Daniel Johnson

Session/Programming Drummer

Daniel Johnson on SoundBetter

Unique ability to blend acoustic drumkit and digital samples creatively that will lift any project.

I've been a professional drummer for about 5 years now. I've played on the road with worship artists, country artists, and singer-songwriters. I've recorded and programmed drums on many different projects with varying styles. I've recorded in several different studios in Nashville, my favorite being Gnome Studios. I can record live drums for your project, I can program drum sounds for your project, and I can do both to the same project! I love blending live drums and programmed elements to get a deep and vast sound. I know how to fill up space, without overcrowding the other instruments. My ear is my best tool, and I love bringing creativity to a project to help advance the song.

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

Interview with Daniel Johnson

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

  2. A: It hasn't been released yet, but a worship project for an artist Sutton Davison. It started out that I was just playing the drums in the sessions, and now I'm co-producing it with some super talented people. I'm especially proud of this project because we're pushing the limits on what worship music is traditionally thought to be. It's not dull, it has depth. I love that I've also been able to grow through this project and into this project. I've arranged a lot of the songs, and produced many keys and guitar parts. I feel like I have had a hand in sculpting the overall sound, which is humbling for sure.

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

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

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

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

  7. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  8. A: Are you really 29? You look 18.

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

  10. A: That drumming is just hitting things. That a drummer isn't a true 'musician.'

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

  12. 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!

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

  14. A: I think you really need to think about what you value in your music. Do you want a vibe 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.

  15. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  16. A: I do all programming and live drum tracking from my home studio in Nashville, TN.

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

  18. 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.

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

  20. A: I track drums from my home studio and then supplement those drums with programmed drum elements and percussion.

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

  22. 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.

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

  24. A: I bring creativity and a fresh approach, while keeping the actual song the main focus.

  25. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  26. A: My strongest skill is supporting the song, not trying to take over the song.

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

  28. A: Most of the music I work on is worship music, or singer-songwriter style. I love bringing live drums to more synth-based music to give it an organic feel.

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

  30. A: Always EQ with cuts first, boosting an EQ is boosting the gain overall!

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

  32. 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 a density musically to his songs that I find interesting. He seems to never be afraid to go somewhere!

  33. Q: How would you describe your style?

  34. 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, just to be doing it. I'm truly a 'song' drummer.

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

  36. A: I've been playing mostly in church since I was in middle school. Then in my college years I really dug in and made it a career path. I started traveling with a worship leader (playing bass lol) and knew this is what I wanted to do full-time. So that led me to moving to Nashville, and now I play, write, and produce in the studio and live. I love it.

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

  38. A: 1) Black Beauty snare drum 2) Istanbul 24 Sig ride 3) Istanbul 30th Anni. hihats 4) 1960 Roger kick 5) 1962 Ludwig floor tom

  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.

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

  42. A: That I will ALWAYS serve the song above anything else.

  43. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  44. 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.


GenresSounds Like
  • Aaron Sterling
  • James Bay
  • The Night Game
Gear Highlights
  • 1962 Ludwig Kit
  • 1993 Yamaha Stage Customs
  • Barton Maple
  • assorted Dream cymbals
More Photos