ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: DanZ CM
Hello Danz CM! We're happy to have you as a very talented and unique musician with us on DARKNET blog! We know you're based in NY! Please tell us a little about yourself and your journey!
I'm from a small town in upstate New York called Woodridge. I moved to New York City to attend college. After taking some time off from school - and working several jobs at restaurants and retail, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life - I started to make music for fun, and chose the moniker of Computer Magic. To my surprise, people didn't mind it when I put my songs up online!
How long have you been making music and what was your first inspirational spark to dive into this world?
I've been making music since I was around 20 years old. I didn't know I had the ability to until I sat down and tried. I found out I could make music by ear- hear melodies and chords in my head, get them down on a keyboard without knowing the notes I'm playing. I was always obsessed with music (here is a Discogs list I made recently of my favorite records), but it wasn't until I was an adult that I learned I could actually put a song together.
We know you use analog synths! Tell us about the very first one you got and what are your favorites nowadays?
I do love analog synths. They're very warm sounding to me. The first one I got was a Moog Voyager that I no longer have anymore. I had to sell it to make rent one hard month in New York, and have regretted it ever since. But now I have a nice, albeit small, collection. The main obsession I have now is with small desktop analog modules, like the Moog Minitaur and Prophet 6. They sound great and are fairly portable. I want to build a custom rack for all my desktop modules eventually.
Photo Credit: The Synth Sanctuary in NYC
Tell us about your musical inspirations! Who are the artists you grew up listening to and who you look up to the most today?
I go through a lot of musical phases. Growing up I listened to a lot of Radiohead, Belle & Sebastian, Ladytron. These days I'm listening to a lot of Gary Numan, New Order, Giorgio Moroder. It's always changing, really, and I appreciate all types of music. The main songwriters I look up to are probably Paul Mccartney, Trent Reznor, David Bowie, Thom Yorke.
What does your creative process look like? How do you go from trying out new ideas and jamming to finished records?
Sometimes a song takes a day, sometimes it takes a little longer. Songs are easy to make, but the album process takes a while. I used to just record, mix and master all my songs, make some random artwork and throw them up online without thinking twice, (take the Dreams of Better Days EP for example) but now I like to release albums a little more thoughtfully (take Davos or Danz as an example). It's a long process especially since I self-release everything on my own label (Channel 9 Records) that I run solo. Not only is it creating the songs themselves, but it's having to get them mixed and mastered properly, figuring out artwork, possibly getting a distribution deal for an advance to make quality videos and hire PR, getting records pressed, figuring out a tour, etc.
If I'm doing a remix or a cover it's much faster, maybe a few days. Albums take longer only because I'm pretty particular about the process being just right.
Is Computer Magic your only project? And how often do you collaborate with other artists? Who would you want to work with the most?
I've been releasing everything as Computer Magic but I'm thinking of switching to just Danz or Danz CM for my next album. A lot of people think of Computer Magic as a band, probably because I have a session drummer when I play live, but in reality I'm doing all the songwriting and producing. All my socials are Danz so it just makes sense.
As for other projects, I also run Synth History, an online media brand that focuses on vintage synths and musicians that use and embrace them. So far I've gotten to interview Vince Clarke, Rick Wakeman, Pete Townshend, Suzanne Ciani, Oneohtrix Point Never. Having Synth History is a pretty neat way to get to talk to my heroes, or e-mail with them anyway. I wanna start doing reviews on synths and tech, etc.
As for my own music, I'd like to collaborate more, but I'm so used to working by myself! I grew up, for the most part, as an only child. When I see or hear things in my head one way, it's hard for me to compromise. My default is working solo, it's just a lot easier, so collaboration for me feels forced or unnatural a lot of the time. Although, I'm growing out of that headspace now and realize the benefits that other musicians or creative minds bring. My friend Cody and I have a rock-n-roll side project called Cody & Danz. We're both solo artists, normally... so we're pretty stubborn when we work together, but the end result is better for it.
How do you see yourself at the highest point of your career? What would be your ultimate dream to accomplish with your work and when do you see that happening?
My ultimate dream pertaining to music would be to score a feature someday. With Synth History, it's to keep the brand growing and hire writers. My general dream is to maintain creativity whilst being financially stable. I just want to be happy doing what I love for as long as I can.
How often do you perform and where could we see you live? Can you tell us a little about your upcoming shows?
I'll probably tour when my next record is out if COVID is gone!
Finally, we would love to ask - What would you say to up and coming artists who want to pursue their passion?
Hmmm.. number one is, stick to your vision. I remember when I first started making music I had a friend tell me that I didn't know what I was doing because I didn't go to music school and he did, yadda yadda. If I had listened to that friend, who knows where I'd be now. Be the number one believer in yourself and your art. Number two is, don't try to sound like other artists or fit a trend. Inspiration is cool, but there's only one David Bowie, one Stanley Kubrick, one Billie Eilish, one Van Gogh, etc. What makes any piece of art unique is the person or people who made it. If you try and sound like someone else it's just never going to work, people will see right through it. So essentially - and I'm aware it sounds cheesy but - believe in yourself, stay true to yourself.