Sean Shepard heads local band Antighost.
By Hannah Sparks
Photo by Alexandra Cross Photography 2016
We all know someone who has dreamt of being a musician, but how many people do we know who’ve actually tried? Meet Sean Shepard, 21, from Bloomfield Hills, a student at Grand Valley State University studying film and advertising, who doubles as the front man for his band Antighost.
Shepard is a self-taught guitarist with a love for classic punk and grunge music. He started playing the guitar at age 10.
“I saved up all my money for an electric guitar, and when my parents saw how hard I was working, they ended up giving me one for Christmas” he says.
Shepard says Antighost’s sound is rooted in punk and grunge, but falls into the alternative rock genre. He’s been writing music and lyrics for years, but only this past year did he start to do something with it.
“I have always wanted to start a band, record music and play shows, but I could never find anyone serious enough to do it with me,” he says.
The lack of band members would turn most people off to the idea of releasing any music, but the same can’t be said for Shepard.
Last spring, he reached out to Bloomfield Hills-based Raydon Studios to inquire about recording his first EP. “I met with my good friend Mark Stewart, who founded Raydon Studios, and we worked together to record a six-track EP that became ‘Wolves & Sheep,’” Shepard says.
For that EP, he wrote the music and lyrics, recorded each instrument separately (aside from the drums, which were computer-generated) and finally recorded his singing. The EP was released last Aug. 16. Two weeks later, the song “Ugly Dogs” was featured on the radio.
After the release of his EP, Shepard knew it was time to find bandmates. He found his drummer, Dylan Vanderson, on Craigslist, of all places. “We found a bassist and have been playing shows across the state ever since.”
You can hear Antighost’s music on Spotify, iTunes and YouTube. They’ve also been getting a considerable amount of radio play.
“Our music has been received far better than we could have hoped. Our music has been played in California, Florida, Ohio, etc. We’ve been getting a lot of support from our friends over at 89X in Detroit. I grew up listening to them, so to hear my music played on that station is a dream come true.”
Shepard says his main inspiration comes from his past. “I write about experiences that have caused me a lot of pain,” he says. “Music can be very therapeutic in that way.”
Music is more than just rhythm and some catchy words. “Music is something that everyone can relate to, regardless of whether you create it or just listen to it,” he says. “Music helps people get through the hard times and helps them enjoy the good times a little more. Music provides an escape.”
The next step for the band is to “keep playing shows,” Shepard says. Antighost has already played various venues, such as the Pike Room in Pontiac, Detroit Institute of Music Education in Detroit, and local bars throughout Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
Shepard says he’s been writing a lot of music; the band will be back in the studio to record this summer.
“Our new album will be out on June 10.” NS
You can support Antighost by checking out their music on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube. To find tour dates and general information, visit antighostmusic.wixsite.com/antighost. You can also follow them on Twitter @antighostmusic, Instagram @antighostmusic and “Like” them on Facebook.
Photo from left to right: Nick Buwalda (bass), Sean Shepard (guitar/vocals), Dylan Vanderson (drums).