Fans were shocked when Shimon Moore parted ways with Sick Puppies back in 2014 and many were left wondering whether he would resurface with another band or as a solo artist. It’s a year later and he’s back with a new band called Screaming at Demons with Chris Clemence on bass and Russell Ali on guitar. The band has been thrust into the spotlight, in part because of their involvement with the Homeless Rock Stars project of rock star photographer Nigel Skeet. We spoke with Moore and Clemence about their new beginnings as a band, their new single, and their work with the Homeless Rock Stars project.
Starting out, Moore opened up about the events that led up to the inception of their latest band. “Screaming at Demons was sort of a name that I’d put on a couple of solo shows that I did after I broke away from Sick Puppies. And Russell played those shows with me last year. We played a couple songs that we’d written and were trying to figure out what it was gonna be and what we were going to do with it. And all of the bands were like ‘Oh, alright. So Screaming at Demons is a project with a couple songs and wanted to know what the next Screaming at Demons song was gonna be and they just latched onto calling us that. So Russell and I have known each other for like ten years and we’ve done all these different projects together. Things have kind of come full circle for us since we’ve worked together for so long. Chris joined us not too long ago. We met at a party and hit it off really quickly. We started writing music and songs together and they turned out great and it all just sort of made sense. So that’s kind of the history of Screaming at Demons,” Moore explained.
When asked to describe how Screaming at Demons has differed from the seasoned musicians’ past projects, Clemens responded, “You know, I was in a band called RapScallions before I was in Screaming at Demons and we were more like a punk/alternative band. I’ve always loved playing rock music and once I got into this project with Shim and Russell, everything just clicked. What I love about it is this is a new style that hasn’t really been done before. It’s very unique. And I think we have our own signature style and I’m really excited for everyone to hear it,” Clemens gushed.
The band has been going a step beyond writing new music. Screaming at Demons has also been assisting with a project dedicated to raising the self-esteem of the homeless, driven by photographer Nigel Skeet. “Homeless Rock Stars was a project that that Nigel Skeet created when he moved to Redding in California and opened a photography studio. A lot of people in Redding said ‘You gotta watch out for the homeless community.’ When he heard them talking like that he sort of didn’t like the bullying effect he felt like it was having. There was such a heavy stigma for homeless people. So Nigel did the rock and roll thing which was basically give the middle finger to the contest, told these guys who were homeless ‘Come into my studio, we’ll give you hair and make-up and we’ll treat you like rock stars and give you a photo shoot.’ People Redding exploded with enthusiasm. They just thought it was the coolest thing they’d ever seen and the newspaper called and everyone wanted to hear about the story. So earlier this year, Nigel called me up and this was before we had really decided that we were really gonna release any music for Screaming at Demons. Nigel told me ‘Hey, could you write a song for Homeless Rock Stars? We could really use a theme-song. I asked him what kind of song he wanted and he said ‘I just want a song that says I’m a rock star.’ So I wrote the song specifically because I talked to him about what the message of Homeless Rock Stars is and the theme that our song has all of the messages that this group is conveying,” explained Moore.
For more information on the Homeless Rock stars Project, visit the official website.
Moore said the band will also be releasing a YouTube video for their upcoming single much like the viral Free Hugs video released in 2006. Shimon also directed that video for his former band Sick Puppies. It was one of the first viral videos ever and, at 77,000,000 views, is one of the most successful in YouTube’s history. “It just naturally evolved into ‘Well, maybe Rockstar should be the first single of the band’ and then I thought we should make it into a viral video like I did with the Free Hugs video a while ago. The thing that’s really interesting is the way that the band is figuring out how to sell our music. We’re an independent band at the moment. We’re figuring out how to sell our music in a very different way and base it on donations,” said Moore.
Clemens and Moore stated that the upcoming single, Rockstar, will be a fairly exclusive single. The song will be available for purchase strictly through donations to Homeless Rock Stars in an effort to raise money for the cause. “When the video comes out, there’s gonna be a number at the end of the video that you can text ‘Rock Stars’ to and when you text it, you’re able to donate to Homeless Rock Stars and an MP3 of the song will be sent straight to your email and you can have a copy of the song. It’s not available on iTunes, it’s not available on Spotify, it’s not available on records. The only way you can get a copy of the song is to donate to Homeless Rock Stars. That particular song is great. As for the songs afterwards, we’re not really sure how many more songs will be available via the video but there is gonna be more music available which you’ll also be able to pay for exclusively either via text or the band’s website. So it’s gonna be exclusive content,” said Moore. “The video will be released on the Screaming at Demons Vevo channel on YouTube. So they’ll be able to access the video there. However, the only way to purchase the song will be to donate via text to Homeless Rock Stars. All of the info will be at the end of the video.”
The single is set to be released on October 6th on YouTube.
Moore and Clemens both asserted that their experience with the Homeless Rock Stars movement has changed the way they view the homeless. “Really, it’s one of those things that you can get wrapped up in whatever’s on Facebook and whatever’s going on and everyone that I’ve spoken to about the concept, they all go ‘Yeah, you feel bad, but then you forget.’ Because you do really do walk past homeless people these days,” said Moore. “You walk past them in LA and you don’t really pay the matter much mind. And what this is reminding everyone is that everyone has a story. Even more so, everyone has a lengthy story. It’s not just ‘Oh, A, B, and C happened and I’m homeless.’ People have 20-30 years under their belt of living and that’s something that should be paid attention to. People need to be heard,” said Moore about the project.
While fans of Screaming at Demons may be hoping for a full-length album to look forward to, Moore and Clemens said that an album may be out of grasp for now. “At the moment we’re focusing on singles. Homeless Rock Stars has been our main focus at the moment, promoting that and getting that out there. After that we may look at more than just singles, but for now that’s been taking up most of our time,” said Clemens.
Lest anyone should be discouraged by the news of an album delay, Clemens and Moore both said that they have big plans for Screaming at Demons. Clemens joked, “I think, like a lot of other bands, our goals as a band won’t stop before we’ve reached global domination [laughs.]”
Moore added, “We’re all having a really good time and we’re all just making the best of everything and enjoying the fresh sound. I think this is kind of the beginning that we’ve all been waiting for to play the best music of our careers.”
In an industry that puts such an emphasis on album charts and ticket sales, it’s refreshing to see a band focusing on so much more. And while this band of seasoned musicians has made their efforts with Homeless Rock Stars their primary focus up to this point, it’s safe to say their music won’t leave anything to be desired once the ball gets rolling.