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Daniel M. Nakamura (born August 29, 1966), better known by the stage name Dan the Automator, is an American record producer, songwriter, and artist. He also founded independent record label Bulk Recordings and publishing company, Sharkman Music, named after a scene from the 1994 film Cabin Boy.[2]

Dan the Automator
Daniel Nakamura.jpg
Dan the Automator in 2019
Background information
Birth nameDaniel Nakamura
Also known asNathaniel Merriweather
Born (1966-08-29) August 29, 1966 (age 52)
San Francisco, California[1]
GenresHip hop, electronica, trip hop, alternative hip hop, alternative rock
Occupation(s)Producer, arranger, engineer
InstrumentsSynthesizer, sampler, drum machine
Years active1986–present
Associated actsGot a Girl
Miles Kane
DJ Shadow
Handsome Boy Modeling School
Deltron 3030
Kool Keith
Head Automatica
Mike Patton
DJ Quest
Emily Wells
Depeche Mode
Primal Scream

For over two decades, he has collaborated with artists such as Del the Funky Homosapien and Damon Albarn or scoring films (e.g. 2019's Booksmart).



Nakamura, a classically trained violinist, started DJing when he was a teenager.[3] Raised in San Francisco's Sunset District neighborhood, Nakamura began playing music at just three years old, when his mother enrolled him in violin lessons. Once he absorbed the pop and soul music of the late ’70s, he became enamored with rap groups like Run-DMC. In high school, he traded the violin for turntables, bought a drum machine, and built a studio in his parents’ basement. When the foam that he glued to the studio walls didn't reduce the sound level upstairs, Nakamura wryly dubbed the noxious-smelling room the Glue Factory.

The Glue Factory became home base for countless rappers and producers in the ’90s. In addition to providing a space for artists from Bay Area label/crew Solesides to record, Nakamura assisted on records like DJ Shadow’s 1996 debut Endtroducing..... At the same time, he and New York rapper Kool Keith were working on the album Dr. Octagonecologyst.

A sci-fi space odyssey narrated by Keith’s alter-ego Dr. Octagon—an intergalactic gynecologist and homicidal surgeon from Jupiter. Originally released independently on Nakamura’s label Bulk Recordings, the album sold by the thousands at record shops in the Bay Area before Mo’ Wax and DreamWorks re-released it in the UK and the US respectively.

In the wake of Dr. Octagonecologyst's success, Nakamura produced When I Was Born for the 7th Time by British band Cornershop, which was certified gold in the UK and ranked the number one album of 1997 by Spin. Then, Nakamura formed Handsome Boy Modeling School with producer Prince Paul, whose debut album So... How's Your Girl? featured rappers like Del the Funky Homosapien and El-P, among many other artists.

After his work with Prince Paul, Nakamura collaborated with Del the Funky Homosapien in Deltron 3030.

The product of an organic and dynamic partnership between Blur lead singer Damon Albarn and Nakamura, Gorillaz is still timeless, a strange yet somehow harmonious fusion of alternative rock, rap, trip-hop, dub, and electronic music. The album also marked the beginning of creatively and commercially successful run for Nakamura. Featuring the haunting yet funky lead single “Clint Eastwood,” Gorillaz went platinum in both the US and Europe and currently boasts mover 500 million streams between all platforms. In the span of three years, Nakamura produced two multi-platinum albums for lauded space rock band Kasabian, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2009) and Velociraptor! (2011). Event 2, the celebrated Deltron 3030 sequel, peaked at #6 on the Rap Album charts in 2013.

Nakamura has also worked as a film composer, crafting songs for films like Edgar Wright's action comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) and the Jodie Foster directed crime-drama Money Monster (2016). In 2019, he composed the score for Olivia Wilde's Booksmart. In addition to scoring Broken Bread, the Roy Choi-hosted show on PBS/ Tastemade, he produced and composed several songs for the Netflix original film Always Be My Maybe along with actor Randall Park.


Solo AlbumsEdit

Artist Projects & Album ProductionsEdit



  1. ^ "California Births, 1905-1995". Family Tree Legends Records Collection (Online Database). Pearl Street Software, 2004-2005. Accessed 27 December 2009.
  2. ^ Crain, Zac (November 25, 1999). "Handsome Dan, Automator Man". Miami New Times. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  3. ^ Comaratta, Len (August 29, 2010). "Whatever Happened To: Dan the Automator". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  4. ^ Mojica, Nick. "Dr. Octagon Drop New Album 'Moosebumps'". Retrieved 17 April 2018.

External linksEdit