THE CAMPUS VOICE
“Get it In Your Ears With Morgan Bates” – Interview with Bryan Scott from Sick Puppies
Showing us that there is no obstacle that they can’t overcome, Sick Puppies are certainly shaking things up and totally rockin’ it! In just one year, they have changed lead singers, written a kick ass album complete with anthems full of fury and passion, and have been touring the country confirming to fans that they aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
Even though we missed each other at Jacksonville’s Welcome To Rockville, I got the opportunity to talk with new lead singer and guitarist Bryan Scott over the phone about the “Beautiful Chaos” that has been this past year. He showed real passion, excitement, and fire as we spoke about the rebirth of the band, their new album “Fury,” the inspiration behind the album, and even performing for an audience full of Nicolas Cages! Bryan admits that coming into a band with a loyal and dedicated fan base like Sick Puppies World Crew was no easy feat. But, as he, Emma, and Mark hit it off, a new era of Sick Puppies was born. Keeping their oldest, most faithful fans as well as new ones craving more!
Sick Puppies are proving to both themselves and fans alike, that where you’ve been doesn’t have to hold you back from where you want to go. Leading by example as they show us that nothing speaks better to your character than following your dreams and “Sticking To Your Guns!”
Morgan: Hi Bryan!
Scott: Hey Morgan! How ya doin?!
Morgan: I’m good how are you?! What are you guys up to today?!
Scott: We’re in Buffalo New York at the moment.
Morgan: What’s the weather like there?!
Scott: The weather is actually perfect right now! Its sunny, a little bit breezy, and not too hot. Good
Morgan: Nothing like Welcome to Rockville where it was crazy sticky hot!
Scott: A little sticky but, an outdoor festival wouldn’t be complete without the sticky!
Morgan: So true!! I did catch a little bit of your set at Welcome to Rockville! What a show! That may have been the biggest mosh pit I have ever seen. I was in the back but it still made it the whole way back there!
Scott: Thank you so much! Its always fun to see a pit go crazy like that!
Morgan: Let’s talk about your album “Fury” which comes out next week!
Scott: Yeah! May 20th, my birthday!
Morgan: Awesome! Well Happy Early Birthday! That’s one hell of a way to celebrate!
Scott: I’m excited! It’s gonna be a big day! We’re playing Rock On The Range, it’s my birthday, and the album comes out! So I might spontaneously combust on stage!
Morgan: But with excitement though right?!
Scott: Oh yeah. For Sure!
Morgan: Ken sent me a copy of your album “Fury” and I think it’s awesome!!!
Scott: Thank you so much!
Morgan: It’s been described as focused and invigorating. Is that how you would describe it?
Scott: Absolutely! I mean it’s real. We spent the better part of a year making it. So, this wasn’t something we were just gonna even think about just throwing together. There was a lot of emotion and a lot of passion and obviously as Emma always tells it, “a lot of reinvigoration for the band on their behalf with a new part in it.” We wanted to put everything we had into it, because we knew this album was one of the most important albums that this band could possibly do to continue on. So we wanted to make sure that each song was in our minds, the best it could possibly be and to toss out anything that wasn’t up to par with the rest. We wanted it to be an album that we felt, you could listen to from the very beginning to the end without skipping anything. That was really the goal and we’re really, really proud of it.
Morgan: As you should be! I listened to the album at least three times in a row without skipping anything! But, I have to say that “Beautiful Chaos” is my favorite one!
Scott: Yeah! That’s a fun one isn’t it!
Morgan: Most definitely! So good! So you said it took you a year to make the album. That’s a long time. Can you tell me about the creative process or what all happened within the year to make this album happen?
Scott: Sure. I say a year but, that of course was the entire lead up to all of this. Including “Hello! Nice to meet you.” From the beginning to the jamming. It was about a year a little over a year was spent from the inception of this new chapter. From meeting the band, jamming old tunes to make sure everything was good there and getting the gig essentially. When we started writing, it was kind of one of those, because I’ve always kind of been a song writer and obviously I didn’t wanna come in and step on any toes because we wanted to make sure we were going the right route that everyone is familiar with. And everyone is such a good writer. It’s a really insane process when it comes to the collaborative effort between all of us and when we started out it was kind of like “where do we wanna go??” because we had just met each other and trying to feel this out. And we wrote a few songs and they were ok. But, we knew. And it wasn’t until we wrote “Stick to your guns” and after we got it back from our producer and we got to hear it for the first time recorded, we just looked at each other like “Yep! That’s it! That’s where we need to go with the music.” Once we hit on that, the rest just fell in line. Because we kinda had a sketch of what we wanted to go with musically. We definitely put in a conscious effort to make it heavier. We heard from a lot of the fans that they missed the direction of theTripolar album. It was kind of going back to the maturity of the people were asking for. Which was the more aggressive material. Which was great because that’s what we wanted to do anyway! We had all of this pent up rage or fury as it were to just unleash rock back into everybody and we think we did that.
