The Australian band Sheppard best known for their Uber hit “Geronimo” released their newest record “Kaleidoscope Eyes” on 26th February. We met up on Zoom to talk about their favourite songs and the differences between countries while touring.
Hi guys, how are you doing?
Amy: We just finished our production rehearsal. We have a show here on Friday. We had a full day of rehearsing and it’s going really well.
George: We’re very excited about it. It’s the biggest show that we’ve done for ourselves in a long time. It’s our first show in our hometown in Brisbane in about 2 years. All of our friends are coming. The whole Covid thing is easing up here in Brisbane. Vibes are good 🙂
That’s really nice. Hopefully we have some easier restrictions soon too.
Last year you did 12 songs in 12 months. How did you come up with this cool project?
George: We decided early on in the year that A we needed something to do with our year because we already weren’t doing a lot of touring. We toured the year beforehand. People consume music in such a different way nowadays. It’s all about singles and people don’t listen to a whole album anymore. So we decided to give each song of the album its moment in the sun and ourselves the challenge to write, record, release and film a video clip for a song every single month. We thought it was a good idea at the time. It was a really big struggle at times but I think it’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
Emma: It was really rewarding. We got to enjoy every single instead of just being worried about one single and a lot of pressure on that one single. So it was nice to just release a song and focus on the next.
OK so you literally wrote the song in one month and did everything to it and then released it?
G: Sometimes. We did have some demos that we’ve been working on and we did have a basket of songs that we kept picking out: „What about this one, what about that one?“ „OK we try that one“ and then work on that one for the rest of the month.
That is a really big challenge!
G: There were some songs that we started from sratch like solid gold or animals.
Will they be on your new record?
G: Yes, so the 12 songs that we released last year are on the album. We also got another extra couple of tracks – sort of like bonus tracks.
We’re looking forward to „Kaleidoscope Eyes“!
G: Me too, can’t wait to have it out there properly!
What’s your favourite song on the record?
A: I think we all have different favourites. Mine is probably solid gold. It’s been picked up by NBC in the States as the official olympic theme song. That’s a really big deal for us. I just loved writing it. It nearly didn’t make the album because we had a really good chorus but for some reason the verse didn’t really fit. We couldn’t think of anything. So we thought we would just gonna abandon the song. Which happens to a song sometimes but we stuck with it and we came up with a new verse and it worked really well!
G: For me it’s symphony. I really like the energy of it. It’s very uplifting, anthemic, happy song. There’s not a single minor cord in that song which I find interesting. It’s just this massive uplifting declaration of love. You can just feel the electric energy in it and I really enjoy performing it on stage.
E: For me I would say Brand New it’s just really happy electric…
G: Happy electric declaration of love.
E: It really is though. I just love the lyrics and what they mean to me.
Uplifting is good. We need it right now. Who were/are your musical i nfluences?
G: We’ve got a couple. A lot of old timy songs. Artists like Elton John, Cat Stevens and the BeeGees. We grew up listening to that sort of music. Our Dad and Mom instilled that timeless sense of classic songwriting in us from an early age. So we always try to instill that in our music. In terms of bands nowadays I’m a huge Coldplay fan. I really like the vibe they have – that stadium feeling – we’re in it together. It’s really lovely energy in a live show. That’s one of my fav band of all time. What about you Emma?
E: I love Noah Cyrus at the moment. Love her songs and her voice as well.
A: My biggest influence is more old timey stuff like Fleetwood Mac because they have the male female lead vocalist, lots of harmonies, great hooks and everyone of their songs are quite unique. That’s something we really do well as well.
You do! 🙂 Now touring internationally has been impossible the last year. But as soon as it’s allowed again will you be coming back to Europe?
*All three of them are nodding emphatically*
G: Absolutely! Kind of want to sneak over there somehow now. Nearly get a boat and find out where we land.
We’ve got a big fanbase in the netherlands and belgium and Switzerland and Sweden. There is this whole collection of European countries that are really big on Sheppard. We just can’t wait to get back over there and play to our fans again. It’s a long time coming. It feels like we really need to get back over there.
Yes, it’s been 6 years since you’ve been here!
G: 2015 when we played in Zurich.
Yes, at Mascotte and look I still got the set list!
All: Wow. Oh my God. 🙂
G: That’s Emma’s handwriting! 🙂
Do you still handwrite your setlists?
G: Sometimes, if we haven’t got a printer but right now we’ve got a bit more professional. We have a laptop and portable printer. But still people take them and we sign them for them. Maybe if we come back to Switzerland you can have one again!
Hopefully so! And you can sign both of them! 🙂 Speaking of touring… What would be your favourite or most special venue you’ve played in or want to play in?
