Samuel Johnson was born in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, UK in 1992. At the age of 8 his family decided to move to Huddersfield which is where he discovered the sound of live drums. At the age of 10 he began to get lessons from a drummer at a local church and was said to have a ‘great internal metronome’ and that he was a natural. During the time with his tutor, Samuel passed four drum kit exams with over 90% on each one. The exams taught Sam how to read music and he felt that was all he wanted to gain from exams, resulting in stopping grading, stopping lessons and then developing his skills at home with the aid of an Ipod and Youtube videos. In 2005 Sam formed a band called ‘5 Minutes Drive’, along with his two best friends and began to do small scale gigs around West Yorkshire. This was the start of Sam’s desire to be on the stage behind the kit.
While gigging and releasing an album titled ‘Kisses to control’, Sam was being kept busy doing studio work for a number of students at the college he attended. The number of tracks he played on reached over 25 in a 3 month period. This was Sam’s unplanned introduction to the world of studio recording and during this time learned the importance of musicianship and the benefits of learning other instruments, leading to Sam picking up a guitar in his spare time.
At the age 18 Sam moved to Manchester, UK, which brought an end to ‘5 Minutes Drive’. During the winter of 2011, singer/songwriter Judith Ude approached him asking him to complete her newly put together band. He is now playing full band shows and also getting around the acoustic scene with his Duende Cajon, which he claims is one of his greatest investments. Sam developed the majority of his skills and techniques playing in a Church setting and still plays for Kings Church, Manchester which attracts a congregation of over 700 every week. In the summer of 2012 Sam went on a Lithuanian tour with Judith Ude.
Sam’s main inspirations include Teddy Campbell, Carter Beauford, Jose Passilas, Travis Barker, Alex Shelnutt and Atom Willard. Sam’s playing is known for being loud, energetic and hard, mixing the grooves and chops of Gospel playing with the edge and energy of pop punk. Sam’s current set up is a Gretsch Catalina Club Fusion in Satin Natural, 19” Soultone Extreme Ride, 16” Soultone FXO 6 Crash, 12” Soultone Extreme Splash/Crash and 10” Soultone Extreme Hi Hats. He plays Vic firth sticks, switching between 5B and 7A ‘depending on his mood’. He’s also a rare breed being left handed.
19” Soultone Extreme Ride
16” Soultone Extreme FXO 6 Crash
12” Soultone Extreme Splash
10” Soultone Extreme Hi Hats