A Q&A with Mark Shepherd
Solo acoustic rock and Americana from Cambridge…
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
It is called ‘I Wish I Knew’ and it was written during the lockdown period, so it reflects the feeling of wanting to break out of stagnation – I think.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
The most difficult part of it was waiting for lockdown restrictions to ease so that I could get into the studio.
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
Produced by Mat Leppanen at The Animal Farm. The guys at The Animal Farm (Ville and Mat) played a few instruments on this one, drums/bass/piano and some guitar parts too.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
Some of my songs are thought provoking and they mean different things to different people. So it could be that the songs make you think, but it’s also just fine with me if people simply like a tune.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
It varies, but usually the music comes first and then the lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics don’t work and I park them until the right music comes along – which could be years later! After that, it’s about the arrangement; tweaking it until it sounds right. I usually try new stuff out on a friendly audience and adjust things a bit more.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
There aren’t any specific favourites. I have too many to list and I wouldn’t like to pick any out above the others. It wouldn’t be fair.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
I play in the USA occasionally but usually focussed on New York and Austin, so there are lots more places to try out. Of course, there are lots of venues I’d like to play – a sold out Royal Albert Hall, Pyramid stage or Madison Square Garden would be great – but actually, wherever there is an appreciative audience, is just fine.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
I would have to say ‘I Wish I Knew’, the latest release – although the acoustic tracks on ‘The Grand Scheme of Things’ EP are probably closest to my solo live sound.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
Perhaps obviously, I’d like as many people as possible to hear my music. If it makes a difference to someone, that’s enough.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Thanks for listening!
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