Imagine you are introducing yourself to a room full of children. How would you explain who you are and what you do?
HAI KIDS! WE’RE SHEPHERD! If you feel like puking – it’s working.
What do you personally consider to be the decisive moment in your artistic career? Tell us what influences you have over the audience as an individual and as a band?
We’ve barely had anything you can call a career so far. We started in 2011 and we’ve been slowly
just getting our shit together one gig at a time. I think it takes time and lot of different experiences to be able to point something out. One significant change in the band from when we started was when we fired our singer sometime in 2013 and decided to not find a replacement and instead split the singing duties amongst the three of us.
I’m really clueless about how our audience perceive us. There’s so many scenesters around, everybody loves gossip and there are very few genuine people in this business, so we take everything with a pinch of salt. I’m grateful to those who’s been supportive of the band, but I really don’t care to be in a position to influence anyone. If you like our music, come to our shows, buy our merch or don’t. We’ll still be doing what we do.
Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
You’re right about creativity. It’s a mix of being open to recieving ideas (from wherever it comes from) and the discipline to see it through. For a musician especially, you can’t limit yourself to where you draw inspiration from. There’s just so much happening around you every day and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by it all. So I try to work with whatever I can get, be it my own life situation, my neighbourhood, other musicians, movies, TV, the news. There’s really no shortage of inspiration, but turning your inspiration into something creatively fulfilling is the hard part.
While composing music do you keep the live setting in mind or do you write a song just for the song sake?
With SHEPHERD, all the music happens in a rehearsal room in a live setting with all three of us. So it’s automatically ready for the live setting. We put a lot of work into structuring parts into something cohesive. At the same time, the last thing we want is to sound like a generic rock band. It’s a time-consuming process for us.
On the same line, are you are you tech savvy when it comes to composing a song, or do you prefer the traditional approach of getting together in a room and co-writing it?
Most of the new material we’ve been working on this year have been based on riffs/melodies we record at home/work on our phones. It’s then shared amongst the group to see if we want to work on it or not. But the real work always happens in the rehearsal room with all of us getting together and pitching in ideas.
You recently performed in Counter Culture at Bangalore and even shared the stage with foreign bands like 65 Days of Static. How was the show like and what did it teach you?
We had a blast, man. Colour Haze were great. It was cool to see them in the crowd vibing’ out to our set. I’m not sure if it taught me anything significant though. The performance part is always a challenge. That’s something I’m always working on and probably will be working on for the rest of my life.
The role of an artist is always subject to change. What is your view on the ( political/social/creative ) tasks of the artist today, and how do you try to meet these goals?
I never liked the term ‘artist’ to begin with. It has a pretentious air to it. To me, someone who plays music is a musician. I’m more interested in the skill set and craftsmanship a particular person brings to a medium. There’s a whole audience out there who’ve assigned the role of social commentary to musicians. It’s cool but it’s unlikely that you’d be able to sum up a complex, multi-layered social issue into a verse/chorus format.
Back in 2014, you guys won the best emerging act in the Rolling Stones Metal Award. How do you think awards help musicians and artists in the industry?
It makes the band a little more visible in the eyes of the Viacom’s and the OML’s of the world. Industry people, basically. I’m assuming if you’re nice to these people, you’ll get something out of it. We’re still trying to figure this out. 😉
We have seen issues of self-righteousness in bands, is there a cause that you feel strongly about?
Haha! I think we’re all self-righteous pricks in the band actually. We did an anti-Hindutva t-shirt sometime last year when all the beef murders and cow piss craze was happening. I detest the fact that we live in a country where religion is such a big part of the political landscape. I try to be a realist as much as I can and I tell myself it’s ok to want to kill cops and politicians as long as you don’t actually do it.
How do you think, could non-stream forms of music reach wider audiences?
Music for music sake or music for life sake?
Music for sanity’s sake.
At the end of the day, what do you hope listeners take away from your music?
Living in this country is a trial in itself. So if you find time and opportunity to chill out with a doob, put on some SHEPHERD and know there’ll be atleast one band in this country who’s not gonna try to sell you bullshit… or gomutra.
You can find more information about Shepherd at the following links: