SACRED REICH bassist/vocalist Phil Rind recently spoke with Keefy of Ghost Cult Magazine. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's journey to release their forthcoming comeback album, "Awakening":
Phil: "We got back together about 2007, started playing shows and [have] been playing shows pretty consistently since then. The number one question we would always hear was, 'When are you going to make a record?' The answer was always no. Frankly, we just didn't have any songs. In the last year and a half, it changed. Somehow, the songs came back. It's obvious when the songs are back. We talked to Metal Blade and said we'd like to make a record, and they were into it, so we did a deal with them. Then we just started writing the songs."
On the group's lineup changes:
Phil: "The first new song for the record was 'Divide And Conquer', and that's when Greg [Hall, former drummer] was still with us. Everybody's got to be on the same page. You have to want the same thing, and sometimes, it doesn't work out. It didn't work with Greg, and we called Dave [McClain], because Dave was already in the band [previously]. We love Dave, and Dave's an incredible drummer. We were all wondering what we were going to do drummer-wise. We told Dave that Greg wasn't in the band, and he's, like, 'I want to do it. I want to do the record and the tour.' I was just so happy. MACHINE HEAD's record wasn't even out yet... Knowing that Dave was going to do it was a big deal for us. It answered a lot of questions, and here we are... It feels really great to have him in the band. We did a four-week tour in May, and everybody was getting along really well. It just felt so right, so we're really pleased."
On the group's live prowess:
Phil: "We're just getting warmed up... We just get better and better and better as we play. I'm just really looking forward to it, because we're just getting started."
On new guitarist Joey Radzwill:
Phil: "His talent on guitar is really going to open up a lot of stuff for us, as far as what we can play as a band. He opens up all those harmonies and all those melodies and other things that we weren't able to pursue previously."
On the musical direction of "Awakening":
Phil: "You kind of just want to do what's coming out, because that's the most honest thing. Luckily, what came out was something that's representative of who we are, who we've been, where we are now... I guess what we're trying to do is, 'Who are we right now? This is what we're doing right now.' It makes sense that it pushes it one step further."
On his vocal performance on the album:
Phil: "I think I'm singing better than I ever have. I don't know why. I think it's mostly just because I'm comfortable where I'm at. Singing on the record really taught me a lot. At first, I was trying to push and force things too much, but when I relaxed and let it happen, it was better. I think that was a good lesson for me."
On not shying away from topical lyrics:
Phil: "It's interesting — I see a lot of the comments, and some people are, like, 'I don't care if the fuckin' world changes. I want to rock,' and that makes me laugh. But that's how some people are. Other people are really drawn to lyrical content and the ideas behind the band, and that's awesome too, because I take a lot of time and care putting it out there. I think overall, the attitude of the record is hopefully encouraging and hopeful... To be hopeful and positive and looking forward is, no matter how shitty things are at the time, we know it's going to change, and that's good. We just have to work toward that. We have to continue to be positive and focus on the positive. This record, I'm hoping that what people take away is something hopeful and positive, and knowing that no matter how bad it is, it's not going to stay this way. This is one of the things with the election too, kind of coming to grips with where we are right now. We're saying, 'Even though the majority of people didn't vote for Trump and he lost the popular vote, the way that the system is set up is that this is just how it is.' We don't have much of a choice, but we also know that [it's only for] four years, so hopefully at the end of this term, we can have a change and go in a different direction. Even as shitty as it is — and it's shitty for a lot of people, and there's a lot of really awful things transpiring and the wrong way to look at things — hopefully it's only temporary, and we can all come back from it and learn a lesson from this. Hopefully the lesson that people learn is that they should pay attention and get involved. For me, the most important thing is that we need participation. We have a mechanism in place to change things; we just don't take advantage of it. I think the number one step is participation, and then we can address other things like getting money out of politics. Nothing happens unless we all participate, because if we don't participate, there's no reason for people to change the way that they're doing things."
On staying optimistic:
Phil: "My kids are 27, 25, 17 and 15. I look at them and I'm, like, 'We're going to be fine,' because they're smarter, they're wiser, they're more kind, they're more inclusive than my generation was. I think it's all going to be okay."
"Awakening" will be released August 23 via Metal Blade Records. It will mark the group's first full-length recording since 1996's "Heal".