Dan the Automator

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Dan the Automator
Dan the Automator in 2017
Background information
Birth nameDaniel M. Nakamura
Also known as
  • Automator
  • Dan Nakamura
  • Nathaniel Merriweather[1]
Born (1968-12-20) December 20, 1968 (age 54)
San Francisco, California, U.S.[2]
  • Music producer
  • composer
  • engineer
  • DJ
Years active1986–present
Member of
Formerly of

Daniel M. Nakamura (born December 20, 1968), better known by his stage name Dan the Automator, is an American music producer from San Francisco, California. He is the founder of the publishing company Sharkman Music[5] and the record label 75 Ark.[6]

Early life[edit]

Daniel M. Nakamura[7] was born in San Francisco, California, on December 20, 1968.[2] His parents spent time in Japanese internment camps as children.[8] His father worked for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and his mother taught at City College of San Francisco.[2] As a child, he learned to play violin.[9] While in high school, he became immersed in hip hop culture.[2] He graduated from San Francisco State University.[10]


Nakamura started his career as a DJ when he was a teenager.[7] After seeing the younger DJs DJ Qbert and Mix Master Mike performing live, he decided to focus on producing tracks.[2] He first gained attention for his work on Kool Keith's 1996 album Dr. Octagonecologyst.[11] His debut EP, Music to Be Murdered By, was released in 1989.[12] He released his debut album A Much Better Tomorrow in 2000,[7] an expansion of his 1996 EP A Better Tomorrow. Keith featured extensively across both versions.

He composed the score for the 2019 comedy film Booksmart,[13] with the soundtrack album released that same year.[14]


In 1999, Nakamura and Prince Paul formed the collaborative project Handsome Boy Modeling School, assuming the alter egos Nathaniel Merriweather and Chest Rockwell, respectively.[15] Their debut album So... How's Your Girl? featured numerous guest musicians, including Róisín Murphy, DJ Shadow, and Del the Funky Homosapien. They released a second album, White People, in November 2004, with collaborators including RZA, Cat Power, and Mike Patton.[16] Nakamura used the Nathaniel Merriweather pseudonym for his Lovage project with Patton and Jennifer Charles. After Paul briefly left the duo over a business dispute,[17] Handsome Boy Modelling School have since played further shows and spoken of a forthcoming third album.[18]

In 2000, Nakamura joined Del the Funky Homosapien and Kid Koala to form Deltron 3030.[19] They released their eponymous debut album the same year, featuring guest appearances by Sean Lennon and Damon Albarn. In 2001 he produced the debut album of Albarn's "animated" band Gorillaz,[7] appearing as a member of the band, alongside Del the Funky Homosapien. Both would later appear on the belated second Deltron 3030 record, Event 2, released in September 2013.[20] The album also featured appearances by Jamie Cullum, Emily Wells and Zack De La Rocha, with interludes performed by actors David Cross, Amber Tamblyn and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Nakamura is one half of Got a Girl, along with actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.[21] The duo's debut album, I Love You but I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now, was released in 2014.[22] In September 2015, they embarked on a four-city tour of Seattle, San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles, where they played their entire album live, including a cover of Handsome Boy Modeling School's "I've Been Thinking".[23][24]

In 2023, Handsome Boy Modeling School released a limited release LP of 7 new songs in collaboration with Fords Gin.[25]


Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Remix albums[edit]


  • Music to Be Murdered By (1989)
  • King of the Beats (1990)
  • A Better Tomorrow (1996)


  • "Bear Witness III (Once Again)" (2002)
  • "Rapper's Delight" (2009)


Film Music/Scoring[edit]


  1. ^ Keast, Darren (December 27, 2001). "Nathaniel Merriweather Presents..." Dallas Observer. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Harlaub, Peter (July 12, 2019). "Dan the Automator follows his own lane to food, movies, 'Always Be My Maybe'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  3. ^ Quinlan, Thomas (May 1, 2001). "Dan the Automator: The Complete Package Concept". Exclaim!. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  4. ^ Sacher, Andrew (February 20, 2018). "Dr. Octagon playing NYC release show for first LP in two decades". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved August 17, 2023. lead single "Octagon Octagon" is an awesome dose of the same kind of surreal, psychedelic rap they were doing in the '90s
  5. ^ Crain, Zac (November 25, 1999). "Handsome Dan, Automator Man". Miami New Times. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  6. ^ Kelley, Brendan Joel (January 17, 2002). "Nathaniel Merriweather". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d Comaratta, Len (August 29, 2010). "Whatever Happened To: Dan the Automator". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Ganahl, Jane (November 29, 2004). "He's sold millions of albums. Handsome, too. Calls Beck a pal. The Automator a rock star? No". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  9. ^ Rotondi, James (March 1, 2001). "Automater for the People". Electronic Musician. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  10. ^ Bee, Adrianne (December 17, 2004). "Holiday gifts with a Gator connection". San Francisco State University. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  11. ^ Harrington, Richard (January 19, 2001). "Back to the Future With the Automator". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  12. ^ Weingarten, Marc (February 17, 2002). "Alchemist of Alternative Rap". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  13. ^ Carr, Paul (July 18, 2019). "Broke a Couple of Rules: Movie Scores with Dan the Automator". PopMatters. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  14. ^ Haubrich, Wess (May 10, 2019). "Exclusive: Check out this track from Dan "The Automator" Nakamura's score to Olivia Wilde's Booksmart". The 405. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  15. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (November 4, 2004). "Cartoon capers". The Guardian. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  16. ^ "White People by Handsome Boy Modeling School". Genius. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  17. ^ "Prince Paul Talks Post-Handsome Boy Plans". PitchforkMedia.com. January 10, 2006. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
  18. ^ Rose, April (April 19, 2022). "Handsome Boy Modeling School To Play A Reunion Show at Record Store Day Party in New York City". mxdwn.com. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  19. ^ Brown, Emma (October 9, 2013). "The Future is Deltoron 3030". Interview. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  20. ^ Haering, Bradley (October 12, 2008). "For your ears only: The funky homosapien returns, but worth it?". The Daily Aztek. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008.
  21. ^ Sundermann, Eric (June 17, 2014). "Deltron 3030's Dan the Automator and Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Video for "Did We Live Too Fast" Would Make Ernest Hemingway Proud". Vice. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  22. ^ Barshad, Nim (June 3, 2014). "Hear Dan the Automator and Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Cinematic 'Did We Live Too Fast'". Spin. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  23. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Got a Girl". The Owl Mag. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  24. ^ "Live Review : Got A Girl @ Largo at the Coronet, Los Angeles 9/28/15". The Owl Mag. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  25. ^ "Music to Drink Martinis to".
  26. ^ Scream 2 (1997) - IMDb, retrieved November 14, 2020
  27. ^ "Various - Scream 2 (Music From The Dimension Motion Picture)". Discogs. November 18, 1997. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  28. ^ Ocean's Eleven (2001) - IMDb, retrieved November 14, 2020
  29. ^ Archive-Corey-Moss. "Elvis, Electronic Music Flow Together On 'Ocean's Eleven' Disc". MTV News. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  30. ^ "Various - Blade II The Soundtrack". Discogs. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  31. ^ Blade II (2002) - IMDb, retrieved November 14, 2020
  32. ^ "Tony Hawk's Underground (Video Game 2003)". IMDb. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  33. ^ "Charmed" Imaginary Fiends (TV Episode 2005) - IMDb, retrieved November 14, 2020
  34. ^ "Music from Californication S1E01". Tunefind. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  35. ^ "Music from The Sopranos S6E14". Tunefind. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  36. ^ "Better Call Saul" RICO (TV Episode 2015) - IMDb, retrieved November 14, 2020
  37. ^ "Watch Dan the Automator's 'Money Monster' music video". EW.com. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  38. ^ Carlin, Shannon (June 3, 2019). "How Randall Park's Rap Song About Punching Keanu Reeves Ended Up in Always Be My Maybe". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  39. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (July 13, 2019) [July 12, 2019]. "Dan the Automator follows his own lane to food, movies, 'Always Be My Maybe'". San Francisco Arts & Entertainment Guide. Retrieved November 14, 2020.

External links[edit]