HOLLYWOOD — Dan "the Automator" Nakamura's name is not as recognizable as the projects he's spearheaded, from Handsome Boy Modeling School to Gorillaz, but that could soon change.
Nakamura is finally recording a full-length solo record as the Automator, and he expects to release it in March or April.
The new release will not be as much of a concept album as Handsome Boy, Deltron 3030 or the Dr. Octagon record he engineered for Kool Keith, but it won't be a typical release either.
"It's still formulating as far as the story line goes," Nakamura said at Tuesday's Shortlist concert (see "N.E.R.D. Win Shortlist Prize "). "I'm looking at all the stuff as it comes in and seeing where it all fits together and I'm going to try and tie it up in some matter or another."
Like his past projects, which have featured appearances from the likes of Beastie Boy Mike D, Sean Lennon and DJ Shadow, the Automator's solo record will showcase a flock of his music industry friends. "I want to keep it a surprise, though," he said.
Nakamura, who makes occasional DJ appearances around the world, will promote the album by touring with a full band. "I don't like to just be a lone DJ-type person," he said. "I'm really more of an eclectic-type thing, so turntables, guitar, bass, probably a drummer and girl singer, guy singer, rapper."
The Automator also hopes to release a few other records next year. He and Beck are collaborating on what the latter has said will be his next release. And Dan revealed Tuesday that he and Prince Paul will begin recording the follow-up to Handsome Boy Modeling School's acclaimed 1999 album.
As for his most well-known band, Gorillaz (see "Gorillaz Project Partners The Automator With Damon Albarn"), Nakamura said it could be next fall before they record. "Damon is doing a Blur record and so we won't get into it until he's run his course with that."
The Automator released the solo EP A Better Tomorrow in 1996 and re-released it with additional material as A Much Better Tomorrow in 2000. He dropped the mix album Wanna Buy a Monkey? earlier this year (see "Gorillaz, Black Rob Rarities Comped By The Automator").