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A Dirty Dozen with HOLDEN SIMS from SHEPHERD – November 2020

| 6 November 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Denver-based Doom rock band SHEPHERD are gearing up for the release of their debut studio EP, First Hand, which is out November 20th on Destruent Records. Fans can get their first taste of the upcoming record by checking out the band’s new single “Chariot,” which is out now and available on the major streaming platforms. Shepherd’s lineup consists of Holden Sims (vocals/bass), Austin Garrett (guitar / backing vox), and Nathan Bilodeau (drums), with the three-piece drawing inspiration from alt-metal pioneers like Deftones, Mastodon, and Torche, along with elements of outlaw country and folkloric chanting. The end result is something that’s sonically engrossing, unrepentantly loud, and bound to take hold of listeners and not let go.” We get singer / bassist Holden to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We wrote a lot of First Hand over time but it’s the most concise we’ve had our sound since all of us have been playing together. On the first listen through the audience could hear the tone and the impact of the songs themselves, but on the second or third time around the attentive listener will hear more subtext and nuance. Our lyrics are ambiguous but also very personal and at the least we believe our fans will derive their own personal meaning from the songs.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Growing up I didn’t have a very musical family but I was always drawn to the mystique and grandeur of being a musician or a rockstar. Thankfully through some mutual friends when I was young I got my first taste of being in a band. Getting up there, and almost becoming someone or something else was when I knew that this was my path.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

As a teen I was into a lot of thrash and metal and in high school we loved deathcore and tried our best to find the gnarliest heaviest shit we could find, but one instance that really changed things for me, was when I would stay up late watching Headbanger’s Ball when I was a kid and I heard Gojira’s “Where Dragons Dwell” vividly I can remember just how much that stood out to me and how unique and original their timing and delivery was. That was one occasion where I was exposed to a different formula and a sense of individuality in metal that has influenced me to this day.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Deftones, Mastodon, Cave In, Joe Walsh/James Gang, and Torche/Floor.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Josh Homme, Trent Reznor, Chelsea Wolfe, Dave Grohl, Chino Moreno, Gary Numan, Steven Brodsky, Aaron B. Turner, Matt Pike, or Post Malone. Obviously we would have to approach each of those in a very different way but our sound is flexible and we would cherish the opportunity to create with any of them.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

To put it plainly we make music that we deem heavy and slick enough for our own taste, for a first time listener they might hear Stoner, Doom, Rock & Roll, or Metal in our material. Someone who we showed a track to off the album said my vocals sounded like Eddie Vedder which still has me wondering.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Austin and I love to cook, so does Nate but we never have a chance to try his cooking. We all go toe-to-toe as far as drinks are concerned but I feel like I’m the first to pick up a guitar and annoy everybody.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

My sister got married in Hawaii a year ago and we spent time on Kauai. Christmas Eve we went to Hanalei Bay on the north shore and when I was diving in the waves with my brother we met Timothy Olyphant and I was in disbelief only because of the casual nature of the whole encounter.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part for me is creating something that is completely your own or something that is a collective of inspiration/influence within a band, and giving that personal piece of yourself to a stranger whether it’s in a crowd or in private, and allowing that person to be moved or influenced or affected in any way.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

If an interviewer asked me my favorite film or comedy or something unrelated to music I think I’d be into that. My least favorite question to be asked is “how do you describe your sound” just because I find it difficult to answer.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

As of recently we’ve been given some incredible opportunities and we’re fortunate to be where we are. I think we would have liked to be in this position years ago but things work out just as they should and we live in the moment so we’re trying to make the best of it always.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath only because we hold that record true as the best album of one of the greatest bands of all time and to be a fly on the wall when that was happening or to see it first hand would be otherworldly.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Mostly playing shows, we like to play a lot and that has been something that we sorely miss. but beyond that just being social, going out and meeting new people, knocking a few back, or making new friends is something that has proved challenging right now. But we’re optimistic and we’re putting ourselves in a position to make the most of it when things eventually turn around.



Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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