The Bowery Ballroom
Emily Wells

Emily Wells

Dan the Automator, Live Footage

Mon, April 9, 2012

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Bowery Ballroom

New York, NY

This event is 18 and over

Emily Wells
Emily Wells
How do you write a record about friendship and the climate changing and fear of the unknown and love and desire and risk and amnesia and allow them to all sit together impolitely with no one leaving the room? The process of making "Promise" was this internal conversation, which I tried to extend through books and a chronic watching of Pina Bausch films. The often repetitive, agonistic, and emotional nature of her work felt akin to my own practice as performer and as producer, building on layers of repetition, disrupting, then building again. Watching her work projected bluntly on the wall gave me a sense of companionship in the studio, particularly when I had reached a point in the record when all the things I thought I knew about making a record turned back on me in a stampede. These finished recordings and their live counterparts take their time - and in doing so ask for a bit of grace. I returned often to an interview I'd watched with the light artist James Turrell where he says, "…not everyone will sit in a darkened room for ten minutes before they begin to see." This idea allowed me be patient with the work, both in process and outcome.


When writing, when recording, there is a period where everything is in service of the song, if at times unconsciously. As the song begins to take form, however, its role shifts: the song is in service of the life it feeds. How then to convey a malleable "you," interchangeable with the self, with the friend, with the lover, with the listener, the future? I sought teachers; Joan Didion, a keen observer of "us” and "me", and I kept near favorite essays - writers on writing, on the history of music, on politics and political life, on the mind. There were songs and albums too, and whether wordless compositions or modern pop they all stood for the same end: engagement with the self, the friend, the heartbroken, the story, the listener. And of course through all of this there remains, for me, the meditation on all the actual people and times in my life, still present inside each song.


A year into making the record I met musician/producer Jacob Plasse and played him a few of the recordings. He became a level eye for me and contributed production ideas to a few of the recordings, eventually mixing the record with me in a process of careful attention and spirited debate which allowed the songs to sit, finally, in their own clothes. It was around this time that I discovered what would become the album art and title while looking through Art and Queer Culture, a book which chronicles the history of queer artists through seminal works and essays. The installation photo for "Promesa" 1998 by Cabello/Carceller struck me, as did their history and their methodologies, which were at once humorous and radical. I wrote to them on a fantasy whim asking for use of the photo I’d seen and when they replied a few weeks later they lent me their work completing my own through this gracious act. There, too, was the question of releasing the record - in the end I chose to create a label, "Thesis & Instinct," a name borrowed from one of Wallace Stevens’ aphorisms: "Life cannot be based on a thesis, since, by nature, it is based on instinct. The thesis, however, is usually present and living is the struggle between thesis and instinct." Studio life, too, and creation itself: the struggle between thesis and instinct.
Dan the Automator
Dan the Automator
Producer Dan The Automator is known internationally as one of the most groundbreaking and inventive creators of hip-hop music. He first achieved critical and commercial success in 1996 with the esoteric Dr. Octagon album, and followed suit with a slew of landmark recordings and remixes that established him as not only a producer to be reckoned with, but as a remixer and songwriter as well. His collaborations with hip-hop legends Prince Paul (Handsome Boy Modeling School) and Del tha Funkee Homosapien (Deltron 3030) resulted in success on a larger scale, and he went platinum as the producer of the debut Gorillaz album in 2001. Another Handsome Boy Modeling School record followed in 2005. Dan co-wrote and produced "Get Your Way", a hit single for British singer Jamie Cullum. His new project, NBA2k7, features Mos Def, E-40, Fabulous, Ghost Face, A Tribe Called Quest, Rhymefest, Lupe Fiasco, and many others. The soundtrack will be released on September 19th, 2006.

Dan "The Automator" Nakamura was born and raised in San Francisco. A chance meeting with Kool Keith in San Francisco resulted in Keith hiring Dan for some work on his own record. Keith then suggested Dan assume production duties for his Dr. Octagon alter-ego, and Dan started to put tracks together for the record that would ultimately aquaint him with a much larger audience.

A fusion of hip-hop beats and bizarre atmospherics, Dr. Octagon was released on the Bulk Recordings label in 1996. Propelled by Kool Keiths' rhymes and mind-bending meter, the record owed its' success in equal measure to Dan's inventive production. Dan's studio, the Glue Factory, also served as the workshop for recordings by Mo'Wax's DJ Shadow and for various artists on the latter's Solesides label.

As Dr. Octagon spread through the underground scene, DTA found himself collaborating with directly or remixing for a wide variety of artists: Primal Scream, the Eels, DJ Krush, Cibo Matto, Dust Brothers, Mike Simpson, Cornershop, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Stereolab, and more. Dan then teamed up with hip hop guru Prince Paul for a project called Handsome Boy Modeling School. An album titled So, How's Your Girl? was released by Tommy Boy Records and was an instant underground success. 2000's Deltron 3030 project followed, a collaboration with rapper Del tha Funkee Homosapien and DJ Kid Koala.

In 2001, DTA reached his widest audience yet with the Gorillaz, an eclectic collaboration with Blur's Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett. The self-titled debut was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, going platinum in the U.S. and spawning Dan's first major hit single, "Clint Eastwood", featuring Del tha Funkee Homosapian.

In 2002 Lovage, a collaboration with former Faith No More singer Mike Patton and smoky vocalist Jennifer Charles was released. A mixtape of many of his favorite remixes called Wanna Buy A Monkey? followed, featuring remixes of Black Rob, Air, Zero 7, Tortoise, the Doves, De La Soul, Dilated Peoples, and more.

After reaching worldwide success with Gorillaz, demand for Dan as a remixer and producer grew exponentially. A known genre-bender, he worked on singles from acts ranging from Blink 182 to Sarah McLachlan, and co-wrote songs with artists such as Mos Def, Beanie Man, Beck, Busta Rhymes, and more. Additional collaborations with Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), Pharrell, RZA, Mars Volta, Casual, Cat Power, and Linkin Park were the beginnings of what would be the second Handsome Boy Modeling School album, which was released on Atlantic Records in 2005, and followed by a sold-out U.S. tour.

Hip-hop is a genre that has proved itself far more flexible and groundbreaking than anyone might have predicted at its genesis: from its massive worldwide popularity to its seemingly endless "next levels", as it were, hip-hop music continues to be full of surprises, thanks largely in part to record producers like Dan The Automator. While paying homage to his heroes and influences, Dan has crafted a career as unique as his records, always walking the line between music that makes a serious statement and music that delivers undeniable hooks and knows when not to take itself too seriously.
Live Footage
Live Footage
In 2008 a humble basement apartment in Brooklyn became the laboratory for the Brooklyn-based electroacoustic duo, Live Footage. Mike Thies and Topu Lyo first met at a Halloween party, unaware that years later they would be described as some of the finest “surrealist soundtrack composers” in the making by scoring some of the most eclectic contemporary pieces on air, in dance and in tune
composing their own music. Conceived through the art of improvisation, Lyo plays cello, incorporating the use of live loops and a handful of electronics with no pre-recorded samples of any kind. Thies plays drums and keyboards, often simultaneously. Live Footage’s formula is unique:
songs are structured in such a way that enables them to actually build loops without disaster, all while keeping the music’s integrity and allowing ample room for improvisation even when covering the likes of Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and
Squarepusher.
Venue Information:
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York, NY, 10002
http://www.boweryballroom.com/