Good evening and welcome to Metal Invader! Such an honor to have you with us. Sacred Reich have accompanied me since my early youth, so I’m truly excited for this interview and your upcoming gig in Thessaloniki. So, how have you been? Is life treating you good these days?
Yes! Very good. We are looking forward to the 30 Years of ‘Ignorance’ Tour!
This year’s tour is about your debut album’s 30-year anniversary. To begin with the album itself, ‘Ignorance’ was your first full length release. What do you remember from back then? Were there any difficulties? Did you anticipate its success? After all you were just youngsters back then.
We were excited to record our first record. It all went pretty smoothly as I recall. We didn’t have any expectations. We just wanted to make the best record we could and we hoped people would like it.
‘Ignorance’ was fast, violent, rabid. Was this your goal? Did this vehemence happen on purpose or did it just come up?
The record was a product of our youth and influences (A lot of Slayer). That was where we were at the time. Those songs were written when we were 16 & 17 years old.
As far as I know, the album artwork of ‘Ignorance’ was different at first. What was it depicting and why was it rejected? Why did you decide on the one we know and what’s the message you wanted to convey?
The original cover is on the inside sleeve of the record. It is a black and white collage of different examples of ignorance and suffering. The label thought it was too “punk rock”. We picked the hostage image from the original cover and used it. The message is the universal one. We are all in this together. We need to help each other and work together.
Sacred Reich’s lyrical themes have always been socially conscious and political. Why did you feel the need to speak about these issues, apart from the fact that the genre you’ve been serving has always been a socially engaged art expression?
It was something that was important to us. Lyrically the influence has always been more from punk bands. If you sing about things you believe in I think it makes it more powerful.
When you think about it, the lyrical themes of ‘Ignorance’ and ‘The American Way’ more than the other albums, are still relevant today. I don’t know if it’s a good thing to be ‘universal’ for so long or if it’s bad to realize that the world is still a crappy place to live in. What are your thoughts towards that?
I really believe that this is the greatest time to be alive. The history of the human race has been one of struggle. Suffering is always present, but so is joy and wonder. It’s always all together. If we zoom out, things like poverty and hunger are the lowest they have been in history. Not that they don’t exist because due to people’s greed poverty and hunger are a reality for millions of people around the planet. We live in a time of massive income inequality and political corruption but it seems this is always the way it is. I do remain positive for our future. I think the young people today are much smarter and kinder and will save us from ourselves.
Contrary to the world’s stagnation, music industry has drastically changed over the years. How do you see that? Have things become easier or does this overexposure have led to negative results?
I don’t know if easier or harder applies. It is different for sure. I think people have more choices. There are positive aspects and negative aspects. Mostly it is just evolving.
You’ve been around since 1985. Three decades is not a simple thing. It’s natural to see the demographics of your crowd change over the years. Apart from the fans following you since day one, a lot of younger ages support you and join you at your gigs. How does this make you feel?
It’s great. I think music is the greatest art form and can bring people together regardless of age, nationality, color or gender. It is beautiful.
According to an older interview, Phil stated Sacred Reich had no plans of releasing a new record. Later on, you said you are open to it. What’s the deal today? Are there any thoughts about a new album?
We are open to it. We will see what the future holds.
Since no new additions have been made to your catalog in recent years, what keeps you motivated? Is the interaction with your fans during live gigs all you need?
It’s fun to play the songs and be with the people.
As said before, this year’s tour elaborates on ‘Ignorance’. Does this mean you will be performing just the Ignorance album, or will your set include tracks from your other releases as well?
We will play a few extra songs from Ignorance as well as songs from the other records. We played a few Heal tracks on the last tour. Not on this tour. There are a couple of songs from Independent.
Greece has always shown you love and affection. Your last visit here was a night to remember! Are your ready for us? What should we expect from you?
We can’t wait! We love Greece. The spirit of the people is strong.
Alright, that’s all from me for the time being! Thanks again for the opportunity to exchange a few words with you. We’ll be seeing each other in Thessaloniki, hopefully we’ll chit chat a little bit, as well! As you realize, I’m elated and can’t wait for your gig! Any messages for your fans in Greece?
We look forward to returning to Thessaloniki! It has been too long. We are ready to crush and have a great time!