STRYPER's MICHAEL SWEET Talks Using Pre-Recorded Backing Tracks In Concert: 'It's Okay If It's Done Right'

STRYPER's MICHAEL SWEET Talks Using Pre-Recorded Backing Tracks In Concert: 'It's Okay If It's Done Right'

During a recent interview with MA Entertainment Global, STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet admitted that the band uses backing tracks to "enhance" its live performances.

"I'm going to be honest — we do use some [backing] tracks on a few songs like 'Yahweh', [where] we have these big vocals to start the song and we have these big choruses that [sound] like a choir," Sweet said. "We still sing, always. We never, ever go up and lip sync and fake it. We're always singing on stage, but we do have some tracks that help us. Another song is 'God', which isn't in the set right now. We have a track on 'Honestly', because that's a piano ballad and we don't travel with a keyboard player these days. Things like that.

"I try to be open and honest, and I don't want people thinking that we're not using those if we are," Sweet continued. "I come from the school of, 'It's okay if it's done right.' In other words, if it's there to enhance what's already there, or if you've got some huge production... I'm okay with that. I'm okay when it's done right and it's limited, just to enhance certain things on certain songs. But when you have bands that go out and literally it's every song, and they're up there and they're not even singing the background vocals — because there are bands that do that. They're up there mouthing it, and then you get into the mouthing of the lead vocals on every song, and you're thinking, 'Man, there has to be a line that's drawn.' You've got to be real cautious of that, or it's not live — you're not giving people a live experience."

Even with the backing tracks, Sweet believes that STRYPER's concert performances are "live." "I would go out on a limb and say that we're in the category of one of the most live bands that you'll see now," he said. "Like I said, we've got a few tracks on a few songs just to enhance, but we're up there playing live. We're banging it out, doing it live, night after night, still in the same tuning. Will we drop back at some point? Maybe. We might have to. I know most bands — our peers — already have. They're already back a half-step; some of them, a whole step; and a few of them, a step-and-a-half. That's getting crazy to me.

"Sometimes, I go and see a band and you'll hear a song, and it's hard to even recognize [because] it's so low in tuning," he continued. "I get it. You do what you've got to do, but there comes a point in time... Let me put it this way — if STRYPER is ever tuning down a step and a half, we're done. We're going to hang it up. If it gets to a point where I can't sing these songs and I'm struggling that much and I've got to sing so much lower than the old days, I really don't want to do it anymore. Or I want to go out and just play guitar, and then we'll get a new kid who can come out and sing the songs like they're supposed to be sung. I'm not going to let my pride get in the way of that — it's not going to happen."

STRYPER's most recent album, "God Damn Evil", was released in April 2018 via Frontiers Music Srl.

The band kicked off its "2019 History Tour - Greatest Hits & Covers" tour on May 10.


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