Music Feeds caught up with The Herd before they head to Queensland to play The Woodford Folk Festival.
MF: So, Future Shade came out earlier this year, but we haven’t been hearing as much from you guys in the way of shows and what have you as with previous albums until the just recently-announced A Thousand Lives tour, how come?
TH: We’ve released three singles this year (Sum of It All, Signs of Life, A Thousand Lives) and did a short run Sum of It All single tour, then the national Future Shade tour, plus we’ve played a number of festivals including Splendour in the Grass and Queenscliff.
MF: I saw that the tour is meant to be different from other tours you’ve done in the past in recognition of your ten-year anniversary as a band; can you tell us a bit about that?
TH: The Sum of It All single tour earlier this year was celebrating our 10th year together as a band. The Thousand Lives tour will have an added layer of theatre, and we’ll take the audience on a historical trip back to the origins of The Herd. There’s a lot of stories after a decade and we want to incorporate them into the show.
MF: You do have an upcoming appearance at Woodford Folk Festival, which is such a magical festival. Are you excited to be playing? Do you have any memories from festivals past you’d like to share?
TH: We can’t wait to play at Woodford again; it is unanimously our favourite Australian festival. Our cricket matches against the Woodford XI were always memorable, particularly a great catch taken by George Negus. We’ve had some really wild shows at the Grand Stage, and met so many fellow musicians that we have gone on to tour/work with.
MF: How do you find performing at festivals compared to your own headline shows, in particular festivals like Woodford where the festival itself has a following and therefore a very diverse crowd as opposed to a crowd full of hip hop fans?
TH: Each festival has its own character. The Woodford crowd are very enthusiastic and open-minded, just like us. Playing festivals is a good chance to introduce your music to potential new fans.
MF: Can you tell me a bit about Future Shade? How does it fit in with your previous work both musically and thematically?
TS: Future Shade fits on the spectrum of Herd records, but it stands alone as well. It’s very rich and layered musically, and while there are some classic ‘big’ political themes and social commentary, there are also some much more intimate, personal moments on there.
MF: Australian hip hop is really at a peak at the moment; do you think, though, that this is also the most important time for artists to be really focussing on the music as we’re sort of at that tipping point where the market might be getting a little oversaturated and the music might be loosing its impact or originality?
TH: It’s great to see that hip hop has arrived in Australia and can finally be considered one of the many genres that makes the local music scene. The way has been paved for younger artists; the goals have been set by the likes of the Hilltop Hoods and Drapht, but, on the other hand, it doesn’t have the ‘special’ novelty factor and there are hundreds more acts, so newcomers have to work twice as hard to make a name.
MF: Australian hip hop had a hard time getting to this point, where it’s been given the recognition it deserves, yet there is still this sort of resistance to it in some areas of the industry. Why do you think that is?
TH: Some people just don’t like rap music. Other older people in the music industry have an outdated notion that ‘DJ’ music, like dance and hip hop, isn’t real music and its rise has come at the expense of opportunities for ‘real’ rock musicians. This attitude is much less prevalent these days.
MF: Where would you like to see Australian hip hop in ten years time?
TH: Representing at big international festivals, perhaps an international crossover hit or two, an Australia Day medal for an emcee, and just as healthy at the grass roots, be it the lay-up yard, the breaking circle or on stage.
MF: Where do you hope to see yourselves in ten years time?
TH: Still making music, in loving relationships with beautiful families and with an undiminished lust for life.
The Herd play Woodford Folk Festival 27th December – 2nd January – Buy Tickets