Sick Puppies have sold more than a million records since bursting onto the scene more than a decade ago.
Their tenacious work ethic, perseverance and groove-ridden tracks have paved the way to their sharing the stage with Deftones, Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin, Incubus, Tool and more.
Sick Puppies’ new album, FURY, which will be released May 20, continues that trend—and is the band's first album to feature new guitarist/vocalist Bryan Scott, who joins Emma Anzai and Mark Goodwin.
I recently spoke with Anzai and Scott about the new album, their gear and more.
Bryan, how did you become involved with Sick Puppies?
SCOTT: I found out about it moments after they had made the announcement of the lineup change. It was something I knew I had to do. I remember hitting Emma up and sending them a video showing what I was doing. I then flew out to L.A. and we started jamming. Right off the bat, it was beautiful and felt like it was meant to be.
ANZAI: We had actually played with Bryan some years back when he was in his old band. He even sent me a picture of his band playing in front of our backdrop. It was cool because it was kind of foreshadowing what was going to happen next. After we got together, everything gelled very quickly. Bryan’s a great person with a great rock voice, and je plays great. He’s everything you could ask for.
Let’s discuss the new album, Fury. How does it compare to the band’s previous work?
SCOTT: This is a raw, empowering album that’s full of emotion. There are a few different themes to it, but a lot of it connects to us personally—and especially our single, “Stick to Your Guns." It really relates to what we’re doing. It’s a song about perseverance. There’s always going to be some changes in life, but you just have to move forward and push, no matter what the obstacles are. This is our biggest album yet, and we’re super excited about it.
What’s the songwriting process like for Sick Puppies?
ANZAI: It’s always different, depending on who you write with. One thing I’m grateful for is finding that chemistry. We struck gold twice with Bryan, and it shows. The songs came very naturally and have such energy.
SCOTT: We like to look at what the fans are talking and thinking about and incorporating that into our writing. Emma is a monster riff writer. She’ll usually come in with some beefy riff that will spawn this incredible song. One of the songs on the new album was one Emma and I actually started playing at the same time. It turned out to be one of the most incredible songs on the album.
Which track is that?
ANZAI: “Where Do I Begin." We had already written a few songs together, and it was one of the moments where we both started jamming at the same time and it formed this cool vibe. The music really coincided with what our fans were talking about—being stuck in situations in life and not being able to make a decision. Those two things together made that song.
What can you tell me about the track “Walls”?
ANZAI: That was another one of those songs that just happened naturally. It’s about being faced with a friend or family member who changes or leaves and the feelings that come about when that happens.
“Just the Beginning”
SCOTT: It’s a similar vibe to “Walls.” When somebody tries to bring you down or take something away, this is your fight song against that person.
“Let Me Live”
SCOTT: That was another song where we looked to see what people were talking about. This is a song about letting people be who they are and not telling them who they should be. It’s an anthem for all of the people who feel that way.
Did you always know music was going to be your calling?
ANZAI: For me, it started at an early age with a band called Silverchair. I was 15 at the time and they were around the same age. I started out playing this cheap guitar/amp package. Then when I went to high school and started the band, I switched to bass.
SCOTT: It started for me around that same age. I come from a family of singers and was always fascinated with music, and was really attracted to melody. I found it fascinating that you could create something people would hear and immediately get attached to. Once I grabbed the guitar, it was game over and it was music from then on.
What’s your current setup like?
SCOTT: I’m rocking the Gibson Les Paul and Marshall setup right now. There’s a reason so may people use it. They’re everything you want in rock music.
ANZAI: I remember going to see a local band that had two bass players and saw one of them playing this incredible-looking bass called a Warwick. I became obsessed with it and had to have one. Then a few weeks later, our manager told me about this endorsement from Warwick, and I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been a Warwick lover ever since.
What are you most looking forward to about the new album and this next chapter of the band’s career?
ANZAI: I’m looking forward to getting this music out and playing to as many people as possible. It may sound cliché, but when you’re playing a show and someone is screaming your lyrics back at you and losing their minds, that’s the best feeling any musician can have.
SCOTT: This album is more than just meeting and starting a new vibe. It was about pouring every ounce of energy and emotion we have into these songs. We wrote a lot of songs for this album and chose the ones someone could listen to from beginning to end without skipping a track. We’re so proud of this album and want to show it to the world.
For more about Sick Puppies, visit sickpuppies.com.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.