ACCEPT’s WOLF HOFFMANN: ‘As Long As The Fans Don’t Get Tired Of What We’re Doing, I Think We’re Doing Fine’
Sweden’s Metal Covenant recently conducted an interview with guitarist Wolf Hoffmann of German/American metal veterans ACCEPT. You can watch the entire chat below.
On whether the band’s new “The Rise Of Chaos” album was designed to be an extension of the band’s previous effort, 2014’s “Blind Rage”:
Wolf: “I think it follows a straight path that we started three albums ago. We’re trying to not leave that path. We’re really trying to go forward and not go left and right and change anything dramatically. We’re really just trying to give the fans what we started back then. I think we have a style that works. We have a great team of people now: producer, singer, label, everybody. We’re not trying to change a winning team. We’re just trying to write new songs along the same lines with new ideas we didn’t have before.”
On how he would react if someone told him “The Rise Of Chaos” was “just another ACCEPT album”:
Wolf: “I don’t see a problem with that, really. You don’t have to change all the time. We’re trying to not change. We’re trying to get better and have new songs for the fans, but to change is always easier than I think to not change. To do something consistently in a certain quality over a longer period, I think that actually gets harder and harder. It’s always easy to do something that you haven’t done before, because it’s new. But when you do something that you have been doing for a while, you’re only trying to follow a style that you already have, that’s a challenge. I think we’re doing alright. Once you have a style, you should be happy and work with that. That’s what we’re trying to do. We have certain ingredients that work for us and we’re trying to use them. As long as the fans don’t get tired of what we’re doing, I think we’re doing fine.”
On whether he worries his trademark guitar sound will result in too many similar-sounding ideas:
Wolf: “Of course. It goes back to what I said earlier: You have to be your own worst critic. Sometimes, I play to somebody or play to Peter [Baltes, bass] and ask other people’s opinion, but especially when it comes to playing [my] solo stuff, I’m pretty much left to my own, mostly. I don’t know who to ask. When it comes to songwriting, I can ask Gaby [Hoffmann, Wolf‘s wife and ACCEPT‘s manager] or [producer] Andy Sneap or I play it to Peter and get some reflection. When it comes to solo stuff, I play it to Andy a lot and if he says, ‘Hey, that’s a bit too close to what you’ve done already,’ I’ll go back and change it. A lot of times, these solo bits and pieces, they happen at the very end. They’re usually the last thing I do. Once we’ve got ten strong songs, I go to work on the middle sections and riff sections and very last, I put the solos on. At that point, they’re usually the only ones I worry about if they’re any good.”
On whether he thinks it’s more important to play it safe with ACCEPT‘s sound rather than experimenting:
Wolf: “At this point in our career, I think so. I wouldn’t really see the point in doing that right now. We kind of know what works and what doesn’t. We’ve done a bunch of experimenting in the past where we tried a more commercial approach or in the ’90s, we were sort of trying to find or re-define our style with going, you know, trying to go with the times, if you want. All of a sudden, it was all about grunge, so we tried to sound a little different. We just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. The result wasn’t even that great. It’s almost out of our system at this point. I don’t really see the point in doing that. I’m quite glad we have a style and that we are recognizable. As soon as you put the album on, you know that it’s ACCEPT. That’s a good thing. So, why mess with it?”
On the band’s new drummer, Christopher Williams, who is several years younger than the core members of ACCEPT:
Wolf: “Once you get to know Christopher, he’s really, first of all, thirty is not a kid. We still are like kids. Somehow, we meet in the middle. He’s a little bit of an older soul. He’s really familiar with a lot of ’70s and ’80s rock stuff that he’s always been a fan of. I never think of him being younger than we are. Of course, he is. Sometimes it comes across, but mostly, it’s not really on anybody’s mind. And for a drummer, being thirty years old, he’s at the top of his game. He’s really, he’s got the chops, so there’s that. Who wants to have a sixty-year-old drummer? It’s a young man’s game. They’re all used up by the time they are fifty, so we needed fresh blood, so we got a young kid. He’s going to last thirty more years.”
