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Interview: George Sheppard (of Sheppard) Gives Advice To New Groups, Ed Sheeran & Defining Moments


What is your favorite song to perform with your group [Sheppard]?

My favorite song to perform is – well I mean it’s hard to go past “Geronimo,” because it’s the ending of the set, it’s like the peak of the whole thing and everybody gets into it. Apart from “Geronimo,” there’s a nice song called “Let Me Down Easy,” that everybody really kind of gets into, as well. It’s an a capella chorus where I kind of throw the mic out, and every single time, without fail, the audience just screams it back. It’s a wonderful moment.

If a person has never heard your music before, what is the one song they should listen to, to convince them they must come to your concert?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I mean, all of our songs are really different. It’s hard to choose one… but I guess, yeah probably “Geronimo,” if they’ve never heard us before. But then, again, I’ve got to go “Let Me Down Easy.”

Which other musical artists inspire you?

Well, there’s plenty of awesome musicians in the world, at the moment. I think Ed Sheeran is a big one for me, right now because I mean – he’s just one guy and a guitar and he can absolutely captivate an entire stadium of people. Similarly, Chris Martin can do that with a piano. Coldplay are a big influence on me… And also like a lot of old school artists. Cat Stevens, and Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, those classic Pop artists that really knew how to write a good song.

When will the turning point be where you’ll feel as though Sheppard has “made it?” Or do you feel that point has already come and gone?

Oh, I mean, it’s tough to actually find that defining moment. It’s all so gradual, and everything done up until this point has had plenty of moments where I’ve been like, “Oh wow,” this could be considered “making it.” You know even just releasing the record, was just sort of making it for us. Like, we just – all we wanted to do, you know, was make music. And the fact that we’d actually gotten to the stage where we were able to release a record into the world was a huge success for us, and that was like, all we were thinking about at the time. And then, you know, after “Geronimo” reached number one in Australia, then that was like an “oh, wow, we made it” moment, again. And then we were able to cross over into the United States, was another one of those moments where – constantly surprising us at every moment. I don’t think there was a single point that I could narrow it down to.

If you could give some sound advice to musical groups having trouble sticking together, what would you advise?

Musical groups who are having a hard time sticking together – well, I think a lot of bands get to a point where they start to tour very hectically, and it really sort of breaks up the band. I mean, I know we’ve certainly been through a lot of moments where we’ve not expected how tough the tour’s going to be. And I think it’s all just – it’s all really about compromise and then being considerate. If you’re going to be in a band together for 12 hours a day, you know, seven days a week, it’s pretty important to respect each other, and you know, just actually have the decency to ask how each other’s doing. Don’t be afraid to express yourself honestly. I think communication is key. That would be my advice – just make sure you’re communicating.

Have you ever – I’ve always wondered this, just cause I feel like I would try to, if I was a musician – but have you ever used your music or like serenading to seduce someone?

Laughter, because jokes.

I used to but it seems a bit dicky, when you’ve actually got some sort of success to start using it. But, you know, back when I was learning – like learning that I could sing, and learning to play the piano, and that sort of thing, I was definitely using it as a superpower.

Laughs.

But nowadays, you know, I’ve got a lovely girlfriend and she actually – she doesn’t fall for any of that sort of stuff, and I think that’s probably why I like her.

Have you been to NYC before?

Plenty of times – it’s my favorite city in the United States.

So do you have anything you’re excited to do here?

Well I mean, obviously, play our show but ah… I really want to check out a lot of the Lower East Side this time. Every single time it’s been a bit of like an in-and-out sort of trip, and we’ve always been to stay in the Times Square, touristy kind of area so I’d really like to check out the Lower East Side this time. We’re here for four days, so hopefully we get a chance to do that. And maybe Brooklyn! I’ve never been to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn’s wonderful. I live there – and it is magnificent.

Awesome, well ah – there we go. I need some advice on where to go.

Alright. We’ll be in touch. Finally, what news and media sites do you read?

Actually, in terms of music, I don’t really read a lot of news about music – it’s always just like, what comes up in my Facebook feed from friends sharing around – but there’s an Australian site called The Music which is great for keeping up with like Australian music and information, and also there’s one called Tone Deaf. But apart from those two, I’m really, I’m a bit out of the loop. laughs I’m sorry to say.

When you first hear the name GrungeCake, what comes to mind?

Well, it’s kind of like sponge cake, right? Something tasty?


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