Josh Rundquist of That Drummer Guy recently conducted an interview with STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet about “Unified”, the second album from his SWEET & LYNCH project with DOKKEN guitarist George Lynch. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the development of the SWEET & LYNCH band:
Michael: “This album, to me, sounds a little bit more focused. It’s a little bit more raw and in your face. The first album was a little more slick, had a little bit more production and effects and things going on and more tracks, too. This album doesn’t have as many tracks. It’s a little bit more scaled-down and bare bones, but I think it works. I really do. We experimented a little bit more. Like the song ‘Walk’, George sent me that. I went ‘Wow, this is cool. I don’t know what to do with it, but it’s really cool.’ It sounds like if you merged AEROSMITH and QUEEN, STRYPER and DOKKEN together, you’re going to get ‘Walk’. It’s kinda cool.”
On the increased diversity of the songs found on “Unified”:
Michael: “That’s all you can hope and pray for when you make an album. That people are going to connect with it and they’re going to get it. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes a band makes an album that they feel is the best album of their career and the fans just don’t get it. It’s happened with us. We made a couple of albums that we were really excited about and they got released and they didn’t do so well. It’s probably happened with anything. It’s really nice to see and hear the band be so excited and the fans and the critics seem to be equally as excited about that album as well. So far, that’s the result of this album. I’m hearing a lot of good things. I think it’s going to be a winner, man. I do. Granted, we’re limited because of the times we live in. Rock isn’t at the top of the charts. It’s a struggle, it’s a battle, it’s a fight for bands from our era and for us to go out there and get it out to the masses and do it the right way, it’s very tough. But man, we’re still trying. We still love what we do. Hopefully that shows.”
On the work put into the creation of “Unified”:
Michael: “We were all, our hearts and our souls and our bodies to the core were completely into this album. We put everything we had into this album and gave our all. We all wanted it to be the best. There’s no doubt, you’re right on the money with that. You know, it’s just again, it’s hit-or-miss, especially when you start experimenting. When you start trying different things, as an artist, you have to do that and have the freedom to do that. That’s what makes some of the best bands in history so good because they took the risk and they experimented and they did something really unique. We tried a little bit of that on this album. Like I said, songs like ‘Walk’, there’s a song called ‘Afterlife’. For typical, what people expect to hear from George and Michael, collectively or individually, that ain’t it. Those are the songs people are going to listen to and go ‘Oh wow, this is different’ for them. It really is. We enjoyed doing that. It was a lot of fun.”
On making each SWEET & LYNCH album sound distinctive:
Michael: “My goal is as a writer, like I’m writing right now the STRYPER album and I’ve just been completely consumed with that for the past five days and as I’m writing the songs, not just thinking about the fans, but what moves me? When I hear something I’m playing like a riff and I put a drum groove to it, I create a drum groove and I play through it a little bit, is the hair on my arms standing on end? If it’s not, then I have to question that. I think ‘Is this good enough? Is this really great?’ Sometimes I come to the conclusion that it’s not so great. That happens to me a lot when I’m working on a song and I’m excited about it and an hour later, I’m canning it. I’m putting it on a shelf going, ‘It’s not so great.’ Then the next thing I come up with is ten times or twenty times better and much more exciting and much more cool. That happens a lot.”
“Unified” will be released November 10 via Frontiers Music Srl. Rounding out the band’s lineup is bassist James LoMenzo (MEGADETH, WHITE LION, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and drummer Brian Tichy (THE DEAD DAISIES, WHITESNAKE).