Nik Hughes

Session Drummer/Percussionist

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158 Reviews (143 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.

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

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

158 Reviews - 19 Repeat Clients

Endorse Nik Hughes
  1. Review by Chess M.
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    Always, always a wonderful experience collaborating with Nik! He consistently elevates the quality of a song through his professional and creative drum tracks!

  2. Review by Chess M.
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    Always a pleasure collaborating with Nik! He consistently delivers quality professional tracks in a timely manner! I look forward to the next project.

  3. Review by Zachary L.
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    I'm so impressed with the results every time- Nik is the best!

  4. Review by Zachary L.
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    Nik really has a knack for coming up with drum parts that perfectly compliment the song. He's just the best!

  5. Review by Zachary L.
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    Nik is a total pro. He nails it every time!!!

  6. Review by Chess M.
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    Nik is extremely talented, responsive and collaborative! I've worked with him on 9 songs and look forward to continuing our collaboration!

  7. Review by Dave Coleman (Nameless Ghost)
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    Nik is fantastic! Not only is he an amazing drummer, but he's also kind, patient, and really cares about the song he's working on. I really appreciated that. He was also very quick to respond to messages, as well as deliver an amazing performance and recordings. I need to write more songs just so I can work with Nik again. Thanks, man!

  8. Review by Konrad
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    by Konrad
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    Very happy with Nik’s work..excellent communication and a great musician

  9. Review by Zachary L.
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    After nearly 3 albums worth of songs with Nik I can assure you, this guy is the best! You will not find a better drummer or nicer guy.

  10. Review by Chess M.
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    Nik always provides professional service and delivers high quality creative tracks which elevate the song!!

  11. Review by Frank I.
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    Nik is a FORCE with the drums. He just elevated my song to heights I didn't know it could reach. He nailed what I recommended, and when I asked him to "wing it" on a few parts, what he brought to the table creatively became my favorite parts of the song. Thank you so much Nik

  12. Review by Kitt W.
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    Once I found Nik, I don't use anyone else. He's a brilliant player, very professional and heck of a nice guy. He treats each song as if it's a top notch song for radio, even when those songs may not deserve it. - So glad he's a resource!

  13. Review by Zac C.
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    by Zac C.
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    Excellent performance and communication. Very flexible and willing to provide a variety of comps with different perspectives. Would book again!

  14. Review by Chess M.
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    Always a pleasure to collaborate with Nik!! He is super professional, creative and responsive! I look forward to the next project.

  15. Review by Kitt W.
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    Wicked cool guy that plays wicked cool drums! He's an absolute pro and very easy to work with.

  16. Review by Zachary L.
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    Nik is simply the best drummer around for brining your songs to life! I've worked with him on dozens of songs over the past few years, and can't imagine working with anyone else for my projects!

  17. Review by Summer
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    by Summer
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    Wow, I'm giddy over hearing listening to Nik's work on my project. Looking forward to more in 2024!

  18. Review by Jason M.
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    Nik...another project done. Thanks man, you are the best. No matter what I throw at you, you figure out a way to add that rhythm and a bit of magic too. Anyone will be lucky to have you play to their tracks. Cheers!!!

  19. Review by JJ R.
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    by JJ R.
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    My second time hiring Nik - Excellent communication, keeps expectations in check, and a very skilled/talented drummer who lifts the music by his contributions and finesse. Track quality is top notch. Highly recommended!

  20. Review by Jason M.
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    What more can I say? Nik Hughes rocks and has depth and articulation in his approach to drums. Thanks for all the heavy double kick and then all the delicate percussion on this project. I highly recommend Nik!!

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.