Morgan: Oh I would definitely agree with that! Very well done! When you all sat down to write this album were there any specific life experiences or people that helped to inspire the album?
Scott: Absolutely! I mean with the single “Stick To Your Guns” the reason it was such a fitting first single is because it was really relatable to us when it came to perseverance. When changes happen in your life, when there are obstacles that get in your way you have to stick to your passion or a dream, in our case that’s music. Obviously for Emma and Mark, this change saying “Oh my gosh what are we gonna do?!” while at the same time I’ve been doing music as long as they have and was kind of looking for the right thing in between projects too. It’s just about not letting anything get in your way of your dream and just going for it no matter what. People are always going to be skeptical and this and that. You just go for it because that’s what you love doing! And you’ve gotta “stick to your guns” you’ve gotta go all the way with it. So that was what inspired that song. It worked out to be very fitting first single because it related to us on a very personal level.
There are so many different themes throughout this album. A lot of it personal for us but, we actually look online to see what a lot of fans are talking about. We have our Sick Puppies World Crew which a very big supportive fan base that we have. They actually have a forum and they talk about things that are on their minds or things they’re going through, things they’re feeling every day. And we like to look into that and dive into what the people are going through. Because believe it or not we relate to those things too. So there were some different topics they were talking about that spawned ideas and topics for some of the songs. Like the song “Where Do I Begin?” We love that song! It’s a huge anthem song. It’s something that came when we were actually looking at what some of the people were talking about. It showed that feeling of frustration. Like wanting to try to do something new with your life but, not knowing where to start. For example, thinking it’s too late, I’m already older, I’ll never be able to do that. It literally comes back to the title “Where Do I Begin?” and how do I start to do this? It’s one of those songs that say don’t be afraid to try it. So that’s what really spawned that one. Like I said there are all sorts of topics like that, that we feel relate to us as well as to the fans. The real message there is just to try it!
Morgan: That’s a really cool way to collaborate with and get to know your fans! They are loving it! The single “Stick To Your Guns” is really dominating the radio and the charts right now! Congratulations!
Scott: Thank you! It’s insane! But, it’s really incredible to watch it climb. It just makes us think WOW! People are loving it and diggin’ it! Its getting great responses at shows and people are singing along. It’s fun!
Morgan: When making this album with everything going on within the band, did that put an extreme amount of pressure on your shoulders to make an incredible album? Especially with the success of the previous albums?
Scott: Well, one could drive themselves up the wall and crazy thinking “We have to write it this way!” or “We’ll bomb if we don’t” things like that. But, I think a little of the pressure for myself was to be a part of the biggest change you could make in a band as the singer. And If I were on the other end of this I would still feel the same way. Fortunately before joining the band, I was already a big fan of the band! Which is always nice to love the music you’re playing. So, with that being said, by being a fan I know what I would want to hear as a fan and not just as a musician. What I would want to hear someone who isn’t trying to be the old singer because, I’m never going to be that guy and I don’t want to be. But, you try to pay homage to what the people know and are familiar with. Just to pay tribute to the old because I would want it to be performed as close to it as you can. But, the whole goal was to put a new twist on it and put whatever flavor I have on it because that’s real. This whole project and what we love about it. Each of the members we all get along so well, we are like family and that was really the key before anything else. It was important that we gelled as people because we want this era of Sick Puppies to truly come across as real to everyone and that’s what its all about. It’s not about faking it to make it. So, that whole year was putting together something that we truly felt good about and that was the best representation of giving the fans what they are familiar with but still adding a little bit of a new twist. That’s what we wanted to do. We got to record this in a real relaxed setting which was cool and the vibe was great! It was really just about putting together something that we felt very happy about and that paid tribute to ourselves.
Morgan: I know you said there is a lot going on the day Fury is released with it being your birthday and playing Rock On The Range. But, was there anything you guys did to celebrate when you decided that the record was perfect and ready for release?
