INTERVIEW: Wolf Hoffmann

Wolf Hoffmann has been a legendary figure in heavy metal for decades now. Through his continued work in ACCEPT and a sideline career in photography, Wolf Hoffmann has been a consistent figure in heavy metal. We spoke to the legendary guitarist about his upcoming second solo album Headbangers Symphony, ACCEPT’s longevity in metal and his photography.

You’re planning on releasing your second solo album, Headbangers Symphony, the first in quite some time. Does it follow the same classical style and influence as the debut record?

Wolf: Yes it does. It’s all based on classical music and it follows the line of the first album, only I used different tools. I actually used some string orchestras this time. I flew to Prague to record the orchestra there. It’s basically the same idea, I use classical compositions all through the centuries and it doesn’t have a particular theme other than a random selection of classical music that I like and interpret it in a new way with metal guitar and a rock band.

So how was the recording process?

Wolf: Very spread out over the years, some of the songs go way back to ten years ago and have only just been finished a few months ago. It took me forever, mainly because I was on the road with ACCEPT and we were working on separate material too. A week here, a week there is all I had to spare to make progress. It was painfully slow but I’m glad it’s finally done!

How does it differ from your work with ACCEPT?

Wolf: Completely, they’re both separate entities. First of all, there’s no vocals on the solo album, I used existing compositions, re-arranged them and wrote some riffs around them and the end result is surprisingly metal, even though it’s not meant to be similar (to ACCEPT) but in parts it does sound a lot like it. It’s mainly because I’m riffing away on some of the songs, but originally it was meant to be completely different.

What do you hope you will achieve with the album being released?

Wolf: I don’t know, I don’t have any hopes or goals other than it being a personal side project and a passionate thing I did for me because I wanted to. I had no other intentions, I just wanted to get it out of my system. When I released that first album nearly 20 years ago, I didn’t have any goals with it either. There’s people that told me over the years they still listen to it and it’s timeless stuff. I could have released it ten years ago or in ten years time and it would have the same effect.

With your band ACCEPT, have you made a conscious decision to change up your style, or have you felt that sticking to your roots has maintained your longevity?

Wolf: If you listen to the last three ACCEPT albums, they’ve all been produced by Andy Sneap and he brings a modern touch to the band. We’re pretty much old school metal guys, we grew up in the 70s/80s and we do what we do as far as song writing is concerned. We try not to change and that’s what people appreciate about us. We’ve maintained the old fashioned approach to song writing, choruses, sing-a-long parts, guitar solos, riffs – all the things we’ve been doing throughout the years and that hasn’t changed. We do use modern technology now and a modern producer, so those two components work together really well I think, which has also helped the success of the band after we reached No.1 in Germany. Our formula is working really well and we don’t really want to change anything.

Is there anything else in the works for ACCEPT?

Wolf: We’re actually currently working on a follow-up album as we speak, we’re writing songs and some time later this year we will enter the recording studio to work on the new album. Whilst I’m glad the solo project is finally done, it will always be some sort of a side project to ACCEPT. ACCEPT will always take priority.

Have you got any touring plans in place for either ACCEPT or your solo project?

Wolf: Nothing’s in place yet, we’re just in talks and trying to make plans but nothing is confirmed at the moment. First we (ACCEPT) want to release the album, get some reactions and take it step by step but in the future we will definitely get back out there on the road.

And finally, are you still doing photography and if so, how is it going?

Wolf: I’m still doing it, but not as much because I’m constantly on the road and away from home. It began as a personal hobby years ago on the road and then when ACCEPT took a break, it became my main job, which I loved, but music sucked me back in so photography then took a back seat. I still love it but music is always going to be my number one passion.

WOLF HOFFMANN’s brand new album Headbangers Symphony will be released on 1st July via Nuclear Blast Records.