EDIT - thanks for all the questions everyone, I've been typing for five hours now so it's time to stop. I may come back tomorrow and reply to any new unanswered posts. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me

Hi, I am Dan Bull. I am a British rapper, diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. As a result, I love playing computer games, questioning the logic of everything I see, and assembling words into aurally pleasing sequences. I have an oversized vocabulary, which I regularly use to protest about digital rights. I have rapped about everything from SOPA to Skyrim to a musical explanation of how glaciers are formed. My most popular videos are "SOPA Cabana" and "Epic Skyrim Rap". You can see my videos here: http://youtube.com/douglby

My latest campaign, which is being backed by The Pirate Bay, is to get a free torrent into the UK and US singles charts (amongst others) by making it available for sale and promoting it as hard as I can. I am going to make a video personally thank by name everybody who buys the complete single. More about that here: http://itsdanbull.com/single

I have a subreddit here: /r/danbull

EDIT: Proof that this is actually me - https://twitter.com/#!/itsDanBull/status/194851010185932800

Comments: 775 • Responses: 72  • Date: 

vese121 karma

Great cause and a great person to push it. Good luck man.

My question is, how did you decide that you were going to pursue this topic? And why did you take the rap angle to pursue it?

itsDanBull108 karma

I'm not certain which topic you're referring to but I'll answer about the digital rights one.

I spend most of my time on the internet and I think it's a really powerful tool. I keep seeing rusty old corporations stuck in their ways of doing things, who try to stop the amazing advances in communication that the internet offers.

I chose rap because I really enjoy it, and I reckon I'm quite good with the wordplay.

vese19 karma

Yeah that's the topic I was referring to, thanks. Also, have you gotten any ignorant hate talking about the drug sex violence part of rap? I feel like that would come up when talking to people who are against file sharing.

itsDanBull60 karma

A lot of people have prejudiced attitudes towards rap. But rap is like many other things, it's just a tool / a medium. It's not intrinsically bad. If people use the subject matter of rap as a reason to be against filesharing then their argument is pretty weak.

Somnombulist99 karma

Is "itsdanbull" supposed to be a play on Istanbul?

itsDanBull104 karma

Yes it is.

P4ngurB4n61 karma

DAN BULL! douglby

I love your open letter videos, political rap battles and epic gaming raps! They're amazing and so freaking catchy. "America" was also rather touching, in my honest opinion. Your "Thoughts on Porn" was... entrancing. I just couldn't stop watching...

This is one of my favorite lines from you. It says a lot about the current state of the industry and many of it's artists while also sounding equally awesome.

But when you're between the devil and the deep blue sea, you need to stop worrying about pirates, and adjust your sails.

I've never really listened to this genre of music before, but you've helped open me up to it. I realize now that it's not the type of music that I disliked, it's that the messages were meaningless and boring.

You're a very creative and talented artist Dan Bull. It's genuinely refreshing. Cheers.

itsDanBull44 karma

Thanks. I think hip hop is a genre with great scope and potential. There are people out there rapping about everything. It's just that you only hear a very narrow band of the genre in the mainstream. I'm not saying that band of music is bad, but it can become boring when you keep hearing the same topics.

thegrammarunicorn54 karma

Not a question, but I'm the one in a zebra mask in the Bye Bye BPI music video :D

itsDanBull52 karma

I always wondered who you were. Thanks for adding a splash of colour (or more accurately black and white) to the video.

mellow_yellow8535 karma

Hello Dan Bull, I don't have any questions or anything just stopping by to say that i'm a HUGE fan and plan on buying those 10 songs as soon as i'm not quite as broke as I am right now. I believe you are the possible revolution in the way rap and music in general can be made and sent to the masses. I hate rap, popular radio crap that is, have always enjoyed alternative rap (as I call it) such as you, Watsky, mc chris, and so on. So please keep doing what you do, and hopefully more people can take inspiration and make amazing music of their own.

itsDanBull35 karma

Thanks a lot for that. I love Watsky too!

LiquidSnack31 karma

Who's rapping?

itsDanBull85 karma

You probably want me to say "Dovahkiin" but I'd rather answer truthfully and say that at this point there are probably thousands of people around the world rapping.

vengown30 karma

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

itsDanBull152 karma

I don't know enough about the physiology or behaviour of woodchucks to answer this question to a sufficient level of accuracy. However, considering that you specified that the woodchuck can chuck wood, I can tell you that the answer is going to be more than zero units of wood.

uberwolf029 karma

Hey Dan, long time fan boogie2988 here. I just wanted to say thanks so much for doing this AMA and I think you're a fantastic artist. I do have a question though.