Scott: Yeah! When you’re done with it and you see your baby that you’ve been working on for so long and pouring everything into. When you can finally know that BOOM we’re done with this! Because we had to get the right amount of songs together and there was an actually point when we thought we were almost done and we wanted to try one more writing session and we ended up writing two incredible songs for the album just right there at the end of it all. But the point when we knew it was done it was like hands up in the air just clapping because we were so proud of it. Then you go out and you have a few drinks and let loose. But when it comes out on May 20th it’s gonna be a CRAZY day anyway with Rock On The Range we’re playing on the main stage. It’s going to be insane and doing press all day is gonna be a madhouse and then going out and celebrating my birthday and celebrating the album coming out! It’s definitely going to be large and day long celebration!
Morgan: Since you guys are now about halfway through your tour. Has there been anything really fun or memorable that’s happened while on the road?
Scott: Well, Emma’s birthday was on a day we had a show in Orlando at The Social and a lot of the World Crew people were out there. She loves Nicolas Cage so they made these cardboard faces of Nicolas Cage that you can hold up over your own face and there were like 20 of them in the front row. I mean I’ve never played a show for a bunch of Nicolas Cages before just staring up at you. It was definitely one of the oddest and funniest things! Literally the whole front row was a bunch of Nicolas Cage faces! So that was definitely funny and memorable. But, honestly it’s all been crazy! All of these shows are going really well and all the bands we’re playing with are awesome! They’re all like family now. They are great guys and great musicians. But yeah, playing all these shows and big festivals has just been one day after another of awesome times.
Morgan: Did anything crazy happen at Welcome to Rockville?
Scott: That show was nuts! Right before you called I was putting together some clips of that show! The crowd was amazing and really excited! I can’t think of necessarily any craziness other than rockin’ a big show. But, we met a ton of people when we were signing and things like that which was really incredible. I love to hear from fans to let us know we’re going in the right direction. But, there have been so many people that come up after we play and there were a ton at Rockville that have been fans of the band for a really long time. They’ve seen them 2,3,5,10 times before. They come up and they look me right in the eye and say they were either skeptical or they came in and they wanted to hate it just because of whatever and they love it. They loved it as much if not more than they ever remember. To hear that, and I mean I hear this a lot, I’m just so taken aback by it. It just makes me feel like WOW. That’s the best thing you could ask for. To see these loyal fans that have been with the band from day one and want to continue to support the band based on what they hear. It’s just a win win.
Morgan: Have you gotten the chance to meet anyone super cool on tour whether it be a fan or a celebrity?
Scott: It’s really a lot hanging out with fans. But, I did get to meet Lajon from Sevendust. I love that band! I have always loved that band. Growing up I loved all of their albums. He’s one of my favorite singers because he’s got that huge voice. I actually met him at Welcome to Rockville! He came up to me because he knew I was the new singer and was just like “Hey man! I’m Lajon. It’s so good to meet you! I saw you perform! Look at this man! Look at my arm! Goosebumps!” I was literally freaking out. I was like you have got to be talking to the wrong person. I know you’re not talking to me! That was one of the most surreal moments because that’s this guy that I’ve looked up to for forever as a singer and he told me that he liked what I was doing, I was just like Oh My God! So that was a pretty big star struck moment for me. It was really cool.
Morgan: Is there anything that your fans don’t know about you that you’d be willing to share?
Scott: This is kind of neat! A previous band I was in actually toured with the Sick Puppies. I met Emma and Mark on the tour but, there is this picture from a Texas gig where I am playing at, it happened to only be zoomed in on me at the time and I’m playing the guitar and the Sick Puppies banner is behind me because we were opening up for them. This was in about 2011 and I remember finding this picture and it’s the craziest foreshadowing. It was incredible. Because if you were to look at it. It just looks like me singing with the band. So that was really cool!
Morgan: It was a glimpse into the future!
Scott: I know! It was just like who would have thought five years later and here I am!
Morgan: Well Congrats on all of the success with Stick to your guns and I am looking forward to seeing all the success that will come your way after the album is released May 20th!
Scott: Thank you so very much! Tell everyone to be on the lookout for the album May 20th! We have a new lyric video coming out for “Earth To You” and a music video for “Stick To Your Guns” it’s awesome! There’s a lot more coming and we are really excited!
Morgan: I most certainly will. Hopefully next time I’ll get to meet you! I’m sad I missed you at Welcome to Rockville! But, thank you for taking the time to talk to me today & knock ‘em dead at the show tonight!
Scott: We’d love to meet you Morgan! For sure next time! Thank you! Have an awesome day!
Check out Sick Puppies new single – “Stick To Your Guns” here –
For more about Sick Puppies check out their website http://sickpuppies.com/ and be sure to wish Bryan a Happy Birthday by grabbing a copy of their album “Fury” available May 20th!