“Get ready, we’re coming. Open me an oil can of Fosters, I’m on my way!”
Mark Tornillo is excited to return to Australia as German metal legends Accept get ready to perform an exclusive show in Melbourne on September 17th. With a new album “The Rise Of Chaos” due out on August 4th, now was a pretty good time to chat to Mark about everything that is going on not only with Accept but with the world at large.
Andrew: So how’s things with the band at the moment? Are you on the road on tour?
Mark: No actually home and leaving tomorrow for Europe. Going over to play the Wacken festival and doing a little bit of vacation with the family and then the tour will start in September.
Andrew: Yeah and speaking of September you will be here in Australia for one exclusive show which is cool to see you coming back down under again.
Mark: I can’t wait! Had a great time last time in Australia
Andrew: How was it last time? You did a couple of shows last time around which was I think 2 or 3 years ago?
Mark: I think it was 2014 or 2015 right? I think it was 2014.
Andrew: How was it? What do you remember from last time?
Mark: I’ve never been to Australia before so it just blew my mind [laughs]. The whole place blew my mind, it was great. The fans were amazing, they were great and actually we had a kind of day off in Sydney so we actually got to do some sight seeing. Went down to the Opera House and got to see the sights a little bit which was wonderful because normally we don’t get days off in cool places. You usually wind up with a day off in some place you don’t want to be [laughs]. It was very cool, we had a blast
Andrew: Well that’s good to hear. Obviously that’s part of the touring thing where sometimes you get to go to some very cool places and you don’t get to have the time off to check out some of the sights and all that kind of stuff.
Mark: Yeah sometimes it works out, most times it doesn’t! But we do get lucky every once in a while but you don’t want too many days off either because too many days off you’re not making any money so gotta keep it rolling.
Andrew: That’s true! So you have the new album coming out on August 4th, ‘Rise Of Chaos’ and I’ve just been checking out the tracks on the album and man it’s really good! It’s got some cool grooves to it, sounds really crunchy, what can you tell me about the album and how these songs came together?
Mark: We kind of went after it with the same approach as always, we kinda write for ourselves more than anything else. If we’re happy then I think the fans will be happy but I think this is actually a heavier album than the last one “Blind Rage”, I think there’s some really heavy tracks on this one. And some different cool stuff like “Koolaid” and “Analog Man”, those are kind of a different approach for us I think but still classic Accept sounding. We really enjoyed making this record, I think we’re all very proud of the way it came out, very pleased with it.
Andrew: You mentioned that it has a heavier sound which I think you are right, it certainly has a more aggressive approach to it. Was that something that you were conscious of or maybe were trying to go for this time around?
Mark: I don’t think we just set out to do that. We didn’t make a conscious effort to say, ‘Well we have to get heavier’. I think it was just the way the songs came out, a riff would come up and stuff like “The Rise Of Chaos” itself is heavy as hell and so is “Die By The Sword”, it’s just really heavy songs. And the subject matter is rather heavy as well, it’s a product of our surroundings at this point. Kind of like when we put out “Blood Of The Nations”, we had never written a record in a post 9/11 world, none of us had. So there was a lot of that sort of doom and gloom on “Blood Of The Nations” and now here we are again years later and the world as a whole is crazy! “The Rise Of Chaos” just seemed to fit.
Andrew: Yeah the lyrical content seems to be an indication of what has inspired you this time around. Was there anything in particular that really stood out as far as the last 12 to 24 months where you thought you had to write about or is it usually just the kind of stuff that you always write about anyway?
Mark: Yeah I mean at my age it’s not really writing about chicks all the time of course [laughs]. ‘Baby, baby and let’s go get drunk’, you know which is not really what Accept is ever at anyway. It is writing about the world around you and how you see it and trying to paint a picture and trying to color it a little differently and get people to think. You like to think that your audience is intelligent, I think they are and like to give them the benefit of the doubt so we try to say things and make them do a little bit of thinking. But then there’s stuff like “Analog Man” and that’s actually something that we would say all the time, if things get too carried away on the computer and too digitally crazy in the studio then I would just look at them and go, ‘Look, analog man. Speak to me in terms that I can understand’ [laughs], and they just kinda ran with it and said, ‘Why don’t you write a song about that?’ And I was like, well that one’s easy [laughs], that’s a no-brainer. But once again you just get things that are just around you.
