Hi Sweet Crystal and welcome to LiveTrigger Magazine! We are really excited to support you in this new, exciting release. Tell us everything about it.
We just finished our latest release ‘7th Heaven’ – which happens to be our 7th CD as well – and it dropped everywhere (digital downloads, streaming, and physical CDs) on last month Valentine’s Day (2/14/22) making that holiday… even Sweeter. ‘7th Heaven’ continues where our last release ‘Got Your Six’ left off: songs of hope and inspiration featuring our signature guitar sounds, synth melodies, straight-ahead drumming with just a few chanting monks thrown in for good measure.
Are you excited about this launch?
Our trademarked slogan Reaching The World, One Song At A Time ™ pretty much says it all about our music, message, mission, and ministry. We are here to reach out to a world with songs of hope and inspiration; a musical light at the end of every dark tunnel you might be going through because chances are good – we’ve gone through those very same tunnels ourselves and definitely have found a way out.
‘7th Heaven’ takes this to heart: this is our most powerful and passionate to date. ‘7th Heaven’ starts bold out of the gate. Not only 5 songs written by the band, but we also cover a ‘70s song by Christian alt-rockers The Call and even reach back even farther to the glory days of the 60’s Detroit music scene by ‘Crystalizing’ a classic SRC rock tune. How’s that for diversity in music?
What is the process you use to create your music?
The band has gotten together nearly every weekend to jam and rehearse for as long as any of us can remember, and we still do. We used to record all our rehearsals on CD as we played just in case inspiration hit and made copies of each get-together for the guys to take home and review. Now it’s a direct-to-thumb drive or computer, complete with multitrack and mix options as we go. That’s the good side of technology at work. Instant gratification and if it’s not a keeper… just delete!
It’s really these jam sessions that have been the springboard of most of our songs, and we have hundreds of hours we can go back to and patch together song fragments from across the years that all of a sudden fit together and make musical sense. That’s how the instrumental side of songs usually comes together…
I (MarQ) am the main source of starting songs. I have musical and melodic ideas that I present to the guys at every rehearsal (and we still rehearse after all these decades pretty much every week at our private studio) and then they all add their input and expertise to make every song a real band production. We constantly record every rehearsal and jam session because you never know when a new riff will open up the creative juices. The final song arrangements are usually dictated by the lyrics (verses, choruses, etc.), which I pretty much exclusively write. We also play a lot of free-form jams at our rehearsals and out of those jams, we pick melodies, chord patterns, and themes that just seem to be…sweeter to our ears. It really is a full band thing on each song.
And what about the video?
We previously released 4 singles from ‘7th Heaven’ during 2020/21 with video support (on our YouTube channel and other social sites) but thought waiting until this New Year (with the very challenging last two years behind us) might be just the spark our fans and audiences would appreciate to make 2022 a much happier New Year indeed.
What are your favorite artists and/or composers?
Each member of the band definitely has their favorites:
MarQ Andrew Speck – lead vocals, anything with keys
Fave Bands: Queensryche, Pink Floyd, ELP
Bill Blatter –vocals, anything with strings
Fave Bands: the UK, Umphrey’s McGee
Steve Wieser – anything hit with sticks
Fave Bands: Spock’s Beard, Neal Morse, Porcupine Tree
Martin Kuchar – vocals, anything bass, and more bass
Fave Bands: Kansas, U2
Do they have anything in common?
They all share the bedrock of progressive rock music: great melodies, loads of guitars and keyboards, lyrics that make you think.
How did they influence your style & sound?
We started out totally influenced by the progressive rock English music scene of the 60’s and 70’s: bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Atomic Rooster, Uriah Heep all left their musical marks on our writing and playing. We also listened to a lot of American bands like Kansas, Journey, Rush, and Spock’s Beard to keep our creative juices flowing. Basically, we are considered a Detroit progressive Christian rock band and have been since we started this journey.
In the beginning, we opened up for such classic rock acts as Bob Seger, Foghat, Nazareth, Steppenwolf, and many more before finding our true path into the Christian music field. Now, some 4 decades later, we continue to do what we love doing with no signs of stopping any time soon! To this day we get together every week to rehearse, record and just enjoy each other’s company. Does it get old after 4 decades together? Absolutely not! We just get better with age.
What’s the most exciting thing that happened to you recently?
Even though 2020/21 were very tough years for us – and everyone for that matter, what with the closing of most live venues and other places to play out – we had the great experience of Live Streaming a 30-minute performance from our personal studios Nightcrier Music here outside of Detroit. It’s up on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/AW776sHKAes along with a lot of other online and live event videos that give a pretty sweet view into all things Crystal.
It turns out this was a great way for our fans and new audiences to experience who we are and what we offer musically while relaxing at home or anywhere they can get the web. We miss the live audience feedback of a concert appearance but this at least kept us smiling.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
New songs are already in pre-production for our next release, ‘8’. This time around, we will be featuring more lead vocals from Bill, which will make it even sweeter. A new promotion company (Rogue PR) is taking the reins for a while to get the Sweet Crystal brand into more markets. Booking shows, festivals, and benefit concerts this summer to get back outlive as the world gets back to normal. Currently nominated for more Detroit Music Awards on top of the twenty-four we’ve already won, so we think it’s time to aim for some Dove and Grammy Awards.
Basically, we plan to remain exactly who we are for as long as can.
What do you think about Livetrigger?
We like it – seems a fresh approach to introducing new artists and bands to a world in need of music, music and more music! Sweet, very sweet indeed.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Please join us at any of our social media sites which include: