Artist Interview: Sweet Crystal
Tell us about yourself and your music
For over four decades, we have been writing music that promotes a message of hope and excitement, telling stories of the human experience as we search for salvation and and direction all wrapped up in an 80’s arena rock style of production and power. 15 Detroit Music Awards to date as well as a Global Music Award (Rock category) continues to encourage us in our music, message and what we consider a ministry. Our goal is to have our listeners feeling better after hearing a Sweet Crystal song, attending a Sweet Crystal show or just listening to the story of our ongoing musical journey. We invite everyone to come and go with us.
Talk to us more about your latest release
“5 Carat Rock” – our fifth release which inspired the name – is shining even brighter, thanks to our ongoing collaboration with engineer/producer Chuck Alkazian (Christina Aguilera, Mitch Ryder, Pop Evil).
This new CD features all the stellar guitar tones and solos, keyboard melodies and arrangements and dynamic vocal performances of previous SWEET CRYSTAL releases, but it’s the addition of Pearl Sound Studios (Canton, MI) signature live drum tracks and Alkazian’s bass playing that makes this the most powerful and poignant project to date for the band – and that’s saying a lot.
What inspired you to write this release?
Inspiration comes pretty much the same way for all our songs and releases. Sweet Crystal has hours of recorded jams and practices and after 40 years together, we can easily anticipate where each musician is going. This makes new songs come together quickly from an instrumentation angle. The lyrics are a longer process in that we want to inspire with every song. We may present some darker ideas in the beginning of a song but in the end we always try to offer the listener a direction to hope.
Any plans to release a video?
No direct plans but a few of the songs off of “5 Carat Rock” – in particular “Can’t Turn Back” and “Come As We Are” – seem to lend themselves to a storyboard style of video presentation so we will see. One song “Nothing Here (For You To Fear)” is already in the ending credits of the feature length civil war era movie “War Flowers” (Cristina Ricci, Tom Berringer).
Any plans to hit the road?
No tours as yet although we will be involved in March as part of a 400 hour (!) event going for the Guinness Book Of World Records for the longest continuos concert in Detroit, MI (we hit the stage on March 21 at 8PM and I will be doing a few solo sets as well thought the 17 day event). Opening a Metal Fest in June (6/3/17 at The Ritz in Warren MI) as well as various benefit shows through the summer for our veterans. We do as much as we can for our veterans and it’s our love of them and their support of us that does indeed keep us going. Check www.sweetcrystal.com to stay up with all we are doing.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
We are avid believers in the power of social media and we use all the available outlets for ongoing promotion and communication with our fans and followers. Besides being a 15 time Detroit Music Award winning band, two of the more interesting aspects of Sweet Crystal is our longevity and our staying true to our musical styling. The three of us have been playing together for over 40 years and to this day, we don’t “chase” current trends in mainstream music but stay true to our progressive arena rock beginnings. The songs are new and fresh but the sound remains classic Crystal, which our fans appreciate. This helps us keep going and we believe makes us different than than a lot of musical acts that are out there.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Neal Morse in all his iterations (Flying Colors, Transatlantic, Solo works) keeps us in awe of his writing and playing. The latest Kansas CD is also very reminiscent of their more classic sounds which is very nice.
Tell us about your passions
It varies with each band member: I am big time into acting with four feature film roles and various television appearances. Guitarist Bill is into competitive marksmanship and was recently endorsed for ISP Technologies, a high-end music merchandiser here in Michigan. Drummer Steve takes to the golf course to release the extra energy he has and has gotten good enough to start competing in the professional circuit.
What else is happening next in your world?
I am working on my first foray into being a solo act. A little scary as my comfort zone is with my band but there are opportunities for this type of appearance and the songs translate well from the full power presentations to these lighter more intimate settings.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Marq!