DANakaDAN is best known for his YouTube and musical ability as a rapper. His 1st album, 'Stuntman', gained him widespread acclaim and he's back once again with a new single that will showcase what to expect from his forthcoming album release.
DANakaDan, otherwise known as, Daniel Matthews, is a Korean transnational and transracial adoptee from South Korea. Based in Los Angeles, DANakaDAN's identity as an alternative hip-hop artist allows him to showcase his trials with addiction, adoption, and self-identification. His experience in reconnecting with his native motherland in Korea led to many surprising findings and his upcoming album focuses on the feelings evoked from his life-changing discoveries. When he's not on the mic, he works as an executive producer for ISAtv. It seems like this is just the beginning for Dan's illustrious career.
ALLKPOP has the pleasure of showcasing a DANakaDAN exclusive and are proud to be the first to speak to Dan about his new single and debut music video for his track, 'RUNNERS'. 'RUNNERS' features not only Dan's strong vocal delivery but also half-Korean singer-songwriter, Dia Frampton from NBC's 'The Voice' as both a collaborative aspect to the song, as well as the music video.
Dan's personal blend of cinematic drama and alternative hip-hop style has given way to a unique result. AKP had the chance to chat with DANakaDAN about 'RUNNERS', his music video, upcoming projects, his collaboration with Dia, and more!
ALLKPOP: Tell us a little bit about 'RUNNERS' and where the inspiration for the track came from.
DANakaDAN: Runners is a really personal track that I actually started writing about two years ago when I was feeling lost in my life. I was losing direction personally and professionally and felt like I was always running away from my problems instead of facing them. But halfway through writing the track, I started feeling inspiration again. I felt new again. But most of all, I stopped running. Not to sound cheesy, but I wanted to be the "runner" of my life instead of running. I feel like this is a theme that a lot of people can relate to and I really wanted to write a track that someone could listen to and feel a connection with. I wrote these lyrics specifically for them.
AKP: You worked with Dia Frampton, a half-Korean singer-songwriter known best for appearing on NBC's 'The Voice', how was collaborating with her?
Dan: Dia is amazing. Really, incredibly amazing. I'm incredibly honored to work with her and to have her appear on the track. She was an ace at knocking out the vocals and really elevated the track. I kept on imagining and playing out how she would sound on the track in advance - and to finally have it complete - it ...man, it just fits.
AKP: Who wrote what in the song-writing process?
Dan: It's super important to recognize and shout out Travis Atreo & Tyler Carroll who co-wrote as well as produced the track. They wrote the lyrics for the hook and really made this song come to life. I've worked with them before on other projects and am just so thankful to have been able to collaborate with them on this song. Also - shoutout to comedian-actress Ally Maki! Little known fact: her, Tyler, and Travis are the ones singing the "ooos" and "ahhs" during the second part of chorus.
AKP: How was filming the music video?
Dan: I was honored to have the chance to work with the team from Wong Fu Productions on this music video and they really knocked it out of the park. Chris, Benson, and Taylor from their team put in the work to come up with the concept and directed and produced this thing to full execution.With every project that Wong Fu does - it's a cinematic journey, so that was always going to be an important part of the video
AKP: The video has a cinematic aspect to it that shows the nuances of conflict that come with close relationships, as well as vivid scenes of both you and Dia running. Could you talk a little more about the concept of the video in relation to the title 'Runners'?
Dan: The story ultimately plays into the theme of the song: running from your problems. But, at the end of the day, you can't escape yourself. So the characters in the video have a revelation that they need to own up to their issues and face them head on.
AKP: What can we expect from DANakaDAN for the rest of 2017 and into 2018?
Dan: My goal is to actually put out a mini album moving forward every couple of months. I'd like to say that this album release is the kick-off to a series of albums that I'll be releasing during 2018. The next one that I'm already currently writing will hopefully come out in March or April of 2018. Beyond that, I just want to tour and continue to put out more content. I'm thankful to be doing what I love and thankful to have a platform to do so. Thanks ya'll for listening!
AKP: Is there anything you'd like to communicate to your fans? Any final messages, words of advice or affirmation?
Dan: My biggest goal with the album was to provide something that people could relate to. I really hope that people can listen to the tracks and find themselves in what I'm writing - and through that they can find some inspiration that there's other people out there that feel the same way they do (about life, love, self, etc). Otherwise, thanks to anyone who listens to any of the tracks - hope ya'll like it. Please let me know what you think by messaging me on IG or Twitter at @DANakaDAN.