The Shady Janes: Silence and the Sway

Written by Tamara Styer

Jamming in a wood shop converted into a practice space, The Shady Janes often invite their friends and family to hang out and listen to their tuneful music, including originals from their album Silence and the Sway, as well as covers such as "Monkey Gone to Heaven" by the Pixies. Pulling from influences across many genres, their Brit-rock sound is peppered with indie notes from the 90s to today. 

            When Brad Hahn and Jayce Bannister grab their guitars and microphones, and combine their powers with Damon Dugdale on bass and Jeremy Mock on drums, they magically transform into The Shady Janes.  Influenced by a range of genres including rap, hip-hop, country, blues, jazz  and classic rock, The Shady Janes are putting the Ozarks on the map with a genuine underground sound.
            “After college I moved to Cali," says Hahn. "I had no idea there was music out there that had nothing to do with major labels, it was coming from some place totally different. It was back around 2000 when people started to count The Underground in with their influences, and I realized you don’t have to be a badass guitarist with an amazing vocalist to be great.  You just had to have a really good song that said something in a simple way.  The Underground was pretty big for me in that respect.”
            When they first started out, the whole scene was all about possibly going to New York to see if you could meet the right person and get a record deal.  They are really glad that is changing, and now they are in a unique position to just do their own thing.

            Self proclaimed “word dorks” The Shady Janes try and be arty with their word play.  Hahn says the lyrics are honestly the best part of what they are doing.  If you listen to their first CD, most of the songs are about an ex-girlfriend, but that was a past that has no place in what they are trying to come out with today.  Having a lot of good stuff in their lives like wives, kids and great friends has changed they way they write.  Everyone can still find the darkness, so you can tap into a little bit, but they want to temper it with something hopeful.
            They fancy themselves more writers than performers.  They love to get out there and play at the bars, drink, and get everybody screaming, but if they could just write music and have other people play it, if they could make a living off that they would do that too.
            When they come together to write it’s mostly a jam session.  They haven’t really honed in on writing with each other much yet.  Never wanting to be in a situation with a “dictator,” they don’t tell each other what to do or how certain aspects of a song should sound.  They don’t come in and say this is how the bass should sound, or the drums should sound like this.  Sometimes they just take an idea, maybe three chords and a hook or the beginning of a verse with the chorus, and then let the guys do what they do best.  It’s not very often that you can get a group of artist together who are all trying to “paint a canvas” and can all agree on something, because everyone wants to interpret or express themselves differently.

            The Shady Janes would love to release music that makes a profit on a regular basis. "Nothing like a big tour or anything, but a modest living would be fine," they say.  They don’t want mansions and fancy cars; they just want to be able to support their families doing what they love to do. 

            “The Underground writes for the passion, and the industry writes for the money.”  
                                     - The Shady Janes

            The group encourages everyone to go after their dreams and do what they really want.  The first step to this they say is finding out what you really want.  You're always going to be better if you are trying to create or express an emotion as apposed to just doing it for the fame.  Everyone would want to be in the limelight, but it’s the reason you're there that is going to make the difference.
            “We play and write songs every day because it is our favorite thing to do.  Yeah, there is a possibility that we could make some money off of it but we just want to play."
            Recently The Shady Janes have hooked up with a booking agent, and with a steadier flow of revenue coming their way, they are shopping for studios to start on their sophomore album.  They really feel that the next album deserves professional treatment and they assure us it is going to be amazing, which I don’t doubt in the slightest coming from a group as talented as they are. 
            There is nothing like the sound of dreams becoming reality, and that is exactly the sound you hear when listening to The Shady Janes.  Be sure to check them out on Facebook, and give a listen to their debut album, “Silence and the Sway” available now on iTunes and CDBaby.  

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1 comment

  1. Thanks for the words! I wanted to clarify a couple things. The Underground = The Velvet Underground. Their stripped down simplicity had a big impact on my early songwriting. Regarding the ex-girlfriend songs, there are 3 and those are Jayce's (he's done writing about her now). I wouldn't want readers checking out the album with the impression that it's an ex-girlfriend album. That, it is not. Thanks!


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