After listening to Dale Shepperd’s ‘She’s Sowing Time’, I am quite excited to take this chance to ask Dale a couple of questions about his creation process for this beautiful song, and to get to know more about the man behind, who he is, what are his ambitions, and where he plans to go next.

  • Very happy to be asking you these questions, Dale. First of all, having grown up in the 70s, and having led a life full of musical milestones, how do you like to introduce yourself to others? And what would you say are the musical milestones you are most proud of?

First off, I would like to thank you for listening to our song. It really means a lot. It has taken a long time to reach this point. My life has been consumed by music from the time I was born. My parents were the main influence in sharing their musical tastes at an early age. Their diverse vinyl record collection kept me busy in the early 70’s with the likes of the Beatles, Johnny Cash, CCR, Neil Diamond, The Bee Gees, Abba to Gordon Lightfoot. The list went on. They would buy me albums like the Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Cheap trick to Paul McCartney. I played Band on the Run to death! However, as I entered my teens and started exploring my own interests, and started fooling around on the guitar, I ventured off into the rock world with the likes of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, ZZ Top, and Yes. These bands all helped shape me musically. However, by the time I hit high school in the early 80’s, and then throughout the rest of the 80’s, my tastes started to veer towards a more alternative vein with experimental David Bowie, REM, U2, and more of the outliers like New Order, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The The, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus to name a few. However, things changed when I completed a music recording course at UVIC in 1988, and this would be my musical milestone so to speak. I knew at that time that I would eventually do some writing and recording and producing of my own music. However, the technology at the time was expensive, bulky, and painstakingly time consuming using old reel to reel tapes. In 1991, I ventured into a career in Real Estate which is what I still do today, and music has always been a hobby along the way. It would take another 20 years before the at home technology began to emerge, and I started to realize this dream of creating my own music.

  • Has it taken too long for you to get your home studio together and start recording? After listening to the song and watching the fantastically shot video I flew to Spotify to listen to more songs from you only to find none. Are you planning to release consistently from now on? Or is this a side project for you?

Yes, the journey to this day and the release of She’s Sowing Time has been a long time coming. My home studio was completed about 10 years ago. Prior to this, I jammed with several musicians over the years which helped me better my skills as a player. Fast forward to about 2013, and once I had amassed all the gear that I needed to record myself at home, I started writing songs and here we are today with the first official released song. It took the importance of this song to propel me to explore releasing it as a single, and the first step was to hire a professional videographer and Ted Kuzemski was my first choice. He shot the video and once it was completed, this gave me the confidence in taking the next steps to independently release the song. Also, technology has advanced along the way to allow it to happen now in 2023. That is why it is my only song that can be found on the streaming services. I do plan on releasing future songs as time allows, but this is still purely a side project and hobby.

  • Am I correct in hearing a strong Bowie influence on the drums of ‘She’s Sowing Time’? That punchy groove and the particular timbre to the drums. Who would you name as your biggest influences when it comes to writing songs?

I have a lot of musical influences, but David Bowie is definitely high on the list. I do love a blend of electric and real organic drum sounds, combined with guitar, driving bass and lush old school synth sounds, and this song has a blend of all my musical tastes up to today. Moby is another influence for his layered piano and synth arrangements. There are too many others to name but if I was to name drop a few, I would include Tears for Fears, Echo and the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, New Order, REM, Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop, Peter Murphy, Beck, plus all the classic rock and pop bands I loved to listen to in the 70’s. This list could go on for hours.

Review – She’s Sowing Time by Dale Sheppard

  • Talking about writing songs. What was the process behind writing ‘She’s Sowing Time’? The lush chorus and the skeletal verses. The pads and the effect on your voice. Where would you say these decisions come from? Are they just pretty and fitting to the theme? Or would you say they carry an integral part to the meaning behind the song and the words?

I usually start writing my songs by picking a drum track and tempo, and then recording a rough rhythm guitar track highlighting the verse and chorus. Then I add bass guitar and basic synth tracks to create the atmosphere. I try to layer several synth parts over each other to fill out the sound. Once completed, Kim provides the lyrics and I then set out to record my vocals to her words. The theme of this song was heavily influenced by Kim’s battle with cancer which influenced my vocal presentation and the special affects added to my vocal tracks. Kim has a wonderful voice, so I knew that our blend of vocals, once recorded, would create a full sounding chorus. Most of the decisions regarding the mixing stage come from trial and error and are constantly changing until each track complements the others. I try to keep the vocals up front and center. This song theme has urgency and struggle and a lot of emotions. Trying to create this atmosphere did take a lot of time finding the right balance for each track and for the final mixing of the song.

  • Taking the words from Kim after her battle with cancer must have been challenging. To write a piece of music that is worthy of such inspired words can’t have been easy. How did you approach this, and how did you decide that the music you came up with was worthy of such words that must have been quite personal to your family?

Yes, Kim went through an extremely tough time during her cancer fight in 2021, and she has now been cancer free for a year and a half, so we are all very relieved and grateful for this. Kim usually writes the words for my songs but after reading the lyrics to She’s Sowing Time, and adapting then to my musical composition, we knew we had something special. However, I really wanted to ramp up the production and instrumentation for this song, so I reached out to some friends of mine to add some additional tracks. The main keyboard melody was provided by Russ Ovans and the smoking lead guitar solo was provided by James Love. The final touch was adding real drums to the song, provided by Nicola D’Adamo, and his track was added to complement my existing electronic drum track to ramp up the urgency of the song while providing an organic human feel. I feel we accomplished what we set out to achieve.

  • And finally, as a new fan of Dale Shepperd, what can we expect from you next? Radio shows planned ahead? More songs? An album by any chance? What do you have in store for us next?

I usually try to complete one song a year, so I hope to have another release to share in 2024. Regarding an album, I do have about 10 songs completed but the others are rougher demos, so they have not been officially released. If I get some time to complete those songs, and write a few more, I might have an album in me yet.

  • Thank you so much Dale for taking the time to answer these questions. It has been my pleasure to ask them, and I truly hope that they are as engaging to consider and answer as listening to your latest single has been inspiring to me.