You hear it again and again.
When one door closes, another one opens. However, it’s true – especially in the case of Sick Puppies. In the Fall of 2014, Emma Anzai [bass, vocals] and Mark Goodwin drums] parted ways with their guitarist and vocalist. Weathering and persevering through this potentially life-changing event, the gold-selling, chart-topping Los Angeles-based and Australian-bred hard rock outfit knew one thing.
They were going to make more music as Sick Puppies.
“There was no question” affirms Emma. “We had no doubt that we wanted to continue. Mark and I got together and basically said, „first and foremost, we love music. We love this band and our fans, and we have put so much into it, and we are not done and want to take it further.‟ In order to do that, we needed to find the right member.”
Instead, the “right member” found them. With stints in several bands under his belt, Texas-born singer and guitarist Bryan Scott reached out to Emma via Facebook within days of the announcement. He sent her a video of himself performing, and she swiftly replied.
“Both Mark and I knew he was the guy right away”, He was cool, and he sounded great. It was a natural progression. We were totally on to something.”
“Something just overwhelmed me,” admits Bryan. “I had a feeling that I needed to reach out. They needed a singer and guitarist. That’s what I am. I always loved their music. As soon as I saw the post, I went home immediately and sent Emma a note. We clicked right off the bat. Music is in their blood. It‟s who they are. They live and breathe it every day. I‟m the same way.”
Following a first dinner together at a Los Angeles burger spot, they hit the rehearsal studio together and began jamming. After nailing numerous favorites from the Sick Puppies catalog, they started writing new material over the next several months. 2013‟s Connect saw the band embrace a more experimental side.
“On the last album, a lot of ideas came from many different places, but our core is rock and that is what we love!” Mark says on this new album, we‟re giving fans what they want, that classic Sick Puppies sound.”
“I think fans will enjoy the resurgence of the heaviness,” smiles Emma. “We love that, so we went all the way with it.”
The group teamed up with producer and songwriter Mark Holman [Three Days Grace, Red, Shinedown, Halestorm, The Struts], to start working on their fourth full-length album. Recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles during 2015, the new music reflects the group’s, incendiary interplay between Emma, Bryan & Mark.
“We were actually supposed to work with Mark Holman before, but it never materialized for whatever reason,” Emma continues. “It was the right moment in time, and he was the perfect producer to bring out the emotion in these songs.”
Locked and loaded with a muscular riff and booming percussion, “Stick To Your Guns” the band’s first single announces the band‟s return with a literal bang. Bryan‟s vocals careen from hypnotic to heavy as an arena-size refrain takes hold.
“You have to push regardless of what anyone tells you,” he says. “This was a big thing for us. You can pray, hope, or wish for something to happen, but at the end of the day, you have to stick to your guns, go out there, and kill it. The song is meant to empower.”
Then, there’s the epic “Where Do I Begin,” which spotlights Emma and Bryan’s impressive harmonies on the chorus. For lyrical inspiration, the musicians actually turned to the diehard collective Sick Puppies World Crew.
“We looked on their Facebook and read everything,” Emma recalls. “We saw that everyone shared a lot in common, and it was quite touching. We grabbed a few descriptive words and came across this theme. A lot of people out there feel like they’re missing out. They hear things like, „You can do it when you’re ready.‟ I think, „What’s ready?‟ If someone’s going to wait to be ready, they might wait their whole lives. It‟s about struggling with that and making a move.”
With its gnashing chant and pummeling groove “Let Me Live” introduced the album during the first teaser video—which arrived to palpable audience fervor. Meanwhile, “Walls” sees Emma’s vocals take center stage with gorgeously haunting delivery.
“It describes the painful feelings that come when a friend, family member, or someone you’re very close to changes, disappoints, disappears, or drifts away,” she sighs. “It’s just a snapshot of what I was feeling at that point in time.”
That kind of honesty has solidified a bond between the Sick Puppies and their fans since day one. To date, their breakout second full-length Tri-Polar has sold more than 500K albums, yielding 2 million single sales including the gold-certified “You’re Going Down” as well as rock smashes “Maybe” “Riptide,” and “Odd One.”
“All The Same” the band’s first single from their debut album, “Dressed Up As Life” be-came the soundtrack for the viral video “Free Hugs” campaign racking up tens of mil-lions of online views and saw them appear on Oprah, 60 Minutes, CNN, Good Morning America, and The Tonight Show.
2013‟s Connect earned the band its highest Billboard Top 200 debut at #17 and yielded two top 10 singles at rock radio peaking at #2. Along the way, the trio played alongside the world’s biggest bands from Muse, The Killers, Deftones, Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, Incubus to Tool.
Now, their message is more powerful than ever.
“When people hear this, I want them to take away a feeling of new life, new passion, and new excitement from this band,” Emma leaves off. “Mark and I love what we do. We were going to forge ahead no matter what. We found the perfect guy, and we’re excited about this next chapter.”