The Herd were at Smiggins Hotel for the opening weekend head-lining the PEAK festival and I caught up with Jane Tyrrell for a chat.
With several mini Herd members now running around, it’s been a long journey for this weird morphing elephant that is the Herd. From being a fun idea in 2000 as a way to get their music out, the collective then slowly started doing shows. From there the Herd started to come about, all while group members were studying degrees and having other careers.
Jane joined the group around 2004/5, and the Herd then became a steady eight member group putting out albums and touring. An eclectic group with a progressive sound, the Herd are known for the social, environmental and political, topics that they sing about. That’s the fire that gets them writing.
Jane rates playing a gig with Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly, celebrating indigenous song writing at the State Theater in Sydney, as her favourite moment in music so far. She also loves the massive festival gigs and the way everybody enjoys the music, even if they don’t know it and they’re just passing by that stage checking it out. “There’s something about a festival gig that’s pretty awesome”, she explains, “then in contrast, the intimate little venues in the earlier days, where it’s all about a great performance and songs ringing true rather than this big vibe, big visuals and big lights, it’s just about the songs. Like what we’re doing tonight”.
As a collective, there is no talk of an album on the horizon for the Herd, but several members are active in their own individual musical identities. Jane has just finished her own solo album and she has been touring with Tim as Earth Boy for eight years. “We’re a funny monster, we morph into many different faces and do our own things and then we come back together and make albums, that’s the nature of it”, she says.
With a lot of the band members having their own careers and separate music identities, the band don’t get together all that frequently, but they all agree it’s awesome when they do get together and do a show. Their last gig was a festival on the beach in Western Australia in February, a world away from a festival in the snow.
Jane is very appreciative of the, at times, fairly absurd lifestyle which sees her looking out the window watching the snow rolling around in the wind today at Perisher while yesterday doing a photo shoot on a roof top in the sunshine in Melbourne for her new solo album.
The Herd have played here at Perisher every year for at least eight or nine years. A few members snowboard or ski, but they are all big fans of getting away and enjoying the mountains and the Australian outback. A lot of them have spent teenage years in the mountains in various parts of Australia. “So it’s pretty easy to tap into what’s going on, to feel that closeness of the community and just really enjoy it,” she says.
Declaring herself as an extremely passionate person, her creativity expands to various forms as a graphic designer, a fine artist and a musician. “I have to be based on passion otherwise there’s nothing else that makes you do it. If I didn’t do it I wouldn’t breath.” That’s passion. Something that she pursues and seeks out everyday.
Jane with Sulo and Traksewt at Smiggins Hotel