A friend who knew Danielle “Danz” Johnson as a DJ back in the day recommended I photograph her. When I first Google her name, I find “The End of Time,” a music video where the artist is roaming the streets and rooftops of an overcast New York City, dressed in a metallic astronaut suit that fits her frame as if it belongs to an older brother.
On screen and in photographs, she comes across as if she’s on a cosmic mission, under an electronic trance. Her band is called Computer Magic, and the name suites her well. I decide to photograph her not only to capture the aesthetic, but also because I become instantly hooked on her songs. She is incredibly talented.
We plan to do the shoot during her sound check at Brooklyn Bazaar. The venue is more like a fair ground than anything else. She and her boyfriend Chris (who is also in Computer Magic) tell me they’ve been killing time with one of those claw-machine prize games trying to win a Visa Gift Card or a Nokia flip phone, which has probably been trapped there since the early 2000’s. Then there’s also the mini-golf course which is constructed with cardboard cut-outs.
The room makes me feel like I’m on an acid trip, being visited by every character from my childhood – fictional and otherwise (Elvis, Popeye, Fabio and Glinda the Good Witch are all present). My instinct tells me to ask Danz to stand under Glida’s sparkling wand, but she goes straight for Fabio. His legs are spread, his shirt is off, and he’s holding chains and flowers. While Danz gets between his legs, a mini-golf player holds his shot so I can take mine.
But Danz, who is working on her debut full length record with producer Claudius Mittendorfer, looks like she could have jumped out of a futuristic blacklist version of any fairy tale, so I make sure to get her with Glinda after all. Afterwards, she sets up her merch table with Har Mar Superstar, who she shares the bill with, and just before going onstage she heads back to the claw-machine and wins the flip phone.
Danielle “Danz” Johnson just released a limited edition vinyl and cassette of her ‘Extra Stuff’ EP. She is currently working on recording her first full length record with producer Claudius Mittendorfer (who has produced for Neon Indian, Bloc Party, Interpol, and Franz Ferdinand). The album is due to drop in the autumn.