Drum Crazy (Vol. 1)

This is the dude behind the Drum Crazy series put out by Ubiquity. His compilations must have helped countless producers skip their vegetables. He’s all about sharing. Two cats that took advantage? Prince Paul and Dan the Automator

Read Dirty Waters: Mike Van Olden Interview

DW: How did you link up with Automator and Prince Paul and how was it working with them?

MVO: I worked with Dan for over 8 years and I can say that he was a wonderful mentor to me. Not only for music, but for life also. He taught me a great deal. He’s one of my very best friends and one of the few people in the world that have similar interests to my own. A rare soul.

Nakamura and I first met at Ubiquity. I think the Drum Crazy series impressed him and we became friends. I sat in on many of his productions: DJ Shadow’s Entroducing, Dr. Octagon, Deltron 3030, Lovage, Handsome Boy, etc. I got to live my ‘producer dreams’ through him.

It’s not easy to be a full-time music producer. As a matter of fact, it’s 95% bullshit and 5% productivity. It takes a strong person to make a career out of it. It’s like having to find a new job every 3 months. Constant renewal.

I’ll share a couple of Automator’isms with you: Once, Dan simply explained to me that ‘people who really want to do music just do it’. This may seem simple at first, but if you think about it, it’s really profound.

He also told me this true story that happened to him: Dan was having dinner with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto at a nice Japanese restaurant in NYC. While having dinner, Morimoto was approached by many of the staff who asked for his autograph and/or a picture with him. Morimoto noticed that there was one guy in the kitchen who looked bothered and never did approach him to get his autograph. Morimoto turned to Dan and pointed out that ‘that man is a REAL chef’ because he was too proud to come over and get an autograph like everyone else.

Overall, I have to say that Dan guided me into adulthood and I really appreciate his help. Through him, I was able to see the music industry from every angle, without having to put my own career on the line.

I met Paul through Nakamura. As you may know, they produced a couple of Handsome Boy Modeling School records together. Dan brought Paul over to my house to raid my record collection for some new breaks for the album. I ended up giving them a big stack. I’m not really sure what they used.