When did you first start rapping? I mean what got you interested in it from the very beginning?

itsDanBull26 karma

Hey Boogie :D

I always liked rap - I think my first exposure to it was in films, as we didn't really listen to the radio at home but we watched a lot of American films.

But the first rap song I really loved was My Name Is by Eminem when I was 13. I believe it was after I heard that, I thought it would be fun to have a go myself. I wrote a lot of lyrics but never really started recording the raps properly til I was 18 or 19.

Zevenko25 karma

I didn't know you had aspergers, I couldn't have figured out if you had a condition even if someone asked me. I don't mean to be rude, but could you enlighten us on your religious views, and why.

itsDanBull78 karma

I'm probably best described as an atheist. Religious behaviour makes me feel uncomfortable, and I just don't see how religious people can hold the peculiar beliefs they do, when there's no rational evidence for them.

That's not to say that I am denying the existence of God. I just find it so unlikely that it's beyond useful discussion.

Ghondar22 karma

Just wanted to say that I donated money to you a couple of months ago (January, i think) and I got your cd a week ago with a little note "Thanks for your support. You rock! - Dan".

That meant a lot to me, man. Made my whole month. Thank you, and keep up the good work.

itsDanBull47 karma

Glad you appreciated it. I like keeping grounded and keeping in contact with people. I think the age of the mysterious untouchable superstar is coming to a close. We're all just people who do different things.

sidspyker21 karma

I hope you reach the top o' the charts Dan. Not really got anything for a question.

itsDanBull42 karma

You could have just put a question mark at the end and I've had awkwardly worked out a way to answer it...

Hoobleton18 karma

How did your relationship with The Pirate Bay begin (outside of the normal usage), I notice your songs are often promoted on their frontpage, did they contact you first or did you contact them?

Been a fan for a while, whilst I don't always agree with your message, the music is always good. Oh yeah, and your This Is England rap is truly amazing.

itsDanBull29 karma

It was an odd series events that begain with my mom getting a weird phone call from someone in America. This was nothing to do with The Pirate Bay, it was some anons associated with Project Chanology who wanted to talk to me. But the connections I met via those guys led me to befriend some people affiliated with TPB, who really liked the message in my digital rights videos.

I would never except anyone to agree with everything I say. Considering how many things I've said, that would be statistically creepy :)

JewBot600017 karma

You are a boss. I have no question, just keep being a boss.

itsDanBull31 karma

I will endeavour to do so, JewBot6000.

joss3314 karma

Your new facebook epic rap was awesome and your skyrim rap got me so pumped for the game.

Silly question I know but what are your favorite games from childhood and favorite ones now?

Favorite bands/books/movies/series?

I'm really interested to get to know the person behind the awesome music.

itsDanBull21 karma

To answer your question about my favourite games from childhood - you should watch my video "Generation Gaming" which is exactly about that topic.

My current favourite is Skyrim, but because my Xbox is broken, I'm playing a lot of Minecraft and Civilization IV / V.

My favourite band is probably Radiohead.

My favourite book is Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres.

My favourite film is Braindead by Peter Jackson.

My favourite TV series is probably Breaking Bad.

joss3311 karma

Ooh hope ya don't mind. Do you usually go mage, tank or sneaky sneaky in games like Skyrim?

itsDanBull18 karma

When I started playing those types of games I didn't know how much scope they had, so I just went for typical hack and slash warrior. Now I'm usually what I call a "stealth mage"

Zappanale12 karma

Mass Effect 3 ending: What think, thank you please

itsDanBull23 karma

I haven't had a chance to play Mass Effect 3 yet because my Xbox - my 3rd Xbox - has red ringed. Please don't spoil the ending for me, not that I have high hopes for it considering the response I've seen online.

bpopken12 karma

Where do you get your words from?

itsDanBull25 karma

I always enjoyed words. Learning them, saying them out loud, and inventing them. As a boy I ended up laughing in hysterics for several hours after my friend tried to say "troglodyte" and he said "trinogulaught"

GreeceReece11 karma

Hi Dan,

Did you ever get a response to the song you wrote for Lily Allen?

itsDanBull29 karma

I didn't get a response from Lily Allen, although she did close down her anti-filesharing blog a day or two after my song went viral. I'm not saying it had anything to do with it but who knows...

LemonGroves9 karma

Hey Dan. I've been a fan of yours for about three years now.

I've always wondered: what's the story behind "Doorways"?

itsDanBull10 karma

I collaborated with a producer called Zaheer on "Doorways". There isn't really a story behind it; I just wanted to try and write a rap that wasn't aggressive or boasty, and that's what came out. I think "Doorways" is the first song where I really found my own style I was comfortable with.

gamemjoe9 karma

:D Hi Dan! I just wanted to let you know that Sharing is Caring is now my favorite rap song, and that you are the greatest rapper ever. Keep up the good work, man!

Oh, and out of curiosity, what is your favorite breakfast food?

itsDanBull17 karma

That's great to hear, thanks for letting me know.

I just ate a bowl of Frosties, they're pretty good. But cereal is weird; I go through stages where I hate one type, and love another, then they'll swap. Am I the only one?

TheFrostyLegend8 karma

What mic do you record with?

itsDanBull14 karma

I use an se2200a condensor. It has a good sound when it works properly, but fairly often it doesn't work properly. I'm not sure if this is because I've mistreated it or because it's faulty. It's also the only one I've used since I bought my home setup so I can't compare it to other microphones.

ComedianKellan8 karma

hey Dan, I am a huge fan of yours. I first heard of you when I saw the Skyrim Epic rap. How long did it take you to compose the lyrics for that, and how do you feel it affected your listener base?

itsDanBull16 karma

The Skyrim one didn't take very long at all, I think it was because I was so excited about the game that the lyrics just came really easily.

I had had a few viral hits before that, but it was the first one to break the million view barrier. I think it's nearing 5 million now. My subscriber base multiplied by ten in a very short space of time. It's probably that video that is responsible for my being able to do YouTube professionally now.

ConnorRobertsUK7 karma

Do your open letters actually get sent? This one has always bothered me! (Oh and more open letters ;))

itsDanBull16 karma

They don't get sent by me, because: A) They're kind of tongue in cheek B) I figure if they're good enough, the person in question will see them anyway

Vardy7 karma

What is the best song you have made? Personally, I like Generation Gaming the most.

itsDanBull13 karma

I always think that my most recent song is the best. I don't really like go back and revisit old material because it makes me think "I could have done that better". I do have a soft spot for the one you mentioned though. It's one of the first songs where I discovered the hip hop concept of "having swagger".

DimmuJed7 karma

So let me get this straight, you are releasing a song for free, then encouraging people to buy it after they listen to it, because fuck the industry, this is the new way.

Isn't this like telling people they need to pay for oxygen after the fact? Also, if anything the only thing this will prove is the hive mind popularity is just that. See Kony2012.

What i've seen that WORKS and makes sense is music for free, download codes come with shirts, concert tickets, etc. That I can get behind. I guess I'm not seeing the clear goal of this attempt or what the real change you are striving for.

itsDanBull7 karma

To clarify, I want to succeed commercially as a musician. However I also don't believe in intellectual property, so I'm trying to explore and find different ways that might allow me to make a living as a recording artist, without using the law to enforce my right to the intellectual property within my work.

This campaign is one of those experiments. I want to see how well I can make something sell, despite the fact that I'm putting the torrent link up there. That way I know that it's my own music and my own effort in promoting it that is resulting in its success, rather than either the big-budget promotion of a record company, or the fact that people are forced to buy because there's no other way to get a copy of the music.

I'll keep experimenting with different ways of making a successful career without being a dick to those people who make it possible. I am always open to suggestions...

aamir__mir6 karma

[deleted]

itsDanBull24 karma

I'll do it until I stop enjoying it. I set myself a goal a few years ago to write a song about everything ever. Obviously I won't achieve it but it gives me plenty to work on.

upq700hp6 karma

Why are you flirting with veganism?

itsDanBull18 karma

I'm already a vegetarian and I have a lot of empathy to animals. Currently my empathy is engaged in a battle of wills with my love of cheese.

Tamielders6 karma

how do you like you're eggs?

itsDanBull13 karma

Scrambled is my favourite but I'm flirting with veganism. So I'd say eggs are best outside my stomach.

Gruffty6 karma

Hi Dan, love your material! How much input into the music for your raps do you get to have?

itsDanBull17 karma

Well, sometimes I make the music myself. I play guitar, bass and keyboards, as well as a few other random things like egg shakers. Actually that's how I should have answered Tamielders' question about how I like my eggs.

I also work with other producers such as the amazing Benny Aves. He has produced a number of my gaming raps.

winterknight5 karma

How do you start your writing? Do you have a method? How long have you been writing/rapping? Thanks for doing an AMA! I'm a huge fan! You're my favorite rapper!

Edit: Punctuation.

itsDanBull12 karma

It usually starts with me seeing or hearing something that gets my attention. Then I think "I could do a song about that". Then I think "I COULD DO A SONG ABOUT THAT". Then I think "I AM GOING TO DO A SONG ABOUT THAT!"

After that, I will excitedly open a note document and start typing everything I can think of that I want to say about the subject. When I've run out of ideas, I begin editing my notes into something more structured.

tylesftw5 karma

I learnt all the words to your skyrim rap that will probably stay lodged in my brain forever,that is all. thank you.

itsDanBull18 karma

It's nice to know that I have changed the chemical composition of a part of your body forever.

Thiefree5 karma

How long did it take to make the Republican Rap Battle? (I loved it, is all, and it seemed like a tricky editing job!)

itsDanBull7 karma

I can only take partial credit for the video side of things. Someone else did the talking heads, I just chopped up the footage. It didn't take too long really, I just tried to find clips where their hand gestures were more active than normal, and then aligned the clips with the rhythm of the words.

Sneaky_Zebra5 karma

Which song that you've published so far are you most proud of?

itsDanBull15 karma

This is a good question. Probably one from my second album called "Medicine Ball". You can listen to it on YouTube. It stays true to hip hop and has a lot of passion in the delivery while letting me really talk about something that happened to me and affected my life. I just think it's a cool track too.

winterknight4 karma

Have you ever considered doing a live show? Or do you do live shows and I'm just not aware of them?

itsDanBull11 karma

I do live shows but only very rarely. This is because I don't enjoy being on stage, being the centre of attention. I don't like the way that things can go wrong any second. When I'm in the studio I am so meticulous about how I do things, that being on stage is a shock to the system for me.

I wish I did enjoy it because I feel alienated when I talk to other musicians who say how much they love performing - but I just don't. I think it may work to my advantage though because it means I'm forced to be more creative in finding other ways to get heard. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

use_a_name_please4 karma

What made you start writing?

And also, what made you make the jump into putting your "rapping" videos on YouTube?

How much money do you earn?

What are the top 3 things to have come from your internet "stardom"?

And Bye Bye BPI was amazing.

itsDanBull13 karma

I started writing at about 12 or 13 after hearing "My Name Is" by Eminem on the radio. I loved how he had a dorky, cartoony approach to rap. At the time I really loved comedy such as Monty Python and Eminem's poppy stuff opened the door for me from liking comedy to liking rap.

I'm not allowed to discuss what I earn from YouTube, but I can say that it's increasing with the popularity of my channel. Last year I couldn't afford to live off the revenue from my channel, this year I just about can.

The top 3 things to come from my "stardom"

  1. I have realised there are lots of people out there who are like me. Growing up in a small conservative town, I didn't realise that.

  2. I have learned to be a lot more comfortable with exactly who I am. I don't feel like I have to pretend to be somebody else to be accepted. This is addressed in my song "Proud" which you can hear on YouTube.

  3. Sometimes people get in touch with me to tell me how a certain song of mine has changed their outlook on life. That's perhaps the most special thing to come from putting my music out there.

[deleted]4 karma

[deleted]

itsDanBull4 karma

I haven't started it yet but it's definitely something I want to do. I am planning to mix raps about The Big Bang Theory with raps about another bit of American culture that's very close to my heart. More to come soon...

marram3694 karma

Why don't you try out for Don't flop? I would love to see you battle.

itsDanBull6 karma

I am in two minds about Don't Flop. I think I could write some great punchlines but I don't know how well I could keep my composure with somebody shouting insults in my face in front of a crowd of people.

davou4 karma

Please tell us how you started out with electronic music and rap. I'm not talking about who introduced you, but rather, what things you did very early in your career to advance and acquire your current skill-set. What things did you have to learn before you feel like you went from interested to competant

itsDanBull8 karma

I pestered my parents to buy me a copy of Magix Music Maker for my 12th birthday. It's an entry level sampling/sequencing program. I just found a dusty cassette tape with a load of my old creations on it. I may put them online but they suck.

Generally I just listened to music a lot, and tried to emulate what I heard. It seemed to come easy to me, which is why I enjoyed it.

I can't pinpoint when I became "competent", it was a gradual learning curve, and I'd say the key thing I did to keep improving, was quite simply constantly aiming to improve, rather than thinking "this is good enough now".

rallebauz4 karma

Not a question, but I really liked the open letter to Peter Mandelson. I think it was on piratebay as well some time ago? Anyway, keep up fighting what you stand for, it's really inspirational.

itsDanBull8 karma

Thanks, I enjoyed that too, and I even got to perform it outside the Houses of Parliament in front of a crowd of anti-DEA protesters. No idea if Mandy was in the building at the time...

[deleted]4 karma

I have three doors. Behind one is a Ferrari, and behind the other two are goats. You pick the door you think the Ferrari is behind. I then open one of the three doors, revealing one of the goats. You then have a choice--stay with the door you chose before I exposed a goat, or switch to the other remaining door. Do you switch?

itsDanBull10 karma

This is hurting my head right now. I may be wrong but am I right in thinking that the third door which you opened is irrelevant to the decision on whether to switch? I'm still choosing between two unknowns?

To answer the question, I wouldn't switch because I don't know the answer and it takes less effort to stay.

NachoNinja7773 karma

Love your stuff! I borght safe an face and some of your singles! My question is: have you ever tryed or been offered a record deal, because you deserve it! So many rappers out ther now have no skill and get so much attention (lil Wayne, drake etc...)

itsDanBull8 karma

Thanks a lot for buying, it really makes a difference and keeps me going.

I haven't been offered a record deal, although I have been offered a meeting with some people high up in the industry. I don't think I really want a deal, I'm having so much fun doing it all for myself.

RROE20113 karma

I just wanted to let you know I really enjoy your music. I love your open letters and have a lot of respect for what you do.

A couple questions if that is ok.

As I read below you do play your own instruments. What software do you produce with? Or do leave that to another producer?

Any chance of getting any A Capellas?

Any advice to up-an-coming producers and musicians in the electronic and underground scene?

I have always appreciated that your music was "pay what you can". Thank you for that and thank you for doing an AMA!

itsDanBull6 karma

I use Cubase to produce my music, with a bunch of pirated VSTs. For FX I generally use the Waves bundle and Guitar Rig.

Acapellas - they are few and far between because publishing acapellas makes me feel quite naked - my voice is there without any of the studio magic to make it sound better than it is. You can download three of my acapellas from my new single here: http://itsdanbull.com/single

lifeisublime3 karma

robo cop/aliens raps are awesome, but my question is, when do you do a gremlins rap?

itsDanBull4 karma

I haven't rapped about Robocop or Aliens yet either - they'd probably be higher on my to-do list than a Gremlins rap though.

[deleted]3 karma

Of your own songs which one is your favourite? Also who is your favorite rapper?

Keep up the great work! (My favourite is DLC PLC!)

itsDanBull8 karma

My most recent songs are always my favourites, because I feel like I;m always improving on the older stuff. I raised the bar with DLC PLC again, by trying to work in as many different comedy voices and characters while keeping a consistent flow. I think I managed quite well.

SirDigby13 karma

Hey there :) When did you start making music?

itsDanBull4 karma

I started piano lessons at the age of nine but I didn't really enjoy them. I realise now that it was because I had to play other peoples' music. I am far more into creating than performing. I started producing my own music on the computer at the age of 12.

BFG_90003 karma

Hi Dan, I'm loving your work.

Q. If Lily Allen asked you out for dinner, would you go?

itsDanBull7 karma

Of course I would, it would be a very interesting conversation I'm sure. Even if it turned out to be a disaster, at least I'd have a good story to tell.

NESAtlas3 karma

You obviously do not shy away from controversy so which of your songs would you consider the most controversial? Do you hope to continue pushing the boundaries in this respect?

itsDanBull8 karma

Probably "Nothing On Jews", where I tried dipping my toe into the dangerous waters of criticising Israel. I got a lot of hostility for essentially saying "hurting people isn't nice".

I wouldn't intentionally cause controversy. My only real goal is to say what's on my mind, and if people don't like it then so be it.

s8skanna3 karma

1st, let me say that I love your music. Your Minecraft (one more block) song is one of the most played on my iPod. I have thought about doing a cover of it but I'm almost 30 and have almost no spare time with work, being a husband and my son. So I have 2 questions

Do you mind when people do covers of your music?

What genre would you put your music in besides the obvious?

Thank you for taking the time to do a AMA. I will always support what you do with no strings attached, but please for the love of gaming, keep pushing out video games songs. They are my most played.

itsDanBull7 karma

I don't just not mind when people do covers of my music - I love it and I feel honoured that people would want to take the time to do it.

The obvious genre to put my music in being hip hop, I guess I would also describe it, quite pretentiously as folk, because I'm trying to stay true to myself with no popstar pretentious, and my music is meant to be passed on and shared and re-interpeted, just like folk has for hundreds of years.

notrot3 karma

Do you make your money to produce your music from tours and merchandise?

How did you begin producing your own music? Self financed or did you have a friend that helped?

itsDanBull6 karma

My main source of income is through YouTube and MP3 sales. Occasionally I do commissioned songwriting too. I have done a few pieces for BBC Comedy. My favourite piece I did for BBC Comedy is "John Lennon" - the music video by Louis Hudson is great.

I began producing my own music after my parents bought me a copy of Magic Music Maker when I was 12. I guess it was around £30. Thanks to them for that.

tankerjoe3 karma

I think Dear Lily is one of my all time favorite songs. Is this song what landed you on the front of TPB? Also, have you heard a response from Lily Allen?

itsDanBull4 karma

I don't think there is anything specific that got me on the front of The Pirate Bay. Over the past few years I just got more and more opportunities to chat to the guys, thanks to my videos about digital rights. I actually met Peter Sunde when he came over to London for a debate with Geoff Taylor of the BPI. Taylor was rather rude.

I never heard from Lily Allen, which doesn't surprise me much.

Phettiii3 karma

Hi I just bought all your "sharing is caring" and few others songs on Itunes, Is a screenshot of my itunes purchases enough?

itsDanBull4 karma

Yep, certainly, just send it along with your name to [email protected] - thanks so much for buying, it really helps!

lntrn3 karma

How is it that no one mentioned that you have Asperger Syndrome!? That's amazing.

Would you say that your condition only makes you a better rapper? Since people I know that share it have an amazing attention to detail and lore. You said yourself that your vocabulary is huge.

Some more questions for you not about your condition:

Who makes your beats? They're pretty filthy.

Who are your rap influences? Your raps flow pretty well.

Do you prewrite your raps or freestyle over the beat? I'm not familiar with the british process for rapping.

itsDanBull4 karma

I think the condition makes me a better lyricist, because it gives me the focus to sit down and concentrate on editing and re-editing until I've found the exact combination of words I want. When it comes to performing it is probably a hindrance because in a performance situation, all the things that are comforting for someone with AS are stripped away and replaced with things which are upsetting, such as unknown outcomes and sensory overload.

I make my own beats when I can, otherwise I work with other producers such as Pro P and Benny Aves.

My rap influences include Eminem, Ghetts, Busta Rhymes, and Brother Ali. There are loads more but those are always the ones that come to mind first.

I pre-write my stuff with a silly attention to detail. I go over every syllable of every word wondering whether it can be replaced by something that fits the rhyme scheme and rhythm even better, or whether I can turn something that just rhymes into something that's alliterative and has a double meaning too.

n0t_5hure3 karma

no questions. i liked your link, and will download your stuff and listen to it. thanks.

itsDanBull3 karma

Thanks a lot - hope you enjoy.

Darrik3 karma

How much time do you use overall on a rap?

Where do you get your lyrics/inspiration from? :)

Nice to see you do a AMA, love your work :D

itsDanBull3 karma

Sometimes I can start writing a song and have the music video on YouTube in the same day - other times it can take months of reworking, even years for some pieces.

My inspiration quite simply comes from what I see and hear around me; things that cause a reaction.

TombSv3 karma

Do you search out your fans a lot? Posted your video on my Facebook wall and as a nice suprise, you commented on it! Even when we are not friends on FB. :)

Also; where is the reddit version of the song?!

itsDanBull7 karma

I have a Google Alerts thing set up for my name and my YouTube name so that I can see when things like that come up. I realised my channel has quite a lot of clout now in comparison to people who have just started out, so if I click like on something, it can really give them a boost. Lots of people ask me to do this, but I'll still only click "like" if I genuinely like something - otherwise it's meaningless.

bolanzo143 karma

What inspires you to make such quirky, off the wall songs?

itsDanBull11 karma

I have a quirky, off-the-wall brain. I am a strange mixture of wit and awkwardness, which I think translates well into the style of music I'm doing. The wit in the lyrics makes people nod and say "I hadn't thought of it that way" and the awkwardness provides some comic relief.

Azerua3 karma

Would you ever rap about Starcraft 2? I love your work so far!

itsDanBull7 karma

Well, my ambition is to write about everything in the world ever, so it's on my to-do list. It's not at the top though, being as I've never played Starcraft.

Soliquidity3 karma

[deleted]

itsDanBull8 karma

I'd choose door number 1 I guess. I don't know what dragon you're referring to but if Skyrim's anything to go by, Daedric arrows are good for bringing them down.

