark P.
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    It was great working with Matt again. He is a total pro!

  15. Review by Jon L.
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    by Jon L.
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    Matt's drumming is fantastic. Quick turnaround, great feel & really playing what works best for the song. 5 stars!

  16. Review by Logan
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    by Logan
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    How can a few words do justice for a Master? We can't say enough good things about playing with Matt, he's an amazing pro. Always listening with intent and carefully crafting the right drum track to match any type of song you send his way. Matt's the man. Thank you!!

  17. Review by Shachar Z.
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    Matt is a world-class drummer, and I'm honored to have him record drums for my track. His drumming ignited the production with energy that was missing and the tracks he sent me were of the highest sound quality.

    On a personal level, he was communicative, nice, and very open to helping me.

    The process was very time efficient and fast which was very important to me. Overall, couldn't have asked for a better experience and I'm already getting my next songs ready to record with him.

  18. Review by Zefan G.
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    It's my second time working with Matt, he's super professional and one of the best drummer I've worked with. I definitely want to work with him again!

  19. Review by Mike E.
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    Besides being an amazing world class drummer, just having the honor of having Matt play on my tracks has made me a better musician. He knows how to emphesize the arrangement of a song in ways I hadn't expected that brought out the best in the tracks that are already in the arrangements and made me rethink them. He has a way of making you go back and play everything better to try and reach the high bar that he sets. He's not just technically great- he's a creative zen master!

  20. Review by Tyler D.
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    Soundbetter is prompting me to detail my experience with regards to professionalism, quality of work and service. All I can say is that Matt embodies everything you could hope for in all three of those areas. That's all great, and what one hopes for, I guess, in using a service like this. But more than that, what I am impressed by in working with Matt is how deeply he listens, and cares about what he can offer others, and his hard work to make the most of what's possible in these connections.

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