Brisbane band Sheppard have been making waves in the music scene both in Australia and overseas with their debut single ‘Let Me Down Easy’. I had a chat with band member Amy Sheppard about touring, the new single and what’s in store for the future. It’s clear from the amount of exclamation marks, that she’s pretty excited about what’s happening with the band at the moment!
If you had to describe the band in one word, what would it be and why?
Energetic – We always have so much fun onstage, and we will always give 200% with every show we perform. I think that’s one thing that the audience always takes away from our show, the energy.
I’m going to assume that George, Amy and Emma must have had a pretty musical upbringing. What made you want to start the band and how did you recruit Jay, Michael and Dean?
Well actually, I was the only one who was into the music from an early age. We all had piano lessons for a couple of years but George wanted to be an actor and Emma decided she wasn’t musical at all! It wasn’t until we had all finished school that I recruited George to start singing with me. Jay was an old friend of Georges and we knew he was also a song writer so once we heard some of his songs we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to work with him. Next came Michael, he was a friend of mine so we auditioned him in our living room as lead guitarist! He obviously passed the test 🙂 It wasn’t long before Emma caught the music bug and picked up the bass. She went through a “bass bootcamp” and had intensive lessons so she could join the band. Dean was the latest addition, joining the band in January.
Can you tell me a bit about your EP? What inspired it, the songwriting process and why you chose the tracks you did?
Our EP is packed with feel good music. There are three song writers in Sheppard: George, Jay and myself. Normally, we will individually come up with a chord progression, basic melody and maybe a few lyrics. We will then sit down together to further develop and finish the song. The songs on the EP all sound happy but when you delve into the lyrics you realise their true meaning. They all have the common theme of empowerment and getting back up after a severe blow.
You’ve been called “one of 2013s breakout radio acts” after releasing ‘Let Me Down Easy’. What do you think has made the song such a massive hit?
It’s been so exciting for us to have our song on the radio. We worked so hard on it and it’s incredible to see the reaction. On the surface, I think its the catchy melody that hooks people in. The song sounds like their new summer jam but once they delve into the lyrics lI think people can relate to it!! Everyone knows the feeling of rejection!
What’s in store for the future of Sheppard? Will you be releasing more songs off the EP?
We are hoping to break into the overseas market a bit more. We have had some radio play in the US, NZ and Peru so we are hoping to do some more over seas touring. As for releasing another track off the EP, I think you can count on it! We feel there are some strong songs on there which we want to world to also hear. I think by the end of the year we will be releasing some fresh tracks and maybe a new EP!!
Are you confident that you’ll be able to top the success of your debut single?
I can’t wait to release our next EP! Some of the songs we have just finished recording and so fun. We’ve had a strong reaction from people who have heard the songs so we will just have to wait and see how everyone else feels!
You’re about to finish an 11 date tour of Australia, how has the tour been going?
The tour had been so much fun!! It has been hard work and our first tour of this intensity.Whilst on our “Let Me Down Easy” Tour, we were also on the “Rock The Schools” tour where we visited schools to perform and host song writing workshops. Performing both day and night shows is full on, but we pulled through and managed to have the time of our lives. Our last show of the tour is this Friday night in Sydney at the Beresford.
Have there been any personal highlights while touring (overseas and/or in Australia)?
Each time we tour it’s a highlight! For me, the biggest highlight would have to be when we visited Portland, Oregon. We had been getting radio play and we played to a sold out show of 1500 people. It was the first time we experienced people knowing our songs and singing along! It was a surreal experience! Other highlights of the past year include playing in Central Park, touring India and not to mention our most recent tour in Australia.
Are there any specific band members that make touring interesting?
Dean!! Our drummer, he is a NUT CASE!! He is the craziest person I know and takes everything to extremes. There is never a dull moment with that boy! Jay is in the process of editing a tour documentary he filmed on our most recent tour so without a doubt, you’ll be able to see some of Dean’s antics haha!
How do Aussie audiences and fans compare to those overseas?
It’s awesome to see how universal music is. We’ve been so lucky that our audiences have been so responsive to our music worldwide. I’d say the biggest contrast was in India. They have a huge market for heavy metal so it was very interesting to see a sea of black t-shirts singing along to “Let Me Down Easy” and “I’m Not a Whore”.
Finally, if you could choose one band or musician (dead or alive) to work with who would it be and why?
Coldplay or Fleetwood Mac for sure! They are legends and the show would be so epic. I can’t even think about it without getting butterflies!