It’s been a whirlwind few years for the dynamic Brisbane band Sheppard. FOCUS spoke with front man George about their latest album and their huge regional tour!
In 2018, who completes the Sheppard line up?
The current lineup of Sheppard is: Amy, my sister with blue hair; Emma, my other sister on bass with blonde hair; Jason Davino, who is one of the principal song writers with Amy and me; and we have Michael Butler on lead guitar; Ian Gordon on the drums, and me.
Earlier this year you released Watching the Sky, which has been really well received. How did you find the writing and production process of this album as opposed to your earlier album, Bombs Away?
I think when we were doing Bombs Away, we didn’t really have any idea of the kind of venues we’d be playing and the kind of audiences we’d be playing to, so we were just writing whatever we felt like. And, when we got to these big arenas and walked into 100,000 people, I think we felt that a couple of the songs were too Folky/Acoustic, and it just didn’t feel right to be playing such big arenas with this kind of music. So, we went back to the drawing board, and we built this album from the ground up to be played in big venues; we wanted to make sure that we were thinking about the live show the entire time.There was a lot of focus on making anthemic pumping drums, anthemic choruses, soaring harmonies, reverbed guitars – anything that was big and fun and exciting. We just did our best to draw from all of the awesome experiences that we had on the first tour and write big songs.
When it comes to musicality, what or who inspires you personally?
There’s always somebody different, but the band I always come back to is Coldplay; I think they’re one of the best bands in the world. For what they’ve been able to do over the course of their career and the way they keep reinventing themselves, how universally emotional their music is, I think they’re really a huge inspiration for me
I remember going to a Coldplay concert, I think it was Viva La Vida and I watched Chris Martin captivate an entire audience, an entire arena full of people, with just him and his voice on the piano. Everyone was just on the edge of their seat watching this guy do his thing, and that was the initial moment for me where I could see myself doing that as a job.
What do you love most about working alongside your sisters, Emma and Amy?
Well, I think the best part about it is you can be completely honest with each other, and actually have the fights and not worry about breaking up the band. In a creative relationship it’s so important to be authentic and honest with one another, and I guess we don’t ever have to tread on eggshells or worry about whatever we say.
Tell us about the tour; what can we expect?
Big singalongs are what you can expect. We just put so much energy and effort into every single show we do; the crowd always picks up on that and gives it back to us – it’s like a magnifying effect. It compounds. By the end of it, I feel like everybody is on a really big high! We have such a good time up on stage and we give it our all.
What’s been really interesting for us is we’ve been playing these songs from Watching the Sky for about a year now, and it’s always awkward for a band to play music that hasn’t been released yet, or nobody knows. People just want to hear the old stuff, but I think in this instance the audience are all trying to sing along before they know the songs, so we are really excited to get out there now and play these songs to people who’ve had a chance to buy and listen to the album.
After the show, fans have the opportunity to meet you guys…
After every show on this tour, we set up a table and we can meet with fans and sign merch.
Don’t miss Sheppard, West Tamworth Leagues Club, Tamworth.
Saturday 15th September. www.wearesheppard.com