Nik Hughes

Session Drummer/Percussionist

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68 Reviews (56 Verified)
Nik Hughes on SoundBetter

I am currently the drummer for Bush, but I have toured and recorded with Andy Grammer, Bishop Briggs, Youngblood Hawke, Puddle of Mudd, Emily Osment, Iglu & Hartly, Ty Taylor and many more. I love tracking drums at my studio, doing what is needed for each song, with high quality tones and sounds crafted specifically for each track.

I am originally from Virginia, but I currently reside in Los Angeles where I have been a full time studio and touring drummer for the last ten years.

I began studying drums at the age of six, and went on to perform in orchestras, marching bands, and jazz bands all throughout school. He has a degree in music from George Mason University with a focus in orchestral and jazz music. He has also studied Congas and Bata in Cuba with Cutumba folklorico de Santiago.

Since moving to LA, I have been fortunate enough to perform countless tours across the world. I have performed on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel, The Conan O’Brian Show, The View, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and countless festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, Austin City Limits, Reading & Leeds, and more.

I endorse DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vater Drumsticks, and Evans drumheads, although for sessions I have a wide variety of kits, snares and cymbals to create the right sound for each track.

My studio features NEVE, API, BAE, Neve, Avedis MA5 Pre's. A wide variety of AKG, Shure, Sennheiser, and Audix microphones. I use a Universal Audio x16 Interface.

I love the process of creating, and connecting with new musicians. I always try to serve the song, and put every once of energy and emotion into whatever music I'm making. I look forward to working on your tracks.

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

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Nik Hughes
  • Bush
  • Bush
  • Bishop Briggs
  • Bishop Briggs
  • Youngblood Hawke
  • Youngblood Hawke
  • Youngblood Hawke
  • Margot MacDonald
  • Youngblood Hawke
  • Youngblood Hawke
  • Youngblood Hawke
  • Bush
  • Kevin Miso
  • Kevin Miso
  • Margot MacDonald

68 Reviews - 7 Repeat Clients

Endorse Nik Hughes
  1. Review by Gerrit S.
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    Nik is an amazing drummer with great feel and sick chops. He's insanely versatile aswell, being able to jump from genre to genre seemingly effortlessly, all-round great guy, great communication aswell. I could not be happier that I chose Nik as the drummer for my project!

  2. Review by Daver B.
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    Great drummer and great musician with taste and a lot of chops. Great working with Nik.

  3. Review by Jason M.
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    I've worked with Nik before. He's a pro with depth and range, and he will go deep on tweaks. We actually sound like a band :)`

    This is the first of a few batches of riffs for my next album. Nik's articulation and feel for the groove is essential. I've got the vibe now that I felt when I first wrote these ideas. Thanks Nik!!!

  4. Review by Ananta G.
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    It was a great experience working with Nik,
    appreciate good communications and creative options,
    thanks a bunch

  5. Review by Ajfaime
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    Nik is an excellent drummer and he’s also incredibly friendly, approachable, and professional. He brought the energy I was looking for and was collaborative throughout the entire process. Very easy to work with. He’s also very communicative and cares that he’s helping you to achieve the right sound for your project. I felt confident the entire time and I’m very happy with how everything turned out! I highly recommend Nik for your future projects.

  6. Review by Jason M.
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    Nik is great! This is my second project with him...this time 7 songs. He rocked it...tons of nuance without sacrificing groove. I even had him tweak a song like 6-7 times and he was cool with it. Thanks Nik...my project sounds killer now!!

  7. Review by Scott H.
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    Ive done about 10 songs with Nik now and I find myself wanting to write more just to see how Nik will add his energy through the drums. Such an incredible musician and highly recommended for anyone that wants to make their songs really sound incredible.

  8. Review by Scott H.
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    Nik is an incredible drummer that gets amazing sounding drums. I have recorded multiple times with Nik and cannot recommend him highly enough. Get on it and hire him today!

