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Musical inspirations, math class, and memorable performances: what’s next for Bletchley Park

Five students standing in a plaza.
Members of Bletchley Park.
Courtesy of Daisy Whiting

Bletchley Park is a student indie rock band consisting of Ian Liu ’27 (keyboard), Nicholas Manetas ’27 (guitar), Leah Shefferman ’27 (drums), Rohan Sykora ’27 (guitar, vocals), and Sydney Tyler ’27 (bass, vocals). The ‘Prince’ sat down with Bletchley Park to talk about their performances, inspirations, and goals.  

This interview has been edited slightly for clarity and concision.


The Daily Princetonian: How did Bletchley Park form?

Sykora: Nick and I met early on, and we were like, we both play the guitar, that’s fun, we should try and find some people to play with. 

Liu: Rohan and I were struggling with p-sets in math class. We discovered we both played a lot of instruments, so we were interested in starting a band. He did most of the heavy lifting — bringing the band together. I’m just along for the ride.

Shefferman: Ian’s roommate had heard the band was looking for a drummer. I joined the group chat, and the rest is history. And then we found Syd.

Tyler: Nick and I were sharing Nick’s guitar all year, and right before winter break, I was looking at instruments to buy. I really wanted to join the band, but they couldn’t have three guitarists, so I decided to buy a bass and learn the bass. I practiced all of winter break. And then I was in the band. 

DP: What’s the story behind the name?


Manetas: Rohan and I were in Information Revolutions, and we stumbled on Bletchley Park. During World War II, the British brought together all their brightest computing minds at Bletchley Park. We thought it was just a very cool indie band name. We floated Women in Computing, after the female codebreakers at Bletchley Park, but we didn't think we could do that because we’re 60 percent male. 

Sykora: Well, at the time the band was actually all male. We hadn't found Leah yet. So, yeah, no, the name was definitely not going to be Women in Computing. 

DP: You played in Terrace’s Battle of the Bands. How was that experience? How did you choose the setlist? 

Shefferman: It was awesome. We were really feeding off of the crowd’s energy. 

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Sykora: Each band gets 10 minutes, you have pretty much three songs. It’s got to be something that’s memorable. It’s got to be something that’s catchy, and it’s got to be something the audience knows, right? So, our songs were Pleaser by Wallows, Brazil by Declan McKenna, and Kilby Girl by the Backseat Lovers. 

Tyler: Our main objective was high energy. We wanted the crowd to be able to jump, we wanted them to have a good time. 

Manetas: It’s also fun because we bring so much sound that we fill out these indie songs that can be more bare-bones on the recording. When we play them live, everyone has a bright sound, it comes together and sounds really good. 

DP: Run me through your musical inspirations. 

Sykora: My mom is a big Bruce Springsteen fan. It was a big connection point between us growing up. And the phrase sounds kind of contradictory, but mainstream indie bands are some of my favorites. The Backseat Lovers, Wallows, are up there for me. 

Shefferman: My parents’ music — The Beatles, The Smiths, The Cure. My first drum teacher showed me Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl is a distant relative of mine, fun fact. We call him Cousin Dave. I also play jazz, which you wouldn’t think translates to the indie rock stuff that we do. But it really does. 

Tyler: I’ve been listening to Noah Kahan for the past five years. Lizzy McAlpine, because as a songwriter, she’s very inspiring.

Manetas: I got into guitar re-listening to John Mayer’s concerts and Pearl Jam live. There are a lot of good jam bands around Richmond. I always enjoy a long solo section where everyone gets the chance to really groove. 

Liu: I was raised on classic rock, everything from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin. I have a particular appreciation for Bob Dylan. I could go on and on about him. The Doors are great, especially since I’m here to play the keyboard. The same goes for jazz. I’ve always been partial to Miles Davis. 

DP: How did you form the band so early on as first-years?

Tyler: This is one of the only outlets I have to express myself. I’ve had tough days academically or with my sport, and it sounds brutal, but a band practice at 11 p.m. is exactly what I need. 

Manetas: It adds a creative pressure, which can be stressful, but it forces you to really engage. If I were to go through the highlights of my year, each performance would be one. 

Shefferman: The music community here is so tight-knit that establishing ourselves now gives us a lot of room to grow. Who knows where it’ll take us. 

DP: What’s next for Bletchley Park? 

Manetas: Hedge fund. 

Tyler: Have a few originals?

Sykora: Three words: Lawnparties student opener.

Shefferman: I think we should set our sights a little higher. First, we get our own Terrace gig, then Lawnparties. After that, maybe Madison Square Garden, Super Bowl halftime show? I think that’s kind of where we see this going.

Tyler: I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Lemonade Mouth. But I’ll leave you with that thought. 

Manetas: We have lots of riffs and ideas. This summer, we’re going to get super good at our respective instruments, and then come back with tons of creative energy, record original music.

Sykora: First step is to take advantage of all the opportunities that Princeton and the community have to offer, and then hopefully try to outgrow that. We’ve got three more years. That’s a lot of time. We’re all going to grow a lot as musicians and as people. 

DP: Where can people find you guys? 

Sykora: You can follow us on Instagram @bletchleyparkband. We also have a show coming up on April 27th at noon at the Maclean House. It’s part of the Princeton Porchfest music festival. Bring all your friends, be there. It’s going to be an amazing set from Bletchley Park.

Ivy Chen is a first-year and a staff writer for The Prospect at the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at iychen[at]