Who TF are Shenanygans?

We had a chat with folk-tinged indie rock outfit Shenanygans following the release of two excellent initial singles from the band

With just two releases to their name, Swiss based Shenanygans are already well on their way to establishing themselves as a distinctive and engrossing brand who’s unique brand of folky indie rock feels as modern and fresh as it does wistfully nostalgic, melding sounds of the past and the present with a flowing sense of style and composure.

The brisk melodies of ‘Count on Me’ and ‘All The Trippin’ Around’ do a great job of highlighting the engrossing allure of the band and their instantly memorable sound. The band have an aura and air about them that feels gorgeously nostalgic, armed with the potent harmonies of bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys but with more a modern and contemporary core that keeps things feeling fresh. We had a great chat with Shenanygans to find out some more about the band, the origins of their sound, and how their first two singles came to life.

Who TF are Shenanygans?

Kaylem: Shenanygans are a band made up of four people from all over Europe! We got Dan and Kaylem Hannon-Barry, the two Irish brothers, on guitars and lead vocals (they share lead duties) and “lucky” Luki Hellmann, half Polish and half Swiss, who sings and plays the bass. Then last but not least of course Tom Brunner, multi-instrumentalist and full Swiss lad on the drums. Shenanygans are an alternative indie band but open to experiments and not really limited by genres.

Luki: And these four fellas are always up to some… shenanigans.

How long have you been making music?

Kaylem: Dan, Luki and Tom met somewhere in late 2021 and when I joined them we started making music together as a band. That was last year, the summer of 2023. This is where we started writing songs for our album “On Monte Verita”. We started to crest more and more along the way.

Luki: Dan was already into music when he was a teenager, being influenced by his grandfather who played trad music. Kaylem was into music early as well, being a singer and having done a course on music production after school. I had been working as a musician for 8 years prior, mostly making a living of it. I joined my first band at the age of 13 I think. And Tom fronted his own band before, Space Camel, which is still active by the way.

Dan: Ya as Luki said music was very present in my household growing up and having lots of family members (young and old) with different tastes in music which all gave me a connection to different styles for different reasons helped me to find something I like in a variety of different genres. Playing together with and for your family at a birthday party you have to be versatile and learn songs that everybody would like which often means finding out what songs they like and what about them they like so you can do it justice for them. Add to that a general high standard of musicians in our family anyway made it a great place to hone my skills and made me very adaptable. Playing music with Lukas and Tom was a new environment for me and was perfect to develop even further. Bringing Kaylem in to that fold was only natural as we grew up singing and playing music together and I knew how perfectly he would fit in the band.

Tom: Since I was a child. I was 8 years old and started out as a drummer as my dad was a drummer. Then I had a bigger break and then I found a guitar in the attic of my parents house. It was my uncle’s guitar but he didn’t play guitar. So I picked up the guitar and from then on the journey began.

Why do you make music?

Kaylem: Each one of us absolutely adore music, it’s a big part of our lives, music brings life to the world and is always happening around you whether it be in a bar or in a shop on on the radio. Music is a form of therapy. We bonded over it so that’s why we make it. We also want to showcase how we would portray the art.

Luki: Music is absolutely the best. One thing about music is when it hits you you feel ok!

Dan: Music has helped me through my worst moments in life, accompanied the best moments and been the background for everything in between. I always enjoyed playing either for myself or for a group of people and it never lets me down (even if its take 192 of a guitar overdub)

Luki: I’m sorry about that Dan!

Tom: I think that I make music because I loved music and listened to it a lot when I was a kid.

What are your biggest influences?

Kaylem: Biggest influence for me is Rex Orange County. His music is a peaceful escape for me. I love his songs and his style of music. I love stuff my dad listens to, like Billy Joel or  my mom who listened to Adele

Luki: I love music! I love interesting songs, songs with messages and emotions, songs that tell stories and touch you, I love styles and arrangements and sounds and I’m in general a big, big music nerd. If I were to name my top artists of pop and rock it’d be The Doors, The Beatles, Bob Marley and Motown in general I suppose. More modern stuff I love are Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes but I try to be open for everything. I enjoy some classical music, right now for example Gaspar Fernandes, who fused church music with yaruba rhythms and native American influences. I think Fleet Foxes kinda sound like that sometimes. Of course I love Jazz like Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane. I dig Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. When it comes to modern pop I like what Lorde and Olivia Rodrigo do at the moment. It’s got something interesting to it. Also Kaylem got me into Rex Orange County. And this year we’ve seen Say She She live – what a great trio backed by another band, Orgone! Be sure to check them out! We are fanboys for Say She She!

