ACCEPT's WOLF HOFFMANN: Getting Singer MARK TORNILLO 'Opened A Lot Of Doors, Musically, For Us'

July 16, 2016

Guitarist Wolf Hoffmann of German/American metallers ACCEPT was interviewed by rock journalist Mitch Lafon for a recent edition of the "One On One With Mitch Lafon" podcast (Facebook page). You can now listen to the chat using the Spreaker widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether ACCEPT can take chances with its sound at this point or if the band still has to be careful about branding and what the fans expect to hear from the group:

Wolf: "Well, that's the million-dollar question — how far can you go, and how far should you not go? In my experience, having done this for a while, you wanna try to stay true to yourself, but just get better and expand, quality-wise, but, really, not try to get any different. 'Cause, to me, it's always easy to do something that you haven't done before — like symphonic metal. I think it would be fun, and in a weird way, quite easy for us to do, because we've never done it and it's all new territory and the sky is the limit — you can do whatever — and it's always gonna be, 'Yeah.' But if you're [writing] in your own style, and you've written a hundred-plus songs… Actually, we've written thousands of songs in that genre, but only published a hundred and fifty, maybe. But all of a sudden, you have this vast archive of work that you get measured by, and you can't repeat yourself, but you wanna do more of that. So it gets harder and harder over time."

On whether a new ACCEPT album has already been written:

Wolf: "Well, we are trying very hard right now to come up with enough songs to fill an album. Peter [Baltes, bass] are meeting all the time, and we're just going through ideas that we've collected over time, and we're writing new stuff all the time, and when we have enough, yes, we will call [producer] Andy Sneap, we will call the other guys — Mark [Tornillo, vocals] and everybody — and get 'em together and start working on recording the new album. Hopefully we'll get it it done this year — that's the goal — and then hopefully we're gonna release it next year, in 2017."

On why it's so important for ACCEPT to still make new music after all this time:

Wolf: "For us, it was very important, especially since we got Mark, and when we had our reunion with Mark, the new singer, we really wanted to show to the fans and to us that we still can write relevant new songs, and so that's why we really did three albums in five or six years — really banged them out, one after the other. And those three albums are, in a lot of fans' views, as strong as most of the stuff we've done in the eighties, if not stronger. So I think it's very important for us to come up with new songs, 'cause, you know, once you stop trying, or you're just living on the past, I think that's no good. We're trying to stay relevant, and the fans really appreciate that."

On what Mark Tornillo has added to ACCEPT's sound:

Wolf: "He very much inspired us to write songs, because all of a sudden, he can pretty much sing anything we want him to do. With Udo [Dirkschneider, former ACCEPT singer], it was much more limited, what worked and what didn't work. And Mark, man, anything Peter and I come up with, he can perform, and so that opened a lot of doors, musically, for us, and that inspired us totally. But, like I said before, we always try to stay close to what ACCEPT fans are wanting to hear from us, 'cause we could write a bunch of stuff that was left and right, genre-wise, but I'm not sure if fans would really appreciate it that much. And that's also where Andy Sneap came in, especially during the 'Blood Of The Nations' [2010] recording. He really, sort of, forced us more to stay true to the course. 'Cause he grew up being an ACCEPT fan and listening to the old albums, and he came in with an expectation, 'All right, we're gonna make a great new ACCEPT album, but it'd better sound like I want it to sound as an ACCEPT fan.'"

On whether ACCEPT would consider working with another producer at some point:

Wolf: "'Till death do us part, man. [Laughs] Yeah, pretty much. He's part of the family now. We want him to be the guy. He's definitely on board, man. If he is on board, and if he has time, we definitely want him to be the one, absolutely. I mean, the only [way] that I could consider working with someone else [is] if he was booked out for the next two years and we have to make an album and something like that happens. But other than that, musically and personality-wise, we work together really, really well. He's a good friend."

Hoffmann has just released his second solo album, titled "Headbangers Symphony", via Nuclear Blast. The effort is a collection of rock-guitar-driven interpretations of some of classical music's most loved compositions. Wolf took the main pieces, and then wrote riffs that fit them. Lastly, in the grand hard rock tradition, he layered a guitar solo over it. He shaped the sound into a quite adventurous elegance, but the key themes of the originals remained.

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