Off the back of their latest studio album Watching the Sky, Aussie music royalty Sheppard are set to play on South Aussie soil next month. Playing alongside international rock legends Foreigner and Cheap Trick at Live in the Park, the indie-pop youngsters are excited to be playing to an Adelaide audience again. The six-piece Brisbane band will play their feel-good tunes in the scenic Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Ripper Sunday arvo sorted.
Shepard burst into the Aussie music scene in 2014 with their first infectious single ‘Geronimo’ which peaked at #1 on the ARIA charts. Following the success of the single, their debut album Bombs Away took flight around the globe, hitting platinum in Australia and overseas. After touring internationally and taking a much-needed creative breather, they released their album Watching the Sky earlier this year. Now, the three siblings (George, Amy and Emma Shepard) and three friends (Dean Gordon, Michael Butler and Jason Bovino) are hitting the road, and they couldn’t be more excited.
We had a chat with lead singer George Sheppard ahead of their upcoming tour and trip to Adelaide.
How did Sheppard come together?
It was a real gradual process over a few years but the inception moment was Amy. She was studying music at TAFE and needed to write an EP and produce an album for an assignment. I was studying as an actor in Sydney and she asked me if I’d be interested in recording some harmonies for her and we had so much fun doing it.
We kept on developing our song writing and recorded a bunch of songs …then we met Jason Bovino. He was finishing off in a band and he was the first member we recruited. We got him to come to Brisbane, stay for two weeks or more and he ended up staying for two years in our house. Together we wrote and recorded Bombs Away and ‘Geronimo’ which was the beginning of the next phase in the Sheppard evolution.
Was music something you always wanted to do?
I definitely toyed with the idea through my teen years, but it was never my primary passion. I’d always done musicals as a kid so I wanted to be on stage or screen. I also learnt piano so it was all there but it was never a conscious decision to pursue music…life just happened. But now I prefer it because you’re creating your own vision rather than trying to fit into someone else’s. It’s the best job in the world.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Definitely being on stage and the moment you get to walk out and meet your fans. It’s kind of hard to gauge what’s happening and how your music is affecting people in the ‘every day’. You see the numbers and the charts so you know people are liking it but it’s not until you get out there face to face and feel their energy and hear their stories that you understand it. Everybody has that dream to play in a sold out event with everybody singing their songs. But when it does happen, it really is a pinch yourself moment and a dream come true.
How has Sheppard’s music evolved?
I guess in Bombs Away we were more of an acoustic folk-pop band and had a lot of acoustic guitar in our songs. Through the success of ‘Geronimo’we were able to discover who we were as a band and start to delve into a pop-rock ‘arena’style of music. We’d love to be like Coldplay- that sort of universally appealing band. We just love connecting with people, and bringing people together…we love putting out joy and happiness and hope that’s where our music is at the moment.
What does it mean to you to be playing with Foreigner?
To play with a band like Foreigner, who are so iconic and legendary, is pretty amazing and we’re really excited about it. We’ve been so influenced by people from that era and we find it amazing that they’re still playing and have that longevity. We’re excited to just go and play our best on the same stage.
Thoughts on Adelaide…
We love Adelaide. People seem to skip over Adelaide, but when we play here we feel that the crowd is more amped up. Last time we visited Adelaide was for WOMADelaide. I remember we went to the after party and there was an amazing outdoor club and I was just blown away by how amazing it was…we just always want to stay longer in Adelaide.
What’s next for Sheppard?
We’re playing at the New York Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival in August so we’re planning our trip to the States at the moment. We’re also planning a trip to Holland because our song Coming Home is #1 on the radio charts. It’s so exciting for us to have a song in a country where English isn’t their primary language. We’re really looking forward to going back there and we’re hoping we can kick the song around neighbouring countries while we’re there.
Catch Sheppard, Foreigner and Cheap Trick at Live in the Park, held on Sunday 14 October at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Tickets available via Ticketmaster.