Dani Shivers is witch and a ghost, but You Schaffner is a 20-year-old singer/songwriter who has been dubbed “Casio Queen” by her loyal fans. The Tijuana-born and raised artist is currently in post-production on her official LP, JINX, a somewhat dark album that will immediately remind you of eerie musical scores from ‘70s era horror films (think Halloween, Carrie, and Black Christmas). It will keep you engaged, especially since the complex arrangements and melodies on the album were created using vintage Casio keyboards, lacking any of the essential components and functions found on modern instruments. Still, this ghost warrior’s quest is to continue creating her brand of “spooky pop” her way. You Schaffner, aka Dani Shivers, is a unique artist who may not appeal to all, but her music will certainly speak to those who have imaginations that are beyond the norm.
nocheLatina: Do people often assume you’re a very dark and complex person because of your look? What are some misconceptions you want to clear up?
Dani Shivers: I think my music has obscure moments because it reflects sadness and nostalgia. I don’t think people could ever have the wrong idea about an artist. Everyone has different interpretations of music. Understanding things differently makes life more fun. It’s like wanting to interpret someone else’s dreams. I think people are more interested in my music than how I dress. Clothing is only a complement even though it reflects how you feel. I dress in black all the time.
nocheLatina: How would you describe your music?
Dani Shivers: My music is a very playful and a popish look of sinister and depressive thinking. It reflects childhood feelings in the mind of an unfortunate grown up. It’s aggressive and darkish beats made with vintage toy keyboards. I like to call it ‘spooky pop.’
nocheLatina: People probably don’t realize that you’re using an inexpensive keyboard to create music.
Dani Shivers: I have no rules when it comes to writing a song. I say this because I don’t plan on what keyboard I’m going to use. It comes naturally, depending on the characteristics of the keyboards. I have my collection of vintage keyboards and some musical toys that I regularly use when I want to jam. When creating music I usually use two keyboards: Casio Casiotone MT-40 for a more warm and bassey sound, and a Casio Casiotone MT-28 for a more aggressive and sinly sound.
nocheLatina: It’s been said that limitations of using antique keyboards keep you from creating more complex musical arrangements. When you hear something in your head and can’t quite get it down on your keyboards, does that hinder you?
Dani Shivers: I don’t ever have this problem where I can’t get down a melody on my keyboards. I don’t like to think that the particularities that I love in a vintage keyboard stop me from doing anything. It’s the opposite of that. It’s a challenge transforming their forgotten features and sounds into a modern melody. My focus is getting a good song out of what I have. It’s a DIY kind of thinking. A vintage casiotone is the only thing I need to be happy making the music I want.
nocheLatina: When I heard your tracks on JINX the music quickly reminded me of the similar sounding scores used in a lot of ‘70s horror/slasher films. It’s very eerie, but it grabs the listener. Is that the reaction you want people to get from the album?
Dani Shivers: One of my biggest influences in music is old John Carpenter’s soundtracks. Horror films are always in the back of my head and you could say I love watching them as much as I do making music. It’s hard to get them out when writing new songs. I think as a movie, JINX tells a story, every song is a chapter of it, and the listener is drawn by two important things: the narrative and the sounds.
nocheLatina: I understand JINX is about a girl becoming a ghost.
Dani Shivers: Dani is a teenage girl who lost her cat. She decides to look for him in the woods . She enters a haunted forest and finds a little cabin with a small kitchen and oven. She figures her cat could be in it. She opens the oven and finds him dead. She returns to her house and practices magic so she can revive him, but as a teenage witch regularly does, she casts the spell and screws up. She opens a gate from another world and finds herself haunted by evil entities: a witch and a vampire who kill Dani’s parents. In seeking revenge, Dani goes on a journey that ends in tragedy. She dies as a witch, but manages to stay in this world as a ghost.
nocheLatina: Where did you grow up and what were your biggest musical influences?
Dani Shivers: I grew up in Tijuana. Growing up as a child in the ‘90s and having a very artistic family helped me open my mind to all kinds of different music, mostly old blues, pop, and shoegaze.
nocheLatina: I know you also had a troubled childhood. Do you mind going into some detail about it? Do any of your songs reflect your past?
Dani Shivers: I did have a troubled childhood, but I think my childhood was the happiest I’ve ever been. That’s why I like to hang on to it and that’s what my music reflects.
nocheLatina: Are you also interested in making films?
Dani Shivers: I definitely want to keep writing music, at least for another two albums. Film will always be an important part of me, but I don’t hink I enjoy making anything more than I do making music. I want to focus on that and see what happens. My goal is to make happy memories for when I grow up.
nocheLatina: Do you still live in Tijuana?
Dani Shivers: I currently live in Mexico City. I just moved here, but Tijuana is my favorite place on earth.
nocheLatina: Will you be touring soon?
Dani Shivers: I hope I can tour as soon as JINX is out. It would be so much fun.
nocheLatina: When can we expect the album to be released? Where can people get it?
Dani Shivers: It just needs to be mixed. People can get it through me and download it online.
nocheLatina: Where did the name Dani Shivers come from?
Dani Shivers: I love the combination of words. I think it reflects my natural state of mind.
nocheLatina: Where can fans reach you or find out more info about your music?
Dani Shivers: People can visit my Facebook page, listen to my songs on Soundcloud, go to my Tumblr, and read about my activities on Twitter.
nocheLatina: What else do you want fans to know about you?
1. Halloween is a permanent celebration.
2. Black is the new black.
3. No fog, no fun.
4. Ghosts are helping me write my new album.