Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Sheppard

SheppardAmy Sheppard, George Sheppard, Emma Sheppard, Jay Bovino, Michael Butler, and Dean Gordon are Sheppard– an indie-pop band hailing from Brisbane, Australia. With lovely, upbeat songs that capture youthful memories, tropical-esque vibes, and light-hearted, soaring harmonies, we have a feeling Sheppard will become a new favourite. This interview is packed full of fun details about the band, so have a read as George Sheppard talks to AMBY about being stuck in Paris, headbutting microphones, and music Sheppard loves!

AMBY: Hello Sheppard, please introduce yourselves to AMBY!

Sheppard: Hello AMBY! Well, Sheppard is a 6 piece pop group from Brisbane, Australia. Comprised of three siblings – George, Amy and Emma Sheppard, and three friends – Jason Bovino, Michael Butler, and Dean Gordon.

AMBY: What’s the band been up to lately?

Sheppard: We released our self-titled debut EP in August last year, and since then, we’ve been touring locally and internationally trying to get our music out there. Since the EP was released we’ve visited South Africa, the UK, India, Bali, and been back to the US twice! We’ve had quite a bit of fun so far :)

Currently, we’re on a tour called Rock the Schools. It’s an Australian education program aimed at school students who are interested in pursuing a career in the music industry. It’s very cool, I wish I had something like this when I was at school! We are driving from Sydney to Melbourne, stopping at a different school every day, playing a rock concert and running a Q&A about the industry, to help the student best understand what they are getting into by chasing a career in music!

AMBY: Let Me Down Easy is great song! What’s the story behind it?

Sheppard: Thanks a lot! We were very proud of that song once it was finished, so we’re glad to see people are responding to it. It’s actually quite funny, the song started out as more of an emotional ballad, but for some reason, we added a swing beat to it, increased the tempo, and turned it into the catchy, upbeat song you hear now. I think it’s cool because you have these emotional , heartfelt lyrics of a man who has just had his heart broken, but it’s being sung to an incredibly catchy, happy sounding melody! We enjoyed the juxtaposition, even though it doesn’t make a lot of sense! Haha…

AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you as a band?

Sheppard: The funniest thing to happen to us as a band… Haha thats a tough one… We’ve all had some pretty hilarious things happen to us individually, but as a whole band? I think I’d have to go with being stranded in Paris waiting for our US Visa to clear. We were literally stuck in Paris. It wasn’t funny at the time because we were running around like headless chooks trying to organise a visa at the last minute, and for a while there we thought we were going to have to cancel our trip to America, but it all turned out OK, so we can laugh about it now! We had only planned to be in Paris for a day, and we were all super bummed that we were going to be visiting Paris, but weren’t going to get to stay long enough to enjoy it… We ended up being stranded there for a week! Best place to be stranded, I say! :D

Individual embarrassing moment – I head butted a microphone onstage once, which was pretty darn embarrassing. It was in the middle of a very emotional rock song, and I was getting right into my piano playing – I was throwing my head around like a true head thrasher, forgetting momentarily that there was a microphone a few inches away. I went full pelt into the mic, and was left with a big red mark on my forehead for the rest of the show. Needless to say it was hard to be taken seriously after that! haha..

AMBY: Is there an album in the works?

Sheppard: We haven’t planned a set release date, but there is definitely a full length album in the works. It may be a little while off yet, as we were planning to release another EP after this current one has had it’s run, but we certainly already have enough material for an album! We are constantly going back and recording new songs, I think we have about 24 Sheppard tracks ready to roll, so you can definitely expect a new release soon! :)

AMBY: If you had to describe each member in the band with one word, which word would define them?

Sheppard: Amy – Bubbly, Emma – Fiery, Jason – Tidy, Michael – Genuine, Dean – Wild, Myself (George) – Devilishly handsome. Haha no I’d say Friendly.

AMBY: What is the best song of the year so far?

Sheppard: Let Me Down Easy! Hahaha no just kidding. This is another tough question! I think there have been so many awesome tracks released this year, Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” was a really nice ballad that gave me goosebumps when I first heard it, another Australian band, Birds of Tokyo released a great track called “Lanterns” which was in my head for a good month! Another Australian band, Tame Impala released their new album at the end of last year and their track “Elephant” is great. There’s also a new track I’ve been listening to from a New Zealand girl who goes by the name of Lorde, the track is called “Royals” and I’ve really been digging it! There are just too many awesome tracks being released all the time to choose one!

AMBY: Which bands have been your biggest influences?

Sheppard: I’ve always said Coldplay have been my biggest influence. I love Chris Martin’s stage presence and his performance is always breathtaking! Some of the other band member’s influences include John Mayer, Kings of Leon, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Elliot Smith and Death Cab for Cutie.

AMBY: If you could tour anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Sheppard: Like I mentioned earlier, we’ve been lucky enough to have already toured to some amazing places! So far we have visited South Africa, The UK, the USA twice, India, The Phillipines and Papua New Guinea. We’ve been quite spoilt! I think I’d really like to tour Europe extensively. We only got to visit London for a few days, so it would be nice to do a European tour. I really want to go to Spain!

AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?

Sheppard: We are going to be playing a festival in Bangkok called “Sonic Bang”, so thats definitely something to look forward to!  We’re also planning on returning to the USA to do a tour. We’ll be heading back to one of our favourite towns – Portland, Oregon! They were the first city in the world to play our song on commercial radio, so we’ve always got time for Portland :) We’ve also been asked to play at the Caloundra Music Festival in October, so that’s got us all pretty excited. I’m sure more things will crop up as the year continues. We’ll be going back into the studio around July to finish off a bunch of tracks we started in April. I can’t wait to add some newbies to the Sheppard catalogue :)

AMBY: And last but never least, what’s something about Sheppard that nobody knows?

Sheppard: All of the recordings are done by Jay, Amy and myself with our producer Stuart Stuart. The rest of the band usually comes in when we hit the rehearsal room. Therefore, our live show is a lot different to whats on the CD. We’re very proud of our recordings, but I feel like the live show is always a lot more energetic and punchy, we certainly have a lot of fun performing! If you like our music, you should definitely come and check out the live show!

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Alicia Atout

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