Producer and Engineer with a studio in Nashville, TN.
I've been a professional musician for over 10 years now. Toured with multiple Independent and Major Label recording artists. I also produce and engineer at my home studio. I've worked on projects for OneRepublic, John Legend, Ryan Tedder, Travis Ryan, and TEMITOPE. I am a multi-instrumentalist that creates from a 'song first' ethos. Everything in a production should be done to move the song forward and align with who the artist is. I love to champion the art of others.
Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.
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Interview with Daniel Johnson
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I will always serve the song above anything else. I am in a position of foundational support and will make choices from that place.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are some of their musical influences... so I can get an idea of their expectation and serve them well. I love for the client to send me a song that is similar to what they're trying to achieve, and then a different song that they just like the drum tones of. That helps me achieve a great sound for the artist/producer quickly and we can get to creating quickly.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I think you really need to think about what you value in your music. Do you want production that supports the song? Do you want to hire a musician who is looking to serve you as the artist/producer? That's what I would be looking for. That's why I choose to do this.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1) Macbook 2) Focusrite interface 3) A great ribbon mic 4) SM57 5) Barefoot monitors
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would describe my style as less-is-more. I love thoughtful playing. I don't particularly love it when musicians play a lot of interesting things for the sole purpose of flexing their chops. I'm truly a drummer who is interested and excited to support other instruments and the song itself.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with a guy like Brandon Flowers. He is always seemingly on the forefront of popular music. He also has musical density that I find compelling. He seems to never be afraid to go somewhere fresh.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Learn some rules and techniques, so that you can purposefully break those rules. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to what you should or shouldn't do in a song. I am always looking to learn and enjoy working with people who are also curious.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Most of the music I work on is for independent artists. I love working with these artists and producers because they love to explore sounds and feels outside of convention. I also love providing simple, great sounding drum parts for these projects, where I simply need to be a foundation piece.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a home studio in Nashville, TN that is a little larger than 350 square feet. I have a full kit setup at all times, with plenty of drum options to swap in and out to achieve the specific sound each song needs. I appreciate and value both modern and vintage drums, and love mixing and matching them together. I have a percussion shelf just to my right that houses all my favorite go-to's to bring some personality to the track. I have a microphone setup and running at all times so I can record those percussion tracks efficiently, so inspiration never escapes. I have a collection of microphones that can get all the sounds I'm wanting for a production.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Aaron Sterling for sure. A lesser-known drummer, Jesse Proctor, his choices are impeccable. The thing about both of these guys that I love so much are the unique style they bring to each song. There is a definitive character to what they do that elevates the production. That is my target with each production.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I track drums from my home studio in Nashville, and usually supplement those with percussion elements, both recorded live and programmed samples.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Yet to be released, but I am working heavily with an artist that goes by the name The Retrospecter. I am recording drums for his current project, as well as tuning vocals for mix. I am so proud of what he's writing and recorded, and so thankful that he's asked me to play a significant role in how his music is being created.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That a drummer isn't a true 'musician.'
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Demos and masters for some producers here in Nashville.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Brandon Chase. He's a great singer/writer/top liner.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is communicating with artists and producers. I want to get in their headspace and really understand the vision of the project, so that I can serve them the best way possible. I love taking direction and being produced.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring creativity and a fresh approach, while keeping the song the main focus. I bring a positive and engaging attitude to everything that I'm asked to work on.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I listen to the song twice, get a feel for the energy and different sections. Then I come up with the main theme to the song and make sure it fits with the vocal, leaves room for other instruments. Then I'll do a few passes to make sure all the content is there. Listen back, and tweak anything that isn't just right. I will edit my takes, unless asked not to, and send the stems with some processing. Any heavily-charactered processing is sent as a separate stem, giving the producer and mix engineer total control of the space and vibe of the drum capture.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Why not both? I love blending the two, when appropriate, to achieve a great sound. They certainly both have their merits, depending on what you're looking for musically. The song determines it all.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: That I get to create and make relationships along the way. I love the personal connection.