Sweet Crystal take on the A-Z challenge

Our A-Z challenge is a fun way to get to know the many bands and artists out there. Here its the turn of MarQ to tell us all about Sweet Crystal!

In today’s A-Z challenge, MarQ from Sweet Crystal tells us all about the band!

A song that made you want to make music?

The first song we learned as a band was ‘Echoes’ by Pink Floyd…and that 23 minute opus immediately showed us our original direction. Still love that tune.

Best rider you’ve had?

Never really needed a rider per se as we’ve always brought everything with us to every gig we booked. We figure the less you ask from the promoter to do for us, the more likely we get booked again!

Craziest moment you’ve had in the band?

I once had a birthday celebration at a club we played regularly at. Someone made a big cake and as the crowd all sang ‘Happy Birthday’, I went to blow out the candles and WHAM – the person holding the cake smashed it into my face as a joke! Still finished playing the set while picking icing out of my hair. I heard it was supposed to be funny…

Deepest lyric one of your songs features?

Easy – our song ‘Prisoner, Unbound’ from the ‘III’ CD takes the listener on a journey from dark despair to profound joy, something we all have probably experienced.
An example from the song:
In the blink of an eye, we can live – we can die by the choices that we make
And the pressure is real; these emotions we feel are so hard for us to take
What if I said there’s a guide up ahead who can lead us away from this?
Would you open the door and embrace what’s in store or
Betray the one who is standing with your kiss?

Easiest song you wrote?

The easiest song – but also the most heartbreaking – was our tune ‘Heaven’s Call’ from last year’s ‘7TH Heaven’ CD. I (MarQ Andrew Speck) wrote it in 30 minutes immediately after hearing how one of the band’s biggest fans and supporters became ill in the pandemic on a Friday and had passed away by Sunday. I was devastated and sat down at the piano and the song just appeared. Easy but just so… tough.

Favourite song in your set?

Our tune ‘Warriors’ is the band’s respectful ballad to the men and women of the Armed Forces and to their families who stay behind when their loved ones go off to protect the rest of us. There are always veterans or family members of veterans in the audience and this song… well it brings a lot of emotion to both us in the band playing it and to those listening. Always moving and heartfelt.

Guest you’d most like to feature on your record?

We’d like to have a guest producer: Alan Parsons! His work with both Pink Floyd back in the day and all his Alan Parson Project accomplishments have always sounded to us… like how we’d love a Sweet Crystal album to sound.

Hardest thing about being in a band?

The hardest issue we have is never having enough time on stage to play all the songs we’d love to play. With a catalogue of over 7 releases, there are a lot of tunes we love but modern clubs and multi-band events only allow for 30 – 45 minute sets which is fast and furious to get a lot of songs into the show. Would love longer set times.

Interesting fact about one of your members?

Guitarist Bill Blatter is a bonafide sharp shooter. He competes with military marksman almost every year at a military base down south and lucky for us… he’s on our side!

Jokes you have in the band?

Whenever someone makes a mistake that the other guys can hear… the culprit just smiles and says ‘it’s jazz’. Works every time.

Key to writing a song?

Write songs from your heart and experiences in life. If it speaks to you, there will be an audience out there that connects. Audiences can tell when an artist is just going through the motions in their writing, so make it as real as you can.

Longest distance you’ve travelled to play a show?

We once got booked to a week’s gig in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. We drove north for 24 straight hours (seriously) and actually passed the Arctic Watershed Line which means all lakes and rivers from that point flow north to the Arctic Ocean. That was a road trip!

Most inspiring musician you’ve experienced?

Everybody in the band has their own favorite but for me it was and will always be Keith Emerson. He single-handedly introduced the rock world to both the Moog synthesizer and how classical music could be rocked out. A true showman and performer that will never come again.

New band you’d recommend?

Locally here in Michigan, check out Second Hand Mojo. Up and coming Midwest neo-classic rockers.

Opening for this band would be ideal?

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. Today we’d love to open for powerhouse bands in the Christian market like Skillet, Third Day and Casting Crowns.

Place you’d most like to tour?

We cut our musical teeth on the early progressive music that came out of the UK (Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis and more), so making our way ‘across the pond’ to play there would be very sweet indeed.

Quote you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Our trademarked slogan ‘Reaching The World, One Song At A Time’™ means just that: we don’t plan to stop doing what we are doing until God calls us home!

Reason for the title of your recent/forthcoming release?

The new single is ‘Whatever Is Needed, Whatever It Takes’, our first song from this year’s ‘8’ release, slated for mid-2024. As we looked around at the rubble and trouble in the world, this Bible verse came to mind:
‘We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.’ 1 Timothy 6:7
We look forward to leaving all these trials and tribulations behind one day… but in the meantime, it’s up to all of us to stay ready to help each other with whatever is needed, whatever it takes.”

See us live at?

Best bet to catch us would be by signing up for our email newsletters on our website or over at our Reverbnation page. That will keep you in the know for all our appearances.

The old days of music were better than the current, do you agree?

Yes and no. ‘Old days’ meant a lot more opportunities for a diverse field of unique and original artists to exist and get airplay on their own merits but today – the advent of technology and social media platforms gives bands like Sweet Crystal the ability to play for fans, followers and new listeners across the globe! Try that in a minivan crossing the highways and byways like in the old days.

Unusual merchandise?

We don’t stock a lot of merch for the band… but we did once have a white plush teddy bear in a Sweet Crystal tee shirt that we raffled off at a benefit event.

Variations you’d like to do on any of your songs?

Actually we have a set of all our songs performed acoustically without all the sequencing and amps. We call it ‘Sweet Crystal Lite’ and it’s amazing to hear the big production songs scaled back like this.

What do your fans mean to you?

Fans are a true blessing to the band. It’s one thing to write and perform a song within the band…but when a fan hears your music and message and then takes the time to let you know how you reached them, well it makes the decades of work worth every minute.

X-rays or any treatments needed for band related injuries?

You have no idea…. We’ve called it ‘full contact Crystal’….

You’re late for a show, whose fault is it?

Funny – we have NEVER been late to a show. Even when a band member can’t make it, the rest of us show up on time and in time do what we need to do. We don’t bring any drama and venues, promoters and club owners appreciate our professionalism.

Zoo animal that next describes the personality of your band?

Polar bears: powerful, chilled out when needed and just fun to look at!

Check out Sweet Crystal’s latest single here.

Elizabeth Birt

April 18, 2024

Band management assistant. Goth princess and lover of all things music and sport.


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