  9. Review by Michael R.
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    Just finished an entire album with Nik. I couldn't be happier with what Nik has delivered. He got me out of a jam with total professionalism and style. Nik is the guy you want when you need something done right and to pro standard. Multiple expertly recorded stems performed meticulously either under instruction or creatively when let off the leash. Either for midi replacement or laying down fresh tracks. Great comms and 1st call all round player. Cant wait to use Nik on another record!

  10. Review by Michael R.
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    Creative, super solid and exciting tracks every time. Nik has recorded the drum parts for a full album of big guitar music with an established band for me, replacing midi tracks with tight drum stems with feel and groove. Great technical proficiency or brute force power, Nik can feel it all.

  11. Review by Clinton
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    So much fun working with Nik, he delivered exactly what I was after with easy communication and professionalism!

  12. Review by Jason M.
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    Nik is totally professional. I got killer sounding drums quickly and with plenty of tweaks! The stems where easy to import and sync within the mixing session. And the sound quality was primo!! Not to mention the nuance and articulation of his performances. Thanks Nik!!!

  13. Review by Steve N.
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    In a word, Nik is awesome! He was super flexible and very responsive... but most importantly, his drum tracks were perfect. Gave me a couple options to work with and was exactly what I needed to bring my song to life. Overall, a great experience and I will definitely be working with Nik again in the future!

  14. Review by Michael R.
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    Nik is a consummate professional. A virtuoso musician who provides superior quality stems with a quick turnaround. The big plus with Nik is that he’s great guy who’s been prepared to listen and really work with me to achieve what I’m after. He’s is brave and was ready to go deep into my project. The results are awesome. He’s a secret weapon.

  15. Review by Timothy T.
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    Nik did a fantastic job. Very detailed with excellent communication skills!

  16. Review by Zachary L.
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    Highly recommended. Nik has an incredible amount of talent, and is so easy to work with.

  17. Review by Michael R.
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    Nik lays down fantastic takes and delivers multiple comps with quality stems. His work is top notch whether the parts are written or you ask him to wing it. He can groove along right in the pocket or drive things hard and fast until you get precisely what you’re after. I love working with him. Ten tracks into an album. Rockin.

  18. Review by Michael R.
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    Once again Nik Hughes has come through a complex brief and delivered the tracks we were after. Complicated arrangements required an advanced understanding of where these sessions needed to go and Nik landed them. He's got great ears for a brief and great ears for the music. He's not afraid to take the lead if he feels there is an angle I haven't explored and just gets where I'm coming from. Able to take direction, able to take the initiative. Quality stems, communication and playing. Total Pro

  19. Review by Scott H.
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    Ive used Nik on multiple songs and each time he is quick, communcative, and goes above and beyond to deliver something amazing. An incredibly talented musician that makes a track shine, highly recommended.

  20. Review by Michael R.
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    Nik has once again delivered quality stems for an album project. He delivers great sounding recordings of expertly played...and more importantly...felt parts. He's in the groove. Cant wait to work more with him.

  21. Review by Scott H.
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    Once again Nik blew this song out of the water! He provided so much choice and discussed the song so well. Not only that, his drums sound incredible! Highest recommended drummer for sure, you'd be insane not to have Nik play on a song.

  22. Review by Michael R.
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    Nik is a gun! Great communication and execution. A superior player with magic feel for the material. The band member that was missing. Nik goes the extra mile to make sure the job is 100% to the client’s satisfaction. I’m rapt with the results.

  23. Review by Scott H.
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    Nik was incredible. He messaged back straight away and the song was done within 2 days. First try was amazing and he was so much fun to work with. Would highly, highly recommend Nik and will definately be working with him in the near future.

  24. Review by Zachary L.
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    I've worked with Nik on a ton of songs, and I can say with 100% confidence that you are not going to find a better drummer. He's a great guy, and has amazing skills.

  25. Review by Zachary L.
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    Nik is the best. He is incredibly creative and locks right in to whatever the song needs. We've worked together on about 15 songs, and he blows me away with his drumming every time.

  26. Review by JJ R.
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    by JJ R.
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    Nik was a pleasure to work with, he delivered an exceptional track - creative, great feel and highly detailed. Solid communication and a total pro. I couldn't be happier with his work and look forward to working with him again.

  27. Review by Stonesilk
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    Fantastic! I keep on coming back..!

  28. Review by Zachary L.
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    Nik is the best. Creative, precise drumming, and excellent communication every time.

  29. Review by Zachary L.
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    I've worked with Nik many times, and he is the best. Incredible drumming, excellent communication, quick results!

  30. Review by 4lexandre Nave
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    Nik is an extremely talented artist with a polished sound and a tremendous groove, his attention to detail is superb, he was very fast in his delivery and attentive at all times, I will definitely work with him again.

  31. Review by Richard M.
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    Nik was excellent to work with! He’s a brilliant drummer and he nailed the vision for the track right from the word go. Totally recommend working with him if you get the chance!

  32. Review by Lorenzo E.
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    Nik's work ethic is incredible, so is his attention to detail. I came to him with a very specific project and he nailed it on the first take. In the initial discussions about my project he gave me a ton of different options and offered some really insightful suggestions that gave me immediate confidence I had contacted the right person. Honor working with him!

  33. Review by Matt B.
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    Nik was extremely easy to work with, and nailed the vibe I was looking for - highly recommended!

  34. Review by Stonesilk
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    Great drummer great musician! Self going with insights.
    Professional handling and everything you wish for.

  35. Review by Marcello M.
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    Nik did a brilliant work on my song! He got the vibe and references I wanted immediately and brought my song to another level with his beats. Highly recommended!

  36. Review by LiangLiang L.
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    Nil is very professional and patient, if you know what do you want, just tell him, he will make it happen for you. Really easy to work with and sounds great with his own studio, fast and very detail. Definitely Right drummer to work with!

  37. Review by Ely James
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    Nik Hughes was a real pleasure to work with. Remotely we made great & expedient progress while he as the Consummate Professional turned out in spectacular fashion in 2 or 3 days what took me much longer to create. Nik was the last guy in the room, as it were, pertaining to instrumentation, when the foundation-laying drummer is usually first on tape. A testimony to his skill is that you cannot tell that he received the compositions after they'd been recorded, sometimes loosely! Thanks Nik!

  38. Review by Quentin T.
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    Nik did a great job! I gave him a very rough idea of what I wanted, and he ran with it. It was great to hear different variations and he pays attention to more than just the rhythm. He gave me some options for the tone as well - which I really appreciate. The track ended up sounding way better than I expected. He brought a level of artistry that's really inspiring and energizing

  39. Review by Zachary L.
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    I just completed the final song of an album's worth of music with Nik, and I can't say enough good things about him. He's a total professional and extremely easy to work with. His tracks are always impeccable, and on repeated listens I'm still noticing little touches he added. That's real talent: drumming that adds to a song without calling attention to itself. He's absolutely the best!

  40. Review by Shelby S.
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    Nik was absolutely amazing to work with! He is very talented at his craft. His communication was excellent, and he was patient with me as I figured out what I was looking for. Additionally, the artistic insight he provided was perfect and fit my project like a glove. I definitely recommend Nik!

  41. Review by Zachary L.
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    I've worked with Nik on several different songs of all different styles. He is such a creative, versatile drummer! Extremely easy to work with, and I look forward to our next project.

  42. Review by Zachary L.
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    Nik always delivers! Incredible drummer, who gives a whole new dimension to the songs he works on. He is so easy to work with, and has a great sense for just what a song needs.

  43. Review by Susan B.
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    5 Stars! Nik sent great drum tracks and was thorough, responsive, and speedy, delivering exactly the tracks I wanted in the really short timeframe I needed. Highly recommended!

  44. Review by Craig C.
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    Absolutely the best. The level of professionalism and attention to detail has ensured that I will go straight to Nik any time I need drums

  45. Review by adam
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    by adam
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    Nik completely over delivered on this project! Amazing talent! Total pro and a fantastic experience. 5 stars across the board. I have a latin song that I needed latin percussion on. I received a proposal from Nik and to be honest I was't 100% sure about going with him. He's a very accomplished/talented Rock drummer but I wasn't sure if I'd get that Pro level Latin Percussion I needed. He gave me exactly what I needed if not more. He killed the latin perc! Super pro. Excited to work w/Nik again!

  46. Review by Zachary L.
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    Top notch drumming, pristine quality recordings, flexible, friendly and professional, you can't beat Nik. I've worked with him on several songs now, and every time he has delivered above and beyond!

  47. Review by Zachary L.
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    This is my third time working with Nik. He knocked it out of the park again! I had a very specific idea in mind for the drums, and he nailed it. He far exceeded my expectations. Professional and excellent communication as always.

  48. Review by Zachary L.
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    This is my second time working with Nik, and it was another incredible experience! He really has a knack for drumming that enhances a song without being showy. On repeat listenings I'm still finding cool little touches to his performance. I couldn't ask for a better collaborator for my music!

  49. Review by Darren J.
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    Fantastic work, great to work with and Nik's finished tracks are great.

    Thank you Nik.

  50. Review by Zachary L.
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    Absolutely fantastic drummer- professional, extremely talented, and a great guy. It's hard to imagine using another drummer after working with him!

  51. Review by Nik D.
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    by Nik D.
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    Nik was amazing work with! He's extremely professional and a phenomenal drummer. Nik's work really made my tracks come to life. On top of being a great drummer he works hard to get the parts over in a matter of days and is a great communicator. Will work with him again 100%!

  52. Review by Jared Hopkins
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    Nik is great! Gave lots of options and was attentive to requests. If you need drums with energy, Nik is the man.

  53. Review by MESSY
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    by MESSY
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    Great musician! awesome person, and really fast turnaround. I would recommend Nik to anyone in the industry!

  54. Review by Barry K.
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    Nik did a great job! He is great to work with.

  55. Review by Rolo
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    by Rolo
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    Nik is gifted drummer, and a top professional, he had plenty of patience with me, and managed without doubts to get the sound I was going after, look no further! Will work with him again soon!

  56. Review by Barry K.
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    Nik is the finest musician I have had the pleasure of working with. He is an A+ drummer, an A+ artist and an A+ person. Every time I messaged him with a need he was right there to help me. For files, he sent me more than I needed and even explained how to use them so I could mix them. He is the drummer for the most important song I have written and he made that song even more important. I don't want anyone else to be the drummer for my songs.

  57. Review by Zeal Levin
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    I have had the pleasure of performing with Nik Hughes in my own group as well as other group performances and recording sessions. Nik is an excellent musician, extremely musical in his playing as he pays special attention to the melody, feel, and essence of a song.
    Nik has always been well prepared for session work and performance work in a variety of styles. I’m grateful to make music with this awesome human and would highly recommend him for your project. Great solid groove and feel!

  58. Review by Zeal Levin
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    I have had the pleasure of performing with Nik Hughes in my own group as well as other group performances and recording sessions. Nik is an excellent musician, extremely musical in his playing as he pays special attention to the melody, feel, and essence of a song.

    Nik has always been well prepared for session work and performance work in a variety of styles. I’m grateful to make music with this awesome human and would highly recommend him for your project. Great solid groove and feel!

  59. Review by Justin Panariello
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    Nik is the man! Best rock drummer. Always a positive attitude and at your service.

  60. Review by Kevin Sousa
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    by Kevin Sousa

    I have had the privilege of working with Nik and he has been the go to drummer for my band in both live and studio performances for the last 5 years. He is a pro through and through. I highly recommend him for all your drumming and percussive needs... Nik thoroughly prepares for gigs and sessions and is open and receptive to feedback. He plays with a passion that is infectious, it permeates every aspect of his work, makes every track better and makes you want to be a better artist. On top of all that he is just a stellar human being... Go with Nik and walk away stoked

  61. Review by Corey Britz
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    by Corey Britz

    Nik is the man. His playing is crushing and his tracks are clean and sound fantastic. Highly recommend!

