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.

Contact me through the blue button above and lets get to work.

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 bros. 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: I'm writing for my church! It's been awesome to write more than just the drum parts for songs. It's pushed me to write/play better drum parts!

  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.

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

  14. A: Are you really 26? You look 18.

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

  16. A: That drumming is just hitting things ha

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

  18. A: What are some of their musical influences... so I can get an idea of their expectation and serve them well.

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

  20. A: I think you really need to think about what you value in your music. Do you want a vibe that supports the song?

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

  22. 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

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

  24. 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.

  25. Q: How would you describe your style?

  26. 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.

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

  28. 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!

  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: What type of music do you usually work on?

  32. 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.

  33. Q: What's your strongest skill?

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

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

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

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

  38. 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.

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: I do all programming from my home setup, and track live drums at Gnome Studios in Nashville, TN.

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

  42. A: Aaron Sterling for sure. A lesser-known drummer, Jesse Proctor, his choices are impeccable.

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

  44. A: I play drums in sessions, and then supplement those drums with programmed drum elements.

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Gear Highlights
  • 1962 Ludwig Kit
  • 1993 Yamaha Stage Customs
  • assorted Dream cymbals
More Photos