Interview: Kyle Shutt of alt-rock band The Sword on the adrenaline rush of performing

The Sword are John Cronise (vocals, guitar), Kyle Shutt (guitar), Bryan Richie (bass) and Santiago Vela III (drums) -- photo by Sandy Carson, via The Sword
The Sword are John Cronise (vocals, guitar), Kyle Shutt (guitar), Bryan Richie (bass) and Santiago Vela III (drums) — photo by Sandy Carson via The Sword

The Sword

Gabe’s — Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Some critics have compared hard rock band The Sword’s sound to the Metallica’s heavier metal. Listening to their first few albums’ catchy guitar riffs, it’s easy to see (er, see…) why. In fact, the band has toured with Metallica in the past; however, guitarist Kyle Shutt says The Sword isn’t trying to sound like anyone else, let alone fit within a designated genre. The Sword’s new album, High Country proves to be a testament to their flexibility. The album — their sixth — doesn’t completely stray from the band’s past works sonically, but it infuses a 70s classic rock sound that gives their music an exciting novelty.

The Sword will play this Thursday night, Oct. 15 at Gabe’s with other performers Kadaver and All Them Witches. Kyle Shutt answered a few questions for us about the upcoming show and the band’s new release, High Country.

Your past albums have sounded almost like metal, but this newest album sounds like classic rock. What was the process of writing like this time around?

When we first started we played really metaled-out rock songs or rocked-out metal songs. We always tried to put those two together and I think back in the day, like ten years ago, we wanted to write really heavy, energetic, in-your-face music. Now, I think we want to kind of explore more dynamics and the more albums and songs we write as people, we aren’t trying to write a particular type of song or be a metal band or a rock band. We just want to be a band, as simple as that sounds. We aren’t trying to write a song in a particular genre, we just have ideas and we try to realize them as fully as we can.

You guys have been a band together for a long time. What have been some of your favorite moments?

There’s been a lot. I think when I’m happiest is when I’m on the stage playing for people and seeing the room come alive. I don’t know if people realize this, but we totally feed off the energy of a crowd. If it’s a weird, kind of stiff crowd that’s just standing there and not really moving much, we’re probably going to be pretty stiff looking and not moving much, but if it’s a really rowdy crowd that’s just going nuts then we’re going to feel that adrenaline rush and go even crazier. Those are probably my favorite nights, because that doesn’t happen every night and when it does, it makes all of the hardships you have to go through completely worth it.

What do you want people to get out of your music?

I kind of just want people to think. Whether you love it or hate it, I just want people to be more aware about everything in life. At the end of the day, we’re entertainers. We’re there to make sure that everybody just forgets about their dumb job that they’re bummed about or the break-up they just went through and to all come together communally and just work toward a common goal of rocking out and having fun. I think it’d be rad if everyone on the planet was kind to one another and thoughtful of one another. We’re not going to be able to change that one song at a time or anything, but I just want people to have a good time, smile, and celebrate life whenever they put on a Sword record or come to a show.

Anything you want to say about your upcoming Iowa City show?

Yes! Iowa City was one of the only times we ever had to cancel a show because I had the flu. And everyone was a huge dick about it, so I want to let them know I’ll be there if they have something to say.

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