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Mark Sweeney (Crystal Ball)

Interview with Mark Sweeney from Crystal Ball
by Michael Dalakos at 25 October 2005, 5:09 PM

Crystal Ball is one of those bands that steadily built a reputation in the Metal scene. Their latest attempt, Time Walker, is probably their finest work up till today. We had the chance to discuss with Mark Sweeney (Vocals) about their latest attempt.

I really liked your new album. If am not mistaken it is a concept album, right?

Thank you very much. Yes, this album is a concept album. The story behind this album is about a man traveling through time and meeting many important people who have managed to change the world we live in with their achievements. He meets Galileo, Jesus, Mozart… he generally meets lots of people who are still considered to be extremely influential in several aspects of our life. Technology, religion, politics… if you manage to get the album you will see that it has a very nice booklet with pictures and explanations.

What can you tell us about the recording sessions of this album?

The album was recorded with Stefan Kaufmann as the producer, the guitar player of U.D.O.. We spent like ten weeks in a studio in Germany. I can say that this time was tougher than our previous album Hellvetia but we are very happy with the result.

You’ve mentioned Stefan and I know he was also responsible for the production of your previous album. Why did you stop the collaboration with Tomy Newton?

Tomy did a great job in our previous albums. We were on tour with U.D.O. in 2002. We sat down with Stefan and he told us that he liked our albums but their problem was the luck of power and energy we have on stage. He wanted to show the whole world how much energetic we are on stage. We tried it and we are very happy now about this change.

Compared with all your previous works, do you think that the new album takes your music one step ahead?

Crystal Ball always took small steps forward, from album to album. So far everyone told me that this is the best album we have done. I know that all musicians say so but so far the press and other bands we know agree on this one.

Can you give us an inside look on how you compose music?

That’s easy. Scott Leach, the guitar player, and me compose music. We trade ideas on both lyrics and music, we are a good team. Of course everyone imports ideas since it’s not a smart thing not to let the drummer pass all his lines in the songs. I think it is better to have two composers in the band and transmit the ideas during the rehearsals. For this album we recorded in demo form 17 - 18 songs and then we had to decide what stays and what not.

Considering that extreme Metal is really popular the last decade, how difficult was it for you to establish your name in the music industry?

Very difficult because we have a lot of melodies going around. Sometimes I guess it is easier if you make noise rather than music (Laughs). I assume we could be more successful if we played that way but that would be something we really don’t like. It was hard but lots of people liked our music. Lots of people like melodic music. After all, this is our fifth album so I guess we are doing something right.

Will there be any limited editions for this album?

There is a limited edition. It’s very funny because this time we have a bonus track, it’s a cover of Britney Spears’ Crazy!

My favorite song. Not! \[All Laugh]

Yeah, I know but we did it the Crystal Ball way and I assure you it’s much heavier. Actually the writer of this song is a Hard Rock writer. I also sing much better than Britney. (Laughs)

Any news from Britney? Will she be doing a cover version of one of your songs?

(Laughs) That would be amazing. A very nice idea!

Will you release any videos for this album?

Oh, no money for such things. We put all our money in the production. We have no more money left. It’s a shame, I know, but on the other hand if we did a video, we would want it to be a good one, not a cheap one.

I have checked your website and you have scheduled so far many live shows…

Yes, more will be added soon. We hope to come to Greece; it’s very hard to find a promoter. We start with a tour in Switzerland in December. Than we will do a double headliner tour with Thunderstone. This will be in Germany, Holland, Belgium… I don’t know where else.

Can you tell us the one thing that you love and the one thing that you hate while being on the road?

Nightliners are very small and you can’t really get comfortable in there. I hate them! You can’t move and it’s a small place with many people. You can’t get any good sleep. On the other hand I like to be on the road since I get to meet a lot of good people, fans that like our music and for me that’s everything, you know. Every night you play in a different city. It’s hard but a lot of fun at the same time. You know, we are not going to be millionaires out of this but when the fans start singing with us, it’s an amazing feeling.

If you had the ability to change one thing in the music industry, what would that be?

Hard question. I think tolerance. Tolerance from everyone. Everybody works for himself. Metal stands for unity but I don’t see this happening. I don’t see people working hand by hand.

Can you tell us the wildest dream you have for Crystal Ball?

My wildest dream? (Laughs) I think it will be very nice to tour one day in the USA with huge bands like Aerosmith or Bon Jovi. That’s wild! Reality is different.

I want to thank you for your time. Please close this interview with a message to all our readers.

Thank you. Please check out our new album. I am pretty sure that if you like melodic music then you will find it interesting. Also check your local clubs’ schedules; you might see us there!


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