“Let Me Down Easy” – you might have heard this sticky track at some point during the past few months, or you can try it now, at your own risk! Sheppard, the proud creators of this tune, are a family-based outfit comprising of one brother and two sisters – George, Amy and Emma Sheppard, and musicians Jay Bovino, Michael Butler and Dean Gordon, all based in Brisbane, Australia. The band recently spent a few days in Thailand for Sonic Bang Festival, where they shared the line-up with a bunch of international and local bands, including Placebo, Pitbull and Far East Movement. We epistolary exchanged with George and Amy, who took time to answer our questions and fulfill our curiosity about geography, fashion, touring and collaboration.
Hi guys! Some of you grew up in Papua New Guinea (PNG), you’re all now based in Brisbane. Do you think the place where you live has an influence on the music you create? Or has geography kind of disappeared with the contemporary digital era?
George: I think our childhood in PNG has very much influenced our music and our decision to pursue this as a career. PNG is a very multicultural country, and the school we attended was heavily into the arts. People say they can hear “pacific” harmonies in our music, so I think geography still plays an important part, but the digital era has just made it all much easier to access.
“Let Me Down Easy” went viral across the globe and is now certified Platinum – that’s big news, congrats! Do you link this success with social media? How do these channels accompany your career?
Amy: We are so lucky to be in the era of social media! It has been a crucial platform to our success. It is easier than ever to reach people from all over the world in an instant! Not only can we share our music, but we can also connect with audiences on a more personal level by sharing videos and pictures of our daily lives. Fans and potential fans all over the world can interact with you and gain an understanding of what you’re really about through the vast array of media outlets. We have full control over our social media outlets and love keeping a rapport with fans. I believe this makes all the difference when building a fan base.
You appear to be Mix&Match masters. How important is fashion for you and the band’s image? And where do you find your visual inspiration?
Amy: Fashion plays a large role in our career. It is very important to portray to audiences the type of music we are presenting. We are a very positive band and I think our image exudes that. We do consider stage outfits and how to be visually entertaining, in saying that, it all comes pretty naturally. Individually, we all have a strong sense of style so that hard part is making sure we still look unified. Our inspirations comes from a mixture of the sixties and the eighties. Lots of crazy colours but still classy.
You’ve been invited to play in many countries – UK, US, Philippines, India, South Africa. How do you get along on tour when you are together round the clock?
George: We just love it! We all cram into the one single bed, sleep top and tail, and tickle each other’s toes… Hahaha no, that doesn’t happen. But we’re all very good friends, we really enjoy hanging out with each other, and we all have the best time on tour! The fact that we get to visit so many countries is mind blowing, and we’re always so amazed to be on tour, there’s just no time to fight!
You performed in Bangkok at Sonic Bang Festival on August 24. How was the experience? Did you meet some local bands?
George: We had the most amazing time at Sonic Bang Festival. You guys really know how to party! The festival was incredible, with plenty of great local and international bands. We met a Thai artist named Champ, who showed us around the festival, and also interviewed us for his radio show. He was a good guy, and a fantastic musician! The Thai people are a very talented bunch!
Any plans to visit more Southeast Asian countries soon? Or collaborate with some musicians from the region?
George: Well we’re always keen for an adventure, and the people are so friendly, so we’ll definitely be planning to visit again very soon! I think we may be back sometime later in November, so stay tuned. We’re always down for a collaboration, so we’ll definitely be staying in touch with some of the artists we met at Sonic Bang! Who knows!? Maybe a new creative friendship can be born! : )