Interview with the multi-talented Dani Neff of Megafauna

Posted: September 18, 2014 in Alternative, Alternative Rock, Band, Entertainment, Interview, music, New Music, Progressive, rock
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Photo Credit: Dalton Campbell

Austin has been keeping quite a secret and it is time everyone gets to know about it. I am talking about the incredible prog-rock/alternative band Megafauna. I am not going to try and place them into a music genre category because their fresh new bold style of music fuses a variety of musical influences and have successfully created their own unique sound. You can pick up great tones of progressive rock, alternative grunge style, power pop and garage rock. They most recently released their album, Maximalist which is quite deserving of your attention.


In addition they toured this past summer in support of their album and will continue to set out on another tour shortly. We had the opportunity to talk with Megafauna singer/guitarist, Dani Neff and she is such a wonderfully talented artist. We are pleased to bring you the interview here:

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Music Junkie Press: Thank you very much for taking the time out to talk with us here at Music Junkie Press. We have to tell you that we love the new video for Haunted Factory, looks like a lot of fun recording that. We understand you also choreographed the video?

Dani: Yes, I choreographed that along with my friend Stephanie Chavez. She has a company called Woven Feet here in town and they do a bunch of dance stuff, but ya we worked together on it.

Music Junkie Press:  It looked like a lot and there was a lot of great creativeness in that.

Dani: Ya, it was very, very fun. It was tiring. Oh My Gosh, it was. I was in shape for a very hot minute there.

Music Junkie Press:   We are excited because with Maximalist came out earlier this year and has been getting a lot of great response, well deserved attention, can you tell us a little bit about the title and the inspiration behind it?

Dani: Yes, so Maximalist is this idea that we live in a world with sensory overload and there is basically, so much of everything happening at all times and with the internet, you can access all kinds of information at any moment, and a lot of people are paralyzed by this excess of information and this plethora of choices. And a Maximalist is someone who can navigate this world overflowing with choices and excel in it and find a path throughout the madness.

Music Junkie Press: That is really so true, especially for the youth of today. It is completely overwhelming to be a youth in that environment.

Dani: Ya, I don’t envy the younger generation.

Music Junkie Press: If we look back at growing up and what things from today we might have wanted to have, there isn’t much. For me, it might have been the cell phone, but for safety sake.  Now, back to your music, are you going to be working on any more videos?

Dani: Well, we will soon. As of now, basically what we have in the pipeline is an animated video for Monster Sleeping which is almost done and then another fiction video for Time To Go and it is this really fun, surreal video about this beverage called Magafauna that people drink and then their world totally changes and everything gets really colorful and surreal and all these little stories that happen to people who drink Megafauna. So we have those two things coming out hopefully very soon, we have been working on them for like a year or so.

Music Junkie Press: Time To Go is one of my favorite songs, I am excited for that video. That is a great track. Also, you have this great style that you have created your own sound, this fusion of elements of rock, progressive, alternative and more. Growing up, what musicians most inspired you for that?

Dani: Gosh, I am a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix, I listen to a lot of blues, Albert King, Junior Kimbrough, Albert Collins and also grunge, like early 90’s grunge, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and then also Fiona Apple, Natalie Merchant and also Nick Drake, the acoustic player, and Elliott Smith which you don’t hear that as much in our music, and Radiohead was a huge influence, I love, I am enamored with them.

Music Junkie Press: The nice thing is you all have pulled this sound together and it is unique and inviting. It brings out a lot of emotion, makes you feel alive. Do you have a particular songwriting process?

Dani: It totally depends on the song so. Let me think, a lot of songs will start with me just messing around with a riff and I will come up with a riff that I like  and then over the top of that, a melody will just come out and then sometimes I will take words, I will come up with nonsense words at first and sometimes some of those are actually really poignant to me and that is why I am coming up with them. If that makes any sense to you?

Music Junkie Press: Yes, exactly, it is exactly that whatever flows easiest seems to be the most important for you.

Dani: Ya, and then other times I did this process where I took a bunch of my writings over the years, and cut up different lines and then arranged them into song lyrics and poems.

Music Junkie Press: That is so awesome and quite creative.

Dani: Ya, it was a lot of fun. So some songs take me a year to write, literally a year or two and other some songs just come out fully formed. They just flow out and they are just there.

Music Junkie Press: Now, how old were you when you first started playing guitar? And what was the first song you learned in its entirety?

Dani: I was 10. Ya, it was Smokestack Lighting by Howlin Wolf.

Music Junkie Press: How about with summer coming to a close soon, what was some of your highlights for you this year so far?

Dani: Burning Man, Burning Man was a blast. It was so intense and I don’t know, the media was just saying that it is dead and there were a lot of wealthy people out there now and this and that. But Man, when I was out there, it was extremely intense, I got stuck in a whiteout, a sand blizzard, it was crazy. It really is crazy. What else, let’s see, we went out on a very long tour this summer, a two month tour, I also made it out to Europe to visit a friend of mine. I did my running around during the summer a lot because the Austin heat in Summer is too much for me.

