A Q&A With Australian Band SHEPPARD

At KENTON magazine, we are big fans of new and emerging musicians so when the sounds of Australian band Sheppard, made up for brother/sister team George and Amy Sheppard,  hit our inboxes we were instantly intrigued and wanted to know more.  Luckily for us Sheppard was in town recently and was kind enough to answer some our questions about their fun sound, style must haves, and their first U.S. album.

KENTON magazine: For those that are not yet familiar with SHEPPARD, do you want to briefly introduce yourself and your role in the band?

George Sheppard: Well I’m George Sheppard, I sing lead vocals, I write the songs with my sister Amy and our guitarist Jay, and I also play keys in the live show.

Amy Sheppard: I’m Amy, one of the 3 song writers in the band. I sing and play harmonica.

KENTON: Your self-titled album was released in the U.S. on August 28th.  How exciting is it to release your album here in the states?

Amy: Well we’ve been working on this release for quite awhile now, so we’re extremely excited that it is actually happening!! We have been counting down the days – I downloaded the countdown app and everything. We can’t wait for the US to hear our music!

KENTON: I had a chance to listen to some of your tracks and really loved the way you mixed pop and alternative, is this the “sound” you were going for?

George: It’s quite funny, cause we weren’t going for any sound in particular. We didn’t sit down and say, lets write an alternative pop album. We each had our influences and for some reason those influences worked together really nicely and created something original. It was kind of fun – we actually had to figure out what genre we belonged to AFTER the songs were written! We’ve been extremely lucky that its worked out the way it has.

KENTON: You recently played here in New York City for Australia Day, what was it like playing in Central park?

Amy: It was an incredible experience! Prior to this trip, I had never been to New York and then suddenly I was playing in the middle of the iconic Central Park. It was a beautiful, blue sunny day, and there was a fantastic turn out. The whole thing was amazing fun, and such a fantastic opportunity for Australian music to be heard.

KENTON: How did the band “Sheppard” come to be?

George: Well Amy and I have always been into music and singing, but it wasn’t until we were both adults that we began writing and collaborating and harmonising our voices. It wasn’t long after that Jay Bovino came on board. Jay was the brother of one of my best friends, and I’d always known him and that he played a mean guitar, but we never really spoke. It was only once Amy and I had started writing songs that I asked him to come to Brisbane and join the band. The three of us started writing songs together instantly and effortlessly, so we knew we had a great writing team going on.

After we had written and recorded 20 tracks we decided we needed a live act! We auditioned Michael Butler for the electric guitar and gave him the part on the spot, brought on Jared Tredly – who was already getting a reputation in Brisbane as a superstar drummer, and then taught our youngest sister Emma (Sheppard) how to play the bass. We couldn’t have been happier with the band we had created. It eventually perked the ears of Australian music legend Michael Chugg and the rest, as they say, is history. Thanks to Chuggi, we’ve been taken around the world to play at some of the most amazing festivals I’ve seen, and its only the beginning. We’re so incredibly lucky.

KENTON: How would you each describe your style?

George: Well musically, I really enjoy the Coldplay-ish, atmospheric music. Interesting chords progressions and nice melodies. Music thats sounds like music! Amy is a big fan of classic rock and roll like Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones, and Jay is big on the Singer/Songwriters like Elliot Smith and Fleet Foxes. All three influences come together to create something special.

Amy: We love to bring a lot of colour and happiness to our audiences. We have many feel good songs and we love to provide positive energy to our listeners. We also portray that energy by the way we dress- there’s a lot of neon and crazy accessories. I thinks our style is “60’s meets the 80’s”! You can see a lot of our outfits and accessories on our instagram too – “wearesheppard”

KENTON: What is one fashion/beauty item you cannot be without?

Amy: My Kevin Murphy Color Bugs, I love a bit of pink hair!  Emma and I also LOVE our kooky sunglasses and we have quite the collection building up. Our favourite has to be Karen Walker Sun Glasses.

KENTON: When you’re not busy performing, touring, or writing what do you do to have fun?

George: I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie – I love roller coasters and skydiving and bungee jumping! Anything that gets your heart racing, I’m there! I also love watching horror films and playing video game guy.

Amy: There’s nothing like taking a drive to the beach! Love sun sand and water! Emma and I also are quite the online shoppers we probably spend a bit too much time surfing sites like www.etsy.com and www.ladypetrova.com!

For U.S. tour dates visit wearesheppard.com, and their self titled EP is available on iTunes.

Follow on twitter @wearesheppard, Like on Facebook.