It’s been nearly 3 years since your debut Bombs Away, what did you learn from the first album?
We learned plenty from writing and recording ‘Bombs Away’, but something that really changed from recording the first album to our second, is how much we thought about the live show during the recording process.
We spent most of the recording sessions for ‘Bombs Away’ thinking purely about the recorded versions of each individual song and getting them right, whereas we have built album #2 from the ground up to be a great, dynamic, energetic live show.
Instead of treating the songs as individual tracks on the album, we’ve gone into this next phase thinking about the experience we want our audience to have from start to finish when they come to a live show.
The release saw you propelled onto the international stage. Were you expecting the positive response?
Nobody can expect the kind of success we had with that first album, specifically ‘Geronimo’. It was a lightning-in-a-bottle moment that blew everyone’s expectations out of the water.
We were all so shocked, but we didn’t have time to stop and think about it.
We had to quickly find our footing as an internationally touring band, and learn how to perform on some of the biggest stages the world has to offer. It was a very exciting time for us.
With an international audience awaiting your new album, did you feel any pressure when writing and recording?
Honestly, yes. It’s hard not to when you’ve written a song that went gold/platinum in over 30 countries.
We went through a period where we couldn’t write anything after the release of ‘Geronimo’.
The song was so successful that we were scared whatever we’d write next just wouldn’t be as good.
It made us super picky with what songs we did spend our time on – if it wasn’t clearly another ‘Geronimo’, we simply didn’t bother with it.
Obviously, this is a bad way to think about writing music because every song takes on its own different personality and life form.
We realised at the beginning of last year that trying to “chase” the success of Geronimo was a bad way of approaching this next album, and that we needed to get back to writing music for ourselves again.
We had to shake off that pressure of needing to follow up such a massive international hit and just get back to the mental space we were in before we’d had any success.
After we shifted our mentality and expectations, the songs started flowing again and we wrote an album which, in my opinion, is an evolution of Bombs Away.
Something we could never have done if we’d kept trying to write with the pressure of “following up” Geronimo.
Current single Keep Me Crazy boasts the infectious, anthemic sound that defined your debut. Can we expect more of the same from the upcoming release?
For sure, although not every song is going to sound the same – I think we can all agree that would be a very boring album! We’ve employed the use of a few different producers and some new musical styles, but every song on the album will still have that classic “Sheppard” feel our fans have come to know and love.
How have you found the fan response to Keep Me Crazy to date?
So good! All our fans seem to be loving the track so far. People have sent us videos from all over the world of themselves dancing ‘crazily’ to the song and we’ve had so many messages of love for the track. But there’s still so much more for us to show our fans worldwide, so naturally we’re very excited.
How did you select it as the lead single from the new record?
We simply felt it was the track from the new album that best bridged the gap between our old stuff and our new stuff. It was a fun jam and had the same bouncy, electric energy that Geronimo had, so it was a no-brainer.
You have recently been on the road with Justin Bieber. Did he share any tips with you?
Hahaha. We didn’t actually get a chance to meet him… He’s arguably the world’s biggest pop star, so my guess is that every minute of every hour of his day is accounted for.
He’s the kind of person where there would always be someone wanting/needing his attention, so we never actually expected to meet him. We understand how busy he must be, so we didn’t take it to heart.
Do you dream of his stratospheric success?
That’s a hard question to answer. Every artist dreams of being as big as someone like Justin Bieber – having the love and adoration of millions of people worldwide, performing to stadiums every single night – but what comes along with that level of success is what most aspiring artists don’t seem to know about/prepare themselves for.
It’s super tough, very gruelling work. Having zero privacy, with tabloids and paparazzi constantly trying to catch you the moment you let your guard down so they can get some dirt on you to sell to magazines, having to fight for even a fleeting moment to yourself.
Those are things I wouldn’t wish upon anybody, but unfortunately it comes with the territory. I’d certainly like to be playing Justin Bieber sized shows one day, but I’d like to remain in a situation where I’m able to keep my life outside of the band as private as possible.
Australia is now in their third year at Eurovision, would you ever consider entering?
If we were ever asked to do it, I think we’d have to say yes. It’d be a huge honour for us to represent our country at something as monumental as Eurovision, and with 200 million people watching, it would be silly to decline an opportunity with the potential of making so many new fans.
What do you make to this year’s entry from Isaiah?
I think it’s a wonderful decision. Isaiah is an incredibly talented, young Australian singer. We’ll all be cheering him on back home!
As a country Australia is known for it’s pop strengths. Which Australian icon do you dream of working with?
I would love to do a song with Gotye one day. His music is just so unique, it would be a dream to feature on one of his songs, or even have him produce a song or two of ours. Sia would be another one we’d love to write a song with. Her knack for writing hooks and melodies is arguably the best in the world.
And from the international arena?
From the international arena, the list is too long to put here.. haha. I’d love to do write a song with Chris Martin from Coldplay, as Coldplay is such an inspiration for everything Sheppard. Or on a more personal level, I’d love to do something with the French duo AIR. Their album ‘Moon Safari’ is one of my all time favourite records, so to get to work with those guys would be a dream come true. Speaking of French artists, Daft Punk would have to be on that bucket list as well. They were one of my favourite artists when I was growing up.
Lastly, if you could achieve one thing in 2017, what would it be?
I would love to get the opportunity to take our own worldwide arena tour on the road. Everything about this second album has been built from the ground up for massive live venues, so the goal is to be playing those big sized stages. The big festivals, arenas, stadiums are where we want to be, and we won’t rest until we get there!