I deliver highly professional drum and percussion tracks with incredible feel in an affordable and timely manner. Focusing first and foremost on the artist's vision, I use my drumming and recording expertise to craft, perform, and capture the perfect drum parts that will elevate your songs.
Hi, I’m Alex Johnson, Denver, Colorado-based drummer with over 16 years of experience as a professional session and touring musician.
I own and operate a professional drum recording studio, complete with a fully tuned and treated room, with 18 channels of outboard Neve and API-style preamps and EQs, and a top-shelf mic locker. Here I can play and record high-quality drum audio that ranges from crisp and clear, to dark and dirty, or big and open, and all points in between. I take great pride in my drum tones, as well as my playing. I also offer drum programming services and beat production, as well as a hybrid approach combining drum machines and acoustic drums.
I have performed and/or worked with many national artists, such as members of Widespread Panic, Greensky Bluegrass, Reckless Kelly, Railroad Earth, Sound Tribe Sector Nine, and Scars on 45, among many others, as well as worked on music for both national and international television programs.
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2 ReviewsEndorse Alex Johnson
Can't say enough good things about Alex—whether it be his musicianship, creativity, work ethic, professionalism, producing skills...the list goes on. I'm not a drummer, but had a pretty good idea of what I wanted for a couple tracks. Alex spent time with me over Zoom to understand, in depth, my vision for each track; he took detailed notes bar by bar and was able to efficiently and creatively translate that vision into high-quality drum tracks that exceeded my expectations—both from a performance and tonality perspective. I'll be working with Alex again, and you should too. Highly recommend.
When it comes to both studio and live drumming, you'd be hard pressed to find other players more dedicated, musical, knowledgeable, and generally wonderful to work with than Alex Johnson. Not only does he communicate well both in person and online, he's got great gear and is able to provide multiple approaches and production ideas from a drum/percussion and engineering perspective, all of which adds up to a truly professional experience. All that to say, if you hire Alex for your drum and percussion needs, you'll be happy with the end result!
Interview with Alex Johnson
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My ability to really listen to the music and translate the client's ideas into the best drum parts both sonically and technically.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I have a true desire to create the perfect drum part and bring energy to the track, without any ego getting in the way of the creative process between session musician and songwriter. I am here to help make the client’s song or album the best it can be for them, and I strive to go above and beyond their expectations.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I can work with a client simultaneously via Zoom and AudioMovers, or through calls/texts and emails, whatever best suits the client. Either way, I always begin by getting a feel for the project and the direction the client wants the drums to go through ample communication and discussion. Then I generally track an initial pass to make sure feel and drum tones are on the right path, and bounce that to the client for notes. Once I get any notes or changes back, I address those, and once perfected, send the multi-tracks to the client.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I work out of my own professional, acoustically tuned, remote drum studio just outside of Denver, Colorado. I record through high-end hardware preamps, EQs, and compressors, and use an array of amazing mics. It's definitely my happy place, where I am constantly inspired and love spending each day.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: The drumming of Jim Keltner and Aaron Sterling inspires me, as they’re both such MUSICAL drummers, always serving the song above all else. The production style of Aaron Dessner (The National, Taylor Swift, Big Red Machine) is also a big inspiration of mine.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I work with artists to create unique drum, percussion, and/or programmed parts that elevate and support their music, and above all, are right for their project. Often this means assisting my client's in realizing the drum parts they hear in their head, or sometimes creating something entirely new and exciting.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I recently recorded for a singer-songwriter who needed the drums to really help lift one particular song, which was her favorite track on the record. After hearing her song back with the drums, she said she actually cried tears of joy. It’s moments like that that are just so incredible in this business.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I’m currently helping a fantastic British producer create and record a large catalog of music for sync licensing. It’s fun and inspiring to work with musicians all over the world on all these different tracks, ranging from K-Pop to vintage ballads and everything in between.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I'd recommend my good friend, both in the studio and on the road, Ben Waligoske for any pedal steel, electric or acoustic guitar, vocal harmony, or mix/master work. He does it all, and does it well.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! I primarily record through all hardware preamps, and run several inputs through outboard EQs as well, but fine tuning with graphic EQs, and additional plugins in-the-box, are also highly valuable. The combination of hardware and the agility and infinite options available with plugins and other digital options nowadays are just so powerful. The creativity is endless.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to foster a creative atmosphere between us and help elevate the music to exceed expectations, and always serve the song above anything else.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I most enjoy the opportunity to help clients realize their music from an idea in their head, to a full-blown tangible work of art that they can put out into the world. Ultimately, using my resources and abilities to help others make their music the best it can be, is what it’s all about. I get excited about it every day.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: [Q:] I don't exactly know what kinda beat/feel I want, can you try a few different things and send them to me? [A:] Yes! I ultimately want the artist to be beyond satisfied and excited by the drum parts we end up with.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That remote tracking isn’t a very high-quality form of recording, or creation— when in reality, it can be equally well-done and highly professional, resulting in amazing recordings that hold up to some of the best tracks or records made in the big studios right now.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are their ideas or visions for the drums/percussion on their track or album? What, or who, are their musical/drumming inspirations? Do they have any songs or albums I could check out to get a feel for what they’re looking for, or where they’re coming from? As we get deeper, I also like to know what, if anything, they plan to re-record after drums are tracked. Then more boring stuff like what is the tempo, sample rate, etc
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Number one thing I'd say would be to dive in with confidence! It can feel odd reaching out to a stranger to help in creating your art, but remote session musicians are here for you first and foremost, and we LOVE what we do. Your songs and ideas are exciting to hear, regardless of how experienced you are, and I'm always eager to help an artist realize their project to the best of our combined abilities. Part of our job is to create parts from what the client vocalizes and explains to us, so if you're not the most experienced musician, or can't write sheet music or charts, that's ok! Reach out and we'll work together.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Oh man, 5 pieces... Ok: one of my C&C drum kits (considered 1 piece), a MacBook Pro, a UA Apollo Twin, an sE V Kick, and a Vanguard V13 tube condenser microphone. Is there wifi...?
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been a professional recording and touring musician for over 16 years, with my first studio session being straight to 2" tape at a studio in Chicago when I was 16 years old. All through high school I played in bands with friends and at school. Then I attended college and graduated with a degree in architecture, yet never really pursued a career in that field, as music has always been my primary passion and career choice. Since college I've toured across the country countless times with many bands and artists, performed overseas, and recorded on hundreds of tracks at both my own studio and studios around the nation.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I play for the song and the artist, above all else. Coming from a rock and jazz background originally, I absorbed and practiced both highly technical forms of music, as well as more song-serving, no-frills grooves. Combining these worlds has helped me develop a style with many different sets of tools available at any given moment.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I have been doing a lot of Americana, Rock, and Indie Pop tracks right now, which I'm loving.