DT:Andy Sneap (Megadeth, Soulfly, Cradle of Filth & guitarist in Sabbat) is quite the accomplished producer these days. What was it like working with him?
WH:Oh man, it was a dream come true. It's funny because we have met all these people lately, by pure luck and it's just another example of that. Andy
Sneap had read, on the internet, that we were thinking of doing another record. Then he contacted us through a mutual friend and it
turned out that Andy is a huge Accept fan, from his teenage years on. We immediately hit it off....one thing he really is responsible for, he not
only worked from a producer perspective, but also a fan perspective. He made sure all the songs had that 80's Accept quality.
Scorpions / Accept Producer Dieter Dierks
DT:Was there ever any thought given to working with producer Dieter Dierks (Scorpions) again?
WH:Once we met Andy, we never considered anyone else. We are still really good friends with Michael Wagener (Metallica, Motley Crue, Dokken), so there are other
people we could have used. We even thought about doing it ourselves, but everything changed as soon as we met Andy.
DT:Is Wagener's studio still on your farm?
WH:No, I sold the farm a few years ago. He still lives close by, about twenty minutes away.
DT:Are you still living in Nashville?
DT:Did you lose anything to the floods?
WH:Not me personally, but man, I know a lot of people who did. Especially musicians. There's this huge rehearsal studio where everyone kept
their gear....so much stuff got destroyed in that flood........There was a moment of panic. We were rehearsing in my studio and some water started to come into my house, but thank God it wasn't too much.
DT:How has the recording process changed over the years?......What's different about recording an album today compared to the 80's?
WH:Everything. (laughs) Initially, we thought that maybe we should record like the old days and even use tape, instead of digital. But once we
saw what we could do, especially with Andy; he's a master. Once you get to see what it can do and how convenient everything is, there is
no going back.
DT:What was the best part about it?
WH:Really, the best thing was building the song up from a demo. We recorded the demo and if we didn't like something, we changed it, we would
record our keeper parts while playing to the original demo recording. Then, later we'd get better drum tracks and guitar tracks and so on. So, we
were constantly building toward the finished product. That really made all the difference. In the old days, you'd cut the demo with all
the spark and fire, then you'd go in to record the album and somehow all the songs lost their spark. It didn't have that initial impact and you'd
have to start from scratch. You can lose something through the process of re-recording.
DT:In your opinion, were there any downsides to digital recording?
WH:Well, there is the chance that you can take things too far. It's so easy to move things around, add parts and get things so precise, down to
the milli-second. You have to know when to walk away. Otherwise, everything becomes sterile, or what we like to call "laptop metal". We made
a conscious effort to be aware of that.
(L-R)Stefan Schwarzmann, Peter Baltes, Mark Tornillo,
Wolf Hoffmann, Herman Frank
DT:How's your new vocalist, Mark Tornillo, in the studio?
WH:He's a real go-getter. He takes his shirt off and gets into this zone and just does his thing. 100% committed. He's
got great ideas, melodies, he'll try anything....he's a perfect fit for the band.
DT:How does he sound on the old Accept classics?
WH:Oh man, it sounds better than ever. Especially live, I don't think we've sounded this good, live, in a long, long time.
He does it really well. He puts his own spin on things, but it is certainly reminiscent of the original Accept. He can
really pull it off.
DT:I saw some live footage of the band playing a festival in Europe and his vocals sounded just like the recording.
WH:That's what intrigued us when he met him. This whole thing started because we met Mark Tornillo one day. It was the luckiest accident. We had
been jamming and someone suggested we give Mark a call. He walked in, started singing and we were blown away. I was visiting
Peter (Baltes) at the time, in Philadelphia. There was nothing planned; we
weren't even looking for a singer. We were just in the right place at the right time.
DT:Does your wife (Accept manager Gaby "Deaffy" Hauke & Wolf's wife) still write all the lyrics for Accept?
WH:No, Mark wrote all the words. We, especially Gaby, felt we have an American singer now, singing in his native tongue and he should
have the opportunity to express himself.
DT:Are you guys going to do a full tour, or just selected dates?
WH:We are doing a full tour. We've already done a few weeks in Europe and are now on a short break. Then, I think it's 6-8 weeks in the States, then to
Japan, then to South America and then back to Europe.
DT:How many songs are you guys playing?
WH:Intially, there were about twenty-five songs, it was like a two and half hour set. We had been away so long, we just wanted to
give the fans something special. But since then, we played a bunch of festivals and we scaled it down according to time slot.