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Brisbane band Sheppard is top of the pops

HIGH HOPES: Brisbane band Sheppard has world chart domination in their sights. Picture: SuppliedBrisbane band Sheppard have mastered the art of writing a catchy pop hook.
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Brisbane band Sheppard is top of the pops TweetFacebookLet Me Down Easy in 2012, a song that took off on commercial radio in the US and at home. Geronimo followed andtopped the charts. Both songs have featured in television advertisements.

Sheppard performed live on Jimmy Fallon, Ellen and The Today Show in the US, supported the likes of Justin Bieber on tour and won an ARIA for best group in 2013. They were well and truly on their way.

And their latest single Coming Home picks up where Geronimo left off.

Coming Home – SheppardAmy Sheppard, whose siblings Emma and George are also in the band, says sophomore album Watching The Sky –which debuted at number one on the ARIA charts –has defined Sheppard’s sound.

“I think everyone was waiting to see what we’d do after Geronimo, which put us under a bit of pressure but we got there in the end,” she says, laughing.

“Now we know what the Sheppard sound is and Ithink that was what this album was really about. With [first album] Bombs Away I think we were still trying to figure that out and if you listen to the album back to front you can hear that –it wasvery eclectic.

“Now we’ve grown as writers and we know who we are. When we were going through the writing process we found that we’d throw songs away because they weren’t the ‘Sheppard’ sound. It took us a long time to get into the groove and move forward while still maintaining that sound that keeps it cohesive. Butwe’ve got a tonne of songs that we hope other artists might pick up some day.”

Sheppard are about to hitthe road on their largest tour to date, largely dodging capital cities in favour of regional centres, and will perform at Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel on September 16. Tickets are on sale now.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve visited some of these places and with the album going to number one, we just felt that we needed to say thank you to the people who supported us,” Sheppard says.

“Wewanted to make a point of visiting places we don’t get to very often.”

It could be the last time fans get to see the band play live in Australia for a while, too. They are hoping to capitalise onComing Home’s popularity in Holland and Belgium and perhaps play a few European gigs.

“Anything could happen. That’s what I love about this job, it’s so unpredictable and no two days are the same,” Sheppard explains.

“We’ve got plenty to give still but we are thrilled with where we’re at. We have a full-time career in music, which is the dream. We’re not office-job people. As long as we’re writing music for a living we are going to be satisfied butwe’re going to continue pushing.”

As for the band’s public spat with fellow Aussie singer Katie Noonan when they refused an offer to perform at this year’s Commonwealth Games, it’s a case of water under the bridge. Promoter Michael Chugg is the band’s manager andjust last week told the Courier Mail he wanted to “shut this down once and for all”.

“Oh, he’s a character, that’s for sure,” Sheppard says, laughing.

“He comes on tour with us and he’s so passionate and he’ll stand up for what’s right. We’ve got other things to focus on and I’m glad that’s behind us now.We said what we needed to say and we didn’t want it to keep going but sometimes you can’t help these things.”

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