Daniel Johnson

Drum Tracks, Editing, Tuning

Daniel Johnson on SoundBetter

Solely focused on helping the artist/producer achieve the vision of their song. I record live drum takes and will edit and process them to fit your specific needs. Need percussion? I got you. Need programmed drum elements? I got you. Need someone who will invest in your success? I got you.

I've been a professional drummer since 2014, most of that time being spent touring the country with various artists. I love touring and the companionship that is formed through that experience. I got into recording and engineering drums at my personal studio at the very beginning of 2020 and quickly realized that the same companionship can be built through the recording process. I love seeing an artist's vision come to life. I love supporting artists and building relationships. I don't view this process as a transaction, but as an opportunity to serve others. If this sounds like what you're looking for, I could not be more excited to begin working on a project with you. I love sending edited and processed drum tracks that leave room for the mix engineer to do their thing. I am also happy to send raw drum tracks. I also love programming percussion and drum elements, as well as tracking live percussion.

Send me a note through the contact button above.

Interview with Daniel Johnson

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

  2. 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.

  3. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  4. 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.

  5. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  6. 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.

  7. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  8. A: 1) Macbook 2) Focusrite interface 3) A great ribbon mic 4) SM57 5) Barefoot monitors

  9. Q: How would you describe your style?

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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.

  17. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  18. 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.

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

  20. 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.

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

  22. A: I track drums from my home studio in Nashville, and usually supplement those with percussion elements, both recorded live and programmed samples.

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

  24. 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.

  25. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  26. A: That a drummer isn't a true 'musician.'

  27. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  28. A: Demos and masters for some producers here in Nashville.

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

  30. A: Brandon Chase. He's a great singer/writer/top liner.

  31. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  32. 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.

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

  34. 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.

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

  36. 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.

  37. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  38. 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.

  39. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  40. A: That I get to create and make relationships along the way. I love the personal connection.

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Demo Track for Artist

I was the Live Drums, Editing, Percussion in this production

GenresSounds Like
  • James Bay
  • The Night Game
  • Harry Styles
Gear Highlights
  • Various Vintage and Modern Drums
  • Preamps and Studio Mics
  • Various Zildjian & Dream Cymbals
More Photos