Dan the Automator Makes "Doing Whatever He Wants" Sound Good
The model for the polymath producer might as well be 46 year-old Daniel Nakamura, or Dan the Automator as listeners know him. He's the all-purpose musician, who started out making unorthodox, alternative hip-hop and ended up creating sci-fi rap masterpieces alongside full-fledged, fully-trained orchestras.
Flickr user "anthonysanfrancisco" Dan the Automator
"It's always organic...I kind of go wherever I feel like going musically, it's just whatever I feel like at the moment," explains Nakamura.
Nakamura's whole career appears to be a shining, successful example of going wherever an artist feels likes going. At the age of three, his parents propelled him into learning the violin, but by the time he had began growing up the allure of DJing, Run DMC, and LL Cool J had swayed him towards another direction.
"I really liked records, and when I saw rap music and people DJing I wanted to DJ," he says. "Then I wanted to make beats, and by the time I was DJing in high school I was making beats."
Nakamura's focus on creating beats earned him his place in music, among the other long-time greats of production such as Pete Rock and Prince Paul (whom Nakamura once worked with). Alongside musical outliers such as Kool Keith and Del The Funky Homosapien he crafted some of the most eccentric-yet-listenable masterpieces in hip-hop's canon. Kool Keith's seminal album "Dr. Octagonecologyst" was produced entirely by Nakamura, and the producer assumed the role of co-conspirator and collaborator alongside Del as the group Deltron 3030 which comes to the Observatory tonight.
"Dr. Octagon came from more 'I don't really care, fuck it, I want to do what I want to do and I don't care what people think.' I wanted to do whatever I wanted to do with no rules. People at the time were very normal-oriented and didn't really get where I was coming from, and I did what I wanted to do to the fullest," he says.