Dan: I’ve always had a big influence from folk/trad singers in Ireland as the songs they sing always revolve around telling a story. I started to love the Police at an early age and Eric Clapton and Dire Straits. They gave me my earliest inspirations for guitar and will always be what I fall back to. I grew to love lots of music from different eras of music. From newer(ish) artists I really enjoy Hozier and the Strypes (shoutout Irish acts) and Foo Fighters were one of my first bands I discovered myself so they have a special place in my heart.

Tom: It’s difficult to say. I’d say, so not to keep my answer unnessesarily long, bands that played Woodstock in ’69. I also like Krautrock, electronic music, Hip Hop and folk stuff like Nick Drake.

What would you say has been your best moment so far?

Kaylem: We have had some pretty cool milestones so far but I think our best moment up until now is to have reached as many listeners as we do now on Spotify, it has rapidly been going up and up and doesn’t seem to be stopping, those mostly listening in the USA.

Luki: I love the fun we have together. We’re a pretty good team as well, where everyone has his strengths and brings something to the band. We had some fun adventures, playing in Ireland or spontaneously travelling to Poland to a festival. I think there’s a lot of “best” moments still to come!

Dan: I think our best moment was going home to Limerick and playing in Dolan’s warehouse. This was the place where all the big up-and-coming acts played in Limerick so to play there was incredible.

Tom: All and nothing.

How would you describe your sound to somebody unfamiliar with it?

Kaylem: Our sound has been told to be like the Beatles the Beach Boys, Artic Monkeys, Rex Orange County, Nirvana and Pixies.

Luki: I guess we’re kind of an Indie Rock/Garage Rock band at the moment. You know, we recorded and produced our debut album mostly ourselves in my uncle’s garage, where we’ve built a studio. So it sounds a bit lo-fi. It was important for us to be authentic and energetic. We think that it’s kinda nice and different than many songs nowadays which aim to be perfect to the machine.

I know nowadays it is important to label yourself. But we’re open for any style in the future and we’ve got four songwriters. So we will see how we will sound next. For sure our vocal harmonies put us in the Bee Gees/Beach Boys/Beatles corner but I guess that’s what happens when you have multiple singers. Most great bands in history used harmony vocals and stuff, though. Queen, Abba, Nirvana, you name it.

Dan: Our sound is like a fresh indie pop sound influenced by the vibes of older generations of music. But we have a lot of songs ready to go that will show everybody that we have a versatile sound and can fit in several genres.

Tom: Listen our upcoming album “On Monte Verita”!

What’s your dream “I’ve made it” moment?

Luki: I think we’ve already made it by being friends, playing together and having started the band. It would be great, though, to play a lot of tours and festivals in the future, record a lot of albums. Well, an “I’ve made it” moment would of course having a number one charting single all around the world or playing some really big and known festivals as headliners.

Kaylem: Yes, playing at a festival with a lot of big artists would be such a moment.

Dan: On top of what the guys said already, I think as soon as we get our own Wikipedia page we’ve made it.

Luki: Hear it you guys out there? Anyone who knows how to make a Wikipedia page about us will make Dan a real made man (a rhyme)!

We love your singles ‘Count On Me’ and ‘All The Trippin’ Around’, what more can you tell us about them?

Luki: “Count On Me” is a very old song. It has been written ages ago and I’m happy it finally found its way! It’s a very nostalgic song influenced by a walk in the early morning after a sleepless summer night by the Baltic sea. “All The Trippin’ Around” is a song about touring. Once you’re on tour there’s a certain moment when you just lose all sense of time and space and you’re wondering where the heck you are and what day it is…

Dan: “Count On Me” was the first song we sat down and learned to play together. It’s the song that glues us together as a band. “All The Trippin’ Around” is our most fun song to play for me. It’s so energetic and catchy and I love the response we get when playing it live.

What else do you have planned for the near future?

Dan: This spring we release our album “On Monte Verita” so make sure to keep an eye on that! We have more singles to follow that and some more recording at the end of this year to keep releasing more songs next year.

Luki: We’re hitting the studio in May for two new singles for the summer. In autumn we will start recording our new album. So we’ve got lots of songs and music! Also we’re gonna play gigs in the UK, Switzerland and if it all works out also in Germany, Austria and Japan!

And finally, who is your biggest fan right now?

Dan: Our mothers! We have a few people who we know are die hard fans right now but of course our mothers will always claim that title and will kill us if we say otherwise.

Kaylem: We’ve got some people on TikTok who said they’re our biggest fan.

Tom: I do not know who our biggest fan is at the moment. However I suppose our biggest fan will read this interview. So if you read what I say right now and you identify as our biggest fan leave a comment below if possible.

Luki: Anyone who really enjoys our music can in my opinion claim to be our biggest fan! Also we appreciate people who know our lyrics and come to live concerts and sing them loudly so in case we forget them we can just read it from their lips. That’s fandom!