On how “The Rise Of Chaos” would have fared if it were released in 1986:
Wolf: “Nobody knows, of course. That’s an interesting point because I often think an album is only…you can’t judge it by itself. And who knows if we would have released ‘Blood Of The Nations’ ten years prior, if it would have been a success. Maybe the times were ready for ACCEPT and that album, but maybe ten years ago or ten years later, they wouldn’t have been. That’s interesting. I believe sometimes the world isn’t ready for something and that goes for music, especially. When it’s totally uncool, it can be totally cool ten years later or five years later. It’s like fashion, almost.”
“The Rise Of Chaos” was released on August 4 via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2014’s “Blind Rage” is the first ACCEPT album to feature the band’s latest additions, Williams and guitarist Uwe Lulis (GRAVE DIGGER, REBELLION).
Teutonic metallers ACCEPT could already claimed big worldwide success with Blood Of The Nationsand Stalingrad, but with Blind Rage, they reached the pinnacle of their career in the form of the pole position, a #1 album. Besides #1 in Germany, ACCEPT also hit #1 in Finland as well as several top 10 positions; Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and last but not least the US. After releasing a string of metal classics in the 80s such as Breaker (1981), »Balls To The Wall« (1983) and »Metal Heart« (1985), which made them iconic, the band with Wolf Hoffmann and Peter Baltes still haven’t peaked, especially if you glance across their touring schedule; ACCEPT have headlined Woodstock FestivalPoland, Wacken Open Air, Czech Masters Of Rock Festival and Bang Your Head!!! Festival, Germany – amongst countless other performances over the last few years. Their Bang Your Head!!! performance was also filmed and released in the form of a live DVD/Blu-ray+2CD package titledRestless And Live (2017), reminiscent of their classic Restless And Wild (1982). With this DVD in the fans’ hands, ACCEPT could cement their previous success from Blind Rage by hitting #1 in the Swedish and German DVD charts amongst others.
But that’s enough nostalgia – back to the present, back to 2017! After the aforementioned DVD’s unleashing and an almost 3-month European tour, ACCEPT speed around the corner with their new album The Rise Of Chaos which will cement their status as genre leaders once again. Guitarist Wolf Hoffmann comments on the album title, “The Rise Of Chaos is something I have been thinking about often. It describes a condition which is slowly spreading around the world. With the stage setup on our latest European tour, we wanted to portray rather dystopian and destroyed scenery. If you now take a look at our new cover, it’s the same imagery. This time however you can also spot the invisible destruction that we feel more and more in these times, as well as the visible destruction.”
ACCEPT continue along the path they started with their three previous records, which is why the band has recorded their 4th studio album since 2010 once again with Andy Sneap. The exceptionally detailed artwork was created by Gyula Havancsák. “Previously our cover artworks had been really simple and focused on one message. But this time, we wanted to make it more interesting by using an atmospheric picture where you can find a lot of hidden details, but also with a clear and thoughtful statement present,”adds Wolf.
The band delivers more than just a musical statement with The Rise Of Chaos, in this case it’s a clear announcement (!) – with the straight forward opening track “Die By The Sword“: Galloping drums, lightning guitars and ACCEPT’s trademark choir instantly silence any doubt as to whether they’re still the top dog when it comes to top-notch Teutonic metal. Second track “Hole In The Head” leaves no time to breathe, before the title track kick-starts and tries to pummel its way through the listener’s ear canal. This song may evoke a sense of familiarity within listeners, because it was previously released with an impressive music video. After consuming the upcoming “Koolaid” shake, ‘No Regrets’ keeps heads banging with its speedy guitar solos, which concludes the 1st half of the record. “Analog Man” rings in the 2nd part, telling the story of the world increasing digitisation: Its haunting (pre) chorus should undoubtedly confirm its place in forthcoming ACCEPT set lists. Track number 8, “Worlds Colliding”, marks the album’s most thoughtful song, swiftly followed by the fastest banger of The Rise Of Chaos, ‘Carry The Weight’. After 45 minutes, the closer,’Race To Extinction’, lets the record fade out fittingly.
Wolf Hoffmann – Guitar
Peter Baltes – Bass
Mark Tornillo – Vocals
Christopher Williams – Drums
Uwe Lulis – Guitar
excerpts: (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).