  62. Review by Kevin Miso
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    by Kevin Miso

    What more can you ask in a musician? Nik is extremely talented, intelligent, and professional. He plays for the song. That's all I ever wanted/needed. If the song was more about feel than fills, his approach reflected that. If I needed a lift but couldn't articulate exactly how, he gave me a few options that all worked in context. If I wasn't feeling it, or changed my mind, he changed it up without question.

    Best of all though, I never have to explain anything to Nik. He just delivers. I've known and worked with Nik for over a decade, and he's absolutely still a go-to.

  63. Review by Anthony
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    by Anthony

    Nik is an extraordinarily talented drummer. I had the privilege of working alongside him during a couple of studio sessions. He has a fabulous professional work ethic, and he is a blast to have in the studio. He killed the sessions and blew my mind how quickly he learned and perfectly played every song. One of the best!

  64. Review by Alex Flagstad
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    Nik is a licensed badass and one of the easiest people to work with in the world. He's a true renaissance man, and I've had the pleasure of working with him in a number of capacities. He'll play anything you could possibly want behind the kit, and chances are, he'll come up with something perfect that you couldn't even imagine beforehand. Beyond his talents as a drummer, he's a super talented music director and always seems to know what an arrangement needs to take it to the next level. Long story short, you want this man working on your project one way or another.

  65. Review by Tasso Smith
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    Nik Hughes is a monster of a player and a King of a man! Modest yet insanely talented and always hustling. I know he puts his best into everything he does and is a dream to work with. I've toured and recorded with Nik extensively and he levels up every project we are working on. He is also a brilliant arranger and musical director making him an extremely well rounded creative. I would recommend Nik for any project.

  66. Review by James Gordon
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    by James Gordon

    Nik is an excellent musician and a pleasure to work with. He has a broad range of playing styles and sensitivities in his skill set. Always super professional, and willing to go the extra mile to push a song's rhythm track to the next level. He's also an excellent engineer, who knows his way around a recording set up, and can get creative with recording techniques when needed.

  67. Review by Ken Barnum
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    Nik is an incredible musician with top-notch drive and work ethic.
    I've hired Nik in person in DC and for remote sessions when he's in LA, both with outstanding results.
    Nik has a creative vision for furthering a song and nearly perfect timing.
    I highly recommend Nik for your next session if you want precise, yet energetic and creative drums and more added to your songs!

  68. Review by Travis Ference
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    Nik is my favorite drummer to record. His playing is exciting to listen to and he brings a great energy to a recording. He's my first call for kit and percussion.

Interview with Nik Hughes

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

  2. A: I have been a part of two platinum selling records, which feels insane to type. "We Come Running" by Youngblood Hawke of which I am a band member, and "River" by Bishop Briggs which I was her Musical Director and drummer. I make music because it is what I love to do, but enjoying these moments is important, and it also fuels my drive and my belief that all the long drives in the van, or all those hours spent practicing rudiments was worth it.

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

  4. A: There are so many amazing drummers on Soundbetter....if you are reading my profile I'm honored. I would check out Randy Cooke and Billy Hawn who are both amazing drummers and are on the platform. For mixing I can't recommend Travis Ference enough. Corey Britz is one of the most talented producers and musicians I have ever worked with as well....hit him up for Bass, Guitar, Keys, programming, almost everything.

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

  6. A: I'm not done until you absolutely love the track!

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

  8. A: I have been playing professionally for just over 20 years. My father and grandmother were musicians, and so I was exposed to instruments early on. I studied at the age of 6, going through school band, marching band, jazz band, all the way through college at George Mason University where I received a degree in Jazz and Orchestral percussion. I moved to LA in 2007 and have performed/toured/recorded with Bush, Bishop Briggs, Youngblood Hawke, Andy Grammer, Emily Osment/Bluebiird, Puddle of Mudd, Ty Taylor (Singer for Vintage Trouble), Iglu&Hartly (Mercury), Brightside, and Kevin Miso.

