U.D.O. // official interview 2018 // AFM Records

U.D.O. have just released their so long anticipated new studio album “Steelfactory” after three years of touring with DIRKSCHNEIDER project. And it was great to talk personally with the legendary “German Metal Tank” Udo Dirkschneider at the backstage of summer ‘Masters Of Rock 2018’ festival in Czech Republic about some details of the new studio effort of U.D.O. that has already got an excellent feedback from all around the globe.

Congratulations with the new album! “Steelfactory” really sounds like what any old fashioned metalhead wants to listen to!

Yeah, this time we were making songs, of course, like old school but there’s some other influence especially from Andrey – he brought a lot of oriental, maybe “mongolian” stuff (smiling) in there but it’s very good. And there are also some ideas from Sven. And, of course, Fitty and I, we are the old school guys, so that was the basic. I think the whole result of the album is very good, I’m very happy with that. Let’s say, there’s lot of different stuff on this album. And it’s a good mixture.

Some fans ask why there are so many songs on the album?

Yeah, we have 13 songs on the normal CD and 15 on the limited edition. Why not? I mean they can be happy, hahaha!

Did Stefan Kaufmann participate in some composing?

Not exactly, he wasn’t involved in the composing but Stefan came up with some songs and we chose some ones from Stefan like “A Bite of Evil”, and then “The Devil Is An Angel” and “Rising High”. Stefan came up with these ideas and we thought that why not, they are good songs! I did the melody and the lyrics for those songs. So they were written by Stefan and me. And two songs are written by Andrey and me: the ballad “The Way” and “Rose in the desert”. The rest we did as a team. That’s good!

The title “Steelfactory” is quite simple and clear, it’s really straight, it describes the album very well…

You know that normally we always use a title of a song. And this time we said “no”. We said that we wanna have something different. We had tons of names, tryouts… and then Fitty came up in aid.  While talking one day we came to “Steelfactory”, you know the meaning is a place where they produce metal. That’s it. In that way it was very easy.

The video footage for "One Heart One Soul" is a reminiscent to U.D.O.'s first video ever - "They Want War"…

Ah… "They Want War" was against war! It was against something like war between Iran and Iraq when they sent children to the war. But this clip is about that we are one world. It’s not about any war, it’s about that we can live in one world. That is what nowadays is happening in Europe. Many people are coming from Africa, from Syria and we’re getting more and more people in this world, we are one world, we all living without this shit, and this is the meaning of the song. And if you watch the video with so many different people from different countries, from different religions you get it. So, that was the whole meaning. For me to make a video clip doesn’t mean just to film a video clip of the band at some factory playing. And the lyrics of this song were like the best thing to make a video clip.

Who came up with the idea, the video production or the band?

I was choosing the song, then I sent the lyrics to the production company, and then it’s my girlfriend haha, she came up with the whole idea, how to make this story. She’s working in the movie business, so that was very interesting. I said yes, it was pretty good. And then she did all that creative stuff. She did a good job!

The video clip starts with the scene where you put U.D.O. vinyl record on a turntable. The new album has been released as a variety of colored vinyl as well. How do you see the so-called "vinyl revival" nowadays? Do you listen to any vinyl records at home?

Yes, I’ve got tons of vinyl at home, but they are old ones and I don’t buy any new ones. Andrey is a big collector at the moment. He tries to get a lot of vinyl stuff. Yeah, I think it’s very interesting! I mean it’s a big revival of the vinyl. We sell a lot of vinyl. In Germany they are in a big shop in Media Markt. It’s very good! I mean, maybe I’m a little bit too old fashioned but the sound of the vinyl is different than on the normal CD. It’s a warmer sound… it’s more… I don’t know!

But I’ve heard an opinion that modern vinyl is a different thing that old vinyl because it’s recorded digitally.

It’s like they are more now for collectors, not really for playing it at home. We can say it’s more like a souvenir.

As for me, I listen to a lot of stuff in Apple Music, what do you think about this modern way?

I can’t say much about it. It’s a modern world! We have nothing against. But on the other hand it’s like that all this download stuff for musicians doesn’t allow to make much money anymore from selling albums. Now the business is completely changed. We are making more money on touring, on merchandising than on selling albums.

So, about touring. As it was announced you play in Russia this fall. When do you plan a European tour?

Yeah, we start in Russia on October 28th in St. Petersburg. It will be a long tour. Then in the middle of January we start touring in Europe. Then we will see how long this tour will go. 

The setlists for both parts of Dirkschneider tour were awesome. How about forthcoming U.D.O. tour setlist? Any surprises? I think it will be difficult to make a choice!

We have 16 U.D.O albums. At the moment we are making a list with about 35 songs that we can play. And you can’t have 35 songs in the set, it’s a little bit too much! So, at the end we will see which songs we will take. Maybe it will be some songs that we never played with U.D.O. but we will see!

You have made an outstanding performance with orchestra recently. Any ideas for future cooperation? Maybe completely new material recordings with orchestra?

Maybe we will do a small tour in Europe. Maybe only in Germany.

Any chance that we will hear any Accept song from you in the future again? Never say never?

In the next U.D.O. tour there will be definitely no Accept songs. I always say that the little door is open. If maybe Accept splits up (we never know!) and I still continue then definitely some Accept songs will be back. But Accept at the moment is on tour and plays a lot of classic songs. They saw that Udo is very successful with them, so their latest set list made me fuckin’ laughing  but anyway haha we say ok, really!

In my opinion, if they play classic songs, it doesn’t mean that they sound good…

I mean, it was the reason why Dirkschneider tour was so successful. To be really honest, now with Andrey for me it’s better with the guitar than with Hoffmann, sorry. Yeah, really! Andrey now… he’s really a better guitar player!

Finally, after almost 3 years of touring with Dirkschneider project, you come back to your "home band"...

Right now after 3 years when we were rehearsing for the Military Night festival in June where we were playing only 2 Accept songs. And the rest was U.D.O. songs. And everybody was like: we are looking forward to play U.D.O. stuff now! I don’t wanna say that I’m tired of “Balls to The Wall” or “Princess of the Dawn”, it’s always good to sing them, but with U.D.O. we also have so many classic songs! And I wanna do one tour completely without Accept songs.

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