Podcast Transcript

Web3 Music Mavericks: Daniel Allan and Reo Cragun Talk Collaboration and Their New Project ‘Criteria’


Mint Season 6 episode 30 welcomes artists Daniel Allan and Reo Cragun on their collaboration process and upcoming project “Criteria”. They share their creative routines and challenges faced while creating the project, while also discussing the significance of releasing “Criteria” as their largest mint to date. Furthermore, they share thoughts on the future of labels, distribution the intersection of crypto and live music.

I hope you guys enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:15 – Intro
  • 05:37 – Daniel and Reo’s Collaboration Process
  • 09:21 – EP vs. Album
  • 13:00 – Do Your Creative Routines Ever Clash?
  • 14:20 – Blending 2 Different Genres Together
  • 18:22 – Choosing Which Songs Make the Cut
  • 23:11 – How Long Did it Take to Complete the New Project ‘Criteria’
  • 26:37 – Learning New Things About Each Other While Working Together
  • 29:47 – Do You Ever Doubt Yourself?
  • 32:19 – Big Challenges Faced While Creating This Project
  • 35:24 – How Does This New Project Reflect Your Growth As an Artist?
  • 43:29 – Whats the Creative Balance Like Between You Guys?
  • 47:51 – Is There Any Competitiveness Between the Both of You?
  • 51:34 – What’s the Significance of Releasing Criteria as Your Largest Mint to Date?
  • 55:56 – What Did the Mood Board Look Like For the Visuals of the Drop?
  • 58:27 – How Do You Create Rarity in Music?
  • 01:00:44 – How Do You See ‘Criteria’ Being an Influence For Artists’ Future Creations? 
  • 01:05:13 – What Will Labels and Distribution Look Like in the Future of Web3 Music?
  • 01:11:44 – Do You See Curators as the New Decentralized Music Agents?
  • 01:15:00 – How the Next Generation of Students Become Collectors
  • 01:20:37 – What Does the Intersection of Web3 and Live Music Look Like?
  • 01:21:58 – Outro

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Daniel and Reo, welcome back to the podcast. But now a duo. Let’s go. How are we doing? Thank you for being on.

Danie Allan: Thank you for having us, man. Yeah, we’re happy to be here. We’re really busy right now but doing good.


All right. I think it’s also in respect to what’s about to happen in the coming weeks, with what you guys are working on. You guys have made a lot of noise, a lot of good noise, a lot of positive energy, taking the entire web three scene by storm. So, I don’t know if we should introduce you. I think an introduction is fitting for those who don’t know, you guys. So, let’s start with that. Daniel, give us a quick intro, and then Reo, give us quick intro and we’ll dive right in.

Daniel Allan: Yeah, I’m Daniel. I make and produce music under Daniel Allan and I’ve been dropping music NFT since like March of 2001. It’s definitely changed my life and a lot of ways and yeah, just having a good time doing all of it. 

Amazing. Reo.

Reo Cragun: I’m Reo Cragun artists, musician, producer, kind of like Jack of all trades, been releasing music for quite some time now under my project Reo, Cragun government name. And been releasing music NFTs for a year now. It’s crazy. It’s been like a whole year. And yeah, just having fun doing it. And just like, you know, experimenting and collaborating with just like, people I love, you know, it’s been.

Look, I’m glad to be in that circle of love. I guess just like this is a collaboration to some extent. And this is in preparation for a new project you guys actually have coming out, that I really want to dive into. But I think if you’ve been in web three for a while, specifically web three music, then you definitely have seen Daniel and Reo kind of scattered crypto Twitter. I definitely see you guys on my timeline almost every day. And I’m sure everybody that’s in the sound ecosystem, in the music NFT ecosystem in general has as well. And I think if there’s one thing to note, you guys are homies, like you guys are really, really tight. And I remember seeing Daniel come up, and then we’ll come up shortly after and I feel like that was strategically planned. But I want to get some context. How the hell did you guys meet? What’s the love story between you two? Was it like a small walk on a beach and you guys are just like just clicked or like, what’s the story? You want to take this one Dan?

Daniel Allan: Yeah, it’s so funny because everyone in our lives kind of just jokes about it being a bromance, and now it like publicly has to be one, even though it’s like, obviously, like privately been like behind closed doors, you know. But yeah, so the way that me and Reo met, like, I actually, I actually knew of Reo quite a bit before web three. So, like I was, I grew up listening to like a lot of what, my first love of music was listening to hip hop when I was a kid. And then like, later on in my life, as opposed to before, like, I got into electronic music. And then like, when I was in college, I stumbled across Reo’s project with Flume. And it was definitely like one of the like, the most listened to things that I had, that was like all my rotation at that point, because it was like a mix of those worlds, right? It kind of was like this R&B, like rap pop interpretation of like an electronic record. And so, like I always had the context of Reo and then, about a year ago, it was last November. Right after I had done overstimulated, I noticed that Reo had like a PFP as his cover, or as his like, one of his like, profile picture on Twitter. And I just DMed and I was like, Dude, you know, like, I kind of just shot my shot and was like, hey, we’d love to work together. And then Reo, like kind of automatically was like, oh, dude, yeah, of course. Like, let’s do it, you know.

But did you know Reo prior, or you just came through as PFP?

Reo Cragun: Yeah, we didn’t know each other at all. Yeah, for sure. Dan was on my radar already, like some homies said, like, showed me his music. And then, you know, fast forward a couple months later, he had dropped overstimulated the crowd fund, and that’s like, that’s like, really, I was like, oh, okay, cool. I had already think, I’ve been thinking about like, how I was going to release music on chain at that point and whatnot. And I was just like, well, this is different. This is really cool. And I was like, this is like, a success story for like, you know, funding like an artist project in like a new and exciting way. It was just different.

Got it. So, I know you guys have made music in the past, and the drops have done exceptionally well and Rio respectively. You and loners Dao, you guys have been crushing it like completely and we’ve saw, we’ve seen frameworks, we’ve seen over stimulated, we’ve seen glass house, we’ve seen such like monumental projects from each of you individually. But now you guys are putting your heads together and putting your creativity together to make this like insane project and this masterpiece, that I feel like you’ve been working on for a minute now with without anybody really know it. Can you talk about it, introduce it, what is it called? And what inspired the creation between you two? 

Reo Cragun: Yeah, we have been working on it for quite some time. Pretty much, you know, like from the moment that we linked up, which is pretty funny, and it’s just like molded into like this really, you know, like this body of work that we’re super proud of. I’ll just say right here, like the project is called criteria. It is an EP, that’s pretty much as big as a small album. And, you know, we’re super proud of it. We spent a lot of time on the music. And yeah, it’s the culmination of like, a lot of hard work. And just like attention to detail, and just like, yeah, we’re super excited about it.

Daniel and Reo’s Collaboration Process

Daniel, can you talk more about the collaboration process between you two? And how it sorts of like, yeah, led to the rise of this new project criteria?

Daniel Allan: Yeah, totally. I mean, I think for me, like one of the incident connections that like me and Reo had was kind of a lot of our shared taste from music, you know, like, in a lot of ways, I was really impressed by like a lot of the electronic tastes that he had. And then I think that he might have been like, a little impressed about some of like, the hip hop and rap tastes that I had. And so like, it kind of came from this place of like, really, really, for me like the fundamental like idea, or almost like, I don’t know that you have like a thesis or mission statement, or however it works like around a project, but like, the way that we really wanted it to feel was like we wanted, there’s this world where like, rap fans are scared to like electronic music, and like electronic music fans are like scared to like rap music, or whatever it is, even though like really, in a lot of ways those worlds live together. Like there’s so many like, rap songs that are produced by like, big electronic producers like Skrillex, for example. He used to drop like dubstep and now he does shit for like title assign or Jack Harlow or whoever. And he’s like a part of these records. And it’s really like a beautiful thing when it happens. And so, me and Reo wanted to create a world where it’s just like this 50/50 situation, where I’m bringing as much on the production side as he is bringing lyrically and we’re trying to, like, bring the two worlds together as much as we can. And so like, I think a lot of it came from, like Reo said, we didn’t know that we had a project, like it’s an eight song EP, right, but we have like, 20, 30 songs that we’re like picking, that we’re picking between and since we kind of tied the bow on it, and we’re like, these are the eight songs we’ve already made, like a few songs since are kind of like, you know, like, maybe those find their way onto it. But yeah, like, collaboratively. It’s just been really interesting, because like, you kind of fills the spots, like taste wise that I had, like, might have been missing before and like Reo is like, Reo way of thinking about music is very, it’s pretty different from mine, you know, like for me, like if this were, if this were, if I had it my way, right? Like maybe the songs would be like, a lot longer and a lot more intricate, but Reo’s like kind of whole thought process is always just like, cut the fat, you know, like get to like, when you listen to the records, I think you’ll kind of feel a little bit of like, yeah, there’s like this flexing element of like, electronic production. But then there’s also this like, very much like pop sensibility and like the hooks you know, and I think a lot of that comes from Reo, it’s kind of like dude, like, we get it, you know how to produce but let’s just get to like what the song is, let’s get to like where it is. And I think if you look at it like a project like last house for me, and a lot of ways glasshouse was like I’m a producer, like I can do all of this, I could do all these crazy things. And I like take a lot of pride in that. Whereas with this one, it was just kind of like, you know, definitely flex the producer hat a little bit. But also like, let’s really focus on choruses, let’s really focus on like, you know, songs that have memorable moments and whatnot. And I think that’s what Rios definitely brought out before.

Reo Cragun: He’s fought on to, like I am a big proponent of cut the fat, like, let’s get to the catchy part, like, let’s get to the, you know, like, this should be slapped and like, non-stop, and just like, you know, keep the listeners attention and whatnot. And, you know, like there’s some moments in this too where we do try and stray away from that, I think it’s important to have that a lot. Like often times in like a body of work. But there is like moments, there are moments where you need to kind of slow things down and be dynamic with it. And we have those moments in this project as well. You know, like where you can, you know, go within a little bit, get introspective. And yeah, that’s also just as important in a body of work. And yeah, I feel like we spent a lot of time trying to do things like the correct way for sure. And just like really make the project dynamic.

EP vs. Album

Quick, quick side tangent. How do you decide whether body is going to be an EP versus an album? How have you guys’ kind of like, navigated a decision?

Daniel Allan: My personal way of thinking about it is, I don’t really lean like EP versus album, I just really like projects. Like I just really liked the concept of like, what is a body of work I think that like with an album and this is like a conversation that I’ve thought about a lot is like, I think for like a debut album, I definitely am the artist that is like overthinking it to like a crazy extent and Reo is definitely the artists of like, bro just do it. You can do it, like it’s not a problem. But so, like for me I’m not, I’m thinking of this as like my biggest collaborative project. And honestly, like the biggest project I’ve ever put out, like I’ve never put out a project with more than six songs on it. So yeah, but for me, for me, I think the way that like record labels interpret it is like 30 minutes classifies as an album, which is why sometimes I think what they do is like, they’ll tell like an artist to like take a song off, so that it’ll be 27 minutes, so that it’s counted as like an EP or mixtape but doesn’t fulfill like an album requirement. I think that’s like what it has meant traditionally, which obviously we don’t have to play within those boundaries anymore. But yeah, I just like to think of it as a project.

I don’t know. Okay. Okay. So, give me an example of you guys in the studio and clashing on your sort of creative direction. So, Daniel, you like to make things long, and in sort of like dragged Dao in a very creative and beautiful way, but Reo, you like getting straight to the punch. And I feel like there were instances where you guys were like, no bro, like, there needs to be like this, or we gotta, we gotta,  we gotta stretch it out longer. I want to be in the room with you guys, share with me.

Reo Cragun: Yeah, I mean, honestly, like it’s pretty easy. You know, like, you know, we’re good friends. And so like, we take each other’s suggestions, like nonchalantly, like we’re like, oh, cool. Like, we respect it. You know what I mean? There was one instance I feel like where we were back and forth. And it was just, I don’t know, if you remember this, it was on an op, op was like,

Daniel Allan: I do remember. 

Reo: Cragun: The pre hook was like a little bit longer. And I was like Ah, it’s like eight bars too long for sure. Like this is like too long of a pre hook, because then the hook was like.

Daniel Allan: You cut the pre in half and criteria as well, on the time tracker, because now it’s four. It’s the four bars. I would say it’s less of like, I feel like maybe with like clashing or conflict, there’s like a little bit of a negative connotation. I think that it was literally like, and we’re brothers. So, it’s like, we like, we might like butt heads or whatever but it’s always all love. And like all of the decisions are like, I think at the very least we give each other like the benefit of the doubt. You know what I mean? It’s like, alright bro, if you’re hearing, if you’re really hearing it, like we’ll try it and then more times than not the other person is normally right. Because it’s like, most of the times you just kind of, that’s like the gift and the curse of doing, of making music by yourself is like, yeah, you kind of have the full creative autonomy to make whatever decisions you want to but at the same time, you might be not. You might be losing perspective, not like zooming out as much, you know, that’s just like the benefit of having a collaborator.

Reo Cragun: Yeah, for sure. And like, most of it always like boils down to like arrangement anyhow, which is like just like the most meticulous, like you know, like thing, and it’s like, the smallest details right? Are always like the most important. So, like something that our listeners probably not even really going to pay attention to, or even might even catch on like the first or second listen through. Like, those are the things that were really like, okay, cool. Like, maybe that’s the things that like we’re trying to narrow down and figure out how to like make this full circle and what’s going to make this you know, outcome the best.

Do Your Creative Routines Ever Clash?

Makes sense, Daniel, I know you have a really unique routine, where you wake up at like five in the morning. You’re an early bird and you work really well in the morning, like when it’s really quiet outside. Reo, I’m curious to learn more about what your routine is, and have your routines ever clashed during like a creative process, or what did that really look like?

Reo Cragun: Yeah, that’s a good that’s a good question. Daniel’s a psychopath. He like gets up and goes on a run. That scares me, it’s concerning, just kidding, now good for him. It’s very healthy. The, you know, our routines like weren’t clashing, we went to, we went out to Josh retreat to like write a lot of like, to really like finish the project, which was a lot of fun. My routine, honestly, like I’m pretty nonchalant. So, I mold to like whatever, whatever’s good. I normally wake up around like 9am or something like that, so Dan probably up before me. But as soon as I hear the music playing, I’m like, oh, okay, roll out of bed, go straight into the studio. And that’s like how my day always starts out too by the way. I wake up in the morning, maybe I get some water and some coffee. And I just beeline it straight to my studio. And I’m like, okay, the day is starting.

