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With today’s launch of his debut single “Angels,” electronic musician Danny Maegaard expects some doubters who are “skeptical of this new kid on the block.”
That skepticism only increases when you know this digital native has spent the past couple years performing as Seedphrase, a DJ who wears a large helmet based on his CryptoPunks NFT #8348—arguably the rarest in the entire collection.
“At the end of the day, I want to let the music do the talking,” he told Decrypt.
“ANGELS" OUT NOW!!! 🔊
Thank you everyone for the love and support ❤️❤️ It has been an incredible journey so far, which I hope to tell through my music. This wouldn’t be possible without the Web3 community, and specifically, CryptoPunks 🤘
Stream, play and save on all DSPs pic.twitter.com/pNp6FuHg8O
— seedphrase (@seedphrase) August 18, 2023
Maegaard has been playing in the crypto space for the past decade, and has used his Seedphrase moniker to bring together Web3 culture with high fashion and digital art. In July, he signed to talent agency WME—home to Adele, Dua Lipa, and the Foo Fighters—with Friday's release of “Angels” marking the start of a new, ambitious chapter.
He originally purchased his famed CryptoPunk—the only one in the 10,000-NFT collection with seven unique visual traits—in 2020 for 85 ETH (less than $18,000 at the time) before the project surged in value. After building up an online presence, Seedphrase held his first public performance in 2021 at NFT.NYC.
It was only supposed to be a one-time gig, with the helmet—created by IronHead Studios, also responsible for DJ Marshmello’s helmet and Marvel costumes—partly used as a way to give Maegaard the confidence to play the larger-than-life character of Seedphrase.
“I had no idea what the reaction was going to be,” he admitted. “Also, the Punk is so iconic."
In other words, why wouldn’t he use it? Instead of indifference, Maegaard claims that people’s faces lit up when they saw this walking, talking CryptoPunk at the event as the NFT space reached new peaks. Along with DJing alongside Steve Aoki, TroyBoi and Blond:Ish, he spent the evening posing for selfies as the footage went viral on Twitter.
“It was a really nice feeling. It made me realize what joy I could bring to people and how Seedphrase could be bigger than something confined to a screen,” he explained. “That moment really gave me the ambition to grow this project out.“
Maegaard began creating original music last year, but after spending months on the project, he scrapped everything and started again.
“It was a little bit too commercial, and it didn’t feel like Seedphrase,” he admitted. “It just felt a little soulless, and I want everything I release to make people feel something.”
“Angels” is the first of five tracks that Seedphrase will release over the coming months. It’s heavily inspired by the dance community he’s found himself in since that night at NFT.NYC, while the lyrics are about when Maegaard first moved to Los Angeles when NFTs were first exploding and the buzz around the space was palpable.
Rather than a very literal and obvious crypto-focused song, though, “Angels” is broadly about a sense of adventure and chasing that feeling of euphoria. And it’s available through an array of traditional streaming platforms, not just sold via NFTs or through a blockchain-based streamer.
“I know I’ve made a name for myself in Web3,” he explained, “but I want to get outside that bubble and make music that can bring both sides together.”
Along with wanting to get more involved in fashion and merchandise, Seedphrase aims to become as big of an electronic music presence as Marshmello or Steve Aoki, with Maegaard saying he’s willing to work for the next 20 years to make that a reality. He didn’t grow up harboring rock star dreams, but still he claims this project is driven by passion.
“Money isn’t my main objective here. I want to push Seedphrase and grow it into a legacy that goes beyond the lifespan of Danny,” he explained, with technologies like AI, the metaverse, AR, and VR all potential tools to facilitate that goal.
“Everything I do is meant to be aspirational,” he continued, explaining how he views Seedphrase as a lifestyle brand more than anything: “Growing up, I always had people that I looked up to and I loved hearing stories of success, because I was big on manifestation. Now I’m in a position where people look up to me, I want to give them something to work towards.”
More than anything, Maegaard wants people to understand who Seedphrase is—more than just a "guy in a helmet," as he described. Amid the recent doom and gloom across the NFT market following the surging highs of 2021-22, he sees a potential knock-on effect that can boost the native culture of the scene and expand it more broadly.
“NFTs are just not there with the mainstream, and we’re in a bear market right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of negativity right now, but I want to bring some fun back to the space. Because of that, I knew my debut single had to be a banger.”