Teutonic Heritage: A Producer’s View on the Effects of Cultural Origin on Record Production and Artist Interaction

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


In the production of (metal) music, various attitudes and influences must be reconciled: The band members’ musical role models, the producer’s style, A&R and label expectations as well as media and fan feedback. On the receptive end, culturally and geographically defined labels such as ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’, ‘Viking Metal’ and ‘Teutonic Metal’ affect audience perception and, in turn, influence those involved in the music’s production. Previous research in metal music studies has explored regions associated with certain labels, for example Northernness and ‘Viking Metal’ (Heesch 2010; von Helden 2015), Englishness and British metal (Spracklen, Lucas & Deeks 2014), ‘Mesopotamian metal’ (Pichler 2017) or ‘Teutonic Metal’ (Elflein 2015, 2017). However, most of these studies have paid relatively little attention to the musical characteristics that might vary between different cultures of metal. This presentation is an in-depth interview-based case study of seminal metal producer Charlie Bauerfeind (b. 1963), who has produced German bands such as Helloween, Gamma Ray, Running Wild, Blind Guardian and international acts like Saxon, Motörhead, Venom and HammerFall. Born into a family from Sudetenland, a pre-WWII part of Germany and former Czechoslovakia, and having been raised in Bavaria, Bauerfeind considers his heritage crucial for his sonic signature which he believes to be ‘Teutonic’. Based on selected records of Bauerfeind’s discography, the presentation will analyse the effect of producers’ and musicians’ cultural heritages on production processes and results. Analysis of records by the German bands Running Wild and Gamma Ray will highlight special features of German(ic) ‘Teutonic Metal’ that were deliberately appropriated by Brazilian Angra and Swedish HammerFall. Subsequent discussion of Saxon, Venom and Rob Halford records will show ideological and cultural clashes between a ‘Teutonic’ production concept and views of seminal British metal bands. Finally, recent releases by German Helloween will demonstrate how different cultural styles can be merged whilst still retaining authentic features of native heritage.
Period13 Sep 2019
Event titleHome of Metal Symposium and Workshop: Music Heritage, People and Place
Event typeWorkshop
LocationBirmingham, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational