Q&A: Dani Shivers, The Death of Innocence

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There’s something about Dani Shivers that really intrigues us as an artist. Weather it’s that pure and childlike innocence she carries, or that inner-psycho-witchness persona as seen like in her twee-goth video (dainty and cutthroat), not to mention her haunting, melancholic, and eerie tunes. And for some strange reason, I can’t help to think of Syd Barrett’s “See Emily Play.”

Deemed as Tijuana’s new femme fatale of witch house, this border-songstress is shaking things up in her home base. A former bassist and synth player for Ibi Ego, You Schaffner reincarnates into her solo project, hence Dani Shivers. With a spook-ghouly EP JINX and memorable collaborations with the boys of ruidosón Los Macuanos, and we can’t to hear what other creepy crawling tunes will swarm in our ears with her infectious melodies.

In this interview, we got to know more about this beautiful, melancholic lady, her death of innocence as her new alter-ego Dani Shivers, the obscure selections of music instruments, sadomasochism, and everybody’s yearn to be adored, but few admit.

Thumbnail Photo by Temo Suarez
Framed Photo by  Jaime Martinez

I admire artists that are okay with playing on crappy instruments. What is the crappiest instrument you’ve ever played or even seen?

I often play with crappy gear, but it’s hard for me to think of one in specific. I bet some people may think that my instruments are crappy ‘cus they’re so cheap and have plug-in issues, and they’re very very practical. I like them because of that, but crappy instruments? I’ll leave that to judgmental people although there’s nothing better than knowing your sound and the instruments you need to make that happen.

Can you walk me through your songwriting process? Which comes first for you, lyrics, or vocal melody with synth lines?

Well it may vary. Sometimes I’m just walking down the street, singing, and I come up with a melody, if this happens, I turn on my cell phone camera and I record it. Most of the times jamming in my bed, very comfy and often depressed makes me come up with melodies, and if they’re good I proceed to add lyrics and structure. I’m a freak when it comes to structuring songs, especially because in this whole process I’m thinking how can I make a strong song without the necessity of adding more keyboards or instruments or elements, just with what I have. It’s a challenge.

Which artists got you into music? Which “gothic” artists first appealed to you and why have you chosen to incorporate a darker fashion style?

Since I was little, my mom used to take me to rehearsals with her band and her bandmates used to share music and recommend bands to me. The first band that made an impact was Placebo; it was dark and aggressive but still melodious and smart. My favorite record of all times is Without You I’m nothing, Placebo’s 2nd album. After turning 14 I started listening to all types of music and I must say that I’ve never considered me as a gothic person, I like dark sounds but it all have to do with the sadness in music and more profound feelings, and not for fashion. When I started Dani Shivers, it came to me that I needed to release myself from a lot of things from my past and put it in words. I decided that Dani would represent the death of my own innocence, so it’s almost like I’m grieving most of the time. My dark fashion sense was naturally a complement of my music, the story behind it. At the end it all comes down to one single thing and that’s music.


Two of us here at Remezcla, including myself, are originally from San Diego. What did you think of the city and the people when you played there?

I like San Diego because it’s amazingly beautiful. Both the city and its people. They like to party and have fun. When I play there I feel like they like to just go with it and understand that I’m there to have fun and not to over think things too much. I’ve also been in concerts in San Diego, and I can see both sides and I get the same feeling on both. People dance in my shows and come to me after and talk about their experience which is something that I like doing. It’s a big city and so close to the border , so the public is very open to new shows, from all ethnicities/origins.

I hear you have green braces. How long have you had those? And how do you FEEL about them? Haha

Haha I just got my braces removed like 15 days ago I had them for almost 2 years, I felt weird because I always had the feeling that everyone was looking at my mouth when I was talking or singing or walking or whatever and I felt more awkward than usual. But they had a good side and that was that people thought I was so much younger than what I really am. It was fun to deceive everyone, and smile in a creepy way to scare my sister off. But they were a pain in the ass, specially because I wasn’t able to eat a lot of things (like candy apples, one of my favorite desserts), and I wasn’t good at following the rules often having to go to the dentist to fix them. Oh well, that nightmare’s over.


I also read that you covered “I Wanna Be Adored” from the Stone Roses with your old band, Ibi Ego. I’ve always wanted to cover that song. It’s one of my favorites, just even the VIBE is amazing. Why did you choose to do that song and what were your intentions with the actual revision of the song?

Well, it was a long time ago. I’ve always liked that song, it transports me to another time. It’s a feeling that I can’t explain and very few songs can do that to me. Love the lyrics, I think they’re very honest. So when I learned how to play it on the bass, I couldn’t stop playing it every time we practiced. Eventually my band mates and I decided we should cover a song, and that was the chosen one. It was a fun experiment and our only cover. We all want to be adored but some of us are afraid to say it out loud, they made a song out of it and they earned my respect.

Where does your first name “You” come from? And how did the stage name come about?

You is a nickname my high school friends gave to me ‘cus they couldn’t remember my real name. Now even my mom calls me like that and everyone I know, so it’s officially my name. Schaffner is my real last name though, my grandfather was German. Dani Shivers is a combination of words that I like. I think it reflects my state of mind. I grew up being afraid of a lot of things, and still am.


Does anyone ever annoy You with You jokes?


Where do you see the future of the music industry in the next ten years? And where do you see yourself in the next ten years, even if it has nothing to do with music?

Thinking about the future is almost as scary as thinking about the past but with a lot of more weight because you make your future and whatever it’s in your head can happen. But you need to focus and I’m not sure if I can do that. I mean, I’d love to make my dreams come true and make movie scores and combine my two favorite things in life, music and film. I’d also love to own a pet shop with a lot of animals and a bakery store (I love baking). So it will all depends on me and how good I am making things happen. Scary….

And… can you start writing some songs about sadomasochistic sex? By the look and feel of your art, pictures and flyers, I’m going on a hunch and guessing you are into an alternative sexual lifestyle? Am I right? Wrong? Or just being a pervert? Correct me if I am wrong, but I just get that hunch, which is one thing that draws me to you as an artist.

Alternative Sexual lifestyle…? It sounds like I’m into sex with animals or something, sadomasochistic sex? Might be, I’m a permanent sadomasochistic. But I dunno if I can write songs about something that doesn’t inspire me like that, I have to check on that. Sex is tricky, I prefer writing about permanent things. About my clothes, I’ve never thought about it before, but I guess I like to be playful with the way I dress (like with a lot of other many things). I think that I can wake up a lot of ideas and you could say I like to tease. I just love feeling pretty in black-childish and generally cheap clothing.

Be on the lookout for MORE Dani Shivers this week! We got a super cool playlist coming up curated by the one and only, Ms. Shivers, and an a super cute music video (*squeeze*), to be premiered this Friday on Remezcla! Just watch this shout out vid she did for us. Love love love!!

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