The Herd formed in 2001 after the core members of the record label Elefant Traks decided to collaborate rather than submit individual tracks for a compilation.
What resulted was the self-titled album that featured the triple j hit ‘Scallops’, a song that became an Aussie backyard anthem.
Mid-2002 saw The Herd put the final touches on the follow-up album called An Elefant Never Forgets. The record featured the hit singles Burn Down The Parliament and 77%, the latter sparking contro- versy with its stinging criticism of the treatment of asylum seekers during the Tampa incident. Despite the uproar, triple j continued playing the song and hundreds of listeners requested it, eventually being voted into the triple j Hottest 100. The success of the album allowed the band to tour extensively and make inroads into the festival circuit.
The band’s third album The Sun Never Sets was their most ambitious and cohesive to date. Containing live favourites Unpredictable and We Can’t Hear You it also featured the first appearance of Jane Tyrrell who subsequently joined the band after some memorable guest appearances. After the release of the album The Herd performed a cover of Redgum’s classic anti-war song I Was Only 19 on triple j’s ‘Like a Version’. The song instantly connected with audiences, leading to an extraordinarily moving film clip featuring members of the Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia. Redgum’s John Schumann became a good friend of the group, recording and performing the song with the band. Radio, television and print stories followed, including documentaries on ABC Television and triple j’s Hack. Commercial radio picked up the song and it rated in the top 20 in 2006 triple j Hottest 100.
The Herd’s reputation as a fiery and electrifying live group only grew, with high profile festival slots on the national Big Day Out Tour, Splendour In The Grass, and Homebake and sold out shows across the country. In an unconventional set-up, The Herd perform with two MCs, two vocalists, an acoustic and an electric guitar, bass, piano accordion, clarinet, laptops and samplers.
2008 saw the release of their 4th album Summerland that debuted at #7 on the ARIA Album Charts and was nominated for an ARIA. The album went on to win Best Independent Artist and Best Urban/Hip Hop Album at the AIR Awards that year. The lead single, The King is Dead, was a celebration of political change, and their film clip for 2020 (directed by the talented Mike Daly) went on to win the J Award for Best Music Video 2008. After their most successful tour to date the band was invited to take part in Cannot Buy My Soul a tribute to Kev Carmody, playing alongside Paul Kelly, Tex Perkins, Missy Higgins and The Drones, amongst others, in sold-out shows at the State Theatre and Brisbane’s River Stage.
2011 saw the band release their fifth record, Future Shade. The first single ‘The Sum of it All’ was the most played song on triple j for the entire month of March. The band returned to the live arena with a show at Splendour In The Grass followed by two highly successful national tours throughout the year. The record was universally praised for its sharp social commentary and complex musical arrangements. It was named iTunes Australian Hip Hop Album of the Year
2012 saw the group launch into their A Thousand Lives Tour playing to several thousand people across the country. They performed a moving rendition of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ as part of a Reconciliation Week special for triple j’s Like A Version. It proved very popular, selected amongst the best triple j covers of the of the year. In November The Herd performed alongside their label-mates in the Graphic Festival commissioned – Dr Seuss Meets Elefant Traks at Sydney’s Opera House.
As the ever impressive Australian music scene flourishes, one thing is certain: there is no group quite like The Herd.
“The Herd are one of the most respected and enduring crews in Australian hip-hop. The eight-strong Sydney collective count among their number some of the country’s smartest MCs (Urthboy, Ozi Batla) and sharpest producers (Traksewt, Sulo, Unkle Ho) and in the 10 years since their formation – in packed festival tents and at sold-out shows of their own – they have made us dance, laugh and think”
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
“Here Aussie-hop hop supergroup The Herd have made their most adventurous – and listenable- album”
“Future Shade is just as operatic as it is opinionated – an accomplished snapshot of social commentary, framed by beautifully complex music”