Phil : "I think there's a couple aspects — there's the music aspect, which is very strong and powerful, and it's invigorating in a lot of ways. Lyrically, it's whatever you want it to be. If you listen to different genres of metal, you can go from something very positive and socially aware to something silly, or something Satanic... whatever it is, people can talk about whatever they want. We've always chosen, like, if you have the opportunity to say something, then say something. Lyrically, I was always inspired by more punk and hardcore bands, because I just thought, 'You have the opportunity to say something'... For us — and especially now in the current climate, and things that are going on — I thought, 'Man, there's a lot of negativity when you turn on the TV or watch things.' We've got to remember that sure, there's negative aspects of things, absolutely, but there's also positive aspects of things, and there's actually more positive aspects. It's just where we decide to look. We just thought people need some positivity and some encouragement. That's what we wanted to do."
On the inspiration behind the new song "Death Valley" :
Phil : "The idea behind 'Death Valley' is that we all live in Death Valley. We're all going to die. It's the cheeriest song about death ever. We know we're going to die, so what does that even mean? What it means is we should really appreciate being alive. We should appreciate each moment. We should savor this moment right now for what it is... Whenever I hear it, I just picture riding on a motorcycle through Death Valley with the sun going down and the wind in your hair, smelling the smells and just really having that experience of being alive... We know that there's sorrow, but we're embracing it and we're moving past it, and we're acknowledging all of it and we're being alive now."
On ignoring haters:
Phil : "I don't expect everybody to like everything. I was reading something today — some guy's like, 'Man, that album kills until 'Something To Believe' .' I'm like, 'Oh, really, dude? That sucks,' because I really like that song. That song's for my best friend Jeff , who killed himself 13 years ago. That's Jeff 's song, so that guy doesn't know, so when he says that, it's hard for me not to take it personally — but that's okay, too. I don't expect everybody to like everything, and it's okay. We have made records in the Internet age when you get everybody's opinion straight away on your Facebook page or on Blabbermouth . Going into it, we were like, 'This will be great. You're going to get all the good stuff, the bad stuff. You're just going to get all the stuff, and I don't have to sit by a P.O. box waiting for a letter to come in with a stamp on it.' My wife was, like, 'What the hell? Don't go on Blabbermouth and read the comments. That's the wrong place. You want to read the comments? At least read them on the SACRED REICH pages. Blabbermouth , those people go on there to talk shit.' She's like, 'I don't want to respond.' I'm like, 'Don't respond. It's okay... Just remember, wouldn't it be foolish to think that everybody was going to like everything that we did?' The real truth is, the majority of people on this planet have no fuckin' idea who we are in the first place, so the overwhelming majority of people don't even have a clue about it. Just be happy — if somebody hates it or likes it, fuck, at least they heard it. It's cool, man. It's all fine. And those people that talk shit? They're not our fans. They're not who we're going to be playing for anyhow, so it doesn't matter."
On whether he worries about alienating fans who might not share his political beliefs:
Phil : "[ Laughs ] Obviously not... I've read all kinds of comments. 'I don't agree with them, but I like their music and they rock.' Great. 'I don't even fuckin' read the lyrics. Fuck that shit. Let's rock.' I'm like, great. Then other people are like, 'You fuckin' libtards... But what about Obama and Clinton ?' I'm like, 'You've got it all wrong. You don't even know me. Trust me — if you think I'm, like, this Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama fan, [you're wrong]. I have a very realistic view of what's going on — a very nuanced view — and I've been paying attention to this shit since I'm 16. I'm 50 [now]. It's not new to me, and I'm fully aware of everything that's going on. I spend probably much more time than anybody making comments figuring all this shit out. It's important to me... We don't care if people disagree with us. Of course people might disagree with us. We don't care. If they don't want to buy our record because of it, then fucking God bless them. I don't really care. We're not going to stop saying what we believe in and what we think is true because we're afraid of losing some sales. We are not doing this to be the most popular band on the planet. We're doing this to create something that's meaningful and honest, and let everything else fall how it is. We don't sit around thinking, 'What are people going to say? What are people going to do?', because we don't fuckin' know. All we can do is be the best SACRED REICH we can be, and if that's not good enough for people, so be it."
"Awakening" — SACRED REICH 's first full-length recording since 1996's "Heal" — was released on August 23 via Metal Blade Records .