Multi-platinum producer, mixer, engineer, and songwriter. Past clients include The Fray, Alpha Rev, Katie Herzig & Eve 6. Productions have been nominated for multiple Grammys, awarded a Billboard Music Award, and a #1 Billboard award. UltimateIy searching for inspiration by great artists.
Aaron Johnson began his career on the audio side of the music biz by hanging out at a studio in Southern California at the age of 17. Intrigued by the way recording melded the technical and artistic mediums into one, Johnson attended the California Institute of the Arts majoring in Music Technology.
In 1999, he moved to Denver, CO and began freelancing as a producer and playing in bands. Wanting to enrich relationships with major/indie labels, as well as create meaningful music business inroads, he moved to New York City in 2001.
Aaron developed Epic records artist "The Fray" starting in 2003. He co-produced "The Fray's" first album for Epic (How To Save A Life) as well as their second self-titled album (The Fray) in 2009. The albums yielded the mega Top 40 hits "You Found Me", "How To Save A Life", and "Over My Head (Cable Car)".
Aaron has had a production hand in successful indie artist Katie Herzig, Top 40 hit bands Secondhand Serenade and Eve 6, as well as Chase Coy and Colbie Caillat. Mixing duties include Alpha Rev, The Fray, Secondhand Serenade, God Or Julie, Meese, the score for the motion picture "Brick". and surround album mixing for Epic artist Cartel. Aaron loves Neve and API consoles to track and prefers mixing on SSL consoles. He now lives and works out of his beloved Southern California hometown of San Clemente CA at his "Little Big Studio".
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10 ReviewsEndorse Aaron Johnson (AaronJProducer)
Whether Aaron is listening to your music or in conversation, you know he is listening. He has a great way of bringing ease into what may seem like a busy or complicated session. Because of that, it becomes easy to trust him. He has good, creative musical ideas and he is able to see them through. I have known Aaron both professionally and personally for many years and I trust him implicitly.
My history with Aaron runs deep. He's one of my favorite producers and mixers. I feel fortunate that Aaron hires me to play drums on lots sessions. Almost everytime he pulls something out of me that I otherwise would not have played (or thought of). He hears music and drum grooves in his own unique way. As a mixer I'm equally impressed. It always sounds like a PRO-record, radio ready! Marc Slutsky
I had the pleasure of being able to work side by side with Aaron on many projects. While working as the EVP of A&R at Epic records, Aaron was my secret weapon on one of our biggest successes at the label. He was critical in the production and engineering of the fray albums 1&2, which went on to do more that 30 million singles and 5 million albums. As EVP of Capitol records Aaron is still a #1go to
Aaron produced two of my albums, and they are far and away the best sounding music I've made. He's got a fabulous ear, understands every aspect of the studio, and knows exactly what a song calls for (or doesn't) to make it shine. Beyond that, he's a great guy and great friend - truly cares about his artists. I highly recommend him to anyone who wants pro sounding music.
Let me first just say this: No audio imperfections slip by Aaron. Beyond his mastery as producer and helping your songs across the finish line, Aaron comes to sessions prepared with incredible suggestions that can really take your song from good to great. He listens to you, challenges you, and learns quickly how to get the very best from you. Till next time, Aaron!
Besides his choice of shoes, Aaron knows how to bring out the best in the artist, which is what makes him great. My band The Fray would not have had the career we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy if not for Aaron coming along side us in those early days. The only thing he needs to work on is his dart throwing skills.
Working with Aaron I could sum it up in one word. Confidence. He makes you confidant. Confidant your getting your best performance, confidant your creative ideas are being realized, confidant your cash is not being wasted, etc. I could go on but I think you get the idea. The dude is a pro, magic maker and all around relaxed and fun guy to hang around.
I came to Aaron for a custom music cue for a feature film trailer. I had an impossible deadline and could only give him vague direction, but Aaron was able to deliver an original cue that was better than anything my client or myself had imagined. He truly saved the day, and I will definitely be working with him again soon.
Aaron is a phenomenal artist and an amazing person. His ability to bring songs to life is beyond compare. It was such a pleasure to work with him and I couldn’t be happier with the music that we made.
Aaron is a consumate pro, a true artist in his own right he can communicate on that artistic level while still being a master on the technical side. Don't just take it from me, listen to his productions and mixes, you probably already know them.
Interview with Aaron Johnson (AaronJProducer)
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will work on it until it is right.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I use both. Why not?
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I know a lot of these guys, I would recommend a ton of people.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I just finished a movie trailer.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I was working on an album for a band signed to a very large indie label. The band was stuck at their house they were renting, about 10 miles from the studio, there was a large snowstorm that day and they had been driving an RV. The RV was not going to cut it today, so I drove a van in a pure white out down to get them and back to the studio... took about 2 hours and we almost slid off the road... but hey man the ROCK must go on!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Setting up your song for it's greatest impact to the listener.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Hot AC, Rock, Pop Rock
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't overthink it.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Fall Out Boy, they put the rock in pop... and Patrick Stumps vocals are awesome.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I don't have a style per se, I am into great productions and great recorded music that moves.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Read my bio.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1.1176 2.1073 3.U47 4.GML8200 5.Alan Smart C1
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure you are open to giving the reigns to someone to get outside your comfort zone, but also make sure you are clear about what you want and don't want.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are you trying to accomplish? What is most important to you when it comes to your music?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I only work with Piano based artists.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Mostly they wonder if I understand their type of music. I am very diverse, but if I didn't understand your music I would never have responded to you.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I mean, I make music for a living.... duh?
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A proven track record, years of studio knowledge, arrangements are my forte, I can wear all the hats, I have great world class musicians to bring to your project.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I do it all really, most of the time though I am producing and mixing.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love all kinds of music, I get inspired by great productions of popular songs, from Radiohead to Katie Perry, Steely Dan to Chance The Rapper.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I am centered around a Solid State Logic SIGMA. I have been doing this long enough that my studio flow is really efficient with my favorite pieces of both new and vintage outboard as well as a slew of UAD plugs that I love. Lots of great mics, everything I love.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I work with you on your song arrangements, tempos, melodies, try to concentrate a song into its best form before deciding on instrumentation. We will discuss sonic direction and start making instrumentation direction. Then we get into tracking, if tracking separately I start in the rhythm section and build the track from there.