It may seem like Australian band Sheppard came out of nowhere with their massive hit “Geronimo” (the song has been in the Top 20 in over 20 countries and has been streamed over 85 million times on Spotify), but in actuality, it’s been quite a long haul.
“We wrote ‘Geronimo’ a year and a half ago now,” band member George Sheppard tells us. “It had its own legs in Australia and Europe, and now the U.S. is finally coming on board. It definitely doesn’t feel like it came out of nowhere for us!”
We caught up with Sheppard to talk more about the band’s debut U.S. album, "Bombs Away," (out March 10) and North American tour with Meghan Trainor.
Big risks, big payoffs
“Geronimo” is about taking a risk in a relationship by starting things up again with an ex, but Sheppard says it has an underlying theme of not being afraid to take chances. “Without risks, there’s no reward, so make that leap of faith,” he says. This has been somewhat of a theme for the six band members. “Being in a band in itself is taking a risk,” Sheppard says. “There are no guarantees or a safety net. It’s pretty risky, but we did it anyway.”
For his part, Sheppard never really had a plan B. “I cannot explain to you how much I loathed being at university,” he says. “[The thought of] four more years of assignments and exams got me really depressed and I just couldn’t handle it.” Instead, he, and the other five members of the band --- two of which are his sisters --- decided to pursue music full time.
Learning on the road
For his part, Sheppard has never looked back. “[Pursing music] has given me the opportunity to truly express myself, see the world and meet all sorts of different people who are at the top of their field,” he says. “Sitting in the classroom and reading lines of text, you can only learn so much, but it’s when you get out there in the world and really experience it for yourself that’s the real classroom. And that applies to any vocation.”
Happy sad songs
That said, the next lessons the band will learn will be on the road with tour buddy Meghan Trainor. Like Trainor, the band is known for their playful, upbeat songs, but don’t be fooled by the ever-present happy melodies, some of the lyrics off the new album are actually quite sad. “We wrote a song called ‘Let Me Down Easy,’ which kind of started that juxtaposition of lyrics and music. We found it interesting, but didn’t really think of a conscious decision to do that. But that seems to be what happens,” Sheppard explains. Whether they’re singing about breakups or new relationships, it’s still bound to be one heck of a party.
If you go:
Sheppard and Meghan Trainor in concert
Wednesday, March 11, 7 p.m.
Theatre of Living Arts
334 South St., 215-922-1011
New York City
Friday, March 13 and Saturday March 14, 7 p.m.
17 Irving Place, 212-777-6800
Tuesday, March 17, 6 p.m.
Paradise Rock Club
967 Commonwealth Ave., 617-562-8800
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence