Interview: Sheppard

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By Ben Doy

Sheppard are back with their latest song 'Coming Home'.

In 2014 the Brisbane band had a worldwide smash with the infectious 'Geronimo'. Since then they've toured with the likes of Justin Bieber Taylor Swift and Megan Trainor, conducted their own tours around the world, performed on Jimmy Fallon, NBC's The Today Show and Ellen. 

I caught up recently with Amy Sheppard for a more in depth discussion about the band. 

You were born and spent your early years in Papua New Guinea?

That’s right, I was born in Port Moresby which is the capital city and I think that’s where my love of music began. I think it was because my Primary School teacher was Buruka Tau who was in a band called Yothu Yindi; an indigenous Australian act. So I’d have music guitar lessons with him and would hear his stories of touring. He just lit a fire in me, so ever since I was about 10 I was writing songs and knew this is what I want to be doing.

Have you been back recently?

Yeah, my Dad still lives there. He commutes back and forth from Port Moresby to Australia to see us. We’ve been back for a couple of charity shows and I also have a bedroom back in the old house. So I never really left (laughs).  Port Moresby is like my first home, and Australia is my second home.

Who were your other early influences?

I think at that stage it was whatever my parents were blasting through the house. They were listening to a lot of Cat Stevens, Fleetwood Mac… and also what was on TV. I was really inspired by 90s artists like Alanis Morissette. And I think a lot of that you can hear in my songwriting.

You’ve recently released your latest single ‘Coming Home’ in New Zealand. What was the inspiration behind the song?

We wrote that song in LA, when we were really missing home. We were feeling down and that was where it all sparked from. The feeling you get when you’re back with your loved ones and family.

And you’re working on a new album at the moment?

Yeahs, the album is pretty much ready to go. We’re in the stages of doing the artwork and the finishing touches. So that should be out by April or May. We just want people to hear Coming Home a bit round the world for a bit longer and hopefully by it’s peak we’ll release the album.

Where did you record it?

We recorded most of the album between LA and Brisbane. We did a bit of collaborating for the first time ever in LA. And it was quite an interesting experience for us, being in a room with people that we’d never met before and spilling your guts out to them. So some of the songs are from LA, and some were just written in our bedrooms in Brisbane.

How long did that process take?

By the time we release it it’s going to be about 2 years. Which is really scary (laughs). But we wrote most of the songs within a year.

You recently toured with Justin Bieber. How was that?

They were stadium tours, and that was our first time doing a stadium tour. Even just being a fly on the wall was really incredible to watch. Just seeing what people were doing behind the scenes… it was a massive machine. So we were really thrilled to be a part of that. And it was our first time to Auckland, and we loved it!

And you’re also going to be opening for Robbie Williams in Australia soon?

Yeah, we’ve got two shows with Robbie. I hear he’s a really nice guy - my brother’s met him before and said he was super cool. That should be a fun one for us I think.

Any plans for NZ shows in the near future?

We don’t have any plans, but the song ‘Coming Home’ has been added to NZ radio so hopefully it gets played more and we’ll have to a show! I’d be very excited to come back!

Sheppard on Spotify

Sheppard on Apple Music