Interview by Alex Stojanovic
It goes without saying that Accept have been one of the most important metal bands for the last four decades ever since the release of their self-titled debut album in 1979. Following a string of highly acclaimed records in the 80s like Balls To The Wall, Breaker, Restless & Wild and Metal Heart, the band split up in 1989, then reunited again in 1992 until 1997.
The band's classic lineup reunited for a short European tour in 2005, which turned out to be a huge success, but split again once the tour was over. The band announced another reunion in 2009 with new vocalist Mark Tornillo, and have since then released four studio albums (Blood Of The Nations, Stalingrad, Blind Rage and The Rise Of Chaos).
Accept's latest release is the live album Symphonic Terror, which was recorded during the band's headlining appearance at the 2017 Wacken Open Air, which also features the band performing with an orchestra. The show was split into three sets. It starts off with the band performing songs off The Rise Of Chaos, which just came out at the time, along with a couple of classics. The second set features Wolf Hoffmann performing songs off his latest solo album Headbangers Symphony, and the third set features the band playing several classics and newer songs with orchestral accompaniment.
We had the great pleasure of speaking to Wolf Hoffmann over the phone about the new live release, his work as a photography, the status of the next Accept album, and more. Check out the interview transcribed down below.
Wolf Hoffmann: My pleasure.
MMK: First off, there's a new Accept live album out called Symphonic Terror, which was recorded at last year's Wacken Open Air. Talk about how the idea came about to do a show with an orchestra and how long did it take to get everything together and right?
WH: It was one of those crazy things that you can't really plan for. It all started with the idea to perform some songs off my solo album Headbangers Symphony for the first time. I was asked by the Wacken people if I wanted to perform there with the orchestra, and I thought "Hell yeah!" It's the biggest metal festival in the world, and what better occasion than to have a world premiere of this material. I agreed to it, and it was coinciding with the release of The Rise Of Chaos. We were also asked to play some songs off the new album, and we agreed as well. The third part was that since Accept was there and we have an orchestra, we thought to do some songs together. That's how the idea came together to play some Accept material with the orchestra, which is something we never did before. After some tempting, I was totally excited about doing it.
MMK: Cool! The album is out now, and it's fantastic. The recording sounds great, and the orchestra really emphasizes the songs.
WH: Thanks man! We've been really careful to write these arrangements so the orchestra had some room to breathe and some parts to play. We didn't want to condemn them to be in the background all the time, but on even level with the rest of the band.
MMK: How long would you say it took to rehearse everything and get everything right?
WH: Well, when you're talking about the orchestra, you never really have much time to rehearse, because orchestras are super expensive, and there's very little time. It really just ended up being a day before the show that we did some rehearsals. We took months to almost a year before the show to write the arrangements, to get everything ready and to do the organizational part. It took a good part of the year to get ready.
MMK: You guys have also announced a handful of shows in Germany that you will be doing with the orchestra for the new year. Is taking these shows to other places as well something you would like to do, or is this just for Germany?
WH: Yeah, these are just the first shows that are announced, but we're talking to many more countries and places around the world about coming and doing shows there. Maybe we'll do some other places in Europe, maybe play with some other orchestras. That would be the ultimate goal, it would be great.
MMK: Yeah it would be. As many people know, but for those that don't, you're also a photographer. You made a second career out of it in the mid-90s. How often do you still do photography and what type of things do you shoot? Events, scenery?
WH: I was a corporate photographer. I currently don't have the time to do it anymore. It was a nice career change for me and I really liked it. I did it full-time for over ten years up until Accept reunited. For a while there, I was doing both simultaneously. When Accept wasn't busy, I was still out there doing photo shoots. To be honest, now I don't have the time, and that's okay with me. Music has always been my first passion and love, but photography was a close second. Yeah, just corporate photography. Pretty much just portraits of people, and that sort of thing. People photography
MMK: You currently live in Nashville, Tennessee. How long have you lived in Nashville for?
WH: About 25 years. Longer than that, actually. I've actually been in the U.S almost longer than I have in Germany. It's crazy.
MMK: You must hear a lot of country music down there. Do you like it?
WH: No I don't (laughs). It's alright, I guess. It's kind of so poppy now, it almost sounds like Bon Jovi now a days. Some of it is quite heavy too these days. It's a lot of pop rock, but in general, I'm not a big fan of it.
MMK: Yeah, me neither. You might find the odd good song here and there, but I'm not huge on it too.
WH: I don't know. But everyone else seems to think it's the hottest thing ever.
MMK: Yeah, it is what it is. You mentioned that writing has already begun for the next album. Have any songs started taking shape yet or is it just bits and pieces?
WH: Some songs are taking shape quite well, but it's still very early in the process. We're still in the stages of gathering ideas. It's still too early to even talk about it.
MMK: Would you say we can expect it late next year or 2020?
WH: More early 2020 than next year. The thing is, if we were to release it next year, we'd almost have to have it recorded by January or February. You got so much advance now a days, and the whole machinery needs so much advance time, so 2020 would be more like it. That way, we can finish and wrap up recording in the summer or fall or 2019.
MMK: Yeah, absolutely. Do you think you might work with Andy Sneap again?
WH: You better believe it. If he's not busy playing rockstar all the time, then absolutely.
MMK: Yeah, he's out with Judas Priest right now.
WH: Yeah, what's up with that? I don't know if we can allow that, to be honest. I want my producer back.
MMK: Yeah, tell that to Rob and the guys.
WH: I know. Or tell it to Andy. He's having a ball.
MMK: Absolutely. Just one last question, then I'll let you go. It's been quite a while since you guys last played in Canada. I speak on behalf of all the fans in both Canada and here in Toronto where I am, will we ever see you guys up here again?
WH: I hope so. Canada really was almost a favourite of ours. We love going up there, but it's been too long, I agree. I don't know why it's been so long. We need to go back for sure. Canada has always been fantastic for metal and Accept.
MMK: Yeah! The last time you guys played here was when you played with Kreator. I was at that show, and it was a fantastic one.
WH: Ah okay, so that was about four or five years ago almost.
MMK: It was 2012, so six years.
WH: Shit, time flies. 2012 already?
MMK: I'm not criticizing you guys for staying away for so long.
WH: Well, I am. I want to come back.
MMK: We'd all love to see you guys back here, so hopefully something will come up at some point.
WH: Yeah, let's work on that.
MMK: Cool, Wolf! Thank you so much once again for taking the time. It was a great pleasure. Wishing you all the best, and hope to see you guys up here soon sometime.
WH: That'd be great. Alright, my man! Take care!
MMK: See you!
Apr 20, 2019 - Wuppertal, Germany - Stadthalle
Apr 21, 2019 - Leipzig, Germany - Haus Auensee
Apr 22, 2019 - Hamburg, Germany - Mehr! Theatre
Apr 23, 2019 - Furth, Germany - Stadthalle
May 25, 2019 - Saarbrucken, Germany - Congresshalle
May 27, 2019 - Munich, Germany - Circus Krone