Meet Daniel Allan: Pioneering the Future of Independent Artistry Through NFTs
Daniel Allan is an electronic artist, producer, and entrepreneur from Louisville, Kentucky. He began creating music in middle school, recording–and eventually producing–music for his peers. After attending Lollapalooza, Allan felt inspired to produce EDM, finding and developing his own original sound.
Fans of Odesza and Flume will love Daniel Allan's individualistic electro-pop dance music. Through collaborations with artists, such as Wrabel, Kesha, and Jake Neumer, Allan's reach incorporates elements across a multitude of genres. With over 15 million cross-platform streams, Allan's music is a must-add to your next playlist.
Allan's EP Overstimulated was released on January 7, along with a revolutionary campaign, which will likely pave the way for the coming generations of independent artists. The EP was crowdfunded using cryptocurrency via Mirror. Allan successfully raised 50 ETH (roughly $154,686 USD) for Overstimulated, highlighting the benefits of independent capital and co-ownership between artists and fans in Web3. The EP campaign allows backers to actually interact with the artist and their work by purchasing OVERSTIM tokens (cryptocurrency specific to Overstimulated).
Overstimulated is vividly emotive, with themes of acceptance, self-discovery, and honest artistic appreciation interlaced throughout. The EP opens with "Intro (Stuck)", which consists of swelling synths and effects. Overlapping sounds are stacked, growing in volume and in chaos. The interlude crescendos, eventually falling back down and into "Feel Like That". Idarose's vocal performance perfectly suits the track, with mellow low notes and ethereal, floating upper register tones. "Say What You Want", featuring DEEGAN, incorporates elements of hip-hop into a classic electronic sound. The beat drop of the chorus feels completely natural, but not predictable, and leaves the listener wanting more every time. Another highlight of Overstimulated is "Poison" with DLG. The beat is both cohesive with the rest of the EP and refreshing. The song's punchy synths, uptempo midi beat, and prominent bass progressions give it a colorful, memorable energy. "Poison" also acts as a fantastic transition into the EP's final track. While beat drops are usually only found within a single song, the lively, reverberating ending of "Poison" played straight through to the pensive piano intro of "Too Close" is an intentional sudden change of pace. It's surprising, but not jarring, and metamorphosizes into a full-bodied after just 12 bars. In full swing, the groove of "Too Close" feels like the conclusion of a story, in which the protagonist has gained an entirely new perspective and appreciation for their world; it feels like coming home.
Allan also released an accompanying short film for Overstimulated, enchanting fans with trippy, surrealist imagery to enhance the listening experience. These beautiful graphics are a dream from which you'll never want to wake.
We spoke with Daniel Allan about his influences, original sound, EP, and the future of independent artistry. Read the full interview and stream Overstimulated below. Let us know what you think.
How are you today?
Doing great! Staying hydrated, just had a turkey sandwich, and made a moderately acceptable piece of music, I think.
At what age did you first start making music? Who or what first inspired you?
When I was in second grade my older brother gave me his iPod Classic. That greatly influenced my musical taste at a young age–I remember being seven years old walking through the halls of my elementary school blasting Biggie, Rakim, and LL Cool J. Towards the end of middle school, while taking piano lessons, I noticed that a few local rappers needed a place to record. As I transitioned into high school, I began recording them and I think that was probably the start of my musical process and working with artists in some capacity.
Do you remember the first song you recorded?
I definitely remember the first song I recorded for someone and the first song I produced for myself. Both were pretty rough, but the latter was significantly worse...
How did your first experience at Lollapalooza impact your creative path?
Going to Lollapalooza in 2014 was what prompted me to start making electronic music. I took the trip entirely on a whim–I was actually in Chicago visiting my brother on the weekend of the festival when a friend from summer camp asked if I was going to the festival. Miraculously, I had enough money to buy a ticket and found myself stumbling into Lollapalooza the next day by myself. The experience of seeing artists play their electronically-produced beats in a live setting was a catalyst for me to make the deep dive into my production and being to embrace artistry for the first time.
"The experience of seeing artists play their electronically-produced beats in a live setting was a catalyst for me to make the deep dive into my production and being to embrace artistry for the first time."
Who are your biggest sound influences now?
This changes for me often, but the top three for me right now are probably Kanye, Flume (these are the top two all-time artists for me), and third place right now is probably a toss up between Jungle and Chrome Sparks.
How would you describe your sound?
I think as I learn to embrace my music more and more, I just want it to have a vibe where everyone is down to hear it. I definitely have pop, electronic, indie, and hip-hop influences, but I want it to be a sort of safe space where people can find something in it that they think is sonically cool in any of those genres.
Talk a little bit about your single “Too Close”.
When I get overwhelmed, I find myself coping by just getting in the studio, locking the door, and making as much music as humanly possible. "Too Close" is about the people who are affected by that–it’s usually the people that I’m closest too.
What was your experience collaborating with Bloody White for the track like?
Bloody White is an insane, insane talent. He is my biggest collaborator of the year, and one of my closest friends. I’m always blown away by his musical ideas and I'm just stoked to be dropping more music with him next year.
How do you feel now that it’s out?
Honestly...relieved. I sat with this one for a while and made so many iterations when trying to make the production sit properly, so I’m stoked that so many people are into it.
Tell us about your latest EP, Overstimulated.
After putting out my last EP, my life changed a lot. I started getting into rooms I wasn't I belonged in; I had so many people telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my time, and I just found that I wasn’t having enough time to sit down and do what makes me happiest, which is making songs. Overstimulated is about me channeling that feeling of being overwhelmed into the confines of my 13' x 11' studio rather than trying to put it into words.
I’m really fortunate that I get to work with incredibly talented artists. All of the vocalists on Overstimulated made my life really easy by sending me nearly-perfect vocals every time–I don’t think I had any major edits for any of the artists on the project to be honest. The production side was far more daunting. A majority of these songs have seen multiple iterations. I really wanted to push my sonic boundaries on this and change the narrative a bit on what a "Daniel Allan record" sounds like by drawing influence from some of my favorite artists outside of electronic music.
"I really wanted to push my sonic boundaries on this and change the narrative a bit on what a "Daniel Allan record" sounds like by drawing influence from some of my favorite artists outside of electronic music."
What was the most challenging part of the project?
The most challenging part of the project was definitely that last 10% of making sure everything was polished and sounding as pristine as possible. I mixed and mastered the whole thing myself, so it definitely took some extra time getting things to as close to perfect as I could.
What is your favorite song on the EP?
This is tough; it's like asking who my favorite child is! I’m really proud of the whole body of work as a front-to-back listen, but if I absolutely had to pick one it’d be “Poison” with DLG.
What do you think the future of independent artistry looks like?
I think that the future of independent artistry is bright because I think there’s a world where fans will be able to directly contribute to their favorite artists, as well as be able to share in the upsides with them.
Share about your crowdfund for the EP campaign.
I raised 50 Eth (roughly $200k) to fund Overstimulated in exchange for 50% of my masters. I’m able to retain way more of my masters than I'd be able to with major label deals (the artist retains about 20% in most cases) and I have full creative autonomy over the music released. Eighty-seven people were in the fund. To be completely honest, the first two weeks were pretty stressful in terms of trying to figure out what to do with the money, how to get people involved, and some other stuff. Since then, though, it's been going great! I’ve hired a few people and we're slowly growing our Discord and getting more people involved in the process.
"I’m able to retain way more of my masters than I'd be able to with major label deals (the artist retains about 20% in most cases) and I have full creative autonomy over the music released."
What is Web3 and how have you utilized it in your career so far?
I don’t think anyone has officially decided what the textbook definition of Web3 is so far, but it's essentially crypto and the whole community that's built around it online. It’s like a mechanism or series of tools that wasn’t formerly accessible in a Web2 (internet/DSP/current) world.
In a perfect world, what does co-ownership between artists and fans in web3 look like?
I think it’s led by creative governance. I think fans are yearning for creative input; they don’t have to change your music at all, but think there’s a magical synergy that can exist between you and yours fans if you, as an artist, can open up the creative process for multiple people to see.
"...there’s a magical synergy that can exist between you and yours fans if you, as an artist, can open up the creative process for multiple people to see."
How can other independent artists use web3 and NFTs in their own careers?
The best thing an independent artist can do is get involved on Twitter and Discord. Those are the two platforms where Web3 and Music predominantly live. I firmly believe if you spend 3-4 months being an active community member you will be rewarded with NFT sales down the line.
What’s next for Daniel Allan?
Honestly I’m just focused on bringing back value to my $OVERSTM community and making my next body of work. In January I’m getting an Airbnb in Malibu to work on it with my favorite artists, which has been a goal of mine for a long time! Stoked to kinda keep pushing my creative boundaries for sure.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
If you’re an independent artist, it’s not too late to get involved. You’re early. Come say hello, I’m sure the community will welcome you with open arms!