Q & A with Sick Puppies frontman Shimon Moore
Sick Puppies frontman Shimon Moore took time for a phone interview to answer questions about the new record, differences between Australia and the U.S. and what is happening for the band in 2013.
The Daily Cougar: So you’re working on a new record with the working title “Under the Black Sky.” How is that?
Shimon Moore: That title is a rumor. I can’t confirm the title, but I can confirm it’s not that. The album’s been in production for about eight months, and we worked the better part of a year before that. Production was kind of on and off, including mixing and stuff like that. The record is the best record we’ve ever made. It’s a perfect blend between what the first and second record was. There was a lot of people who were like, “I prefer the first record,” or “I prefer the second record.” We listened to what the fans were talking about, and some were from the first, and some were from the second record. So we asked them, “Why do you like that song? What do you like about it?” We took a lot of advice from our fans about what would we best.
TDC: What are you purposely doing different on this record that you haven’t done before?
SM: We put a lot more work into the musical parts, so we didn’t have to record a hundred guitars and a hundred drum samples on top of the live drums and all the little loops and noises that come in. It’s so loud. It’s so loud because there’s less going on, so you can turn instruments up louder.
TDC: How was it recorded?
SM: We got so specific. When you play the (power) chord, you move to the next chord and move to the next chord. We played the first string on the power chord and then we moved to the next note on that string and then we would go to the other string, playing the second part of that chord, and record that separately because there’s a different ton that happens. When you have all three strings going together, they can create a lush full tone, but you can’t control it. When you get the strings (separated), you create your own tone (and mess) with it. You can create the tone you want specifically. Then you don’t have to record 12 guitars. You record two or three and crank the (songs) out.
TDC: What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed between Australia and the U.S.?
SM: Living here is completely different. Number one, we don’t have guns, and that’s not a judgment, (but) it changes the whole culture — every little detail. I walked into a store, and this guy was closing, and he had his headphones on, and he had forgotten to lock the door. I was wearing a hoodie. It was kind of my own mistake, and I walk into Starbucks to try and get a chocolate, and this guy didn’t see me come in. Suddenly he turns his head and sees (me) in black hoodie and black jeans and pulls a gun — because he didn’t lock the door. Freaked me out. I just, “I just want a chocolate, I just want a chocolate,” and he said, “What’re you doing!” and I said, “I just want a chocolate! I just want a chocolate!” The fear in his eyes from a kid wanting to get a chocolate bar was amazing to me. That was my most memorable moment from the first set of tours we did here. Apart from that, your portions are huge, you have way more options for fast food. You have so many more radio stations and television stations.
TDC: So you’re stationed out here?
SM: I guess I live here now. I go home all the time, and I don’t really have a permanent address, but I guess I live here more than I live there. I have a work visa.
TDC: Do you have any tours planned for the latter half of this year?
SM: There are definitely plans, but nothing’s confirmed. I don’t know the exact release date. I know it’s coming out in a couple months. The single should be on the radio when we play those shows.
TDC: Are there any songs the band likes to play on tour?
SM: The fans told us they like “War.” We love “War.” They love “Cancer;” we love “Cancer.” They love “Odd One,” but it’s really hard to play. It’s really specific, really weird chord changes in the verse. You know how when you play, you can sway? I always stand up to get those chords right. To hear them sing that back is amazing. It’s lucky to be able to have a couple words in the song that resonate with people, and you get to be the guy that sings it. I love all the songs as well as they love them, though.
TDC: So the fan participation is a pretty big deal?
SM: I get angry if they don’t sing back. Not at them, but I get angry at myself. You know if you get ask a girl out on a date, and you’re, “This chick digs me,” and you’re like, “You wanna go out?” and she’s like, “No.” You feel like an idiot. You don’t feel angry at her, you’re like, “Man, what was I thinking? Of course they’re not gonna sing it back; you have to put it somewhere else in the set; that song wasn’t in the radio here well enough; or you’re in Germany and they don’t speak English.” I used to take it all very personally. Basically, if I couldn’t get the crowd, if the fans didn’t really dig the band, I’d get really bummed out.
TDC: Where’s the name “Sick Puppies” from?
SM: That came from my father. I thought of the name on a train. When I arrived, an hour after I thought of the name, he said, “Oh look, I’m reading a book called ‘Sick Puppies,’ what do you think of that for a band name?” It was really a stars-aligning strange kind of thing. If I knew we were going to mature as a band and not stay a snot-nosed little punk band, we might’ve reconsidered the name.