G: Over in Europe we really enjoyed Paradiso in Amsterdam. I thought that was a really beautiful venue. Those really big nice theatrical venues. We are actually doing one right now here in Brisbane. It’s probably the best venue you can play here. It’s called the fortitude music hall. It’s brand new. 3000 capacity and right in the center of town. It’s something we’ve needed in Brisbane for so long! It’s this really beautiful venue. We’re stocked to be able to play it last Friday night!
It’s so nice hearing about concerts! It’s like I wish!
G: I know! We’re gonna have 1000 people there so it’s not full capacity but we still get 1000 people at a show, we get to perform live. I’m pinching myself!
Do you notice cultural differences in fans? Like people from Australia are different to people from Switzerland or Amsterdam?
E: Yes, for sure. We talked about this in another interview as well. In Japan they just stand there and they’re trying to be polite. That’s just the way that they are. You don’t know on stage and you think you are playing really badly and then they’re clapping and cheering at the end. Every different country has a different way of celebrating music. We went to Italy once and they sang every single song even though they probably didn’t know them – which was amazing! What would you say?
G: Germany is I think the same as Japan where they just stand there and watch. They are enjoying it and they just take it in. You think that you’re bombing out on stage. As soon as the song finishes that’s their time to show appreciation whereas in Australia, Holland and Italy I’ve noticed it especially they just don’t stop making noise.
E: I noticed it in Switzerland as well. They’re very quiet during the set and we went off stage and thought „Oh God we really did a bad set!“ and they were calling for an encore! And we were like oh we did all right then if they’re calling for more!
I enjoyed it a lot I can tell you that!
G: We I hope you’ll enjoy the new show as well!
I’m sure! I can remember it so well! A little show but a great one! I’ll be back 🙂 What do you like most about Switzerland?
You’re three siblings in a band. What would you say is the most difficult part?
G: It’s not really too much that’s difficult about it. I think we fight more than a normal band would but it’s also not really anything too serious. So whenever we do have a fight it’s more common. We might fight about something stupid like who gets the front seat of the van. It’s very trivial stuff. We can be honest with one another and just get past it which I don’t think a lot of people can do in other bands. I don’t really think there is anything bad…
A: Except for like it’s Christmas Day and it’s hard to switch off from work. You’re talking about the album. Sometimes it’s hard to switch back to family mode. That sometimes gets a bit difficult especially if you had a bad day or something negative happened it’s hard to remember that we were family before this.
G: That’s a good answer.
What would you say is the best part of being siblings in a band?
E: That we can be honest with one another.
A: On the flipside where you have each other all the time. You can run ideas by each other at all hours and you can really rely on each other because you’re family and obviously you’re not gonna – hopefully *looks at George and Emma* – stab me in the back That’s definitely a benefit for us.
G: You’re never lonely on tour. We’re always together. There are so many moments where the other guys in the band are like I wish we had family with us and we get to do that every day. We are very lucky! We just miss our father who’s up in Papua New Guinea and we don’t see him as often as we’d like. Our Mom comes with us everywhere and we’re always together so we’re really lucky.
Now we have some Fan Questions:
With Corona Virus making it difficult for artists at the moment. What do you miss most?
E: I would just say miss flying. Being able to choose whether to tour or not. Our songs are taking off overseas and we can’t go over there to push them. So it’s a bit annoying.
A: I think it’s just the human connection for me. We spent so long in the studio. We’re so used to being able to then go to a show and meet and play for our fans and hear them singing back to us. That’s all been taken away.
G: That’s where you really discover what impact your music is having. Because you can do livestreams and play for the fans and then see the comments coming up and you get likes on Instagram but it’s not the same as being at a show seeing the people’s faces in the crowd, feeling the energy and that happiness and the impact your music is having. That’s when you get to gage it and you loose that when you don’t get to tour live. It’s easy to feel like you’re not succeeding or your music is not really going anywhere. It feels like you’re just stuck.
What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you on stage?
What’s your favourite food?
E: This is a hard question.
G: No it’s not! You know…
E: If I could eat it everyday I would. Crawfish!
G: That’s not at all what I thought she was gonna say!!
E: I could eat anything Asian but Viatnamese is at the top of my list.
A: I’m a simple gal. It’s chocolate ice cream.
So you definitely have to come back to Switzerland.
A: Yes! I love chocolate! 🙂
G: I’m an even simpler guy. I love Vanilla ice cream.
I love the fact that two out of three mentioned a ice cream as their favourite food! 😀
G: Emma’s the adventurous taster. She’s the first to eat crickets in Mexico. She really wants to eat Tarantula if she gets a chance.
Wow! 🙂 Well thank you so much for the interview that was a lot of fun!