Once this single campaign is over, I don't have any major projects planned. I think I'll spend a while just making individual videos and enjoying the freedom of that, while thinking of the next grand thing I can have a go at.

jimiffondu3 karma

Hi Dan, I've been looking forward to this AMA since I saw your tweet about it earlier today, but now it's come round, I've got no idea what i want to ask you. Which kind of sucks. If I think of anything, I'll tweet at you.

Suffice to say, I've been a fan since I used to write for a certain well-known free daily morning commuter newspaper, and we featured your new videos a couple of times (in 2008-9?). Unfortunately, now I work for a certain well-known Middle East-based international news network, and they're not so keen on pimping geeky hiphop vids.

What other way can I show my support?

tl;dr - love you, mate, keep it up

itsDanBull6 karma

Wow, thanks - especially if you had anything to do with getting my stuff published in the Metro. I still have a pile of yellowing copies of the Metro here from the various times I was featured in it.

Ways in which people can show their support, aside from buying (which is the only thing the traditional record industry seems to care about) is to just spread the word about my stuff to people who would like it. Keep in touch with me to say what you think of songs - I like it a lot more when I get an in-depth message with criticism and questions in rather than most which just say "AWESOME" or "SHIT".

MattGrubbTV3 karma

[deleted]

itsDanBull3 karma

Thanks a lot, glad you do!

Artificialx3 karma

Fucking Dan Bull!! Man I love your stuff, found your open letter to Lilly and have been subbed ever since. Thank god my mate told me you were doing an AMA!! Sorry for this, and I hope it is OK with you but I have a few questions I would love to ask!!!

  • Is this your first experience with Reddit? I see you actually joined a short while ago but this is your first post. What do you think of Reddit so far? Do you follow memes and such? Have you considered using Reddit as a platform to help your work? It is after all the "front page of the internet" and you seem to be a big fan of the internet.

  • Have you considered doing any more raps touching on Atheism? I was so glad when you did the Hitchens obituary. There is a bloke on Youtube called Greydon Square, you might like, not sure if it is up your street.

  • Do you think your Aspergers has aided your lyrical wordsmanship?

  • Do you smoke the green? I think I'd love to smoke up with you some time.

  • Most importantly, what do you see as the future of the music industry? The way I see it the record industry is going the way of the dinosaurs. It just doesn't see the asteroid (the internet) yet. How in the future, do you think artists will be able to continue to live off of their creations?

itsDanBull4 karma

I sometimes use Reddit to find cool stuff but I never bothered posting until now. It seems pretty cool although the layout is hard to navigate for a beginner. Reddit users seem to have more interesting things to say than a lot of the commenters on YouTube. One of the reasons I'm doing this AMA is to reach some new people, as well as to let existing supporters/detractors find out some more about me.

I am planning to do a pretty serious track about atheism / the religion debate but it probably won't be arriving for a while because I'd like to make sure it's as infallible as possible.

I am pretty sure that Asperger syndrome has helped me greatly as a lyricist, by giving me a fascination with language, a different logical viewpoint of the world and the one-track mind to sit for hours tweaking syllables around in a notepad document.

I used to smoke cannabis a lot but I stopped after it started making me paranoid. I think this may be linked to my Asperger Syndrome but I have no idea. I went to the doctor about it and he didn't have any answers, he just advised me to stop smoking.

Hopefully the music industry goes away soon. We've gotten used to the term but it's pretty weird really. It's only been around for a while and they've managed to convince us it's needed for music to survive. Bollocks. We don't have a poetry industry or an impressionist painting industry. Why the need for a music industry?

Artists don't deserve to automatically live off their creations. There are too many artists in the world for this to be at all viable. This is why it's laughable when industry lobbyists use the "artists deserve to get paid" argument, when in reality they're only representing a tiny fraction of the artists in the world.

dylansavage3 karma

Hey man, loved your stuff since I heard Generation Gaming back in my b3ta days.

Bought your album and loved it. But it seemed it came from a really dark place with songs like Misfit and After Life. When ever I get maudlin and morose I put it on to have a bit of a think.

My question is were you in a dark place while recording, and if you were how are you doing now?

Also, internet hug.

itsDanBull4 karma

Thanks, glad those songs which are full of so much negativity actually inspire some positivity in you. I don't think many people understand that depressing music is often just what depressed people need in order to get things in perspective. Happy music is just irritating if you're feeling down.

I was in a very dark place indeed, I was basically legally an adult for several years but living as a child with my parents, and seemingly no way out. I decided to go all out and put my darkest thoughts on record so that I'd have no choice but to carry on musically, and somehow it's actually worked out as the best decision of my life.