Andrew: So you must retain a certain amunt of old school approach then, an old school mentality that you like to keep to retain that Accept signature sound I suppose.
Mark: By all means. You want it to sound like the classic band but you just want it to sound fresh and use the technology that’s available today obviously, you have to otherwise you’re living in the stone age. But to go back to recording on 2 inch tape, it may sound good, it may wind up sounding better but holy crap it would take forever compared to the way you record now. If you think about the things that we used to do, things that you can do with a point and a click in 2 seconds, used to take like 6 hours [laughs], so it’s a no-brainer.
Andrew: Yeah it’s pretty amazing where we have come along as far as technology is concerned. I mean there’s obviously positives to it and there’s also a lot of negatives to it, the internet has really impacted the music industry a lot and you would know first hand I suppose.
Mark: Yeah the internet has had quite an impact on the muic industry, some of it is very good, some of it is very bad. Bad for musicians that’s for sure, good for the audience I suppose because there’s so much more available and easier to get. It’s also good for musicians who never would of had a chance to make their stuff known, if you think about it in the 70’s or early 80’s, there’weren’t as many bands back then that you would actually get to hear because you had to be special enough to get a record deal and that was it. You don’t need a record deal anymore, you can put your own record out so it has it’s ups and it’s downs. It’s hard to wrap your head around it sometimes but unfortunately a lot of musicians aren’t getting paid the way they should and it’s hard for them, songwriters especially cant make a living anymore so it’s difficult.
Andrew: Yeah it is very difficult but I guess that’s where the touring comes in where it has become the main source of income where bands have to be on the road, maybe more now than ever before.
Mark: Oh sure, hell yeah. Touring and merch and that’s what I’m saying, Nashville in particular there is a lot of people there who are just songwriters. They don’t play in bands, that’s their income and it’s really a hardship on them. We’re lucky enough to be able to go out and play and still able to make a living out of it.
Andrew: When you come down to Australia in September, will you be playing many songs from the new album or will you be really mixing it up a lot?
Mark: We’ll mix it up but we will definitely be playing at least 3 or 4 songs off the new album. I mean we seem to always do so we’ve already rehearsed a bunch of them for live so I think we are going to do 3 of them at Wacken. So we will see how many more wind up onto the set and what else is going to come in, we’re planning on doing some pretty long sets on the tour so we can get as much in as we can.
Andrew: That must be getting more difficult as the years go on with more albums, that picking a setlist isa little more difficult now compared to maybe even a few years ago.
Mark: Yeah it is, especially with the new stuff. I mean the old stuff we kinda know what works, what we’ve done, what we can’t and what we haven’t done which we want to do and we’re going to try some things this time. But now it becomes that we have to pick stuff from “Blood Of The Nations” and “Stalingrad” and “Blind Rage”, there’s so much material now you can’t get it all in. We try to maintain half of the old stuff and half new stuff in the set, give or take a song here and there it’s usually the way it works out and they work well together. But yeah the more new stuff, then hell yeah [laughs] the more difficult it gets!
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah I would imgine so.
Mark: What a terrible thing huh? [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah I’m sure there’s worse things.
Mark: There’s more songs to choose from, what do we do?!
Andrew: Well congratulations on the new album, it sounds fantastic and we are looking forward to seeing you in Australia. It is a pity that we couldn’t see you do more shows out here but we will take what we can get!
Mark: Well we are certainly looking forward to being there, I can’t wait. I really enjoyed Australia last time, I’m hoping to enjoy it again even more this time. Really looking forward to seeing the fans as well because they were an ass kicking audience at all the places that we played, really nice and really excited people and that’s the way we like it.
Sunday 17TH September – Melbourne, 170 Russell
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