Dan The Automator Biography

San Francisco, California, USA. Nakamura, a third generation Japanese American, creates music with enough proficiency and prolificacy to suggest he has superpowers to match his near comic book alter-ego, Dan The Automator. The legendary producer has worked with artists including Eels, Primal Scream, Cornershop and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Dr. Octagon, recorded all the early Solesides (aka DJ Shadow, Blackalicious and Latyrx) material, and even coalesced interesting music out of Blur’s Damon Albarn. Nakamura debuted with 1996’s A Better Tomorrow EP (extended to the LP length A Much Better Tomorrow four years later), adopted the alter-ego of a playboy for the Handsome Boy Modeling School project, and created music from an imagined post-apocalypse earth in the third millennium with Deltron 3030. He also heads the 75 Ark label and runs his own Glue Factory studio.

Nakamura is most widely fêted as the studio wizard behind Dr. Octagon’s Dr. Octagonecologyst, an album that totally recalibrated expectations of hip-hop. On Handsome Boy Modeling School’s 1999 debut So... How’s Your Girl?, Nakamura and Prince Paul applied fake moustaches and adopted the personae of cocktail drinking playboys. The duo managed to transcend novelty, forging an ambitious, eclectic and experimental album embracing supper-club jazz, drum ‘n’ turntable duets, alt-blues balladry and neo-industrial noise. With Kid Koala and Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Nakamura (aka the Cantankerous Captain Aptos) returned to an imagined future for Deltron 3030, predicting ‘fantabulous’ rap battles between man and machine. Deltron 3030 notably featured collaborations from artists such as MC Paul Barman, Gus Gus singer Hafdis Huld, Mr. Lif and, as Sir Damien Thorn VII of the Cockfosters Clan, Damon Albarn.

Nakamura worked alongside Albarn again in Gorillaz, where Nakamura and Albarn (partially) masked their identities behind a Jamie Hewlett-designed cartoon band (Murdoc, 2D, Noodle and Russel). Live shows separated the band from the audience with a cinema screen showing Hewlett’s images. Nakamura subsequently began work on new Gorillaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School records, and linked up with Prince Paul and the Dust Brothers’ Mike Simpson as The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. He also recorded an entertaining album with Mike Patton (ex-Faith No More) and Jennifer Charles (of Elysian Fields) under the Nathaniel Merriweather moniker.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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