Indie pop rockers Sheppard, made up of siblings George, Amy and Emma Sheppard and their friends Jay Bovino, Michael Butler and Jared Tredley, come from Brisbane, Australia but have recently found themselves touring the world and making a splash on MTV's Buzzworthy. Find out more in their Kidzworld Q&A!
KW: How old are you, and where are you from?
- George: I'm 24 years old, and I'm from Brisbane, Australia.
KW: How was the band formed?
- George: The band started with Amy and I singing harmonies and writing songs in our bedroom. Not long after, we recruited Jay Bovino - a Sydney guitarist. I knew Jay through his brother, Luke, who was a buddy of mine in Sydney. I'd heard some of Jay's tunes and knew he'd be a valuable member of the songwriting team. After we wrote and recorded 20 tracks together, we needed a band to play with. We auditioned Michael Butler as lead guitarist and gave him the job on the spot, and our drummer Jared Tredly was just parting with his old band so it was great timing. We were having trouble finding a bass player, but she was right under our nose the whole time. We taught our youngest sister Emma how to play our songs on Bass, and to her credit, she picked it up almost instantly. Voila! Sheppard was born.
KW: What does each member of the band bring to the table?
- George: George Sheppard: Songwriting, lead vocals, piano, Amy Sheppard: Songwriting, lead vocals, percussion, Jay Bovino: Songwriting, Rhythm guitar, backing vocals, Emma Sheppard: Bass Guitar, backing vocals, Michael Butler: Lead Guitar, Jared Tredly: Drums.
KW: How would you describe your sound?
- George: We have a very fun, fresh sound. It's pop music, but not as you'd hear it from the likes of Rihanna or Lady Gaga. We use real instruments, and endeavour to give each song it's own personality. Above all we try to write well-structured songs with interesting melodies over beautiful chord progressions, so it's music that anyone of any age is able to enjoy.
KW: You have been touring this year, what has been the highlight of your experience touring so far?
- George: It’s so hard to say, we've been to South Africa, UK, France, and the USA, so we've definitely had PLENTY of highlights, but if I had to choose one, South Africa. It was just so different to anywhere I'd ever been, the people were all amazing, plus we got to hang out with two wild rhinos... Who gets to do that!?
KW: Who are some artists that you look up to?
- George: There's a few of them... I look up to Coldplay because they always have beautiful sounding music that gives me goosebumps every time, and I always try and give my audience the same feeling that Chris Martin does. Matchbox 20 is another great band as all of their songs are really well written and most of them are hits. Foster the People and Fun are great too because they are both really adventurous in the production of their music. Something we try and achieve also.
KW: You're set to have songs on the soundtrack of the upcoming horror film Old 37, can you tell us a little bit about that? Are you all horror film fans?
- George: Well I'm definitely the horror buff of the group, can't really say the same for my sisters! It was all quite a nice surprise really. Our music was given to a PR company in the US by our distributor, and they loved the music and asked us if we wanted to be in the film! Not just our music, they actually wanted us there playing in the party scene, so we'd all get to be movie stars for a day! Of course, we said yes. Old 37 is a great concept for a horror film. It's about these two messed up brothers who use their father's old decommissioned ambulance to respond to 911 calls of car accidents on the interstate. They then take the already injured victims into the ambulance and instead of treating their wounds, they make them worse. A LOT worse. It's going to be a great horror story and we're super excited to be a part of it.
KW: Is it difficult to be in a band with your siblings? Do you ever fight?
- George: It actually makes it a lot easier! Of course we have our tiffs, but where those bad vibes would usually linger in a band, we forget about it within a matter of minutes. We all work together very well, and it's nice to travel to all these amazing places and experience all these amazing things with your family.
KW: You released an EP at the end of August, how would you describe it?
- George: I'd describe it as colourful, fun and catchy. We put a lot of work into it and we've chosen some of our best songs for this release. We're very proud of it.
KW: What is the best piece of advice you've received since starting out?
- George: Stay humble and work hard. I treat every song we record as if it could be our last. Same with every show we play. You can never get comfortable or lazy with it, otherwise you lose the magic. And we don't want to lose THAT!
Check out Sheppard singing "Hold My Tongue," below!
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