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Sheppard

sheppardAnd Away They Go

From the acquisition of band members to reaching #1 on the Australian singles charts, Amy Sheppard chats with AARON BRYANS about Sheppard’s sudden rise to national glory ahead of the release of their debut album, Bombs Away, this Friday, July 11.

It’s been a huge three years for Brisbane-based siblings Amy and George Sheppard, who expanded their musical duo to a trio in April, 2011, with the addition of Jay Bovino and worked non-stop towards their debut album.

The indie pop trio, known as Sheppard, have well-and-truly arrived with their latest single Geronimo from their debut album, Bombs Away, knocking Pharrell Williams off the number #1 position on the Australian charts

“It was an honour,” Amy explains. “We were so excited. We’re still not over it. That day we were all jumping around; obviously we hard it on the radio that the second number song was Pharrell’s Happy, we were dancing around. We felt a little bit bad because we prevented giving him some record, but oh well.”

The trio haven’t completed the journey alone, however, acquiring three other members – Michael Butler, Dean Gordon and sister, Emma Sheppard – along the way to solidify their live sound.

“It was really funny because George and I recorded a few songs and then we met Jay, who’s the third songwriter, and he changed our sound completely. As soon as you add that third dynamic it’s not the same as it was. We wrote about 30 to 40 tracks together and recorded them all and then once we started touring we realised we needed a band so that changed our sound again. Having live drums and a synth sound, I think we have a more full sound live then what we’ve recorded.

“It’s still just the three of us that record, George, Jay and myself. Sometimes we’ll bring in Dean for the drums but we’re the three songwriters and we’re very picky with how we want it to sound and we want it to be very experimental. We’ve been recording this album for over three years now and we’ve really put a lot of thought into it; changing things and experimenting with things. Our producer, Stuart Stuart, almost becomes our seventh band member; he really helps us out and lets us try ideas. We’ve had previous producers that have explained why the idea wouldn’t work and it’s taken longer to explain it rather then trying it.”

Sheppard recently set off supporting Keith Urban on the Australian leg of his Light The Fuse national tour, finishing in Perth.

“It’s been insane,” Amy chuckles. “We just had our last show in Perth over the weekend. It was pretty special. The last show he invited us on stage and it was a bit of a shock to wing it for half an hour with Keith Urban and 15,000 people. It was really exciting for us and the whole tour was a luxury to have roadies and sound guys it was a first for us. This is the biggest support we’ve done so far so its very exciting for us. And it’s the first national tour we’ve done. We’ve done one-off shows but we’ve never really followed a team around like this.”

The tour, along with other supporting shows, gave the trio time to finalise the album’s sound and consolidate what has been years of hard work.

“I think that’s why it’s taken us so long. Being our debut album we’ve had a bit more time to play them live, giving us the opportunity to develop the songs further; adding little vocal hooks or little drum fills that Dean has added. All of that helps especially when you’ve had the opportunity to tour whilst being at the studio the same time. We really can’t wait to get it out, it’s been a long time coming.”

The release will form part of Sheppard’s biggest year yet, sending the six-piece off for numerous national and international promotional, festival and headlining appearances.

“We’re in the recording studio currently just finishing off some bonus tracks and editing some of the older tracks we’ve done,” Amy says. “After that we’ve got an album launch tour in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Straight from there we’re going to the UK and Europe and doing V festival there and Wilderness festival and after that we’ll go to Europe and do some radio. After that we’ll head off to the US in September and then a headline show in Australia. “We’re not going to stop until Christmas. It’s full on, but it’s so fun and we’re so lucky to be able to do this as a full-time job.”

 

 

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