Sherpa – Blues and Oranges

Earl Ho is restless. The frontman of Auckland four-piece Sherpa simply can’t sit still. In fact, it’s a trait the four have in common – from absent-minded strums against the seam of a jean leg, to fingers being laced together and quickly unlaced, there’s an air of energy being barely contained that surrounds the group. Despite their collective ADHD we managed an interview. Kind of.


Georgia had a chat to Sherpa about their recently released record Blues And Oranges, out now.

They’re excited. Their sophomore album Blues and Oranges has just been released, and it’s an effort they’re proud of. The record, Dan Barrett, the bassist, says, is “pop music made by people who really like alternative music.”

To use a second album cliché, Blues and Oranges is more mature than their previous efforts. But it’s true – the pop genre has become something Sherpa has grown comfortable being associated with.

“Pop music to me…is like music that wins you over,” drummer Vince McMillan says, a remark that would seem almost incomplete without his fingers tapping his knee as he thinks.

Earl weighs in, saying, “It’s not really an intellectual thing, it’s a feeling. Hopefully a good pop song can just hit you right in the heart”. Produced by Kody Nielson of The Mint Chicks fame, Blues and Oranges has so far been a two-year labour of love.

Ben Jack honed his guitar skills at jazz school throughout the record’s gestation, and speaks of breaking each song down to work out what subtleties could be changed to improve it. It’s a far cry from their debut full length Lesser Flamingo, with which he says they just “rolled with the first idea”.

Just like Ben with jazz school, each of the guys had full-time commitments to work Sherpa in around – be it Vince’s nine to five at a production company, Dan’s late nights bartending, or, the commitment that became the biggest catalyst for change, Earl’s job selling insurance over the phone.

One day between calls, he bought a one-way ticket to London. The release tour for Blues and Oranges finished last Saturday night, but he’s already on the other side of the globe. There are whispers of Earl’s plan to shop the band out to London-based labels and one day make his bandmates an offer in Europe they can’t refuse.

In the meantime, they’ll record across the seas, continuing to stoke the band’s creative fire. Earl’s move seems sudden, but shouldn’t come as a surprise. Like I said, these guys can’t sit still.

Take a listen to Sherpa’s Sophmore album below, and if you’re a deadset sick dude or dudette, you’ll buy it too. It’s 10 NZD, which is like what… thirty, forty cents?

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