Punk is most definitely not dead.

And you’ll know that to be the case when you listen to the music of the Von Shakes, an indie rock band from Ireland that is putting it’s own stamp on the indie music scene with aggressive punk guitar riffs and melodic vocals. Think Arctic Monkeys meets Franz Ferdinand with a dash of The Strokes.

The quartet includes Paddy Brazel (vocals/guitar), Hugh O’Reilly (guitar/backing vocals), Cillian McSweeney (bass/backing vocals), and Ryan Normandin (drums).

The Von Shakes are well on the road to success, after playing more than 250 shows in the past three years alone. After being approached by an agent and manager, the band finally made the bold move from Dublin to New York in February, 2012 to make their mark on the United States. By March, the Von Shakes released their first EP, Almost Nobody.

“We’re not hiding behind any doors. We never tried to be anything that we weren’t,” said Brazel in a recent interview with DOWNTOWN Magazine. “Just trying to make this as organic as possible.”


Photo courtesy of Shervin Lainez

Their success comes from years of practice and the musical shorthand that comes from lifelong friendships, as Brazel, O’Reilly and McSweeney have all known each other since elementary school, with Normandin joining the band shortly after. By age 17, the band had their first couple of gigs at local bars and venues as a cover band.

Many bands struggle with being in each other’s company for that long, but Brazel said it affects the Von Shakes in a positive way. Living together makes it easy to include a life outside of the band, said Brazel.

In addition, the Von Shakes are anxiously awaiting the release of their new full-length album, Bohemia, which will be out in October of this year. They wanted the new album to capture the sensation and passion of a live show with lyrics describing intensely personal experiences. Recorded in Buffalo, NY, the Von Shakes worked hard…and fast on the album.

Bohemia was recorded live, on tape…the artwork is simple, and we’re producing the record onto vinyl,” said Brazel. “There’s no fiction in our lyrics, we like to believe everything is real.”

The Von Shakes are happy with what they have achieved so far in America and look forward to their ultimate dream of taking on extensive tours across the states, which they hope Bohemia will assist in.

“From day one we loved the whole experience, living this life,” said Brazel. “We’re broke, yes. Young, yes. But we’re having fun. We love what we’re doing.”

Callie Kittredge


The cover of the Von Shakes’ new album, Bohemia.

See the Von Shakes at their upcoming show, Saturday, July 20 at The Knitting Factory.

Tickets are $5, doors open at 11:55 p.m.

For more information about the Von Shakes and their music, please visit their website.

Listen to their hit song, My Side.