2icelolliesplease3 karma

Bought iTunes uk. Mits very good actually.

itsDanBull5 karma

Thanks a lot, glad you like it :)

D1SoveR3 karma

Dear Mr Dan Bull,

First of all, I'd like to thank you for the wonderful work you're doing, raising awareness of the digital age issues, of how the entertainment industry, being one of the biggest revenue streams, still hasn't managed to work itself up to different needs of digital market. The censorship of SOPA/PIPA/CISPA/ACTA/GEMA/what-have-you, criminalisation of experience sharing, numerous moves of music industry to scam the artists as much as possible, all of this is truly horrendous - and I am glad to have discovered the artist that not only "gets it", but also inspires to take a stand.

Somewhat related, I also have to state my admiration for your musical craft, "One More Block" being my first hip-hop / rap purchase on iTunes (with more to follow as roas I resume full-time work). You're quite possibly the first rap artist I've ever found meaningful and relevant to modern issues and situations (entertainment industry being only one of many issues - how many artists call out the problem of global warming while rapping about process of glaciation? :P).

BUT, since it's an AMA, a selection of questions? :)

  • How does your song-writing process look? Do you tend to write your raps in a burst or is there a lot of revising and modifications before the final version gets recorded?
  • It is evident, through your songs, that you're not afraid to pull punches on important issues. Has that ever caused a negative response from the criticised element (e.g. C&D letters, court cases or explicit condemnation)?
  • If you were to perform live, where would you publish the information about the upcoming show?
  • Was the Google+ remix of Sharing and Caring intended to be ironic? :P

itsDanBull6 karma

Thanks for the above paragraph, I can't respond in detail but I'll answer the questions underneath it.

Songwriting for me is usually a two stage process, there's the initial creative burst where I write down all the ideas I can come up with, then I put my autistic hat on and ruthlessly edit and rearrange it until it has a structure I'm completely happy with. The recording process is much the same, I often record a song five times then go back and select my favourite deliveries and re-record them even better.

Inevitable there are negative responses any time I give my opinion on anything. There were two notable times where it was a bigger negative feedback than usual. Once, from my song "Nothing On Jews" which was a criticism of the Israeli government and its military, I was accused by quite a few people of anti-Semitism. Another time was when I called out the Millbank rioters for behaving like silly children; I did it in quite a rude way, and I think this is what elicited the very hostile response I got. I have learned that politeness and understanding is the best way to engage people rather than accusations or insults.

TwattyPhatBalls3 karma

How powerful was your erection when you were filming the 'Everybody hates Chris' video?

itsDanBull5 karma

Strong enough to hold a pizza box in front of me.

bunchy3 karma

I absolutely love your song "Generation Gaming." I've memorized it and have listened to it soooo many times. By the way, how do you write your raps? Do you sit down and think of the words or does it come to you day by day until you think it's finished?

itsDanBull3 karma

I usually get a flash of inspiration and think "that would make a good song" - then I jot down some notes quickly. After that I go back through it and tidy it up in the editing process.

JxSxK04203 karma

Is there a chance that you will be coming over to the US for a show or two anytime soon?

itsDanBull5 karma

There is a chance, but I'm afraid it isn't a very big one. I would like to come to the USA to do some musical things and meet some people but doing live shows wouldn't be my priority.

passbbi_svk3 karma

What was your first song you made?

itsDanBull8 karma

The first proper song I made was probably the one I wrote with my band MatronsApron when I was 15 years old. It is called "Funky Miss Marple" and you can probably find a recording of it somewhere if you dig deep enough.

Droidsoldier3 karma

no question, just love your stuff

itsDanBull3 karma

Thanks :D

KodyxDestroyer2 karma

If you could collaborate with one other artist on youtube for one song who would it be and why?

itsDanBull5 karma

I really love George Watsky. I love his music, I love his attitude and I love the way he approaches promoting himself. If you are not familiar with him, you may remember him better as "pale kids raps fast". Have a look at his channel, it's well worth your time and he is a much deeper artist than that viral video would make it seem.

peoplesmushroom2 karma

Hi Dan, my question is has your views on file-sharing and piracy changed as you got more popular and well known? e.g. do you feel the same today that your album is being shared compared to, say, 2 years ago?

itsDanBull4 karma

My views are perhaps even stronger now. Sometimes I see someone else using my music in their YouTube video and for a second I think "that's mine, I could have that taken down", then I think - never become that asshole.