Interview: Dan the Automator (Deltron 3030)
Published on August 27th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Deltron 3030’s self-titled first album is one of the all-time great hip-hop concept records – you know what, make that one of the all-time great hip-hop records full stop – so Rocksucker was thrilled to hear that its successor, Event II, is almost upon us after a gap of over a decade.
Thrilled, and now deeply honoured, for we were fortunate enough to be granted an interview apiece with this supergroup’s three constituent legends: Dan the Automator, Del the Funky Homosapien and Kid Koala.
Featuring guest appearances from Damon Albarn, Mike Patton and Zack De La Rocha, not to mention on-screen talents Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Cross, Amber Tamblyn and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Event II represents another voyage into a dystopian future hewn from Automator’s colourful beats, Koala’s virtuoso turntablism and Del’s breathless verse.
First up to tell us about it is Dan the Automator (alias Cantankerous Captain Aptos), who recently launched a Deltron 3030-themed beer named after first album cut “Positive Contact”. Furthermore, a six-bottle set of the stuff comes with “a list of Deltron 3030-inspired recipes from a small group of renowned chefs” – read on for more about that…
Who or what initiated the recording of Event II, and why has it taken so long to arrive? Has it simply been a case of you all having so much else going on?
We had always planned to do it. Ultimately it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Del needed to be in the right frame of mind to write and we were all busy with other projects as well.
That’s a hell of a roster of guest appearances you’ve got on the album. Was it generally a case of you guys approaching them, or vice versa?
I pretty much work with all the guests.
Will you be doing more Deltron 3030 orchestra shows?
Yes as many as we can possibly manage. We have a really good band show as well, but if the orchestra can be accommodated we will do it!
(Rocksucker says: Since we spoke, a string of live shows have been announced. Scroll down for a list of dates.)
Is there any way for us Brits to get hold of some Positive Contact to quench our collective thirst? Does it cost $3.30?
You would have to contact Dogfish Head to see what they do as far as international shipping goes. It is a bit more than $3.30 because it is a 720 ml bottle.
I saw another interview with you in which the interviewer suggested that “Virus” would have been a good Deltron 3030 track to name the beer after. Surely “Memory Loss” is the one? (Or even “New Coke” if you were feeling cheeky…)
I would go with “Memory Loss”. Actually I don’t know of many mixed drinks with beer, but if one could make a potent cocktail with “Positive Contact”, I propose it should be called “Memory Loss”.
How did your chosen chefs go about tailoring their recipes to the Deltron 3030 listening experience? What kind of things did they come up with?
They created recipes while listening to the dub versions of the songs and drinking the beer.
Joe Beef: Civet De Homard Au Cidre
Momofuku (David Chang): Momofuku Fried Chicken
Mario Batali: Frittelle Di Zucchini and Ricotta
Comis (James Syhabout): Grilled Oysters with Charred Butter and Pink Peppercorns
Sean Paxton: Positive Contact Trifle
Has Kool Keith definitely hung up his mic, so to speak, or do you suspect he might be bluffing?
Keith does what Keith does. You would have to ask him.
What happened to your The Good, The Bad and The Ugly project with Prince Paul from De La Soul and Mike Simpson from Dust Brothers? Will there be an album?
Who knows. I never say never.
How did you come to do so much production for British ‘indie’ acts? What was the experience like for you?
I’m not sure, maybe it’s a sensibility thing. It goes across the board from producing indie British things to producing more mainstream things like Kasabian or Jamie Cullum as well.
Do you have any idea yet of what your next project or projects might be, or is it too early to say?
Next project is called Got a Girl and it features the lovely voice of Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Dan the Automator, thank you.
Event II will be released on October 1st via Bulk Recording.
Deltron 3030 will play the following live dates over the next few months…
09/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ Rock the Bells #
09/15 – San Francisco, CA @ Rock the Bells #
10/08 – Boston, MA @ Paradise
10/09 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl #
10/10 – Washington, DC @ Howard Theater
10/11 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater
10/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of the Living Arts #
10/14 – New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom #
10/16 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Hall
10/18 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue
10/19 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues #
10/20 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/23 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
10/25 – Asheville, NC @ Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit #
11/10 – Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest #
11/15 – Denver, CO @ Boom Fest #
# with 3030 Orchestra