Interview with SICK PUPPIES
Sophomore Album Steps It Up
By: Jen Conrad
When this band burst onto the scene in 2007, I was immediately hooked!!!! Their music is basically life put into song. Anyone can listen to their lyrics and relate on a personal level, and anyone can listen to their music and relate on an emotional level. Sick Puppies’ story is intriguing, their resolve absolute, and their music flawless! Bassist Emma Anzai, lead vocalist/guitarist Shim Moore, and drummer Mark Goodwin released their debut album, Dressed Up As Life, in 2007. The trio came together when the two founding members, Anzai and Moore picked up their lives in Australia and moved to LA. Their goal was to make their music and they felt that fans in the U.S. were hungrier for music...so they moved, and found drummer Goodwin in LA, and the rest is history! The debut did very well by the band, allowing them to tour for over a year with heavyweight artists like Seether, Muse, Flyleaf, Finger Eleven, Breaking Benjamin and Velvet Revolver, produce 3 singles, all that landed on the charts (“All the Same”, “My World”, and “What Are You Looking For”), and the expectation and wonder if they could top it on their next album. In my opinion, they certainly did top their first album! With the first single, “You’re Going Down” already making waves on radio (no pun intended) and landing as the theme for WWE’s Extreme Measures pay-per-view, Sick Puppies are well on their way to kicking the sophomore slump right in the ‘nads! Tri-Polar was released back in July, and the trio is already burning up the roads in support of the album. Currently out with Hurt, Adelita’s Way, and Tunnels to Holland, Sick Puppies live show is one that should be experienced firsthand! They’ve just announced that they will be on tour this fall with Shinedown! Now, that one will ROCK! Emma Anzai took some time to talk with us about what’s going on in Sick Puppies’ world.
JEN: Sick Puppies have had quite an interesting start in moving from Australia to LA. Tell us a bit about the band and its start and its members.
EMMA: Shim and I met in the music rooms in high school. We had a drummer that was with us for 3 years. Then after he left and our first record label folded, we were at a crossroads. So Shim, Paul (our manager) and I decided to pick up and move to the States as the demand for rock in the U.S. was far greater than in Australia. We pretty much saved up all our money, maxed out our credit cards and made the move. It was then we found Mark on Craigslist and got signed to an indie with a guy named Paul Palmer (who found Bush and No Doubt). We were then making Dressed Up As a Life and also looking to be uplifted to a major label.
JEN: You had a huge amount of success with your debut album “Dressed Up As Life.” Were you surprised with the success you saw with that album being a new band?
EMMA: Yes, absolutely! We had just moved over from Australia and had to start from scratch. So, the fact that it did as well as it did was awesome for us! We didn’t know what to expect!
JEN: What was the most surprising thing to you?
EMMA: The way people embraced the songs and took them to heart. That was a nice surprise!
JEN: Your live show is incredible! Tell us about touring, what you like, don’t like about it.
EMMA: Touring is a lifestyle and it takes a while to get used to. You are away from friends and family for long periods of time. For me, being a girl, I miss a good bathroom and shower!!!! I love playing every night to people who know the words and I also love seeing many part of America I would never otherwise see. What I don’t like so much is probably the lack of personal space. I tend to keep to myself and it’s kind of hard on the road.
JEN: Tell us the funniest and most embarrassing moment that happened while touring.
EMMA: I had motion sickness tablets that made me super drowsy one day and so when we stopped at Walmart, I was so groggy that I just walked out of the bus in my PJs into Walmart! Nice! I guess there are worse things! (laughs)
JEN: You guys are known for the “Free Hugs” video for your song, “All the Same”. Tell us how that came about.
EMMA: Shim made the video. His buddy is the free hugs guy in the video (Juan Mann). When Shim was hold up a sandwich board sign for part time work back in Sydney, he met Juan Mann in the mall and they hit it off. Shim then videoed his buddy giving out free hugs. So when Shim came to the States, he was bored one night and decided to edit together the footage he had taken of Juan Mann and give it to him as a present. He put “All the Same” under it and it turned out really great! So we were like, ‘This is awesome! We should put it on Youtube!’ From then on, it took a life of its own!
JEN: You recently released your sophomore album, “Tri-Polar.” Tell us about the album...what elements are the same, what are different.
EMMA: Tri -Polar’s songs are probably a lot more raw in terms of content. The heavier songs are heavier and the softer songs are sweeter. We wanted to capture the vibe we have live on to record.
JEN: What was your goal with this album?
EMMA: To reach as many people as humanly possible...physically and emotionally.
JEN: You worked with the same production team, Rock Mafia’s Antonina Armato and Tim James, this time around also. Why do you feel so comfortable with them representing your music?
EMMA: Because we had great chemistry with our last record. Also because we knew each other a lot better this time around. We were pretty confident we could top our last effort.
JEN: Your first single from “Tri-Polar” is “You’re Going Down” has already hit radio and was chosen as the theme for WWE’s “Extreme Rules” Pay-per-view and also for the Street Fighter IV video game. How does it feel to be chosen for these?
EMMA: Just great! These songs have that raw vibe that we try to create live and for them to be chosen for such things like WWE and Street Fighter is amazing!!!!
JEN: Tell us about video plans for the single...
EMMA: We just shot it a couple of weeks ago and are looking at edits at the moment. Can’t really say what it’s about yet!
JEN: Is there one song on “Tri-Polar” that has special significance to you? If so, why?
EMMA: Yes, a song called “Odd One” is my fave. I wish it were around when I was a kid. It makes me feel a certain way and when we were writing it, everyone in the room could feel it too.
JEN: Sick Puppies also appears on a documentary film called Rock Prophecies. Tell us about that.
EMMA: When we first came to the States, we met a guy named Robert Knight (a world-renowned rock photographer) and he introduced us to many people who we ended up working with to this day. Rock Prophecies is a rock documentary about him and his life and the people he’s photographed. He asked us to be in the film and we were like ‘For Sure!!’ So, the landmark moments in our career, he came down to meet us with a camera crew and shot everything from the making of ‘Dressed Up As a Life’ to us on Jay Leno. For about 2 years, he’d come in and shoot our progress. Slash, Jeff Beck, Santana, and many more are in it, so we were stoked with whom we were put next to! Kind of surreal!
JEN: Tell us something funny or unusual about each member of your band.
EMMA: Mark loses clothes regularly! Shim finds random pieces of clothing and wears them ...no relation!
JEN: Who has been the coolest person/people you’ve met to date?
EMMA: Guys from Muse, Seether, and Flyleaf...sweethearts!
JEN: If you could choose a dream tour, who would be on the bill?
EMMA: Muse, Rage Against the Machine, Silverchair, Green Day and Incubus.
JEN: What are 3 things you can’t live without on tour?
EMMA: Movies, Ipod, Chocolate and Coffee!!
JEN: What would you like to say to your fans?
EMMA: Thank you so much for liking us! I really hope to see you at a show!
These are three of the nicest people that you’ll ever wanna meet and they’re great to their fans! Check out Tri-Polar...that baby will be perched on my Best of 2009 list, for sure! Also, be sure to check the fall tour schedule to see when they’re passing through your town. You’ve GOT to see them on stage!
28 Aug 2009 by jen