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Leading its new generation of artists is a group that appropriately calls itself THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN! Fusing together influences drawn from playing in mostly punk, heavy rock acts and listening to an eclectic range of music from gospel to R&B to hip-hop and underground dance music, THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN! has created its own intoxicating blend of rock instruments and electronics. Its goal above all: to get your blood pumping and your body moving.

"It's music you can bang to," says vocalist/guitarist Brandon Zano. "It's very sexually driven." Adds bassist Daniel Lee, "There's definitely a lot of adrenaline."

Although THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN! is new to Cleveland's music scene, its members are veterans of bands that enjoyed some local success. Zano, Lee and drummer Stephen Nicholson played together in Leo, which signed a development deal with Island in 2002, then went on to play in the well-regarded Dozen Dead Roses.

"I started to work on music of my own," says Zano. "Daniel and Stephen were going that way too. I kind of coerced them into playing with me and we started writing songs together. We knew Justin through a previous band he was in and knew he would be a good asset as far as completion of what we needed."

Keyboardist/programmer Justin Nyilas turned out to be the missing ingredient that transformed THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN!'s music from a collection of strong rock songs into a throbbing, sexually driven, music experience.

The band launched in early 2008 and quickly started looking for opportunities to get heard. They approached multi-platinum producer, engineer Michael Seifert of Cleveland's Ante Up Audio, whom Zano knew from working with in past projects. He caught the group live and immediately signed them as the first act on his new label Reversed Image Unlimited LLC. Their first full-length disc, "LOVE KILLS" is due for release May 5th 2009.

"He gets what we're doing," says Lee. "It's such a pleasure working with someone who is that unbelievably talented. He's creating a Cleveland uprising and we want to be part of that."

While the band's currently focused on the CD that will introduce them to the world, they're continuing to play out as much as possible. A national coast to coast tour is planned for summer 2009.

"Our emphasis is to prove that our live show is just as good as or better than the album," says Zano. "We come from bands with punk and rock influences. We don't just stand there. We're ravenous about it. We want the live experience to be so intense that for the next week, after seeing THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN! your heart is still pounding and your body is still shaking."


"Electro-rock band THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN! have tapped producer/engineer Sean Beavan, best known for his work with Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, to mix their debut album, "Love Kills." The CD is due out on the Reversed Image Unlimited label on May 5th of this year. "
-Trent, Your Story

"Chosen Band To Watch In 2009 By The Cleveland Scene"
When singer-guitarist Brandon Zano, programmer/laptop maestro Justin Nyalis, bassist Daniel Lee and drummer Stephen Nicholson came together less than two years ago to form This Is a Shakedown!, they shook off the heavier influences that shaped most of their previous bands (including such noted local ensembles as Leo, Tender Blind Spot and a Dozen Red Roses). Instead, they opted for booty-shaking music - "sexy music," says the garrulous Zano - that doesn't just seethe and rage but sparks an outpouring of dance-floor ecstasy. While walloping, electronica-enhanced dance rock hasn't been in short supply in recent years, these guys really pack a punch, pumping up their prominent '80s influences to arena-esque proportions. Zano, a caroming ball of energy onstage, declaims his vocals as if he's trying to bridge the Grand Canyon, propelled by Nicholson's and Lee's rocket-launcher of a rhythm section. Meanwhile, Nyalis's embellishments are the mirror ball revolving above the crowd: flickering, everywhere-at-once starbursts that crank up the excitement level. The band's hard-driving past gives tunes like "Love Kills" and "You Make Me Wanna" a heavy edge, but it's the relentless beats that make them so irresistible. Currently recording at Ante Up with producer Michael Seifert, they'll release their debut this year on Seifert's Reversed Image Unlimited label.
- Pantsios, Cleveland Scene Magazine (Cover Story: Volume 15, Issue 88 Published January 22nd, 2009)

"Music to extort by: Formed less than a year ago, This is a Shakedown! -- Brandon Zano (vocals, guitar), Daniel Griffith (bass), Justin Nyilas (synth/programming) and Stephen Nicholson (drums) -- is exploring electronic rock that falls somewhere between The Faint, She Wants Revenge and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club."
- John Benson, Cleveland Plain Dealer (November 20, 2008)


Genre: Electro-Rock
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Members: Brandon Zano [vox, guitar]; Daniel Lee [bass, synth]; Justin Nyilas [synth, programming]; Stephen Nicholson [drums]
Sounds Like: The Faint, The Presets, Soulwax, Muse, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Brazilian Girls, Nine Inch Nails
Influences: The Faint, Brazilian Girls,The Presets, Muse, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Record Label: Reversed Image Unlimited (



Love Kills - Reversed Image Unlimited (May 5, 2009)
CD One Sheet | Purchase CD

1) Circles
2) Love Kills
3) You Make Me Wanna
4) Radio
5) The Beat
6) ComeAndCutMyHeartOut
7) Electric Sound
8) Can't Stop
9) Oh!
10) My Funny Valentine
11) Caving In

Debut Album Love Kills On Reversed Image Unlimited

It's dirty, decadent, delicious, and danceable. It's uncontrollable, uncontainable, and about to launch itself out of your speakers. Get ready to get catapulted into musical chaos, 'cause THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN!

Barreling out of the Cleveland music scene, this fresh new music act took a plethora of influences and made a hot, steamy, gumbo of a record that is boiling out of the pot. Taking pieces of industrial, punk, metal, goth, techno, R&B, and dance music, this electro-rock band is releasing their debut album Love Kills on May 5 through Reversed Image Unlimited.

Launched in 2008, THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN!'s Brandon Zano (vocals/guitar), Daniel Lee (bass/synth), Stephen Nicholson (drums), and Justin Nyilas (keyboards/programmer) blend wild electro-groove with heavy rock. Known for notoriously riotous live sets, THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN!'s music gets your blood pumping, your heart pounding, and your body shaking. Tracks like "Circles," "You Make Me Wanna," and "Can't Stop" are instant sparks, electrifying dance floors and charging the psyche to remember those groovy hooks. They even took Frank Sinatra's "My Funny Valentine" and transformed it into a slinky, sexy ballad suitable for a punk rock prom.

Multi-platinum award-winning producer/engineer Michael Seifert is at the production helm on this project. Seifert tapped producer/engineer Sean Beavan (best known or mixing and producing music by Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, System of a Down, and Slayer) to mix the album. Digging into these ground-breaking roots, Seifert and Beavan bring that dark magic to THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN!s already unique sound.

All around, Love Kills is a mash-up, mind-trip album bursting at the seams with energy and innovation! It's on the way to a stereo, dance hall, or punk club near you. Prepare for the SHAKEDOWN!


"Circles" Music Video
The first music video ever made with Apple Mac Book's Photo Booth. On March 20th, 2009 This Is A Shakedown! recorded their music video for "Circles" at Ante Up Audio in Cleveland Ohio using 21 borrowed Apple Mac Books. This incredible video was filmed and edited by Bryan Porter of Enigma Digital Media Productions. This is their first underground video that will never be released on television due to the intense strobing effects.

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