That this particular audience knows who Till Lindemann is is something of a given – but we’re all curious about the man with whom he’s collaborating at the moment. And that Peter “Pekka” Tägtgren is involved in Hypocrisy as well as his own solo project, PAIN, is by now also pretty well known.
His name rings a bell with a lot of Heavy Metal fans and he’s even been dubbed a “super producer” by some, so it’s high time to have a look at his influence, particularly on Scandinavian Metal. Being such a relatively small geographical area, there is a lot of interaction and collaboration between Nordic Metal bands, and even with artists not automatically associated with the genre. The tradition of backing each other up instead of competing for chart positions is one of the things that makes Nordic Metal unique.
Beside the great Metal strongholds such as the UK and the US, Scandinavia and the Nordic countries have long been on the forefront of the genre, with such acts as Sabaton, Opeth, Arch Enemy, Dimmu Borgir, Entombed, Rouska and those Great Danes, Volbeat, just to mention a few. And persistence pays off, because in recent years, they have begun taking over the world.
Behind many of these bands’ success is Peter Tägtgren and his small Abyss Studio in Dalarna, located in the outback of the deep Swedish forests, in a village he actually owns. “Yeah, I have seven apartments that I rent out, so I have to be a landlord,” says Peter in an interview. “I have a couple houses and I sold a couple of houses as well. A couple of houses I actually tore down to make it nicer here. It’s right beside the lake. From the beginning, when I bought the place, it was eight houses or something like that, so it’s no big deal. It’s like a small, redneck place (laughs). A village inside another village, outside another village. No big deal.”
No big deal to the man who does more in a couple of years than most people achieve in a lifetime. As a consequence of his self-proclaimed hyperactivity, there’s no rest for the wicked, and Peter has been constantly on the road with either of his two bands, producing or releasing albums for the past 20 years. “The industry never sleeps or takes a vacation,” he states. “Somehow, [work] always finds me,” he laughs when asked the question if he finds life too hectic. “I enjoy it, it’s not really work. It feels like it’s a hobby, I’m still like a kid when it comes to sitting in front of the mixing board, you know.”
And between touring, recording, producing, being the landlord and sitting in front of the aforementioned mixing board, he’s now also involved in Lindemann, and we are eagerly awaiting the results.
Here is a quick look at some of his other protégées.
The Swedish (no shit…) Metal band has been tremendously successful in recent years, going from being a slightly cheesy Dungeons and Dragons outfit with a local, patriotic following, to having conquered the festival stages across Europe (look out, USA!) with their melodic, hard, classic metal style. Peter has been involved with them ever since their humble beginnings in 1999.
”Peter’s been with us ever since the start, even if he’s had different functions on every record,” Pär Sundström, the bass player in Sabaton, mentions in an interview on their latest album, Heroes, the follow up to their hugely successful 2012 album, Carolus Rex. “On Primo Victoria, he helped us tinker a little with the guitars and offered his opinions when it came to the mixing. He did the mixing himself on Art of War, only played the drums on Coat of Arms and produced the whole Carolus Rex album. This was the first time we worked with him to this extent and it all went very well. Heroes is the fastest record we’ve ever recorded, and that provided Peter more time to focus on the production part.”
DIMMU BORGIR (NORWAY)
The three-piece, Black Metal outfit, is one of Norway’s biggest musical exports in any genre and can pride themselves with even knocking down Iron Maiden from the charts in their home country. The band is also associated with LOCK UP, a project with drummer Nick Barker and Peter Tägtgren.
Dimmu Borgir is regarded by many fans as the Black Metal band above any other. Peter has produced four of the band’s albums, latest the Stormblåst MMV album from 2005, a re-recording of the 1996 album of the same name.
Peter has also produced the Finnish band, Amorphis’, 11th record, Circle, released in April, 2013.
“The last three records have been produced by the same people and in the same way,” says keyboard player, Santeri Kallio. “It felt as if it was time for a change. Peter’s main responsibility was to develop the vocals and the sound. Our thought was not to make it more pop, but rather heavier.
“The last record’s sound was a bit soft and mainstream.”
And with the help of Peter, the heavier sound was brought into the studio, and Peter and the vocalist, Tomi Joutsen, have been working a great deal together on the vocal parts. This is the result.
CHILDREN OF BODOM (FINLAND)
Their collaboration began with Children of Bodom’s 2008 album, Blooddrunk, where Peter produced the vocals while the band’s long-time producer, Mikko Karmila, did the rest. “It was definitely a good idea [to have Peter produce the vocals],” said the singer, Alexi Laiho. “-and just made the whole process so much easier for me. Peter is a singer as well, so he knows how to work around the studio. He contributed with a lot of good ideas, things like that. It was most definitely a really good idea to do that; in future, I’m pretty sure we’re going to do the same thing.”
Alexi was right. “I just produced the vocals like I did on the Blooddrunk album” says Peter about the Finnish band’s latest record, Halo of Blood, released in 2013. “I was pretty blown away, they sound way more grown-up and angrier, I think. I really think this can be a really good album.”
Text and editing: Murray/Schnitz