Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
SC: 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.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
SC: I’m Marq Andrew Speck, lead vocalist and keyboard player for 24-time Detroit Music Award winning band SWEET CRYSTAL (www.sweetcrystal.com). Along with founding members guitarist Bill Blatter and drummer Steve Wieser and now joined by newest member and bass player Martin Kuchar, we have been at the forefront of the Christian rock scene here in Michigan even before this genre had its own radio and broadcast outlets.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
SC: 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.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
SC: 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.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
SC: Most songs start out as an idea from Marq (myself on keys/lead vocals) and Bill (guitarist). Everyone chips in with his own expertise and final song arrangements are usually dictated by the lyrics (verses, choruses, etc.), which I pretty much exclusively write.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
SC: There are many ways to promote who we are and what we do with of course social media being the biggest outlet. Facebook, Reverbnation, BandsInTown, our own band’s mailing list collected from our website and live shows – we use everything we can to make sure our fans and friends know what we are up to. So far, so good.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
SC: It’s a whole new way of reaching new markets and fans. Much easier and faster than “back in the day” when you had to mail physical CDs (or cassettes or vinyl depending on your…age). The down side of course is the tsunami of music that gets released every day is overwhelming, making it increasingly hard to be heard above the noise.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
SC: No songs come to mind that we wish we would have written…but we do take other artist’s song that we like and ‘Crystalize’ them making them way different than the originals. We’ve done this to songs from The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Call and even Motley Crue!
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
SC: The local scene here in Detroit is becoming active again after the last two years but the ‘pay to play’ mind set has crept in and that can be a deterrent to getting the bigger gigs unless you have the cash to invest.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
SC: Even though 2020/21 were a very tough years for us – and everyone for that matter, what with the closing of most 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.
Besides being a 24 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 founding members have been playing together for over 45 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.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
SC: This latest album ‘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. New songs already being recorded for our next release ‘8’ this time around featuring more lead vocals from (guitarist) Bill. Booking shows and benefit concerts to play again as we all get back to normal. Basically we plan to remain exactly who we are for as long as can.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
Thanks Pete for your interest and support!
Sweet Crystal links:
Band/Artist location – Detroit, Michigan
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – Merch –
Reverbnation – Twitter – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Last Fm
Check our page for Sweet Crystal