Photo Credit: Anna Webber

Photo Credit: Anna Webber

Music Junkie Press: You have had quite a busy summer! How about if we could peak into your Ipod, what artist or song might be most surprising for us to find in there?

Dani: Surprising? Blonde Redheads. Fleet Foxes. Helplessness Blues is a great album, new Medeski, Martin & Wood, Keller Williams.

Music Junkie Press: Well, it is great to see how your music tastes are so varied, you can feel it in your music. You are so multi talented, a dancer, an artist, musician, your music preferences are so varied, what advice could you give to get other people out there today to listen to a variety of music?

Dani: To maintain that diversity in music?

Music Junkie Press: Well, in everything, I know that a lot of times the youth of today are given choices to do and they sometimes might be persuaded to stick with just that and not try new things. They pick up the guitar and the parents check the box now for guitar, and push them into that. You instead have done a wide range of things, succeeded at them as well. I believe even in law for you?

Dani: Yes, I am a lawyer too.

Music Junkie Press: That is amazing and great, what advice could you give to the youth?

Dani: Probably to face your fears, to not be afraid, to not be afraid to fail, be open to doing something because you want to even if you are not that great at it, keep trying.

Music Junkie Press: Everyone has their kids trying to place them in their checkboxes of what they are good at. Same thing with the music genres. That is what I love about your music, you don’t try to fit it into a checkbox for a genre or sub-genre. It is its own unique style.

Dani: Thank you, I am glad to hear that.

Music Junkie Press: What are you guys currently working on?

Dani: Well we are touring again in October, We just don’t stop. We are going out West, going to hit California, Seattle, and Portland and all that, and the Rockies. But we are also working on a new album so I have been writing a bunch of songs for that and we have been collaborating on songs. I am actually meeting with a studio engineer next week to talk about timing for that. And then I am also going to record an acoustic EP. I think it will just be Dani Neff, because it is so different from Megafauna, I think, or maybe, I don’t know. So ya, we would like to record another really epic music video, another dance one but even more psychedelic, like body paint, really crazy lighting. So that stuff and we have a bunch of shows in Austin in September so we are busy.

Music Junkie Press: We are looking forward to you coming out here. We are in Northern California, so we really look forward to it.

Dani: Yes, we are supposed to play San Francisco October 24th, haven’t locked down a venue yet, but we will be there.

Music Junkie Press: We will definitely lock down the date and look forward to seeing your show. Lastly, what would you like to share with our audience and your fans?

Dani: A lot of what I am learning recently about myself is to just.. Well okay, to just face your fears. Instead of trying to hide from your fears or distract yourself from them, to just face them head on and find out why you are afraid of what you are afraid of and learn from that. Also, when you have certain feelings that can be hard, probably this is too out there, Mari: (No, please go ahead), Okay, like sadness, anger, frustration, instead of running from those feelings, to just be with them, sit with them and just welcome them and learn from them.

Music Junkie Press: That is great advice, they always talk about people coming in to your life at the right time for a reason and I think you prove that. You just touched on something very personal for me that I was struggling with just yesterday. It was the anniversary of my father’s passing and I had all these hard feelings and there are three things I could have done, run from the feelings, distract from them or be with them. In the past, I did the other two and this year, I was just that, with them. Just felt them all the way through. So it is amazing that you talked about that and it is such great advice. You caught me off guard with that.

Dani: Wow, Oh my gosh, it is great you did, it is so hard, I mean in a way it is hard being with it, but in a way it is kind of easier than just running away from it. And then, when we have these feelings, a friend was telling me this, that they are there for a reason and you have to let them out and have the feeling.

Music Junkie Press: That is true, the interesting part is that they are going to be there until you let them out. If not today, then tomorrow, or whenever, they will be there until you experience it. That is the fact that I learned yesterday, 3 years later and these feelings are still there to release because I didn’t deal with them back at that time. Until you go through them, just know they will be there waiting for you. I ran from them before and this year, faced them and I feel much better for it. That was great advice Dani to share with everybody.

Dani: Thank you. I was inspired by this poem, a Rumi poem called The Guest House, I recommend it. It is just about how being human is just like a guest house and the guests are the different feelings and you just have to welcome each guest, even if its terrible.

Music Junkie Press: That is a great way to look at it.

Dani: I read it from the Burning Man info guide and it is a poem by Rumi.

 “A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Jelaluddin Rumi 

for complete poem visit here

Music Junkie Press: Thank you so much for your time and we look forward to seeing you in San Francisco on October 24th.  Thank you for your great gift of music, your wonderful words and great advice.

Dani: Thank you so much, and it is what I do, my mission.

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Be sure you head over to and pick up Maximalist. We look forward to their upcoming tour and make sure to visit their social media sites and stay up to date on their latest news.

~ Marisol

Information & Links:

Credit Dalton Campbell

Photo Credit: Dalton Campbell

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