Sheppard
Sheppard

Sheppard’s summer smash comeback

The future of Australia's indie pop chart-toppers Sheppard looked shaky a few months ago.

Frontman George Sheppard faced surgery for a throat injury resulting from several years of international touring and their founding guitarist Michael Butler quit to complete his forensic investigations degree.

Sheppard guitarist Michael Butler (left) quit the band earlier this year. Picture: Supplied.
Sheppard guitarist Michael Butler (left) quit the band earlier this year. Picture: Supplied.

 

"After the vocal injury came up, it was such a psychological mind f … for me," George said.

"I was thinking 'This job is hurting me, I can't do this anymore, I don't want to do this anymore'

"I didn't know what else I was going to do and I was really challenged by the fact I wasn't superman anymore with my voice.

"I was very much conscious I needed to change something and with Michael leaving the band as well, the way we had been doing it was over."

 

George and Amy Sheppard found trhe band’s future by returning to their songwriting core. Picture:Justin Lloyd.
George and Amy Sheppard found trhe band’s future by returning to their songwriting core. Picture:Justin Lloyd.

 

In order to keep going, the band circled back to their past.

The band's songwriting core, George, sister Amy and Jay Bovino who penned their smash hit Geronimo which has more than 300 million streams, regrouped in the studio to see if they could come up with a sound to keep Sheppard going.

Their first effort was Kiss My Fat Ass, a soundtrack for the body positive movement Amy inspired with her unfiltered Instagram bikini posts celebrating her curves and cellulite.

"That song was one of the easy ones to write and it reconnected us as a band which we really needed at that time. Having a song like that really helped to move the band into the next chapter," Amy said.

 

 

 

One of Sheppard’s final public gigs with their six-piece line-up was at the Eurovision: Australia Decides contest. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.
One of Sheppard’s final public gigs with their six-piece line-up was at the Eurovision: Australia Decides contest. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

 

The second song Die Young is destined to be a summer smash.

Contrary to its title, it is an uplifting pop anthem about living life to its full potential, produced in Byron Bay by Jon Hume who worked with them on their Eurovision: Australia Decides entry On My Way.

"This is music we really love. In the second album, working with LA producers, we may have strayed into trying to make music for other people, to write a pop hit in a sound that was current and going for that," George said.

"Now we want to write music we will be happy to live with for the rest of our lives."

As for how they proceed with touring as George's vocal cords recover from surgery, Sheppard are taking the less is more approach after seven solid years on the road.

"We've been around long enough now for people to make up their minds whether they like us or they hate us and we're not going to spend our lives running on a treadmill trying to keep up with the industry," he said.

Amy added: "In terms of these really long international tours, it is really draining and sometimes you see very little return for that. Now we're a bit more selective about what we say yes to.

"It is important to reach your fanbase physically but that's not to say that you can't maintain it online."

Die Young is out on Friday.