MTUK Metal 'Zine recently conducted an interview with German heavy metal legend Udo Dirkschneider (ACCEPT, U.D.O.). A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
MTUK Metal 'Zine: [The new U.D.O. album] "Dominator" was again produced, mixed and mastered by Stefan Kaufmann (guitars). You obviously like working with him on both sides of the studio. How do you think his approach differs from previous producers?
Udo: [Laughs] Yes, I do. Oh, you know, he has been doing my vocals since 1982, so he knows me very well! We are in a very good situation; Stefan has his own studio so we don't have to book anything. Also he can record me someday and say to me, "Today is not a good atmosphere, let's record another day." So we can then have a glass of wine or something and talk about the recording. It's a very lucky situation. But on the other hand, I can never be my own producer. I need somebody to tell that this was right, this was wrong, change this, add more range here etc.
MTUK Metal 'Zine: What does he bring to your sound?
Udo: Honesty, you know, he will sometimes say, "Come on, you're an assehole. This was completely wrong," which is good for me, because he knows I can do things better. So we have had a long time together, so far we have never felt that we have to use a producer or something like that.
MTUK Metal 'Zine: The production on the album is both classic metal-sounding but with a very modern edge.
Udo: We were all going back to our roots, and on the other hand, the mix was good. This album was recorded digitally for the first time; Stefan got all-new equipment because the older equipment broke down completely, so it was all stripped out and replaced.
MTUK Metal 'Zine: Did you do anything different during this recording process to, say, that of "Mastercutor"?
Udo: The only thing really different is that we took more time with this album. We started working on this album in June 2008 and we always thought first with the lyrics and the melody. That I feel is the best way to do things, I always have. Once we had done the lyrics, we had a holiday in the summer and then we started rocking again. So then to June this year, we had finished the recording.
MTUK Metal 'Zine: Do you write everything yourself on the album, or do the other guys have input?
Udo: We usually have the vocal or the melody and work from there. It's a group thing. Let's just say that not everyone can write songs. But on "Dominator", two songs — "The Bogeyman" and "Mistress in the Dark" — maybe 60%-70% was written by our bass player (Fitty Wienhold). But it doesn't matter that people can write or cannot write. When you have all these songs that you want to record, the whole band thing. Igor (guitar) came up with most of the leads on this album, but then he would also change the arrangement, the vocals and really it's a group thing.
MTUK Metal 'Zine: Thanks for not reforming with ACCEPT again this year! What was your reason for this? Why the original reunion in 2005?
Udo: In 2005, we only did songs up to the "Russian Roulette" album. I think, for me, I did this because I wanted to see if there was any chemistry between us again to maybe go forward and write more albums. I have no problem in saying there was, and is, nothing left musically between me and ACCEPT. I mean, I still talk to the guys, which is good, but nothing musically. I had a lot of fun, but I felt that it just did not work. The decider for me was one day I played Bang Your Head!!! [festival in Germany] with U.D.O. and the next day Graspop [Metal Meeting in Belgium] with ACCEPT, and then I knew which band to choose. I did these all of these festivals with ACCEPT, but in reality, I was not looking for a reunion. A lot of people were asking the original lineup to play, so I did this. And more recently, I got a call to ask if I was interested. Of course, I was, but I laid some terms down. Unfortunately, they would not meet those terms, so I had to say no. Then two weeks later, they announced a new lineup and singer. Come on — in two weeks?! They must have already had a plan B in action. I did not want to just do one album and a tour, I wanted more than that, but that is that. I could not risk losing U.D.O., as I think this is a great band.
MTUK Metal 'Zine: If you were not a musician, what do you think you would have done as a day-to-day job?
Udo: Ah, that is easy. My parents owned a factory in Germany that makes tools. But I really have to say thank you very much to my parents; they were very supportive and checking that I was happy and doing the right thing as parents do, but in a way without that and them, I don't think it would be so easy. Of course, money-wise and time-wise, it was easier than for most. When you work for your parents, you tend to take more time than is usual for leisure time.
Read the entire interview from MTUK Metal 'Zine.