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

  10. A: I would love to work with Dua Lipa, James Blake, Childish Gambino, or Lana del Rey. I love artists who are original, but who have songs that are catchy and accessible.

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

  12. A: Less is more. Spend a little time getting great sounds on the way in, and you won't need to add a bunch of samples/sound replace later. Also snare and hi hat choices are very personal to a song....do not make those decisions lightly. Make sure the drums fit the track, and the tuning of those drums match the track.

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

  14. A: More Rock of late, but I have done a bunch of Indie-rock dance stuff, and a lot of work with singer-songwriters.

  15. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  16. A: I think I provide a lot of versatility. In addition to performing a bunch of styles on the kit, I also have a lot of experience integrating electronic elements into the kit....which is important in todays music. Also my capability to add percussion to a track helps me to be a one stop shop for percussion needs.

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

  18. A: I bring a lot of energy. My goal is to always serve the song, whatever is needed. If the energy is how the song "lays back" than that is what I bring. If the songs needs to build and get big, I can bring that. I'd like to think that when you listen to my playing, you hear my love and passion and enjoyment for playing drums.

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

  20. A: I chart the tune when I receive it. Then I listen through to any references the artist might have sent through. When it is time to start recording, I try to give myself a few run throughs where I am exploring...I'll record it, but it is not a "thought out take." I want to allow myself the freedom to stumble upon something cool. Not all music calls for this, if the artist is very clear with the direction, I'll track more or less right away. I always try to give options though. I send multiple comps whenever possible, and allow them to make a choice in spots between takes.

  21. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  22. A: I have a home studio, in which the room is medium size, about 20' x 15' x 10.' I have some great mics from AKG 414's, Sennheiser 421's, Audix D6, Beta 52, Sm57's, Yamaha Subkick, Sm91, Sm7 among others. I also have some great Pre's including Vintage API, Avedis MA5's, and Bae. I have quite a bit of drums including DW as my main kit (I endorse them currently), but I also have a Mapex, 1960 solid shell Ludwig, Sonor jazz kit, and a Maryland drum company kit (no longer active, but they sound great). I have almost every option in terms of snares, and Zildjian cymbals.

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

  24. A: There are so many amazing drummers getting great sounds, in addition to playing super well. I love Ash Soan, and Aaron Sterling for drum tracking. I also love Darren King. In terms of pure drumming, I have always loved John Bonham, Stewart Copeland, Steve Jordan, Dave Grohl, Jimmy Chamberlain, Anika Niles, Max Roach, Billy Cobham, Tony Williams, Vinny Colaiuta and many more.

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

  26. A: Clients normally come to me based on the artists I've played with, which has a lot of variety. I have done a good amount of full drumset rock tracks recently because someone has seen me play with Bush. Before that I toured with Bishop Briggs and my rig was almost all electronic, so clients would come to me looking for a way to integrate electronic sounds with a "live" feel. But I also have studied percussion in Cuba, so when people hear I play congas, bongos, cajon, they almost always ask me to layer some percussion on top of the drumset.

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Terms Of Service

Revisions are accepted within reason, I won't make a specific number because I want each artist to be happy.

GenresSounds Like
  • Josh Freese
  • Matt Chamberlain
  • Dave Grohl
Gear Highlights
  • DW & Ludwig Drums (various series and sizes)
  • Zildjian Cymbals (plenty of options/wide range of sounds)
  • LP Matador Congas & Bongos
  • Vintage API Pre's
  • BAE Pre's
  • Avedis MA5 Pres
  • High End Microphones including AKG-Shure-Sennheiser-and more.
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SoundBetter Deal

Discount for multiple tracks, contact for more info.