Sercifer 15.11.2022 352

Stryper Interview (Michael Sweet)

The Final Battle” by Stryper is an album that draws on good elements from the past and current in his musical career to find that addictive pleasure that the ear needs in times where there are copies and copies of this band. Every song is punctual in its influences, punctual in its games and style schemes, bringing that 80s detail that the band always gives you as the main element in its music. Good mix of ideas and two completely productive years for the band, because they raise their discography to a general level. For this reason, Metallerium interviewed Michael Sweet, guitarist and vocalist of this iconic band.


Para leer la entrevista en español: Entrevista a Stryper


Metallerium: Welcome to Metallerium Webzine, Michael Sweet! Thanks a lot for your time, we really appreciate it! How have you been? How is the band? 


Stryper: everything has been a bit of a blur lately as I have been very busy. Everyone is doing well and we’re super excited about the release of our album the final battle.


Metallerium: It has been 2 difficult years for everyone due to the pandemic. We are still having problems with the war in Europe. As professional musicians. What is the best lesson you learned during these complicated times?


Stryper: i’ve learned to never take anything for granted. Sometimes I think that we feel that we are invincible but we are not. Anything can happen at any given time and tomorrow is never promised. It’s very important to savor every moment and appreciate and be grateful for every day.



Metallerium: Now you are releasing a new album “The Final Battle” on October 21st. How was the process of composition and recording of these new songs compared to the previous album and considering the health issues you have been dealing with? When did you decide to create a new album?


Stryper: The process was pretty much the same. I write the albums two weeks before we start recording. One song a day and then I send them to the band members and they learn them. After two weeks the album is complete and we start the recording process. This time around was a little different because of my eye situation and I literally had a detachment and had two weeks to write and then my eye detached again and I had two weeks to heal before we started recording so it added a lot of stress and pressure.

Metallerium: Why did you decide to name the album “The Final Battle”? What can you tell us about the great artwork on the cover?

Stryper: originally the title was based on the battle of Armageddon. Which in my opinion is the true final battle. But then I started thinking about it and realizing that it could very well be our final album because as I said above, tomorrow is never promised. We don’t know when our last day here on earth will be or what will come in the future. So, it may very well be our final album but I certainly hope not. We will continue making music until we no longer can. 

Metallerium: Singles like “Transgressor” can make me think about a young Metal band because of how heavy and powerful it sounds. What is the key for the band to keep the fresh sound and the energy after so many years?

Stryper: I think the key is motivation and continuing to love what you do. I love what I do and I’m excited about that. And I think that translates over to the music itself. When we go in and record it’s important for us to have fun and to smile and to have joy while we are recording. Because at all winds up translating into the music and you can hear that excitement. I think that is the key is to love what you do. When you stop loving what you do, you need to reconsider doing something else.


Metallerium: Now, your sound is heavier than in your early years probably. How much did it change the way you work on an album through all these years?

Stryper: it hasn’t really changed the way we work on albums compared to the past. I’ve always been a perfectionist and when I go into the studio, I’m the first one in and the last one out. It’s very important to me to make sure that everything is right from the drums to the guitars to the base to the vocals and then ultimately, to the mix. Nothing has really changed in that regard. It’s still the same way.

Metallerium: It is common that for many artists the last record is their best effort or album to date. On the other hand, there are fans that prefer first records. What does this new album mean to you? Do you consider it your best album? 


Stryper: I really do consider it to be our best album. I go into every album with that mentality. To make it our best. Even if we don’t achieve that we certainly try our hardest. I think it’s important to strive for perfection and to always view life as the best is yet to come. If you can think that way, then it will happen.
Metallerium: What are your plans for this new album?


Stryper: we definitely have plans to tour heavily and to promote the album and our hopes and dreams are to see this album reach many people. Not only the old fans but many new fans as well. I think it has the capability of doing that. I look forward to seeing what happens and to see the reaction everyone wants to hear it.


Metallerium: Talking about other things, you have been working with “Frontiers Records” for a while, I guess around 10 years. How do you feel about working with them? How important is the label for you considering that due to technology we have a lot of independent artists/bands nowadays?


Stryper: frontiers have always stood by us and has always supported us immensely. We are very grateful for that. I think they understand who we are and what we do and how we do it. We work very well together as a team and we’ve made a lot of noise in the industry over the past 10 years or so. I am very excited to continue working with frontiers/Serafino and I believe that some incredible music is going to be coming out of our relationship in the very near future. 

Metallerium: In addition, technology is always an interesting topic because it has very good aspects but some can be negative. I saw that you did a livestream show recently. How was the experience of making this kind of show? Do you think this was an alternative to concerts when we had restrictions?

Stryper: I think technology has really helped us in many ways yet at the same time I think it hinders us in many ways. We live in an age where people can see live streaming shows which is fantastic but at the same time if something really bad happens during the show there’s not much Band can do about that. So, it’s a situation that requires the band to be in top shape in perfect form and that doesn’t always happen in a live situation. It’s also very different to look out and see everyone with the phone recording the show and then seeing that it’s up on YouTube one hour later. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a bad thing. But there’s no changing it. 

Metallerium: Also, technology, especially with social networks, can give us a distorted idea of reality sometimes by making us think that most people agree with us but in the end, we are just trapped in a “bubble”. Considering this, how do you measure your fans or media’s response to your new records? 


Stryper: it’s important to not let that get the best of you. I just do what I do and I give my best to give my all and hope that the fans enjoy it and appreciate it and get something out of it. At the end of the day what really matters most is that you’re happy with what you’re doing. I am very happy with what I’m doing and in a very good place.

Metallerium: Another thing is that the internet gives us access to leave our “opinions” wherever we want and people can be “brave” or “rude” when they are behind a monitor. Do you take some time to check some reviews from your albums? How do you deal with it when the review is not what you probably expected? Also, did you have to deal with some haters on the internet too?


Stryper: I am very outspoken and I think everyone knows that. I give respect and I expect respect in return. I don’t like it when our music/albums are reviewed in a disrespectful way. I will call out reviewers for doing that. If they are fair about it then I’ll be fair about it. But again, I am very upfront about how I feel and I will voice my opinion online as well. I think that as you said the Internet has allowed many people to say what they want to say as harshly as they want to say it and that’s not a very good thing, unfortunately.
Metallerium: Another interesting thing that I saw is how Artificial intelligence is getting better. We can make videos by using the image and voice of any person and it can even design artworks by using keywords that we introduce. What do you think about a possible impact on the music industry? Do you think bands will use AI to create cover arts? or do you think AI can even replace musicians in the future?


Stryper: I’m sure as technology advances many things will be replaced. As we have seen over the past 20 or 30 years especially. I do think that musicians will be in can’t be replaced and that is unfortunate. Because what happens at that point as you lose the human side of what we do. Music is all about the human feel and that’s what keeps it from being so sterile. It’s not a good thing when it’s too perfected. Take for example when you quantize a real drummer and you perfect his grooves. You take the feel out of the performance and there’s something to be said for the human field where the drummer is pushing and pulling. Once you do that you start to sterilize the track/bad and that’s a bad thing. I’ve experienced that and that’s not a good road to go down.


Metallerium: We are close to the end. As a professional musician you must be busy. Do you still have time to listen or discover new bands? or do you prefer to listen to the classic bands that inspired you? 

Stryper: I don’t listen to a lot of new music. If I hear something on the radio that grabs my attention, I will listen to it and ultimately buy a copy of their album. But for the most part I’m more inspired by the classic music that I was raised on as a kid. The music that shaped me as a kid. But I do love new music I just think that it’s more of a rarity these days to hear really great new bands/music. That’s just my opinion I’m sure some people won’t agree with me on that but that’s how I feel. 

Metallerium: What do you think will happen to Rock / Metal once the big bands that inspired a lot of other bands finally retire? 

Stryper: well, at some point it will change a lot. And become a completely different genre most likely. Hopefully not but if that happens, it will be a sad day. I miss a lot of the old classic hard rock/metal bands. Bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Even though they’re still out there performing I miss those days when they released new albums because they were the best of the best in my opinion. It’s hard to hear bands and there are very few and far between that sound like that. At least these days. 


Metallerium: Again, thanks a lot for your time, we hope to see you soon in this part of the world. Anything you want to say to your fans in Latin America and Metallerium readers?

Stryper: I can’t thank you all enough for always being there and supporting Stryper. We are a very different band in the musical sense and in the lyrical sense. We stand for something and we’ve always son about our faith in God. And that might seem out of the norm but you have always supported what we do and for that we are grateful. Eternally grateful. We love you guys very much and we cannot wait to return to perform for you. I hope you enjoy the new album and may God bless you all.





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