Blending 2 Different Genres Together

Yeah. And Daniel I know you’re primarily like focused on electronic music, Reo you’re around hip hop. But this project clashes both worlds together. I think that’s like the beauty of the project from what I understand. I am curious sort of how does criteria blend both genres together? And in what ways do you think the project kind of pushes the boundaries of this mix and then the music industry as a whole?

Daniel Allan: I mean, the big thought here is, I want all of this music to work just as well for my shows, as it would work for Reo Cragun’s show, like as far as I’m concerned, they’re like, there are two types of like electronic shows, right? There’s like, there’s obviously like DJing, where you can kind of set the pace, you know, kind of have a little bit more open format or whatever. And then there’s like the spectacle, like there’s like the full, you know, bring instrumentalists out, keyboard, drum pad, blah, blah. And that is, that’s really dope. But the thing, the thing that, the one thing that maybe might be missing from that is, you don’t necessarily get to meet the artists as much, because it’s so time coded. It’s so perfect. It’s so like, absolutely meticulous, that it loses a little bit, you know, in my opinion of like, the emotion of like, am I really, I’m really connecting with the music, but am I connecting with the person behind the music, right? And then whereas like, if you’ve ever been to like a comedy show, or if you’ve ever been like any kind of rap show, it’s like bonkers, but it’s all it’s about the person just as much as it is about the music because you’re like connecting with, this person is right there, like saying, oh, like talking their shit. I don’t know if I’m allowed to cuss on here, sorry, but this person is literally just like, up here, like, you know, connecting with the fans directly, like in a more where they can like talk to each other. You know, like a lot, there’s a lot of like banter and whatnot that happens during the shows. And so, I think to me, the way that it kind of brings the two worlds together is like, I almost want to trick people in a lot of ways. I want to trick like rap fans into liking electronic music by, because there’s some songs on the project that are definitely like real just rapping, but there are like these like sense behind that, that you kind of, you have to think about it like just a little bit more, I didn’t want it to feel like, I didn’t want it to feel so out of the ordinary to rap. And to the point where they’re just absolutely turned off to it from the very beginning. Like I wanted to, for there to be like, at least a little bit of intrigue to the point where you’re like, you know, like, why do I like this? You know, like there’s, it’s like I like it because the person is rapping, but is there any other reason? You know, that I feel that kind of way about it. And so, for me like the way, that that was kind of our goal, right? It’s just to find the most organic way to bring it together, where it doesn’t, it’s still to the electronic thing that doesn’t feel forced, but to the rap and it also doesn’t.

Reao Cragun: I second that too.

I want to hear your perspective on this.

Reo Cragun: Yeah, I mean, like I, you know, as we said before, like I am a big proponent of like, let’s not overthink it, you know, like, as long as the music is good, you know, drums are slapping and like, the top line is catchy. In certain sections, I think like, that’s like a winning recipe. And it’s like, it’s a way that everyone can have fun and everyone can enjoy it. Like and that’s like, mainly what I think about, like with music, which is why I like a lot of genres is because like, I can, you know, like there’s beauty in that, you know, in that formula. It’s you know, you have good sound selection, you know that was a big part of it as well. Like because it was like, it was kind of funny. Like Dan was definitely like in love with like synths and like, what was it? It was like, yeah, Cthulhu was like a big, like, part of like, the very first like part of the project, you know what I mean? And then like it phased into the organ, you know, the organ was like, like a big sound, which was kind of cool. So, like, I think there was like a few ways of just kind of like manipulating that. But yeah, and then, you know, just keeping it dynamic, which was like really cool. 

Choosing Which Songs Make the Cut

All right. So, I love this. I love asking a mood board question. Daniel, I asked you this question last time. And you said there were 20 songs sort of like came out of your entire energy together and only eight were chosen. How did you choose those eight? And when you pick these songs, do you have like a mood board in mind or like a certain element or a certain feeling or a color? Like how do you make this decision of all these bodies of work?

Daniel Allan: It’s a good question. I mean, there are a few answers to it. I think number one, like with Reo in general, it relates to a personal story and a personal experience that I’ve had in a personal experience that Reo has had in the past, but like both of them kind of relate to like the feeling of an ego death in a lot of ways and so for me like the way that, when you listen to the project, right? Like criteria, which is the opening track to the criteria project, it’s literally just flex, it’s a flex, it really is, it’s just like it’s a production flex it’s like Reo says like they finally take me serious now that I fit the criteria, like it’s literally just having all these bars and it’s just rap and like either way and just loud and like obnoxious. And then a lot of ways, it’s kind of like you saying like, I’m the man, you know. And then the project kind of, it kind of evolved into this thing where like almost halfway or like two thirds of the way through There’s a song called recalibrating and recalibrating is like this 32nd ambient project or ambient song that almost feels like the entire project fell apart, like it feels like it’s melting and in a lot of ways that’s supposed to be the experience of like, kind of losing something losing someone, whatever it is losing yourself in the process, right and then the back half of the project is kind of you coming out on the other side, you know, like, there’s a song called out of touch, where the course is like, I’m out of touch with you and I fell in love with it. And a lot of ways out of the you in that situation, like it has two meanings. But one of the meanings is like, you fell out of touch with, like, the old version of yourself at fall in love with like the new version of you. And like, I think I think a lot of people have had moments in their lives in their careers where they’ve just felt humbled, you know what I mean? Like, there are high horses, like things that have, you know, things have been going historically, well, for them, even like this wasn’t the intention at all. But like, even with web three stuff, like we had with music NFTs started, like during like a crazy bull run, right. And now, like a lot of people have been humbled and have reassessed, like what their priorities are, when things aren’t as hot as they were before, you know in a lot of ways, or at least optically, right? I mean, the people who are working on it know that it’s dope, right? But optically, like things aren’t as popular as they were before. Like the outside opinions have changed a little bit. But really, musically it kind of tells the story of, you know, that whole process, like you start on top of the world, you have a moment that humbles you, but it’s like necessary for you to be like the best version of you.

Reo Cragun: Yeah, the project is literally, like he was spot on with everything. It’s literally about self-awareness. You know what I mean? And it’s like self-discovery, you go throughout a journey, I think, like criteria is like an ego thing. You start off and you’re just like, very, it’s bold, and it’s like in your face. And like we wanted to start off on a high note. And then kind of like, you go through, like an introspective journey. I mean, I think it’s like emotions, and you know, real life experiences on my end that are very relatable. You know like also, it was, I kind of touch on a whole bunch of like feelings that I was going through, like in this part of my career, and my journey as an artist as well, like coming from the traditional side, like I’m way more established than I was like entering this new world of like web three and music and NFTs. So, it was really cool to like start from ground level, and just like work with a whole bunch of talent and like really cool people that, you know like, I probably wouldn’t even like have seen or like been, you know like privy to, if I wasn’t on Twitter, as often, you know because like, because of music NFTs. Dan for example, like the first time, first time we linked up and made music in person was in Palm Springs, I like had a condo out there. But then, you know, working on glass house, you know, like flew out there, went to Malibu and like Dan introduced me to, you know, a whole bunch of people who I’m just like, great friends with now. You know, and yeah, it was just, it was just wild. Like it’s very funny that you know, those couple of months, like that small window of time, like has changed a lot and influenced a lot of like the entire year and probably years to come, you know, for sure. But yeah, that’s kind of like the journey of criteria.

How Long Did it Take to Complete the New Project ‘Criteria’

Yeah, that makes sense. You know, how long did it actually take for criteria to complete like, from start to finish? Five months, six months? How long did it take?

Daniel Allan: Kinda interesting. Yeah, I think we, I want to say we started supercharged in like February, like does that, supercharged was the first song we made and we made a few songs before that. But that was the first one that we made that we looked at each other and we’re like, that’s the single like you know what I mean? Like, that’s when like DOG who like is in the other room came in. He’s like, I don’t care about anything. You know what I mean? He was just like stop. He was like, stop fucking around, just put this out. Supercharged was the first one we made that definitely felt like a single which, by the way, we haven’t we haven’t really touched on it. But that was a big focus as well. Like there’s this narrative on this project about like, you know, really just this narrative and thesis that’s been going around, like what is web three needs? What does web three music need to have like a big moment? And I’ve been on record multiple times saying that I think it needs to be a breakout artist and in a lot of ways what that means is like a breakout hit or breakout song and so a lot of project that I didn’t mention is like, we all, we do, not to put all the, I don’t think it’s healthy to go into being like I want to hit but it’s like that’s why some of the top lines are a little bit more like pop leaning, as we’re kind of we kind of want to capture like a lot of different audiences with it. But with that said, we started the project around February and then we were, we stacked up demos all summer, last spring and all summer and like did a lot of it remotely, like every once in a while, Reo would come here, you know, Reo knows he’s like the fourth honorary roommate of the house. I mean, we don’t really go like a week or two without seeing each other really. And then I spent some time in Vegas but when we, everything kind of culminated in August, where we, that’s when we were in Joshua Tree like starting to like put a lot of it together, like actually deciding which ones go where like, what the track list is going to be, what the story is. Then a couple months went by, and I was like kind of just being a nerd, like starting to mix some stuff, starting to really like put final touches on it. And then Grady came over to the house, because originally it was seven songs, Grady came over and he put down this top and he’s only feature on the project. And he came over and he just made this like chorus. And I showed it to Reo and he’s like, oh, yeah, like 1,000%. Like, you know, this has to be on because it was like such a different song from all of the other ones. And like Reo said, like we really wanted the whole thing to feel dynamic. So, Reo or Grady, in a funny way, threw a wrench in things, but in the best way possible. And, you know, one important thing about like having Grady on it symbolically is like Grady, was definitely the very first person in music, who like believed in me, like he was definitely like, he was the first guy that was, I remember, like he was the first guy that, like he had like a house in Los Angeles, and he had like a bathtub. And he was like, I was like, he has all these things as like a producer. And obviously, it doesn’t do anything else. Like he’s just like making music all day. And I’m like, oh my God, this guy’s like a musician, musician. Like, this is his job, you know, like, he does it. And he was one of the first people that like, we had a session here, like, you’re dope, you should come back. And I was like, really? You know, and so it is kind of symbolic because Grady was the first person that told me that I fit the criteria, you know, and a lot of times and so. So, it is, yeah, it is like an interesting full circle moment to have him on the project. 

Reo Cragun: That’s the running joke with this project too. By the way, it’s like you got good energy, you fit the criteria, you know, the music is fire, you fit the criteria. You know, you are good person, you fit the criteria.

Learning New Things About Each Other While Working Together

I like it. I like it. So that’s 10 months together. That’s a long ass time. I’m curious if you guys learned something about each other that you really didn’t expect going into the process if you could share?

Daniel Allan: Oh, yeah. 100% like, you know, like I’ve said this before, like it was really cool to watch like Dan’s like development. Not only as like an artist, but as just like a human over like the last year and some change. Yeah, it’s been really cool, you know, like I remember, you know, like when Dan, I shouldn’t say first started releasing music NFTs because like I was a couple of months after, when I was really like, when he was on my radar, but just like through that process, like the growth like musically and artistically has been like through the roof, which has been really cool to see like, you love to see the homies like, fuck and definitely level up. And then also just like as a person as well, it’s been really cool. Yeah, boys out here whipping around in a Tesla now like, okay, look at you.

Daniel Allan: That is crazy. Say something nice about it. 

Your turn.

Reo Cragun: Switched up on the boy. 

Danie Allan: I forgot the question.

What did you learn about Reo? I’m curious. Fill me in.

Daniel Allan: A piece of shit. No, I mean, I’m definitely like straight up. I mean the thing that I’ve learned the most is that like, people don’t get to where they are in the music industry, like by accident or by being like pieces of shit. Like in a lot of ways, like there’s this like notion that like, when you are big artists, you have to be like cooler than everyone else, like there’s this like shroud of like, you know, there’s just not like a lot of humility in it. And like in a lot of ways, I’ve definitely, I think one of the things that Reo is like alluding to is, I’ve definitely, I’ve gotten a lot more confident myself in the past year. And I think a lot of that comes from, my confidence level was at zero for the longest time, you know, like I was at a place where I was like, insecure of like, all of my shit, like, never thought anything I was making was cool. And then all of a sudden like all my friends were just like, dude, you can do this, like you can make like whatever kind of genre you want. And so, in a lot of ways, I finally started to like, believe in myself, you know, but at the same time, having Reo in my corners also reminded me like, yo, like humility is just as important as the confidence is because if you, if all you have is just like you being confident yourself and you start to lose perspective on like objectivity. You know what I mean? And so, like for me, I think like the thing that I’ve learned most, like you just can’t, you can’t, you don’t, being an asshole isn’t like the only way to like be successful, right? It’s I don’t think it’s that all the way until like, just kind of being humble remembering like why you make music, like what’s important to like, prioritizing things, like your friends and your family, I think are just gonna put you like in a better place to make music that you care about, you know. 

Do You Ever Doubt Yourself?

I really resonate with that because as someone who makes podcast, like I continue to self-doubt myself, like when I reach out to people, it’s like am I, do I have the clout worthy enough to have them on my stage, right? And I’m curious if you guys ever have doubt in yourself and like when does that come into play and how often does that come into play?

Daniel Allan: I do not know a single musician who has never had impostor syndrome. Like it’s like, it’s literally, it’s just a part of the equation, right? Because like for me I’ve, I think I probably said this the very first podcast that we ever did. But I remember like how I was feeling after overstimulation happened. Because all of a sudden, like everyone who I ever thought was cool in the music industry just started hitting me up out of nowhere. And I thought that it was, well not out of nowhere. It’s like after overstimulated, but I just, in my mind I was like, this has nothing to do with my music, like this is just because I’m like the music NFT guy, and like people just want, are looking at me as like $1 bill and like really want to get into like NF T’s really and like want to use me as like a ladder, I guess, to get there, you know.

Reo Cragun: Yeah. I mean on my end too like. Earlier in my career, for sure, I think it was like a lot more common. But yeah, I got told no like so many times, that I’m so resilient and just like, way more confident in myself now. That, you know like, I have just like thick skin and like, I know that I can do it. I just need to put the work in. And you know, and I think it all starts with putting the work in, right. So, like, even if we’re talking music NFTS, a year ago I was definitely questioning everything. I was like, oh, cool, like, you know like, you know, do I know what I’m doing? Like is this project going to, like are people going to like it? Do they want to collect it even? Like why would they collect my stuff over, you know like someone else’s and things of that nature? Those were a lot of, I was experiencing that. But I think the conversations now have changed over like the last year. And I’m like, what is like another cool experiment that we can do? Like how do you, how do I, you know like, work with other talented musicians that, you know like, I love and admire, like the questions are changing, that I’m asking myself now that I’m like more confident on this stage and whatnot, as well. But so that’s been very interesting. I feel like there’s you know like, but when it comes to the music, I’m very comfortable in my own skin these days, which is like really cool. 

Big Challenges Faced While Creating This Project

Yeah. Yeah, I think with time you build up your voice, and you build up your confidence, you build up your character. But even, I remember when I used to play more music, I read music regularly, even before going on stage. Like I feel like I’m not supposed to be here. I’m super nervous, or all these like weird ass thoughts would just hit my head, I’d still feel excited, you know, going on stage, but I don’t know. Yeah, it still be a pool of mixed feelings. And I think when we think about criteria, and we think about some of the challenges, so I think doubting yourself throughout the process, maybe challenging your creativity is definitely one of the challenges, but any other big challenges you guys’ face while creating this new project and how did you guys overcome it?

Reo Cragun: It’s good question. I feel like when it came to the creation, it was just pretty natural and flowing. I think the challenge was, you know, Daniel’s schedule and my schedule, like we have like a lot of things going on, like and so it was just like, oh, cool. Like, yeah, I’m gonna fly out to the crib, like on these dates and that was cool. And then like Daniel fly out here. And you know, like I save this like, because I’m in Vegas. Like it’s funny, like these plane rides are like taxis for me, which is just insane. Because it’s only like a 40-minute flight. And like, maybe the ticket is $40 US, it’s like, literally cheaper than Uber. It’s kind of crazy. But yeah, so, that’s why, you know, I’m also over there, you know, crashing Ether pad like pretty often working on music and things of that nature. But yeah.

Anything comes to your mind, Daniel? Any other challenges?

Daniel Allan: Honestly like, the only other thing which is to me, which is just making the sonic palette makes sense for both types of fan groups, you know.

What does that mean?

Daniiel Allan: I think like, it just means like, the kind of like the stuff that I was touching on like a second ago, like where I think that it just has to be convincing to both sides. You know what I mean? Like that in nature is a challenge. Like it has to be convincing to rap fans just as much as it is electronic fans and like, well, it’s like, easy to say that like, it’s been done before. Like I’m not, I don’t think that it’s like, like oh my God, we’re the first to do rap. Like if you know your history, it’s been happening for a very long time, you know, but I think that it’s the narrative and the way that like we’re pushing it and just our own kind of, it definitely feels like it’s its own thing. It’s like what I’m trying to say and I think like trying to create a world that like caters to in a lot of ways like the history of rap, the history of pop, the history of electronic, like the all of the cultures that fall into like that melting pot, I think to me is by far, was by far the biggest the biggest challenge because like I said, we want this to live in so many worlds whereas like, a lot of the times music can live in like one particular niche, you know what I mean? And then like that, or just one lane, like pop is a lane, rap is a lane, electronic is a lane and like, you look at artists like, you know, think of anyone like The Chainsmokers, right? Like they were a fully electronic niche, like that was their thing. And then they kind of built a crowd there. And then eventually that kind of fell into the pop world. We were kind of like, let’s just combine everything at once and see what happens. And I would say like, that was like by far the biggest challenge. 

How Does This New Project Reflect Your Growth As an Artist?

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. You know, you guys have had quite the career in web three. You guys have, I feel like I’ve watched you Daniel grow like the most and Reo, I’ve came across your journey as an artist and as a web three native, I guess creator for some time as well. But remember Daniel, I remember documenting your story from the get go. And I’m curious, how does this new project sort of reflect your growth as an artist, each of you and as a musician over the years? Like what do you guys think about? What do you think of that?

Daniel Allan: Yeah, I mean, the word that just keeps coming to mind for me for criteria is confidence. You know, I think that for the, Reo can attest to this. Like I said, I’m really, you know, might not seem like it in the past 6 to 10 months. By nature, I’m not that confident of it, dude. Like, I’m like, in terms of like who I am and like where I came from and whatnot. Like I’ve always believed in myself, but I’ve never been like outwardly confident, you know, like those are the things and thoughts that I’ve always kind of kept to myself, like I know that I work hard. I get all those things, but in terms of like, art, specifically, like I’ve never been like, oh, yeah, like, check me out. Like if someone, it’s more of the conversations more of the time at like parties, like, oh, you make music? Yeah. Like check it out. Like that’s like always like, yeah, like that’s like historically been at. Whereas like now, like any opportunity that I get to hop on aux to play criteria, I do, like almost to the point where I’m like obnoxious about it. Like we were me and Reo were in Bali, and like let me play it. Like I want to hear it on the streets. I want to hear; I want to hear it on this system. I want to hear it everywhere. And so like, yeah, for me, that’s been like the biggest growth moment is like, just kind of not even trying to be the perfect artists, just being like I love what I’m doing. Like I love the music that I have. And like with glass house, for example, like I knew which producer homies I could show it to confidently like, I knew that I could like pull up to my friend Eldar and be like he would appreciate like the soundscapes, like I knew that I could pull up to like DOG and be like he would appreciate the drums, right. Whereas with criteria, I’m like, I’m gonna show this to Adam Levy as soon as we get off the call, you know what I mean? Like I’m like, that’s genuinely how I feel about it, which is like, never been the case before. And especially with like live shows, as I’m starting to like play more and more of those. I traditionally, like kind of I grew up, like my older brother was a DJ, like in college. And then when I was in college, I would also DJ myself, and I absolutely love the like lower and the idea of being like an open format DJ, we can like play other people’s music and whatnot. But criteria have definitely given me the confidence to like, really start to build a catalogue where I’m playing like my own stuff, like almost like entirely, right. And that just really seems foreign to me, if you like zoom back a year ago, because even with like overstimulated, for example, this, I still play really cool and poison live. Because poison was like the song that went off that project. And I would say, that was the first one that gave me like a seed of like, confidence, you know what I mean? But with criteria, I’m like, I want to play all of it. Like I wanna, I want to, I want to do a hard ticket show, I want to play the whole thing front to back, I want to do it three times. You know what I mean? Like, it’s like, it’s like, it’s like Jay Z, and Kanye performing in Paris. You know, like, it’s like, I’m just like, like, they played, they played that song, like 13 times in a row. And that’s like, kind of, because I was just like, I want to play this front to back for as long as I can. And so yeah, I don’t know, it’s definitely, to me, that’s been the biggest thing for sure.

That’s a hell of growth. What about you Reo?

Reo Cragun: Yeah, I mean, for me, it was just, you know, like one of the biggest things that I took away from the project was just have fun with it. And like, don’t take myself too seriously. And like most of the, you know, like, let’s say like, the bare bones of like all of these songs came from, oh, shoot, this is catchy from the beginning, let’s not overthink it. And like, obviously, we took our time, like, we took a lot of time with this, because I think that’s what it takes in order to make music at a high level honestly, is being simplistic with it, like not overdoing it, but also being very intricate. And so like, when it comes to arrangement, when it comes to, you know, like, intricacies in the mix, just things like that, when it comes to automation. You know, those are the things where it’s like we can nerd out, and, you know, like the very, the very small moments are like really what adds like the magic. And I think that’s what it takes. And, you know, that was really cool. You know, to see, you know, to work on something like that with Dan. Because you know, this is a big, it’s a big body of work really, is like eight songs is like no joke. So it was cool to, you know, kind of like we, you know, just spearheaded alongside, yeah, it was really cool.

Reo, is there anything you discovered about yourself, something new throughout these 20 songs and then got condensed to eight? Anything new you learned about yourself?

Reo Cragun: Yeah, yeah, for sure, I think just like touching again, like just have more fun with it like, I was, you know, like to put into perspective I was, you know, on the road playing shows for like, you know, the last like five years pretty much. And it was like, cool, like put a project out, go tour, you know, like don’t have a lot of personal time don’t do like a lot of like, overthinking on like making the music like. It was wild. And, you know, like working on this, and also releasing music NFTs, it was just like, it has been the most like, it’s been one of the best years of my life, because I’m like, way more in tune, and in touch with like myself, which I think is like kind of bringing out like a different artistic angle, like one that I miss, you know, like I’m just as hungry as like I was like, when I was in the basement, like writing these songs. And like the shit that really like kind of like, you know, the moment where, you know, like for example, like, you know, at some point in time, I moved from this little city in Vancouver, Washington, to Los Angeles, California, you know what I mean? And it was because I had the drive and the courage to go do something and experiment and fucking, you know, not care what the outcome was, but needed to do it because like I needed to do it. And that’s part of the artistic drive, man, that’s the hunger that’s like, you know, the, kind of like the beast inside of you. And like a lot of that, a lot of that, like I was reintroduced to that side of me, you know what I mean? And I think like, the music is better, my attitude is better. And I’m hungry, I want to crush, I want to like, you know, like I want this music like to be heard by a whole bunch of people. I want people to be excited and proud to collect it because we put a lot of energy and time into it. And you know, like more importantly, I want people to see that like we had a lot of fun like building this. And you know, like, this is a story about like two friends coming together and just like building something special and something that we can be both proud of. Yeah.

Yeah. Who would you say is more of a perfectionist between the two of you?

Reo Cragun: Good question. I think it depends. Honestly it depends. It depends on what it is. I think like geez, with you, it’s like more technical stuff. I feel like yeah, and with me, it’s like, how do we make something technical, like easily digestible for people, you know, and.

Daniel Allan: Literally, the dynamic of the whole project is like, it’s like I’m producer and technical nerd perfectionist. Like, if the snare drum is too needy to loud, I want to cry. And then Reo was just like, if the vocal arrangement sucks, I want to cry. So that’s like, yeah, it’s different. It’s definitely different categories.

Whats the Creative Balance Like Between You Guys?

So, put me in the room when you guys are actually producing a song and creating one of these tracks. who focuses on what, what’s like the balance between you guys creatively? So, you mentioned a little bit on the producing side, Reo on the lyrical side. Can you give me more of that? I’m really curious to be in a room with you guys and understand, how do you split both of your dynamics up?

Reo Cragun: Yeah, cuz sometimes we flip flop. Most of the time, like 95% of the time, like Dan is like, drafting something up. And then like, I’ll add, oh, I should actually say 95% of the time. Oftentimes, there’s like three methods of doing it, right. One is, Dan starts something from scratch, or like have something prepared, and then I would do something over it. Two would be, you know, like I have this like top line that’s like super catchy. I just know it in my gut. But, you know, like, I just hate what I did on production wise. And I know like, Dan’s gonna like do a way better job. And then three, maybe I’ll start like a song idea. Just like a very bare bones one and then ship everything over to him. And then he runs with it and like it turns into something awesome.

Daniel Allan: Yeah, I would say one of the things that I’ve just learned most throughout this project, but also just me by myself as a producer in the past year, has really been trying to see through like the woods of like that there’s a demo into like the light of like what the song can be, right, like gassing you up, which is like, I mean, it’s personally like, I might even say like my proudest moment on the project. Just because I really feel it’s like a pop song with electronic production that I feel, I just feel like every reaction unanimously to it, it’s just that people love it. That song was sent to me, Reo sent me like, he sent me like a, like basically an eight-bar loop, almost essentially, like something like that was like, literally just a mumble of the melody da, da, da, da, and the layer was literally just, he wasn’t even saying anything. Everyone knows Reo is like the best mumbler if you’ve ever worked with him, but it was like, it was like a mumble loop and like a little like chord progression. And I like immediately texted him, I was like, this is the single, I was like, this is a single, like immediate like, he was like, bro, what he taught, like there was nothing on it, like there was literally nothing. I was like, yeah, this is a single, just send it to me, I’ll do it tomorrow. And like definitely like my better, like my understanding of myself in a lot of ways. And like how I collaborate with other people was like, I just needed to be, I need to like always see an idea through because a lot of the time is my production habits before this were like, I’m gonna do something for 15 minutes. And if I don’t like it, I’m gonna do something else, you know, and I kind of started to get in the headspace of like hold on, let me, it’s a good top line, like it’s a good chord progression, like maybe I’m just thinking about it the wrong way. Like maybe the tempo is incorrect. Maybe the drums are incorrect. But that doesn’t mean like the that initial idea is not strong. And so, like I’ve, a lot of it has been, and maybe it’s encouragement from other people like Reo or whatever that are like, oh, like try this. And so, for me when I’m working on music now, I really try to, like I’m fortunate enough, I’m so fortunate that I had now have like top lines being sent to my inbox, which has always been my dream. Like, it’s always been like a, because I came up in college, like I was making remixes and it was the best experience ever. Because like a well recorded vocal works well with any chord progression, right? And so, I kind of was like, that was such a luxury to me. But now I have like these original vocals and original top lines that are being sent to me and rather than just being like, this top line sucks or whatever, or like this isn’t for me. I was like no, like this is obviously a great topic. Like this is a great artist, this is a great like pop record, like I just need to keep, I need to keep reimagining this until there’s a way that this works. I’m still doing that with like a Reo song. There’s a song called bartender that Reo sent me like six months ago, it’s probably seen like 15 versions, like I and it’s, and I know that it’s me, like I know that it’s like I’m like no, like this top line is it, like this is a great pop top line, but I just haven’t found the angle on it yet. So, like I’m just, I guess, like probably persistence. I don’t know, persistence has been like, both by myself and collaboratively, right? Has been like a big part of our process, you know, because we’ve, there were a lot of different iterations, you know, of a lot of the songs on the project and so like, kind of being like collaboratively persistent has been like a big thing for both of us.

Is There Any Competitiveness Between the Both of You?

The last question I sort of have for between like a duo combo that you guys are is, how do you see competitiveness between the both of you? Is there any competitiveness?

Reo Cragun: Of course, we’re you know, we’re just, we’re a couple of brothers for sure. Yeah, there’s always a little bit of

Reo, I love your reaction, two different reactions.

Daniel Allan: Me and Reo said like a few months ago, we got we got in a race to see who to get to 10,000 followers. I’m not gonna say who won, I’m not but basically, we started pulling out the stops row, like when we, there were, I got ahead. I got ahead for a little bit. And that Reo drops frameworks and then frameworks made him skyrocket like, I’d say there was a point where we were for a week, we just had the same amount of followers, like we were both like 9700 and then we just started pulling out all the stops, like I remember like, I remember like Reo was doing a draft with pretty much and they did like a campaign that was like follow Reo for this and I was like you mother fucker. You know what I mean? Like we just but it’s honestly, it’s definitely brought out the best of both of us. Unfortunately, neither of us ever take it personally, it’s just who we are. Like I’m just like I grew up doing sports and shit, so like I’m just a competitor by nature and Reo is just like, Reo is like the tame competitor but if you poke the bear then it like comes out. So, we’re definitely, we’re both definitely super competitive people but it’s made me better, like it’s made me like a lot better at music. Like a lot of like my favorite athletes or whatever like I don’t know, like Michael Jordan would always just play the best player on the other team because he just loved it, like he loved that it, like gave him a challenge, he loved it, like made him better and whatnot. Like Kobe Bryant was like the same way and so I’m just like, I’m over here like going head-to-head with like a giant and I’m like I’m gonna be better, that’s like always been like my, that’s always been like my mentality but it’s never, it’s obviously it’s all love like at the end of the day. It’s like it’s all like for, it’s all for the best, like it’s never, it’s definitely never gotten like bad you know. But yeah, during that period, it was crazy, I was like checking his Twitter followers every day. I was really checking off and I knew like, if you would have in that two-week period, if you would have asked me at any point in the day, how many Twitter followers I had and how many Twitter followers Reo had, I would have known. I would have known the exact number, I really would have, I really. Like you could have woken me up in the middle of the night, I would have known.

Oh my gosh.

Reo Cragun: But no, that was good though. Because like you know, it inspires hard work and good work ethic as well. Like you need to be competitive man, like you know like, I think music started, you know, it starts for most of us as like, you know, a hobby, and we love it, you know what I mean? But then it’s like, it turns into this thing where it’s like, I need to get better. How am I going to continue to get better? You know what I mean? So, it’s always a competitive thing. It turns into a sport, man, this is really a sport, you know? And like, I want to flex as much as I’m able to flex, especially musically, man, I gotta show you that I’m good you know. And yeah, for sure. So, you need that you need that competitiveness for sure. And I mean, we grew up playing sports too. Like this is what it boils down too for sure. And yeah, like you said, you know, like you bounce that energy off of each other. If you guys are right here, you know, you might end up over here because of the competitiveness and whatnot. And as long as you know, obviously stay respectful and have fun with it, you know, like it’s gonna do nothing but improve you, you know.

What’s the Significance of Releasing Criteria as Your Largest Mint to Date?

Yeah, we spent the last, almost an hour, seven minutes’ drive from an hour, just talking about the music. I want to talk more about now, like web three in general. Because web three is kind of like piecing and gluing this entire puzzle together. And I really want to understand sort of what’s the significance of releasing criteria as your largest mint to date? And how does that sort of demonstrate the potential of what’s possible in web three music?

Daniel Allan: Totally. I’m happy to take a stab at this first. So basically, out of my, you know like every job that I’ve done has like always solved a problem, right? I mean, like for me, like overstimulated was solving the problem of how can I have creative freedom and work with fans? Glass House kind of solve the problems of like, okay, how do you kind of control your marketing funnel? Like what do you do after you’ve had like a few sound drops? Like what do you do to start like to build a world with the people who are like I have been a part of your project, right? And I think in a lot of ways, people look at me and Reo as like, really, like I did a site with bonfire and a lot of people started doing things a bonfire. For example, like we really, like we’re both really like cognizant and aware that in a lot of ways we’re building the blueprint, we’re gonna make mistakes along the way. But people are really looking at what we’re doing. And so, in a lot of ways, right? There’s a way on the web two side of things, whenever you’re dropping music, right? It’s pretty simple. Like you make the songs like the hardest part, you make good music, right? And then you think about the creative for it. And then you start to post on social media and tease it and whatnot. And then you put the songs out. And then if you’re fortunate enough to have an infrastructure, you are kind of able to tour with it. That’s kind of like the start to finish of that cycle. On the web three side, really, it’s like, okay, yeah, like you can drop on sound. And then maybe you can have, you might, maybe a few people have had like a site built by bonfire. But most of the time, it’s like you drop on sound if you want, maybe you might do a mirror post to talk about it. But for us, what we really wanted this project to be about is like, what does a full web three rollout look like? And how can that be like a blueprint for other people to start to incorporate? I think that the reality is there’s so many players in our ecosystem that don’t necessarily get enough love. And we kind of want to create a place where like, look composability is very important. Like, I don’t think that it’s about like one person winning, I think that we’re one platform winning, I think that it’s about everyone winning together and understanding what their resources are and understanding what the tools are around them. So, like to give a little bit of context on that, like we’re going to be doing the drop on sound via our bonfire site, right? We’re going to be using a spin amp activation with like a custom skin, which is just like a cool little perk to like bring out the project, we’re going to be doing stems with our Peggi for future remixes. And like, we’re going to do like a sample pack with them, like a criteria sample pack, which is like, you kind of think of that as like akin to like what a splice pack rollout would be. On the web two sides, we’re using on cyber, which is like kind of a new platform that’s like to build a virtual space for people to have like enjoy like a listening party. So, they can actually, you can actually like go in, scroll around, jump around, this like you know, you have like a little avatar and like be in sync with everyone else. 

It’s dope.

Daniel Allan: Yeah, it is really dope. And so, for us, we’re like trying to you know, we’re doing like a mirror post promote. We’re basically like showcasing like, okay, here are all the tools, here’s like what a quote unquote web three rollout is, that isn’t just like, I’m just gonna yellow putting a song out. Like I kind of want to create like a step-by-step world where you can kind of go, okay, here are all the tools that we have, here the resources, you can kind of pick and choose as you want, you can find your own and, you know, substitute that in. But for us, that was the big narrative behind this one is like, you know, what does a web three rollout feel like?

Reo, anything to add to that?

Reo Cragun: No, I think that like, that is like spot on. The only thing I would add is, yeah, I mean, like, criteria is mainly like a collaborative effort between Dan and I. And so like, we also were just like, you know, like how can we make this rollout a collaborative effort as well? And so, you know, we tapped on like a lot of people. And like, we’re super stoked to be, you know, working alongside of everyone and whatnot. But yeah, I mean, the one thing that I did want to add to is like, this is on sounds protocol. So, like, it is also like modular contract assumption, stuff that we add to it. 

What Did the Mood Board Look Like For the Visuals of the Drop?

Got it. And what did the mood board look like for the visuals of the drop? Because I know you guys always pay really close attention to detail, to what this visual experience sort of looks and feels like? What did it sort of look and feel like?

Daniel Allan: We’re really fortunate this time to have like a bigger art team around us. For the first time, like really, for one of the first times like we brought like this amazing, one for the first time, but we brought like this amazing creative director on the sky. And ironically, he had known Reo for like quite a while, Reo when he was on tour with Billy Eilish. And like, kind of ran backstage and gave him some clothing. And it was the first time, like his own merch, and was the first time that Reo wore this dude’s merch on stage. And so, he always wanted to find a way to like work with Reo. So, he definitely, he cares about the project, he really cares about like the visual appeal of that. And so, for us, what we really wanted the visuals to kind of speak on, is to tease a little bit on like self-awareness and whatnot. And so like, for us, we ended up, it’s funny, because neither of us really play chess like that. But we kind of had this idea, like a brunch to use chess pieces for the eight songs and have every time be associated with its own chest piece. And the reason that we’re doing that is like, we’re kind of playing a little bit with psychology. So, like, we’re actually making the pawn be like the rarest piece. And the reason that we’re doing that is because it’s kind of like an Easter egg. But I’ll say it is like, there’s this whole notion, right? That you’re just like, obviously, this like idea of like arrogance, or self-confidence, or whatever it is, like kind of like the first half of criteria musically, right? Where you’re just like, oh, like, I’m the best on the show, whatever. Like, it’s all me, me, me. And so, we have like a few custom chess pieces that’s like, one is like me, and one is like just Rio. And those are actually the least rare because we want to be like, yo, like you’re not really shit, like the common, like just the common dude, the common girl, like the common person who like just cares about their friends and family or whatever, is actually like the most valuable and should be the most rare and so like it was like this interesting, like psychological game, I guess that we that we played, and it’s like, I guess not much of an Easter egg anymore. But yeah, that’s kind of like what we were going for with it visually.

So, there are there are rarity traits then. 

Reo Cragun: Yes.

Daniel Allan: Oh, yeah. Yeah. So, there’s rarity. Yeah, yeah. So, there’s rarity with each song. I don’t remember the floats exactly. I think the rarest. So, the rarest song is 1% of the entire collection. And I think the lease rare song is 40% of the entire collection. So, it’s kind of taking a page out of frameworks as book in that way.

How Do You Create Rarity in Music?

Okay. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. How do you determine what part of a song or what makes a song rare? It’s like a whole new, like you don’t have to think about that a web two, right? But in web three, you have to construct all these interesting experiences on chain. Part of that is with the scarcity element of scarcity and you twine rarity into music. It’s like a whole new world a little bit.

Reo Cragun: Yeah, yeah, definitely. It’s a, I can say it’s not an easy task. 

Daniel Allan: We’ve had the conversation so many times. 

Reo Cragun: Yeah. Yeah. It’s like a lot of deliberation, for sure. And yeah, but you know, we were super confident in it and we’re really excited, honestly, yeah. It’s more, it’s very fun to incorporate rarity too.

Daniel Allan: One thing I’ll tack on to that in terms of like, what makes the rarity conversation like a little bit more dynamic is like, so for us, like we’ll say this, right? Like the least rare song on the project is supercharged, which is funny, because supercharged is the first single, it’s the first song that we ever made, like that we knew was going to be similar to the one that I was talking about, like it’s like, we knew that it was going to be a single, but to an extent, right, we want to make sure that the song that a majority of people are holding is still a banger, like you know, like we want to make sure that like even the least rare in the entire collection as a song that rips and as a song that is like indicative of the rest of the project and would want and like what incentivize you to like collect other parts of the project, right? Whereas like, the rarest song, criteria is just like the title track, you know like it’s, it’s for us, there’s definitely strikes a balance, I don’t know that we like necessarily have it figured out because we went through like quite a few iterations of figuring out like, what was the rarest, what is the least rare but there’s some sort of a balance between like, you don’t want to make it too top heavy in the sense of like, you’re like there’s just a bunch of like average stuff in the bottom half. And it’s like the three best songs are the rarest, but they’re also the most expensive and the hardest to get. And like, we wanted to make it a, we wanted to, like create a world where, you know, it feels like good songs are accessible. And you can decide like how, you can decide how deep you want to go on that.

I feel like the closest thing we have to web three rarity traits is, in web two, you released like explicit versions of an album, right, and you add more tracks into that album and back.

Daniiel Allan: Like deluxe versions.

How Do You See ‘Criteria’ Being an Influence For Artists’ Future Creations? 

Exactly like a deluxe version, for example. But even to that extent, it’s not as granular as you can get with web three. I’m also curious to sort of understand, Daniel, you mentioned how you want other people to copy you, right? And how you’ve sort of, you’ve laid out a playbook very much so and how you release things from going from sound and then choosing your own personal site and then seeing other people release their own personal site. And then doing these big grandiose campaigns, whether it be glass house, or frameworks, like you Reo. And then other people falling along that journey and thinking bigger and bigger, bigger. And this is by far the biggest anybody has ever thought about a drop in terms of the edition count. When you want to kind of like be this model or this template, how do you imagine criteria kind of like fitting into what other artists are going to be doing in the future? Do you think about that often or do you have any thoughts around that?

Reo Cragun: For sure, yeah, definitely. All the time. I don’t think you know; I wouldn’t say it’s like, necessarily coffee, I would say like more accessibility, right? Because like, even when I entered, I was like, what do I do with my hands? You know what I mean? Like, it’s like how, I think like, you know, it’s easier to simplify. Like, the goal is to simplify things, right? Even with frameworks, it was like, there needs to be an easier way for, you know, an artist who wants to release a body of work to do it. And that was like, you know, sound protocol, boom, that’s the thing now, and, you know, I think like, this is like, on a larger scale cool. So, like, you know, like, just making things more accessible, and just like easier to I guess, digest and just putting it on paper. Like we got a whole write up on just like, you know, like why we’re thinking about the things that we’re thinking about? And, you know, yeah, for sure.

Daniel Allan: Yeah. I mean, one thing I’ll say is like, I’m kind of with Reo like, I don’t necessarily think that that copying is what it is, I think that it’s, in the same way that me and Reo we’re like competitive with one another. I kind of want other people to be competitive with me and be like, I could do a better job than that. Because like I said, like I don’t think, I don’t think that I’ve always been correct on everything that I’ve done. I think it would be terrible for me, if that were the case. Like, I don’t think that I would be like learning anything at all. So, like, my whole point is like, we have these five activations, we have these six activations, if two of them go well, and four of them, if one of them go well and five, don’t that’s a huge one. You know what I mean? Because that’s like a world where we’re like, wow, like we’re able to tap into like a different market, we’re able to tap into like a different world, we’re able to like activate, excuse me, like a whole new group of people that maybe follow our Peggy closer than they follow sound or follow on cyber closer than they follow sound and maybe they get put on a music NFTs, maybe they go on to sound maybe they like collect a few of their first music NFTs that way, you know, and so like, for us, it’s really just creating the awareness that there’s other people out there that you can work with and bring, you know, bring to life for a bigger project, I think and, you know, people, there’s definitely a lot of pressure that comes with people looking at both of us, you know what I mean? Like there’s definitely a lot of like, oh, well, you know, these guys, cuz it’s like, your losses hurt just as much as your victories, like are triumphant, you know, I mean, because there’s so much more like public in that way. You know, like if I fuck up, like I could just go on Twitter and it’s easy for me to find it. Like, I’ll be the first to hear about it. But honestly, like I tried to, like bypass that as much as I can be like, okay, like at least they’re like 20 artists or 30 artists who have like, it’s funny. Like, I look back at my DMs now and it’s like, there’s some artists who DM me like five or six months ago, that were like, how do I get on sound and now they’re doing like their fourth or fifth drop, you know what I mean? And in a lot of ways that makes, that gives me a lot of comfort because I’m like, oh shit, like I maybe like, might have had a little bit of a role and at least inspiring them to get on the platform. You know, in a lot of ways like us doing a huge drop like this, which I’m not gonna lie is scary as shit, as doing like a huge drop like this, is really us trying to get in front of more people and to really like continue to tell the story and like tell the narrative of like, yo, you can make this as big as you want to, you know, like there and I don’t know like, that’s really just been the narrative for us like all along. It’s like, go One step at a time, like everything that I’ve done has always just been like a little bit, you know, like one little step in the right direction, like one little step forward. And yeah, really, it’s always been like around like, how do I inspire a few other people to get involved. And this is just like an at scale way of trying to do that.

What Will Labels and Distribution Look Like in the Future of Web3 Music?

Makes sense. I want to jump into Twitter, because a few days ago, I tweeted that I’m hosting guys and a bunch of people had a bunch of questions. So, let’s go with Gabby Dottie, Gabby Goldberg, she wants to, shout out Gabby, she wants to learn more about your opinion of traditional labels, how you see labels fitting into their own, how they see labels fitting into their own artists careers, in what they anticipate for the future of web three music, what will distribution look like? Can’t wait to listen.

Daniel Allan: I’ve been thinking about this for a really long time, Reo has been thinking about this for a really long time. From the first podcast we ever did, I have never been a fuck record labels guy. I really think that there are a lot of horrible stories that in a lot of ways, overshadow some of the great stories, like I do, like I have like friends in LA who have been absolutely fucked by record labels. And I have friends in LA who have made entire careers because of the juice that a record label has provided to them. What I will say is that what web three like allows, like what music NFTs allow is they give artists a leverage that has never really existed. So, like, really, right now, typically, like the way that you have like leverage in a record label negotiation is that you have a really good independent fan base, you stream really well, you’re making a living, right, you’re making a living off your music, and you’re not reliant on anyone to help you make a living, right. Whereas a lot of like the record label horror stories is like you hear like, it’s like a 16-year-old kid, 18-year-old kid, whatever. Like, they don’t have necessarily the leverage, they might have had like a record that blew up on Tik Tok, but they don’t have the really any leverage to put themselves in a position to be bigger. And so like, the label is their bank, and helps provide some of those resources, which a lot of the times like alone, for them to be able to be put in that position, I think, really, but really, that just is like a Tik Tok hit or whatever it is. Right now, like an artist, because they’re like, you know, they’ve done like big jobs, they’re making X amount of money off their music, and they’re doing it without anyone’s help. Like it’s literally just them uploading, minting a song, they don’t need any team behind, it can be like they have the option to really put pressure and be like listen, I don’t need you under these circumstances. And I think what it starts to look like is I think that eventually, labels might have to adjust a little bit. And they might have to be a little bit more open minded, because the problem right now is like the terms of a lot of those deals are really backwards, like a lot of those splits are like 80/20 splits, right? Where, let’s say you get a loan for $100,000, right, or in the form of an advance or whatever, and you own 20% of the master on your song. You don’t start to see the 20/80 split until your shares are recouped. So, the record label would have to make $500,000, at which point your $100,000 share has been recouped for you to see a 20/80 split, right. I think artists can be like, I don’t have to do that. Like I don’t think that I necessarily need that. They don’t necessarily need to do that. But what they can, but what artists can do is be like, listen, I do still really want exposure to my music, which hasn’t existed as much on the web three side yet, right? Like I still want like more people to hear, I still want to have reach. And so an artist can be like, listen, you guys need web three, street cred, I need web two street cred. I would, maybe there’s a way that you pay them for distribution, maybe there’s a way where you guys can be a little bit more of like equal partners in it or whatnot. But I think that it really eliminates the need, at least in my opinion, of doing kind of a little bit more shark-oriented deals on the label side, you know?

Yeah, makes a lot of sense. Reo, anything to add?

Reo Cragun: Yeah, I think it’s up for debate on like a personal level, you know what I mean? Like artists or artists basis. I just think that, you know, most of the deal structures are going to be not traditional, I think, you know, like the main things that, you know, let’s say a successful web 3x would need is like distribution. And maybe a label wants like exposure to some of the side of like, their web three, their music NFTs. And so, I think like, in my mind, some like, you know, some mutually beneficial terms could be agreed upon, depending on the party. Right now, like there’s no blueprint. So, I think in the short term, if these things do start to happen, which they are, we’re watching them unfold. You’re saying like some of the majors do partnerships with some projects, hasn’t been really on like artists like basis right now. It’s been mainly like projects that they’re partnering with. I think it’s probably simpler that way for them, you know what I mean? And yeah, I think it will be on a very artist to artist basis, is what my thoughts are in the short term. But long-term horizon, I think there’s probably some like a little bit more fair structure in play than there’s currently. Yeah.

All right. 

Daniel Allan: One thing I’ll add to that real quick Adams is like, labels way in the past year of like trying to get into like music NFTs, has just been throwing a bunch of money at it. Like, it’s been like, oh, like, I’m gonna buy my way into. And I think the reality here is, like, for the really, for one of the first times ever, there isn’t that much of a shortcut, you know what I mean? Like, you kind of have to invest with your time and culture, more than you have to invest, more than you like should be investing, like with dollar bills, you know, and I think that in a lot of ways, the artist is the one who kind of gate keeps the time and the culture because there’s not really a way of replacing that and so like, for me, I think that I personally, would think that it’s a great thing for labels to enter, if it’s done in a tasteful way that is, that really questions what like the fundamental principles of like releasing with the record label has been.

Make sense.

Reo Cragun: Just one last thing, you know, like I am also not on the fucking record label sign, I think that you know, just like any other, you know, agreement or negotiation in deal, you know, that you’re ever going to do. It always works out best if it’s like, if both parties are like benefiting, right? So, I think like, you know like, I just want to stress that I think that it will probably veer towards more mutually beneficial, like partnerships.

Do You See Curators as the New Decentralized Music Agents?

Makes sense. Rita V asks, do you see curators as the new decentralized music agents? What kind of platform could empower this force to push music NFTs even further? Any thoughts?

Reo Cragun: Right. Yeah, I guess I am pretty close to home on this one. That is an interesting thing. I haven’t really put much thought into agent. But I mean, technically, that is a lot of the roles that like, you know, myself, and then I guess, like others are playing, we kind of wear many hats. You know what I mean? I think, I think more so. I think the curator like what we’re doing specifically overhead loners. Our original take was like wouldn’t it be cool if like the double XL or whatever, like or else like Young Money, you know like, put out like a collaborative tape of just like everyone. And I know, like, they used to do it like CNB used to do it back in the day, like QC does it. You know, like they get their artists and they put out like collaborative tapes. We thought that would be really cool. What we’re seeing is like, in my thoughts are, you know, a year ago, there was not many artists releasing, maybe like 100 or 200 artists like releasing music NFTs. Today, there’s like a couple thousand That’s like what? 10x, 15x growth, let’s call it in like a year. If we keep moving at this rate, it’s gonna be hard to sift through all of like, these new acts and like, it’s going to be hard to like discover the talent. I think what like the curation does is it’s going to simplify, I guess, like discovery. And I think that’s where we’ll probably play like a roll over at loners, we want to be like, you know like, whether it’s like, you know, synonymous to pollen on Spotify, or like new music Friday or something, just like a place where you can go and you know, discover great music, you know. We want it to just be like, an accessible thing, really easy to find, talent in web three. And I think that’s mainly where we’re thinking of it. It’s not really like agents, like we just want to see other people win. And assist in like, shining some light on other artists.

So, on that note, with there being thousands to tens of thousands of artists. Yeah, what do you guys look for when collecting? Because I know you guys both collect. That’s another question we have.

Reo Cragun: It’s a good question. I think, look, I love when people show up. So, like if you’re like loud on Twitter, or whatever. And then you also have like, fire music. Like that’s such like a cool recipe for me. And like I’m just like, I want to collect like instantly, you know, I have like a few 100 music NFTs and.

All right, yeah. Flex-it

Reo Cragun: Top 10 Top 10 collector maybe.

That’s like you call on Daniel out on his Tesla. It’s like alright, we’ll see.

Reo Cragun: Oh, my Ethos is just like other artists pretty much. It’s pretty funny.

How the Next Generation of Students Become Collectors

Amazing. As I feel like as it should be to an extent, all right, yeah. This one comes from this gentleman named CoopahTroopa. Okay. He wants to know how the next generation of students become collectors.

Daniel Allan: Okay, let’s go. I like that. So, if he means, so it’s funny he asked that, because me and him did have a little bit of a conversation around it. But basically, and I started telling you this a little bit before the podcast started, but like, I recently spoke at the bandier program. And Syracuse Bill Ward had me out there. He used to be the head of Billboard, now he teaches there, incredible dude. And I spoke to the music industry program, which is like the best music industry program in the US like, it’s like cream of the crop, right? I’m not gonna lie, I was a little bit nervous because I was like, in a weird way, like a lot of the conversation around NFTs especially to kids, it’s kind of like, it’s like the snake oil salesmen like situation really. And it’s like, a lot of them think that it’s like circulated around like a bunch of like finance tech bros and whatnot. So, I kind of like went into the conversation open minded and like, after I gave the talk, I was on the panel there with David Greenstein. There were like two types of kids that came up to me, right, like the first batch of kids were kind of like, what kind of like, oh, man, like, you kind of demystified that for me. Like I’m glad I got to hear from like an artist perspective, like, this makes a lot more sense to me. Like I think a lot of them were thinking that like, everything involves royalties, like, why would you do it, if it doesn’t, like you know, just a lot of general lack of information, not because it’s a lack of knowledge, just because there’s a lack of like, good resources out there, you know, and I think they just really needed to hear from like someone else. The other group of kids that came up to me were like, oh, I discovered gorgeous, because of this, I discovered this, I really fuck with your music, whatever. And if you look at like any cultural movement, that has like historically mattered, like whether it’s in fashion, whether it’s music, whether it’s art, film, TV, whatever, it’s all started with kids, it started with kids who like, because kids don’t have like, a lot of like play money. Like when I was a kid, I didn’t have any money. And so like, when I spent $300, to go to like a music festival, that’s all the money I had, but I like cared so much that I wanted to go with like all my friends, like I wanted to like share this like moment with all of them and like a lot of other kids feel that way. And to me, like I started to have the realization that like, music NFTs, I don’t think are gonna be like, super cool until kids really give it that kind of a cosign because, and I think in a lot of ways, what that looks like, is making them as accessible to them as you can, because like I said, like kids don’t really have , not only do they not have money, or at least, you know, I didn’t, most of my friends didn’t like growing up and like, especially when I was like in college and whatnot, they definitely don’t have like, they’re not gonna like take the little money that they make from like, I worked in the mailroom, for example, like the little money they make from the mailroom to like go buy Eth, you know what I mean? Like it’s just not necessarily the most practical thing. And so, for me, you know, I was like, okay, this is a really powerful application here of like a free man, right? It’s like, really, the only thing that a kid, that kids need here is like, they will need some sort of a wallet, like they would just need a meta mask. And that’s really all they would need. And they would just need to learn how to hit like mint and they would need like $30 worth of Eth to like, for gas like worst case scenario. $20, $10, whatever it is, right. And so, but I think that it is absolutely essential for kids to start to get into this ecosystem with like, the minimal amount of money required, because it really starts to put them in a world of being like a vinyl collector or like a CD collector or like someone that really feels like they’re like involved with this artist in a meaningful way. Like, there was a kid there, Michael de Vestia. At the venue program, Michael owns, when I was there, he on 22 music NFTs on sound. Bro had, he had bittersweet, he had honey, he had two, I think he had two copies of ball. Like, yeah, and he and he was hit with everything. Like he was hit with Reo, he was hit with like black honey, he was hit with TK, like he knew like these people, you know what I mean? And I was like, I like it. That’s kind of where I had the moment of like, dude, like, this is kind of the next generation like, this is what’s going to make it really cool. You know, I immediately went to my agent, and I was like, I need to set up like a bunch of shows at colleges, like I want to talk to the kids. Like I want to do all that, you know what I mean? And so, I think it’s absolutely essential that kids think it’s cool. And I do think that like to broaden a collector pool. Just bring a lot of kids into it and make it as free and accessible as possible. Like don’t ask them to spend money, like make it like, even like create an if pool, like I would contribute to it to like just covered these kids gas prices. You know what I mean? Just like bring more people into it. 

Love that, that’s Dan Allan fund. For sure.

Daniel Allan: Dude, I would do it. I would do it in a heartbeat. I will do it. It’s not even a question.

Reo Cragun: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it’s all about the youth man like it, you know, like that’s a youth got to raise for sure. Like, it’s, you know, I think that once you excite, you know, the younger generations it just becomes a lot easier, like you know, like that’s how the world actually gets across. Like they tell their parents it’s like a lot easier to like kind of digest and understand from a cultural level than just like reading it in like an article. You know what I mean? And just like, seeing the accolades that it’s bringing certain people. Yeah, for sure, it comes lot easily.

What Does the Intersection of Web3 and Live Music Look Like?

The last question I have for you guys, because we’re coming up in an hour and 30. I love how long this is going. Yeah, that’s great. Fifth, lucky dragon asks, what does the intersection of web three and live music look like?

Reo Cragun: It’s a good question. I guess I’ll take this one to start. I think it’s also variable, right? It depends on the type of artists that you are like if you’re a web three act, let’s call it like you release music NFTs, there is this world where you can turn like some of like your art, right? Let’s say you spend a lot of time on your visuals. You can turn your NFTs into like Tor visuals, which is like super sick. There is this pool of individuals and also companies who are like making like virtual live experiences, which is also really cool. And then, you know like, I think like, it would be really cool to see like, multiple web, like music artists who released music NFTs like, you know, hit the road together, and just like get in front of people’s faces. And yeah, I think there’s just a whole bunch of different applications. You have like people also who were making ticketing experiences, we’ve done like some po app experiences. And, yeah, I guess it kind of just depends on how far that you’re, you want to take it with your imagination. You know like, your shows, like an artist show is all about, like, you know, that’s like a curated experience, you know, like there’s a lot of thought and effort that goes into it. So, I think it just depends on where you want to take it. Because the cool thing about here is, there’s no blueprint, if you want to make it, go out and make it, you know, just figure out how to do it, figure out who you need, go knock on some doors, and like, you’re gonna find a way to do it and figure it out.

Daniel Allan: Yeah, yeah, I mean, one thing I’ll add, like I really want to do it tastefully. So, I don’t necessarily like. For me personally, I don’t think I’m gonna be the guy that has like apes behind me when I’m playing per se. And that’s like not any, I mean that as respectfully as I possibly can. But what I’m, the way that I want to be is like an Easter egg. Like, I like good art. So, like, if I’m DJing like, I want to play songs that are really good. And I really, really want those people to be dropping music NFTs, so that I can support them. I want the visuals behind me to be really, really strong. But I really want that to be an artist that is dropping on foundation or super rare or whatever it is, right? Like I want to find a very natural way of like creating like the sort of synergy but one other thing that I’ll say is like, really, speaking for myself like I can, there’s a 0% chance I can be where I am without collaborating, like I am a producer. So, like, a lot of, as much as I love my 100 percenter friends, like bloody white, who literally fucking does everything and like anything and everything he’s sings mix, masters, producers, whatever. Like I rely on other people to make my art what it is, you know, and I mean, I’m dropping like some instrumental stuff, I just dropped honey like, which was like, I dropped it on sound a while ago, but that was like an instrumental record. But most of the time I am relying on like, other people to make my stuff go over the top. So, I really kind of want to emphasis the live collaborative component. Like, this is something that we’ve like loosely talked about, we don’t really have any details on like when or how we want to do it, but like when we, in the event that we start doing like some touring stuff around criteria, the way that I really want it to feel is like, I don’t want it to be like electronic musician, Daniel Allen brings up special guests, Reo Cragun, like I don’t want that at all. Like, I want to do like a co headline situation where it’s like, no, no, no, no, this is like both of us. This is like, you know, we’re gonna do like maybe 30 minutes of my music, 15 minutes of or 30 minutes of our music, 15 minutes of like my greatest hits, 15 minutes of Reo’s greatest hits. But I think that leaning into the collaboration rather than like being the cool artist who is like, only bringing out special guests, you know, like just doesn’t feel as correct to me, like unless it’s branded as like, I would do like a DJ set, where I would bring out like eight web three artist and just really lean in entirely on like, the collaborative component of that, like these are eight people that I made records with, like you  can name them, there’s DOG, there’s Pluto, there’s bloody, there’s Reo, you can like, there’s Deagan, you could just keep going down, listen, just make almost like a little bit of a night of that. But I think really like this idea of cosines or like putting other people on, or whatever it is, I think is really important for the live experience because like when one of us and I don’t know who it is, it’s like the whole breakout artists argument, when one of us starts to do really well and starts touring and starts playing all these festivals or like whatever it is, when you start bringing out other artists, like at least for me, specifically, I like festivals, I want a lot of those people to be people that do music NFTs, maybe someone pulls up to my set, doesn’t like any of it but loves Deegan when he plays bittersweet, and they care enough to like look up Deagab but then maybe he’ll have music NFTs in his bio on Spotify or something like that. And then it slowly slowly, slowly starts to bring people and you know it’s like, the more composable and that really is like a good way to kind of like wrap all this is like, the composability of like a job, the composability of like bringing a bunch of people in. I think is absolutely essential, because like none of us could do what we’re doing without having like an ecosystem around us.


Yeah, I think that’s a great place to wrap up guys. I’m super excited for criteria, really excited to see both your heads put together in such an innovative, such an intimate and emotional yet fun way. 2500 additions, the biggest music NFT drop today, I have a smile on my face just saying that because it’s super ambitious and super exciting, especially in the current times that we’re in. But I have a feeling you’re gonna crush it. So best of luck even though I don’t think you need it. And I wish you guys well. I’ll be there cheering you on. 

Reo Cragun: Let’s go. Thank you so much, Adam.

Daniel Allan: Thanks for having us, man.

That’s amazing. And we’ll have to do this again soon. Maybe do a recap at some point or your next drop or whenever it happens. You guys are always welcome. Thank you for being here.

Daniel Allan: Let’s go.

Podcast Transcript

Dawson Botsford and the Acquisition of Earnifi’s $150M Airdrop Tool


Mint Season 6 episode 29 welcomes Dawson Botsford, Co-founder, and CEO of Earnifi, the tool that’s helped web3 users claim $150M in airdrops. Dawson comes on the podcast to share his story as a creator and entrepreneur, lessons learned while building Earnifi, and why Bankless decided to acquire web3’s notification layer.

I hope you guys enjoy our conversation.

Time Stamps

  • 00:48 – Intro
  • 07:55 – School Experiences
  • 10:31 – What is Earnifi?
  • 14:12 – The Most Difficult Part of Bringing Earnifi to Life
  • 15:02 – Avoiding Scam Airdrops
  • 18:49 – Introducing Monetization On Earnifi
  • 20:09 – Product Marketing
  • 22:07 – The Vision of Becoming the Web3 Notification Tool
  • 26:14 – How Do You Manage Your Time?
  • 28:35 – Best Practices When Announcing an Airdrop
  • 30:21 – Getting Acquired by Bankless
  • 32:23 – When Starting Earnifi, Did You Consider Getting Acquired?
  • 34:48 – Will Web3 Take Over Web2 Communications and Notifications?
  • 38:23 – The Future of Bankless Labs
  • 40:00 – Did You Come into Bankless Labs With a Specific Vision Yourself?
  • 43:00 – Outro

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Sir Dawson, welcome to mint, from one podcast or to another. I’m very excited to have you on. Thank you for making the time.

Dawson: Yeah. Thank you, Adam. It’s great to see you.

It’s great to see you, too. We first met at Eth Bogota. I think we were getting snacks. I think it was like the Friday. Oh, you’re also repping the shirt. Let’s go or the hoodie. Respect. I have the socks with me here in New York. So, I didn’t get a hoodie, but respect, respect.

Dawson: Yeah, those tube socks are epic. I’ve been wearing them skiing lately. They’re awesome.

Dude, I found that crypto merch is best utilized at the gym or doing something active. I wear. Yeah, I wear my Ave shirt to the gym. I wear my Eth global socks in the gym. You know, it is what it is.

Dawson: Athleisure.


Athleisure. I’m a, in all seriousness Dawson. I’m excited to have you on. You just made big waves last week with an epic announcement, with the acquisition of Earnifi and bankless. So, a lot to talk about. This episode, I just want to really uncover your story as a creator, the birth of Earnifi, and everything in between, I think a good place to start for those who don’t know you. Who the hell are you, man? What does the world need to know about you? We can start there and then work our way forward.

Dawson: Okay, yeah. What’s up, y’all? I’m Dawson. So, I’m Daws.eth on Twitter. I’m a founder, and I’m an engineer. And not just an engineer, I’m like a hacker engineer. So, I go to a bunch of hackathons and I submitted hackathons. And I’m always trying to build open source and hackathon projects. What I did last week was that I sold my company to bankless. And I now a part of bankless, as the CTO of bankless labs, which is their tech division, where we will now be building out more and more tech tools. So previously, bankless was a huge media organization. Now it’s going beyond media. And it’s building tools for your bankless journey.

Very simply put, I like that. But you also forgot that you’re a podcaster as well, Dev three, right? What about Dev three man?

Dawson: What about Dev three? Great, thank you for that. I actually, I do too many things that I can’t usually remember. So, I’m a podcaster, as well, I do a podcast called Dev three, which is for developers in web three, we don’t hold back on technical content. The idea is it’s for engineers to stay up to date on the engineering side of crypto, because there’s tons of new sources out there. But very few of them are targeted towards engineers. And to stay up to date on the technical side can be tricky.

Got it. So quick plug for Dev three. For those who haven’t come across a podcast yet. What are some of the like the day-to-day episodes, or the common themes that you sort of discuss?

Dawson: Yeah, a lot of the themes that come back, over and over are with Patrick Collins. So, if you don’t know Patrick Collins, and most of the rest of this intro may not make as much sense. But he’s a smart contract developer and developer advocate at chain-link. So, Patrick, and I, for instance, we jam on like just current topics. So like tornado cash happened, the Dev went to jail. And we’re both just like, oh, no, are we about to go to jail? We talked through like, oh, are any of our projects, like jail already? Like, are we gonna go to jail if these get looked into. But then we also just talk through like some really specifics around solidity, which is the programming language on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s like the main language people use. And just like nerdy stuff about solidity that only developers would get really.

Got it. And how long have you been a developer for?

Dawson: I’ve been a developer, let me check on my website right now, actually. So, I set up my website. 

It’s a developer thing you could say, let me check on my website really quick to let you know how long I’ve been developing for.

Dawson: Yeah, so I, on my website, I have a resume section. And I count the duration of doing software engineering to eight decimal places. So, you can watch it just like tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. So, software engineering for 11.1798 years.

Nice. No, that’s sick. That’s really cool.

Dawson: Oh, and Ethereum is close to four years.

Okay. Wow. How did you get your start? Like, what was your go to project? What was your initial inspiration for jumping into code?

Dawson: Or getting into code was just like, so at first it was, it was like a fun puzzle. And it actually started to help people cheat in geometry class in high school. So, I made programs on my calculator that other people could just plug in and put onto their calculator and all of us were getting A’s in geometry. And yeah, like I really enjoyed having users right away. So, for software, like I’m not the kind of person who likes to just build in private all the time. That’s something folks will know if they follow me on Twitter, is like I’m always posting like teaser stuff and just trying to like, really share this the stuff I make, because if it’s not usable by other people, then is it worth making at all? Is it worth my time? Yes, I was like, I was helping folks cheat on the geometry test and then people actually pulled that into the ACT and SAT. And that’s when I like hard quit because I’m a rule follower. I was like, no, no, I’m not doing that. I don’t like cheating. But other people took the program and I couldn’t hold them back or stop them.

You would think as a hacker, you’d actually be the opposite. Like you’d be a rule breaker versus a rule follower, right? Or am I thinking about this wrong?

Dawson: You’re definitely accurate when it comes to like, when it comes to crypto, it’s now big enough that there’s people like me who are rule followers in it. I think like early days of Bitcoin, early days in Ethereum, it was just folks bucking the trend. But nowadays, like, there’s space to come in and be like an ethical hacker, or like, you know, the type of hacker that competes at hackathons. And it’s like peaching on stage and stuff instead of like hacking people’s computers. That’s not the type of hacking I do.

Got it. I think, it’s interesting to hear your initial entrance into code was through geometry and helping your friends with their exams and their homework. And everybody has a sort of a different story as to how they got into software development, let alone how they got into crypto, from geometry where did it go from there? You go into college, I mean, obviously, middle school, high school, of course. But then did you study computer science in college or what would that look like for you?

Dawson: Yeah, I got super luck in my senior year of high school, I had done like I said, a tiny bit of programming with the calculator stuff. And my high school actually placed me into this internship program. Over at the National Lab, which is the National Lab in Tennessee, where I’m from is where a part of the nuclear bomb was made for World War Two. So, there’s still like a massive science and math community there. And as a senior in high school, I was doing protein folding for cancer research. But I like literally did not know what I was doing. So, it sounds really hardcore, which really helped me get a lot of stuff after this, like in my career and whatnot. But I was totally entry level, like just learning how to write some really basic script stuff.

Interesting. Seems like a very impactful project. What did that lead to next?

Dawson: Yeah, well, that one definitely was a, didn’t lead to anything on its own. We like submitted in a real, I was working with a PhD student, submitted and just like, you know, a high schooler can’t write a good PhD paper. 

Right. Right. 

Dawson: Definitely flopped.

Right. Did you did you go to college, though?

Dawson: I did. Yeah. So, I did go to college for computer science. But the catch that I like to give, like mentioned is that I actually hated it for the first year and a half, and almost quit, almost switch majors. And what saved me was actually I went to a hackathon. And I saw that that software can actually be cool and fun, you can make things that real people can use. Because the computer science degree just has such a great way of smashing the fun out of everything. It’s just dry, it’s math, it’s science, it’s like black and white code and I almost push me out fully.

School Experiences

I feel like as an entrepreneur, you often hear either, like the commentary of like, schools for chumps. And if you’re an entrepreneur, you got to drop out of college and go be the entrepreneur, or you actually find people on the other side of the spectrum. Like they completed college, they even gotten their masters, excuse me, their masters and their PhD. And then they became an entrepreneur and did amazing things. Were you the type of person that would just like, ditch class or not pay attention or did you do well in school? Or what kind of persona did you play?

Dawson: Yeah, I was the kind of person that I always did decent at in classes pre college, without having to try hard. Once I got to college, I was definitely riding the line of like, B minus, which at my school, you couldn’t get C’s in your major classes, or you’d have to retake them. So, I was definitely like, I would literally sleep through, I think half of my classes, but I would show up, I would always show up, and I would always be there. I wasn’t, yeah, I wasn’t the kinda like, completely ditch everything and be like, oh, gotta start stuff. Instead, I would go to class, try to listen out of the side, and then work on hackathon stuff. And I made the hackathon at my college as well. So, I was like already an organizer and like trying to build community stuff then.

Cool. That’s sort of how I got started as well. I mean, at least into crypto. I was terrible in school. I got like D’s and F’s on all my exams but thank the Lord for the curve, and being able to round me up to like a C and B. But I spent a lot of my energy just trying to do extracurricular stuff, because I was just able to maximize my time the best, that way versus being locked in like a study room for God knows how long, so joining all these clubs, even starting clubs, and I did, I helped organize like the first hackathon, like crypto hackathon.

Dawson: We didn’t talk about this; I didn’t know that.


Dawson: What was the name of it?

It was the USC blockchain hackathon or something like that. Yeah. One of those trio of keywords, whatever order but a lot of my interest came from all the extracurricular stuff, which also I feel like explains my love for going into all these conferences and all these events, because it’s very it works in tandem with sort of my early beginnings in my quote, unquote, career and kind of like reflecting on how we met, right? We met at Eth, Bogota, at the hackathon. It was on a Friday, went to go grab a snack, and it was like me, you and Ellie, we just like bumped into each other. And for whatever reason, just like kicked it off, just like immediately. And at the time, I didn’t know this, Ellie didn’t, like we didn’t know this, but you’re already in discussions to get Earnifi acquired, I presume.

Dawson: Very much so.

What is Earnifi?

And, yeah, a few months follow a month later, and here we are today. So, I want to, Dawson I want to talk about your entrance into crypto. Because Earnifi is a very unique product. It’s also a very simple product, but it works. And it’s done wonders to people in the community. So, for those who aren’t familiar with Earnifi really quick, can you explain that? And then I’d also love for you to talk about, how did you get the idea for it and the entire process of just like bringing it to life?

Dawson: So, Earnifi has done super well, the last two years, since I started two years ago, is it’s the airdrop checker. What this means is you can paste in your address, and I’ll tell you if you have unclaimed Airdrops. And these are only high-quality Airdrops. So, Earnifi filters all the spam for you. And what that’s led to, is over $150 million found. And I did this as a solo indie hacker, builder, Dev, CEO, all the things trying to operate a company solo. But  Earnifi is becoming more than that, too. Only as of recently expanded past airdrops, we can get to those other areas of things that we are expanding into shortly.

Okay, so how did you get the idea for it initially?

Dawson: Yeah, so if we rewind to February 2021. This was, think about it about one year after COVID started, defi summer had finished. So, there was like a lot of different defi things launching, uniswap had launched v2 and uniswap did their Airdrop and then come Christmas, the Christmas that’s, you know, two months before what I’m describing here, that Christmas uniswap. One inch, sorry, one inch did their job and then one inch did another Airdrop and then. So yeah, come February there was an Eth global hackathon that was online only because during COVID, they were just online only. I realized that there were actually multiple things you could aggregate to search for. So, there’s like, there was already uniswap and one inch. And I was like, well, maybe this will be useful already for just two. Did some quick Google searching and there were actually five different Airdrops that had happened already. And I didn’t even know about the other ones. And so, I was like, wait, if I don’t know about the other ones, and I spent all day in this stuff, then like, geez, how many other people aren’t up to date? Like you have to scroll on Twitter and discord all the time to search for these things, for your wallet. So, I threw it all into one really simple user interface, where you just paste your address. It’s just a search input at the top. And literally the UI from two years ago, on the homepage is the exact same as it is today.

Wow. So that started at a hackathon. We met at a hackathon. Everything just happens at a hackathon for you and your line. That’s literally just the conclusions that I’m coming to.

Dawson: Yeah, and Eth global hackathons. So, I owe a ton to the Eth global team.

That’s epic. Was this your first project that you attempted to start in crypto as an entrepreneur?

Dawson: It was yes, I submitted hackathons before, but I always did them as kind of toy projects, things that stay on GitHub or things that just stay open source. But as soon as there was traffic on this, like I had a really lucky launch. So, the launch of this, I posted kind of like a sizzle, like a sneak peek tweet with like confetti falling and this person had a bunch of Airdrops in the GIF in the little video. It got like 600 likes; at the time I had 200 followers on Twitter. So, I was like, whoa, people want this thing. I was out skiing the next day; my phone wouldn’t stop blowing up. And my roommate was just like, dude, is that thing like Is that thing blowing up? Like what are people doing? He was into crypto, so he like kind of got it. And so, when we got back from skiing that day, I just went so intense, like actually publishing it, and giving people your all to go to.

The Most Difficult Part of Bringing Earnifi to Life

What was the most difficult part of either bringing Earnifi to life or just maintaining it’s existence for so long?

Dawson: Yeah, I think the hardest thing is battling spam. So, Airdrops just have such a bad rap of like that literally, like 90% of them are low quality or not worth your time. But in addition to not worth your time, like, there’s even ones that are dangerous for you to sign the wallet messages and whatnot, like, insecure. And so, like taking something from the moment it launches on Twitter, like 30 seconds after to try to figure out if that’s worth pushing notifications for, is like a ton of responsibility. There’s 250,000 people subscribed on Earnifi. So, if I push out some garbage, you bet I’m going to feel that and like I’m less support person, so I’ll get those support messages.

Avoiding Scam Airdrops

That’s wild, because I remember getting a lot of Airdrops, and I still get a lot of Airdrops that just seem really shady. But they’re like $15,000, you know, or at least they look like that on the surface. I remember one time, because I use the Ariza mobile app to wallet watch. Especially my wallet, my portfolio. And I remember one time, dude, no joke, I got an Airdrop of like, a million dollars, I swear, it literally showed my portfolio being a mill plus, and I was like, what the hell did I just get in my wallet? I was like, this doesn’t make sense. And I remember in like the meta description of the Zerion token details. It was like visit this website to claim your tokens, you know, and I’m like, wait, so, I just got an Airdrop of supposedly a million dollars. But I have to go to this website to claim the tokens. And checking on all these pools, like there’s very low liquidity on it, like they manipulated the price. And just to understand, I don’t know, it was like, it’s super confusing. And I can imagine how many people actually fall for scams like this. So how do you sort of like combat the bullshit Airdrops versus the shitty Airdrops? Like, what is your signal for filtering noise?

Dawson: Yeah, I’m glad to use that example. That’s actually such a good example with manipulating liquidity. But the way that I would like to encourage folks is, is like education. Education is what gets you from falling for some things in crypto, like from bad stuff. But the like 32nd TLDR, like too long didn’t read for Airdrops. I’d say these things. So, on Ethereum, if someone sends it to you, they pay the gas. Definitely spam. Don’t even touch it. Don’t touch anything there. That’s how I’ve lost money on other networks. I’ve like totally fallen for that exact play you just described. I hope you didn’t, but I did. So, like these high value Airdrops that I’m describing, you have to actually go claim them. So, you have to pay that transaction fee. And that’s the whole point of what makes Erna useful, is you don’t know what you have unclaimed out there, you kind of just get added to this whitelist. It’s very similar to NFT whitelists, or NFT mints, like early mint, is like your addresses uniquely on this one list out there. But you have to know to go to that, to actually call that claim. And like pay for the claim, in some instances.

Got it makes sense. So, from a technical perspective, underneath the hood, is that entail you just sort of indexing, like on chain data, right, and trying to find all the new uploaded, I guess, allow lists to make sense of all the noise and whatnot, or how does that work underneath the hood?

Dawson: Yeah, if you were to simplify it, it’s basically like a huge list of just checking which things you match. But to make that happen of course, it’s so complex with how many types of different claimable things there are these days. So yeah, Earnifi covers Airdrops, as you mentioned, like some whitelists, some early mints, all po ops tokens. So, they’re just like four thousand or four six thousand, I can’t remember, po ops tokens that it searches you for. And they will have kind of like different methods of how they search and check within the system.

Got it. It’s crazy. It’s such a simple tool. It’s literally, like it solves such a simple problem, but such an important problem. And the fact that you’ve been able to unlock $150 million. Do you ever just like, do you ever reflect on that for a minute? That’s wild, that’s actually insane.

Dawson: It’s actually insane. I have such a hard time imagining the 150 million. But what I recently imagined, because I’ve been watching the World Cup, the soccer matches, one of the stadiums that holds I think, 90,000 people. And one day I was watching, I was like, oh Earnifi is that times two, like times two or three. That’s the amount of people in this database. That’s crazy to see and think about, like my college times 10, that kind of thing.

Introducing Monetization On Earnifi

When did you introduce monetization? How far into the process?

Dawson: So, I had actually a really weird situation with monetizing, that’s kind of entertaining I think, for anyone out there, who’s a creator, builder, entrepreneur. You know, they say like moonlight if you can, like try to keep a stable income, work on side, I had the opposite. I had a sudden change in my main work, right around when the Hackathon was happening, and I was unemployed. And so, I was suddenly in this moment where I could execute on this mission of starting my own company, I’ve always wanted to, I never felt like the time was right. And so, when  Earnifi came out, and it won the hackathon. I was like, now I need to figure out monetization. So, from day one, as it was catching traffic, traction, I would I accepted email addresses. That was going to be how he’s going to start re-engaging folks. And I didn’t know what I was going to do yet, but I knew that if I had a list of people, at least I could start to create a community here. And so.

Yeah, go ahead. Go ahead.

Dawson: But I was just gonna say like, a couple weeks later, an Airdrop came out that I just decided I was going to put behind a paywall. So, I’ll tell you the dollar amount you have, but I won’t tell you what AirDrop it is. Let’s see if this pattern works. And that’s been the pattern ever since for how Earnifi works. So, you never paying for something you won’t get.

Product Marketing

Got it. Very fair. I’d argue that’s very, very fair. Let’s talk about product marketing for a minute. Because the fact that you just said that you’ve captured essentially like a web two data point, that is otherwise very frowned upon in web three, like many websites don’t even have Google Analytics to understand where their users are coming from. They don’t capture emails; they don’t capture any of that data to retarget. But it sounds like from a product perspective, capturing email was like one of the most important things to Earnifi success, because that constant feedback, feedback loop and drip emails sort of led to that constant communication, can you walk me through that a little bit more?

Dawson: Yeah, definitely want to add that I didn’t figure out any kind of advanced marketing scheme. I actually haven’t done any type of drip emails. I’m like the engineer of engineers. Like I didn’t develop my marketing skills really at all during this time. What I did do though, is I would reengage with folks on email, only they matched an Airdrop. So, it just has this reputation of zero emails, like people think it’s broken. Because if you’re not getting emails, you’re not getting Airdrops and then you’re just like, well Erna is broken. Now, that just means you’re not getting Airdrops and so that was the pattern I always took is like, as few messages as possible. very minimalist. But you’re absolutely right, I had to accept emails. That’s the catch about Earnifi. If you’re gonna get notifications, well, how do you get notified? There is no web three notification tool. Push Protocol is trying this, which I’m using Push. So, Earnifi pushes out notifications decentralized. Like you don’t need your email address, if you sign up through push, but like, yeah, email is that way. And I think that’s okay, for certain types of applications. You just got to go for it. And that’s why Earnifi is now becoming the web three notification tool, so that not everyone has to go accept emails individually.

The Vision of Becoming the Web3 Notification Tool

Let’s talk about that. Because the idea of this vision of becoming the web three notification tool. Is that a relatively new vision with the acquisition of bankless? Is that something that you’ve been preaching for a moment now? Or what does that really mean? Like the notification tool for web three? Explain that further.

Dawson: Yes, I’ve been preaching it for a while, and really pushing into that slowly. And the reason I push into it slowly, is I just, I care so much about not sending spam. I have all people hate emails you don’t need or misleading emails. And so, I’ve really added these features slowly. The first one I knew everyone would want is like, is your ENs name about to expire? Yeah, you want to know that, you want to get an email for that. Everyone who has an ENs name, paid real dollars for it. And so, I think in almost all situations, you want to get an email there, and you’ve got a po op token. Yeah, you need an email there. That’s not an airdrop. And so, Earnifi is definitely expanding past that already. And then just understanding and learning about token mints, and NFT whitelist. That’s been a whole new world. Y’all go hard when it comes to whitelist and like minting early, and all this and it is really a tricky move to keep up to date. But that’s hopefully something Earnifi is gonna do better and better from here on out as well.

Got it. That makes a lot of sense. I remember. I remember I had this idea for like the Ens fairy. I remember seeing this meme on YouTube, Remy galley art, I forgot his name old, old like YouTube creator, where he would just troll people in France. And he had this one bit where he’d walk around pay machines like that were cars sort of like the pay meters. And he just goes around and like put quarters in them. You know, if you saw them expire, and you just like literally were like a fairy suit, just like dumped quarters, and all the pay meters. I was like there needs to be like an Ens fairy that just consistently like reimburses or just like re-up somebody’s balance as soon as they see it expire. And I feel like that’s like the closest thing I’ve heard to that solution. So, props to you.

Dawson: I think Ens fairy is a pretty interesting idea. I’m pretty sure that name is actually taken by someone who is in ENs ferry but I love the theory idea. And that’s actually an idea of noodled around as well. There’s some pretty cool stuff that could be done for. We haven’t discussed expiring Airdrops but something that folks really need to understand about these is that they expire sometimes. So Ens, for instance, it’s gone forever. And when it happened, it was $8 billion, yeah $8 billion distributed out. And so, like getting a timely notification is really important. But like what if at the very last second, there was like Earnifi fairy, and it swept the entire amount of unclaimed assets for everyone, like I could pay for those claims. That’s like, that’s a real possibility. But like should that exist? I don’t know yet because it was created in this way for a reason, where you had to come claim it, and one of those reasons is, they don’t have to mint extra tokens that are going to just, that are going to just not be used. So, like anyone who wants there’s should come get it. All the other ones get burnt. 

I wonder if there would be a way, if you’re just realizing it. It’s like coming to the last few seconds and nobody has claimed their $12,000 AirDrop, if there would be any way for Earnifi to take it, like if you’re not going to take it, like it’s up for grabs. Obviously, I don’t think that’s possible. Because as it’s hard coded, right and written in contract, but I don’t know. That’d be, that’d be a fun concept. Like you could work in the real world. Like, you’re not going to take them off and I’ll take it, you know, like, can you just like get out of there. 

Dawson: Hey Dale, bagels are half off. I love that.

Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Dawson: You’d be shocked the amount of folks that send in support messages with a picture of Vitalik.eth. And they’re like, 50k AirDrop, they’re like, why can’t I claim it? And I look at the email, and I’m like, You’re not Vitalik. And so, this is like, it’s understandable. It’s a confusing concept, the way these claims work. But yeah, you can only claim for your address. Or you can pay for someone else’s, but you’re not going to get those tokens, still going to go to that final wallet.

How Do You Manage Your Time?

