The Botanical Gardens are alive with the sound of indie rock. Live in the Park concert is rearing to go on October 14th. They excitement is becoming exponential with the announcement of the 3rd act for this gala in the gardens. Sheppard have been announced to support along with Cheap Trick for headliners Foreigner who will be performing with a full rock orchestra.
We caught up with Sheppard front man, George Sheppard, to discuss their new album, the lead up and the future.
Since Geronimo you’ve been trying a lot of things to find a new niche. Have you been doing more experimentation? Have you found something you like or don’t like?
“Yeah, it’s taken us 3 and half years to produce this new album because we have been experimenting and trying to figure out exactly where we sat as a band. I think our audience had expectations and we had expectations of ourselves. We wanted to find what works and find that happy middle ground. We feel that we like the real big sounding songs. We try and bring people together with messages of love, hope and togetherness and we write music that complements that. With this album in particular we tried to hone in on that live aspect of it. We built it from the ground up to be played live. This tour we’re doing will be the fruition of that, all the experimenting and building.
So with all the work you’ve put in the last 3 years, would you say that you’re the same band as before or have you changed?
I think we are the same band as before but what we’re about has changed. We’re better at doing what we were trying to do with the first album. We are honed in to a particular vibe and tried to get as detailed as we could. As if we were sketching with the first album and with the second we’re now adding detail.
Obviously you want to see that same success you’ve seen previously. Do you think you’re better prepared for that success now?
I would say so. The first album we had now idea what we were up against. We had no idea of the size venues we would be playing and the size of the crowds we would be in front of. This time around we have written and recorded for that type of environment. So when we do play at these festivals, the crowd has been going off a lot better. Even though the crowd hasn’t heard these songs. We’ve been playing these songs for about a year leading up to the album release and even when people don’t know the songs and haven’t been listening to them they still really get into them. That was a really good sign and it’s pretty safe to play those songs now that the album has been released. Playing songs people haven’t heard of is kinda awkward for a band.
Leading up to the 2nd album you’ve done a lot of interesting shows and have collaborated with some eccentric acts. Any highlights that come to mind?
One that stands out for me was Rocking Rio in Brazil. That was the biggest crowd we have performed in front of, 100,000. For some amazing reason they put us on the main stage right before Rhianna. We literally got the best crowd you could imagine anywhere. To top it off I got to zipline in on the Heineken flying fox while the band played Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Bulls on Parade’. Not even in terms of music career, my whole life, it’s going to be hard to top that.
Are there any bands that you’ve toured with that have made an impression on you?
There’s a band called Parcels from Byron Bay. They were unbelievable, this funk pop group. They’re still up and coming, I think you’ll here a lot about them in the next few years. They kinda blew me away. As far as people we’ve been close to I think Robbie Williams takes the cake. Being able to support him on his Australian tour was a dream come true. He’s such entertainer. One of the greatest showman alive today I feel. It was a pleasure to play and watch him every night.
Maybe it could lead to a collaboration one day?
Well it’s funny you mention that. He came up to us after a show and said, “Hey, I really love the way your songs are put together. They are really kind of thoughtful with their structure. Would love to hook up a writing session sometime.”
We’re going to try and pursue that one.
Flood social media with it. The people will make it happen. Send a message to your follow list. “Hey everyone. Can you @ Robbie Williams to rock up at my house.”
When you were producing your music did you know ‘Geronimo’ was going to be huge or did you think it would be a different song?
We had a good feeling about it. It was the perfect one-two punch with ‘Let me down easy’ then ‘Geronimo’. ‘Let me down easy’ was a good radio song and it opened the doors to radio for us and got us known as a band. Then we made ‘Geronimo’ which is a big sounding song, to us anyway. That sort of started the avalanche and kicked open any other doors that were still closed. You can always have a good feeling about it but you can’t expect it or say “This is the one:”.
Sheppard are going to be filling the Botanical Gardens with good vibes on October 14th. This will be their only show in Adelaide. For more information and tickets click here.