5 Minutes With… Sherpa

Words by Jack Smylie

Sherpa have been buzzing around the Auckland and wider-NZ music scene since 2006, slowly but surely making a name for themselves as one of the the most unique, fun-to-watch musical entities in the country. However it was with the release of their debut full-length album, Lesser Flamingo, last year, that people really started to sit up and take notice. Rip It Up described it as “a peek into the mind of a surrealist artist. You have no idea how the hell someone could fathom such ideas, but you are so glad they did. Sherpa really are a band with no boundaries.” It’s true! Their good time combination of powerpop mixed with buzzy new-wave synths and fuzzy psych guitars continues to keep audiences jumping up and down the country to their 2 minute anthems and with a fresh music video for their track “I’m Happy Just to Lie” released this week, we thought it was time we caught up with the guys for a chat.

Introduce Sherpa in your own words!
A flamingo giving birth to a band play playing music.

You’ve been together as a band for a while now, but how did you form?
The core of Sherpa formed in High School to play in Rock Quest. Everyone liked each other as friends first and foremost, music became the glue.

How would you say your sound has developed from your debut EP, I’m Sparklers (2009), to your latest record, Lesser Flamingo?
A natural progression of discovering more and more new music, getting inspired, new experiences, more practice and better recording situations have all shaped the way that our sound has developed. Writing music for us is like chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. You just keep writing and writing, trying to create something that represents you but you’re always changing. I guess the the biggest shift in sound on ‘Lesser Flamingo’ was our love of psychedelic music really came out and the addition of synthesisers to our arrangements.

Lesser flamingo was really well-received (for good reason) when it debuted last year. Can you talk about that record? Influences/inspiration?
It’s really just an album about things we’ve all experienced – friendship, romance, heart-break, mania. In those first few years after you leave High School and move out you’re really just experimenting with life. A lot of things are thrown up in the air which means a lot of things can come crashing down. Nothing we talk about on the record is really new, but it’s very honest and communicated in our own way.

Tell us about your new video for “I’m Happy Just To Lie” – What’s the concept there?
Basically the video represents the ideas and emotions behind the song’s words and music. It’s really a song of two halves. The first half is a loving plea to revel in the moment, the later half is a collision between these choices and their consequences. In the same vein the music video‚Äôs journey begins as an over stimulating trip through a hyped $2 Store-chic fantasy universe. Later the line between illusion and reality distorts and the monsters of the fantasy world rampage through reality.

Who directed the vid?
The video was directed by a very talented chap called Ralph Matthews. He put a lot of extra hours into this clip and did all the editing and animation work himself which is awesome.

What are the band working on at the moment?
We just finished recording our 2nd album with Kody Nielson. We’ve decided on the first single and are in the process of choosing a director to make the clip. Hopefully it’s not too long before we can share some of the stuff of the next album ’cause we’re all really excited about it. We’ve still got another clip for our single ‘Lunar Bats’ near completion which we’ll hopefully release very soon also.

Where can we next see you play live?
We’re headlining a Music In Parks event at Grey Lynn Park on Sunday 24th March. We’ll be playing for an hour sometime between 2-5pm with support from Urban Tramper and The Leers.

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