Yeah. I’d love to talk more about your journey of being a solo entrepreneur, because as a one man show, you’re doing everything, and everything is on you. And one of the strangest things I can imagine with a tool like you built. is the customer support, amongst other things that you’re probably taking care of, on a day-to-day basis. How do you manage your time? How do you split your time between adding new features, fixing old ones, answering customer support, doing all the social and Twitter engagement? All the above, like what does that look like for you?

Dawson: Yeah, I think the important part is to determine, I’ve heard this analogy. So, you’re juggling. And when you juggle, you know you’ve got three objects. Some of the objects you’re juggling are made of rubber and some of them were made of glass. And I heard this analogy in terms of like family. So, like one of the things you have as a family, you’ve got your work, you’ve got your fitness, you’re juggling it all. You can drop your fitness for a couple days or a week, it’s fine. But if you like stopped loving your family for a week, that might shatter. And so, when I’m working on Earnifi, I think about my entire life in the same way. So, when I’m juggling, I am willing to put aside fitness, for instance, I’ll drop that for sure, if I need to. And when it comes to customer support, and Twitter and engineering, I’ll drop Twitter first off, that’s for sure. Twitter does not bring me much joy on the Earnifi account. On my personal I love doing all things Twitter, I’m pretty much always scrolling it. But like if I have to turn that off, absolutely. Turn off my phone. Absolutely. I’ll do those things in order to make it work. And no, and then once in a while, you gotta give up some sleep. But in the end, keeping the focused, keeping the product really focused and simple, is what has allowed me to do what I’ve done. As you mentioned, it’s a very simple product. If you if you arrive @erna.phi, and you don’t have Airdrops, you’ll just be like, I don’t get it. What do I do now? Like this doesn’t make any sense. And that’s part of how simplistic this thing is. If you do have Airdrops, it clicks right away. And you’re like, oh, oh, this thing just, like is this real? Like you had mentioned, Adam, that you have some on there. It’s like when you arrive, you’re like, oh, that was fast. That was easy. And that’s what it does. It does that well.

Best Practices When Announcing an Airdrop

Yeah. What are some of the like, AirDrop best practices you’ve seen companies implement?

Dawson: Do you think, are you asking from the, like you’re announcing an airdrop you’re doing one.

For example, like we talked one about one, where you have to claim your AirDrop, were actually the most iconic AirDrop, the uniswap AirDrop was actually AirDrop to your wallet, right? And then I feel like it sort of shifted from there. Are there other like best practices you’ve seen companies sort of, yeah, exemplify when they try to reward users?

Dawson: Yeah, I think the best thing you could do is message me early. Message, Earnifi so that I can push out email notifications, the moment that happens. Now, that was self-serving a bit. In reality, some of the best things you can do are, you can get really complicated with Airdrops, if you want. If you want to go down that rabbit hole, you should read about what optimism did with their civil, anti-civil mechanisms. So, I think it was Hop protocol and optimism, both in AirDrop within a few weeks. And actually, shared this like really intense anti bot search. They like gave out these rewards through Twitter, through the internet, to folks who found people that were trying to gain this AirDrop and then they threw them out. And so, it was his way of giving all the real humans even more tokens. Because every bot that got thrown out, they would redistribute that out to the real people. That’s like next, next level you know, below that level, like what you should do is, make sure your claim page works well. Make sure it’s clean and simple that folks in common sign with their wallet, and not just Meta mask. Make sure you’re supporting other wallets, you’ve got Coinbase wallet, you’ve got Gnosis Safe, like Gnosis Safe is a huge one that if you don’t make your claim page, work properly, you’re not going to do that because it requires multiple signatures.

Getting Acquired by Bankless

Right. Yeah, that makes sense. I feel like you have so much depth and so much knowledge. Just going through this journey for the last two years. And now coming across this new announcement with bankless. I’m really excited for this next journey of eanify I’d love for you to share, like why bankless? How did that come about in the entire story of this new this new collaboration, this new partnership?

Dawson: Yeah, so I’m a fanboy of bankless. And I have been for a long time, if you look back, actually, I spoke at a conference like eight months ago about Earnifi and the story of Earnifi and just how to build products and web three. And I had the bank, I had my bankless shirt on. This is way before I talked to them ever. And then in addition, there’s a separate conference like two weeks later, I wore the same shirt. So, I’ve really always been a fan of the media that banklesss puts out, bankless such a good news source for legitimate Ethereum news, legitimate, like news about being banklesss. So, not just on the Ethereum blockchain, but they cover a few other things as well and they’re trying to always push what is the ethical way that we can decentralize and move away from banks and move away from these hacks. Like, they never supported FTX, for instance, they never, like they’re totally good actors in this space. And they’re folks that I’ve learned how to do defi, how to do web three by listening to them. I listened to at least an hour a week for the last two years.

Yeah, so you’re a bankless fanboy. You’re like as girly as it gets. That’s great. Like such an organic sort of next transition, it seems like.

Dawson: yeah, I would have never considered bankless doing this type of expansion. Otherwise, this would have been a goal of mine, like way before they even reached out. But yeah, as soon as they reached out, I was like, absolutely. If I were to consider an acquisition with anyone in the world, it would be Ryan and David, Ryan and David are the guys that run bankless.

When Starting Earnifi, Did You Consider Getting Acquired?

When you started Earnifi, did you think that this would be acquired one day and it like it’d be a part of something else? Or have you ever felt like I can continue this, I can grow this out, I can make this bigger, better and just be like the solo entrepreneur that I am.

Dawson: Yeah, well, so something I never considered that it would be acquired. No, I understand that other folks might be interested. But I actually thought that it would be something that I would always have the market cornered, and I would never need to expand. And now I realized that there’s actually a lot more need for claimable asset notifications of all kinds, like, just web three notifications are so much bigger than I had, it was two years ago. Like two years ago, it was gone claim these air drops, and like, maybe your compound finance, loans need like, they’re gonna get liquidated, you need notification. So now it’s become so much bigger that, now like I could have never imagined this, and I’m excited about it. Because this step was required, it was either bringing on more developers and potentially getting venture capital funding, which is something we haven’t mentioned, Earnifi had zero VC funding. It needed some type of growth for sure, because of where we are right now in the market. And the folks that are coming out with similar or products in places that Earnifi could have expanded into, that’s now happening in this market.

So, elaborate on that a bit, like what do you see else that’s needed?

Dawson: Yeah, so something else that I see needed is, there’s this idea of getting notified of something right now. So, you have an asset to go claim right now. But then there’s these things of like longer term. So maybe you are always holding your ENs name, for instance. Or you’re always watching to wait for this one ENs name, to be available to go bid on. There’s this idea of like, in the moment things, so it’s not just like uniswap came out and now I add it to Earnifi, and I push those notifications. This is something like, at all times, anyone who has a wallet, could be paying attention to this thing, and this thing should notify them. And that’s mostly an engineering difference. But in the end, it’s going to end up enabling way more types of notifications.

Will Web3 Take Over Web2 Communications and Notifications?

Got it. That makes sense. I’m curious, like, as someone who actively uses web three, I’ve actively come across scenarios where I wish I was notified when something was to happen. I think the closest thing that I guess most recently that I’ve come across is, like SMS notifications when a music NFT artist that I like is dropping a song, you know, and getting notified when it’s happening. Because many times you have to be there in the moment to claim the limited edition, right? Otherwise, you’re going to pay a premium on the secondaries. I haven’t come across an instance personally. And that’s because yeah, I guess I haven’t come across an instance where I’ve had to claim an Airdrop that was, I guess, had like a countdown to it and it was limited on time. Until recently, where I’ve been using more Earnifi, like I’ve been integrating Earnifi into my day to day, my weekly kind of like web three consumption. And I’ve come across new tokens that I had never heard of, that was like, oh, wow, like, I don’t even know I qualify for this and it’s mine. Like, I’m gonna go claim it. So, I see like, I see the notification layer. Something troubles me, is like the notification layer for wallet-to-wallet messaging. And I think web two has done like distribution and communication really, really well. And web three is trying to like make its way into that category but we’re not there yet. So intertwining, like web two communication tactics, like email, or SMS, or integrating telegram notifications, Discord notifications, whatever may be, with all the value that’s happening and being captured on chain, is a super captivating, do you think there’s a world where web three ends up becoming the end all be all destination, for communications, for notifications, and whatnot? Or do you think that web two will play that pivotal role as the industry expense?

Dawson: I think there’s a massive opportunity, what you just said, for web two to continue being dominant. I don’t think we’re, like Push Protocol for instance, or Earnifi email system. It’s not anything better than what was in web two. As far as like, we didn’t invent a new notification style. You still just getting push notifications on your phone, or email notifications in your inbox, or SMS on your phone again, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with those methods. Of course, they can be overwhelming or maybe you don’t have that app downloaded. So, you don’t get that notification. But like something that you don’t always see is that web three is built on web two. You can’t separate them. We can try to separate from these, like silo towers of you know, Facebook and Twitter having your data, yes. But like, you know, when you’re publishing in Leinster, you’re still hitting a lens API, you’re still hitting one server, located in one place on the East Coast, ran by lens by the Ave company for the time being. Like, for the time being, we’re still built on web two. And that’s okay. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Obviously, Earnifi is a product where like I said, except email addresses. You know, there’s a database, like sometimes the web two technology stack is useful. You need to keep with it. 

Got it. And I, if I recall correctly, I have to ask because this is a podcast and its clickbait is hell. What’s the acquisition amount public? Are you open to sharing?

Dawson: The acquisition amount was not public.

Okay. And we’re gonna keep it that way. Is that what you’re buying? 

Dawson: And we’re gonna keep it that way. 

The Future of Bankless Labs

Okay, so I, I’m excited because you’re on to bigger and better things. Integration with bankless, labs, the CTO of bankless labs, web three media driving the future of all the cool products that are gonna come out of that vehicle. Can you share more about what the future looks like in that department?

Dawson: Yeah, part of the future that I wanted to mention is, I noticed that you’ve been doing podcasts NFTs. I saw NFT podcast, podcast NF Ts. We did like a funny switcheroo on Twitter. And entirely separate bankless tweeted podcasts NFTs like 30 minutes after you tweeted podcast NFTs. That stuff in area that that bankless media is pushing into. Yeah, but when it comes to what are we doing now? What is bankless labs going to do? So, I’m the CTO of bankless labs. I’m hiring two engineers. This is huge already. That’s, you know, three times as many engineers. Like once we’ve got those engineers, we’re going to push into getting these notifications in more places, super interested in integrating with wallet providers. So, imagine one day you open up meta mask and meta mask tells you that you’ve got $1,000 to go claim. It’s pretty useful, right? You shouldn’t really need to know about Earnifi in that case, if it’s integrated at that level. And Earnifi has by far the best data source on all this stuff. So, it’s mostly kind of getting the firepower now to have these conversations with the right folks. So, if anyone’s set Metamask or Coinbase wallet or similar, I’d love to speak with you because people deserve their notifications. This is their money to go claim.

Did You Come into Bankless Labs With a Specific Vision Yourself?

I feel like you have some level of autonomy and leadership as a CTO there, it’s still very young, the department. So, there’s a lot of fresh ideas, a lot of fresh energy. Did you come or are you coming into bankless labs with a specific vision yourself? Or is it kind of like, the entire team was like, alright, we have this vision, we need more technical help to help execute on it. Like, what is a combination of the both or how do you look at it?

Dawson: Yeah, it’s a bit of a combination of both. Ryan and David are the best marketers in web three, some of the best marketers in the world. And just like how big of an empire they built is like, they know how to drive eyes to things and I know how to make early-stage products. That’s what, like I’ve always done at hackathons. And we think that combining these two skill sets, together with some of our engineering talent on the team, means that we can do the full circle from launching something early, to growing it and making this thing, help more and more people. So, they came in with the idea of we want to make Earnifi better and bigger. And I came with the idea of like, I would only have sold Earnifi to someone who I can continue doing Earnifi with. Like, I don’t want anyone to kill this thing because the world needs this. The world needs these notifications, if it’s gone. That 150 million that happened last year, or last year and a half, that’s gone too, these like notifications to everyday people. So, they want to just grow bigger and so do I.

Okay, well, look, dude, I’m excited for you, as I’ve said multiple times, because I genuinely am. I think it’s an epic collaboration, a W for the entire space. So, congratulations to you. Congratulations to bankless. I’ll be watching. I’ll be playing with the products. Shout out to podcast NFTs. Before I let you go and we wrap up, Dawson, anything that I missed, anything that you’d like to shout out or anything you’d like to cover, before we close it down?

Dawson: I don’t have anything on deck that I was thinking about. But I do want to encourage folks to go be active and have fun in web three. So, if you’ve gone and been a collector for a while, maybe go try minting something I actually minted to just yesterday, after talking to you, Adam, I minted on Zora and practice like getting the revenue back and claiming it and I added notifications on Earnifi for unclaimed Zora Treasury assets like it is a complex world out there, but you don’t have to know everything. And no one knows everything in web three. Like I spent all day watching it and yet I didn’t know about the unclaimed Zora Treasury stuff till yesterday. So, I would encourage folks, like don’t be just a consumer, be a creator. You know, if art is not your thing, do some code. If code is not your thing, do some podcasting. Podcasting is not your thing, show up at a conference. This space is so welcoming because we’re all still so early. So just get out there and make something cool.


Amazing. Dawson, where can we find you? Where can we find Earnifi? Where can we find bankless? Show away and we’ll wrap it up?

Dawson: Yeah, you can find me primarily on Twitter. It’s Dawson Botsford. You can find Earnifi at So that’s Earni.fI. And then bankless labs is, actually we’ve parked the Twitter, but bankless is for you to follow for now. Bankless labs is kind of this tech emerging thing that we’re figuring it out. Yeah, Ryan and David had been sure to say this on the podcast, which is that, this is early, like we’re one weekend to merging these ideas. So be patient with us as these things get more of a cohesive story. For example, the bankless membership and the Earnifi membership are still separate. That’s because a week ago they were separate companies. Yeah, so be patient with us. But we’re definitely building stuff for your journey to go bankless.

Amazing, Dawson. Thank you so much. We’ll have to do this again soon as we release more products but till then, have a good one.

Dawson: Thanks so much, Adam.