Australian six-piece indie pop band Sheppard has recently been making their mark on American soil. Their 2014 single “Geronimo” was certified 5x Platinum over on the Australian charts and their debut album, 2014’s Bombs Away, has been garnishing good reviews as well. The band is currently headlining in the US and had a chance to talk to MEB Writer M.J. Rawls briefly.
MEB: Sheppard had just finished some dates with Megan Trainor. How was the tour and with Sheppard’s overall aura of feel-good music, did you guys find that the crowds were receptive?
Sheppard: The M train tour was a lot of fun. Meghan and her crew were awesome to be around and the crowds were very receptive to our music. So it was a great opportunity for us to be put in front of a thousand odd like-minded fans every night.
Can you give a little background on how Sheppard started? I understand it was two band members at first.
George and Amy originally formed as a duo back in 09 after they collaborated for an assignment Amy was working on. I (Jay) joined in 2011 when they started getting more serious and we then, together, developed what is the current Sheppard sound, writing and recording a whole bunch of material in the first few months. Then from that point, when we realized we had something pretty good, the rest of the band was slowly put together.
I read that George’s favorite albums were St. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club and Viva La Vida from Coldplay. What are your favorite tracks off of those albums?
Getting Better from Sgt. Peppers and Yes from Viva La Vida.
You guys did a cool thing called Rock The Schools a couple years back where the band played at a few schools and answered questions about the music industry. Do you guys see yourselves doing something like that in the future?
Rock The Schools was great for us, it was at a time when we were just starting to hit the radio so it definitely helped get our name out there to a large portion of our demographic. It would be interesting to see how it would go down in other parts of the world.
Sheppard will play their biggest show ever at Rock In Rio and you guys are kicking off your short U.S. run at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall in NY. Do you prefer festivals over intimate shows?
Rock In Rio is coming up in September. But we just played a sting of festivals across Europe, some to 80 thousand-plus, so we got a little taste of what’s expected in Rio. We can’t wait! I love the festival vibe. The open air, the huge crowds. But, to be honest, I prefer the more intimate shows. A one/two thousand-seater club. The fans are up close and I really get to vibe off their energy.
Your band is definitely not a stranger to New York, as you guys performed on Jimmy Fallon and the Today Show. “Geronimo” was a big hit and “Let Me Down Easy” is picking up steam now. Seems like the overall theme of the band is to overcome obstacles and have a good time while doing it. Was that the original goal when Sheppard was started?
It’s hard to say. I don’t think we had a goal when we got together. That was the fun part. We were just 3 “kids” writing and making music because we enjoyed it. Things just started to take off and we had to go with it. The fact that people enjoyed it as much as we did was a bonus.
You guys have the U.S. run starting this week, what do you have planned for the rest of 2015?
After we finish this U.S run we head over to Asia for 2 weeks. Then we’re back home in the studio working on album two for the better part of the rest of the year, with a few one off shows (Rock In Rio) here and there!