Computer Magic is the spacy, sci-fi-influenced synth pop project of singer/songwriter/producer Danielle “Danz” Johnson. A native of New York, she began collecting vinyl at age 14 and started her own music blog a year later. By the time she was 18, she was DJ’ing in New York City while studying at Hunter College. Three years later, Johnson moved to Florida and began making her own music and began posting her atmospheric electropop songs online in 2010, adopting the Computer Magic moniker as an homage to This Is Spinal Tap.
After releasing a few free EPs, she re-recorded some of her songs for the White Iris label, which issued the Electronic Fences EP in 2011. The following year, the Orion EP arrived on Kitsuné, which led to the release of a Japanese compilation via Tugboat Records.
Computer Magic became so popular in Japan that Johnson made several albums just for her fans there, including 2013’s Phonetics and 2015’s Mindstate. During this time, she also issued the EPs A Million Years/Another Science and Extra Stuff.
In 2015, Johnson launched her Channel 9 Records label, which released her official debut album, Davos, a set of songs she recorded with producer Claudius Mittendorfer. After two more EPs (2016’s Obscure But Visible and the following year’s Cody & Danz, a collaboration with Cody Crump), Johnson released Computer Magic’s more personal second album, DANZ, in 2018.
What made you choose the Prophet-6?
“When the Prophet-6 came out I knew right away I had to have it. The reason I wanted it so bad was that it sounded so good. So warm. And because it was analog. I bought the desktop module because I wanted something that could easily fit on my desk.”
How are you using it?
“I was originally just using it for chords and melodies, then I got into sequencing. Now I’m using it for bass, too. It just sounds awesome on everything.“
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
“This is a hard question! My favorite thing is the interface. It’s pretty old school, but also pretty easy to use. The arpeggiator is really fun to play around with, too.“
What does the Prophet-6 give you that other instruments don’t?
“I know if I have a sound in my head I can figure out how to make that happen with the Prophet-6. It’s really easy to get lost messing around with envelopes when I record a sequence. It inspires me a lot, too. It has a unique, yet familiar sound that definitely brings a warmth into the mix.”
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“Well, a pretty cool thing I’ve been doing is using the Ableton Push as a MIDI controller, sending MIDI to the Prophet-6 and recording sequences that way. I can really zone out doing that! My studio looks like a space station at night.“
Amnesia, featuring the Prophet-6
New album, Danz:
MORE ABOUT THE PROPHET-6
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