Danish electronic artist and multi-instrumentalist Trentemøller has sold out tours around the world, been nominated for a U.S. Grammy, and has earned a reputation as being one of the hottest producers and in-demand remixers in the last few years. He also has great taste in music. This is an artist who already has a solid track record, with much more to come..
Kelly Knapp: You’ve worked with and toured with many notable artists. What has been the most notable experience?
Anders Trentemøller: I haven’t toured with that many artists actually but for me it was very interesting and challenging to work on remixing Depeche Mode because it was very interesting to see how they work on their music. When I work on remixes, I use stems and to see how Depeche Mode constructed their track and it is the same way with all the artists I remix. I get the inside look at how they created their tracks and the tricks they use in the details.
Karin Dreijer Andersson, lead vocalist from The Knife, a Swedish band—she has a very special voice that I’m a big fan of and it was great to work with her vocals and easy to fit into my music and some vocals are hard to do this with so that was really fun to do.
KK: This past tour has featured Dorit Chrysler on Theremin. How did your collaboration come about?
AT: I knew her boyfriend, Jesper Just he did the music video for “Sycamore Feeling” for me. I saw her the first time she played a solo concert in Copenhagen and I was blown away by the Theremin—it’s an amazing instrument. You’re controlling the sound waves and pitch without actually touching the instrument. She has a very dramatic way of playing the instrument and I was into the whole sound because it has this 50s horror music feel to it—like a ghost singing or something. She played with me on a track called “Past the Beginning of the End” on this album and then after working in the studio with her I knew if I ever made it to the States on tour I would definitely ask her to come on stage with us so she did on our last tour in New York about 4 months ago.
KK: You have a pretty elaborate and mind-blowing live production for your shows. Is this what you’ve always envisioned your songs are communicating, and represents an accurate translation of what you see in your mind and what you feel when you’re creating music?
AT: No, not really because when I’m creating and writing music I don’t think of those things but more about structure, atmosphere and moods but then when we go on the road it’s important because my music is very cinematic-sounding and there’s no lead singer—its important that there are visuals that fit the music but don’t overrule the music. It has to be a natural part of the music—which is why we don’t use projections the entire show because we don’t want it to be an MTV music video. Henrik Vibskov, a Danish fashion designer who used to play drums with me on earlier tours, designed the whole stage setup, giving the stage a 3 dimensional setup in a very analog way – not a high tech MTV setup.
KK: What goes through your mind when you’re performing on stage?
AT: It depends on the crowd and how the show is going and we’re so lucky that we’ve had so many good shows. Very often those 75 minutes that we’re playing go by very fast because I’m having so much fun. I don’t really think about anything else but playing the music. It’s very hard to put into words the feeling of playing live. The music, the band and the crowd—those three things are magic when they’re put together. It’s the coolest drug you’ve ever had because you’re really high on the music and crowd and you’re kind of sucked into this special energy that’s on stage. It makes it more fun when the crowd is really into the music and luckily we’ve had great experiences with that on the tour.
KK: What about the recordings themselves – can you get a little bit technical for a minute and talk about any unique effects or aspects of the recordings that you’re most proud of?
AT: I’ve tried to get this little bit vintage, dusty sound even on the computer. All my music is mixed on tape and then back onto the computer in the final mastering process—tape makes music a little bit more warm and organic and it really glues everything together. Then, I use some cool preamps (Danish brand called tube-tech). It’s also about the instruments—I use a celesta, which is like a glockenspiel, and it has a special bell sound that I use quite a lot. Just mixing electric sounds with analog sounds is probably the most important thing, I think.
KK: You’ve been touted as one of the top producers and electronic artists at present. What’s that journey been like for you, and is there anything you would have done differently?
AT: No, I’m very grateful for how everything’s turned out. I wouldn’t have dreamt playing sold out shows around the world and two U.S. tours in the past 6 months. My main goal is to make quality records and making music is my biggest passion and something I do for my own pleasure but I love the opportunity to go out and play it for people and get their feedback and see how they use my music in their own lives. And, when I go to sleep I think to myself—it’s crazy—this must be a dream to be able to get to play my music for people all around the world—not just in Denmark.
KK: Who is on your iPod right now? Any potential dream collaborators?
Right now, we are all [the whole band on tour] listening to the newest Tom Waits album –it sounds so dusty and rough—he’s a great composer and singer and unique artist. I’m listening to a band called, A Place to Bury Strangers from New York and they have a cool mix of really true rock and roll sounds and electronic beats sometimes—they’re really good at mixing electronic with rock and roll attitude.
Dream collaborator would be Hope Sandoval, the lead singer of Mazzy Star. She has a unique voice that I never get tired of. They just released 2 new tracks for the 1st time in 15 years–I haven’t had time to listen to them yet—I’m going to download them today but they’ll definitely be on my iPod because I’m a huge fan of their music and sound. Working with Hope Sandoval one day is number 1 on my list.
KK: Any surprises in store for after the tour or special projects you want to pursue in the future?
AT: I have one but I don’t think I can talk about it yet but for me it’s about not playing live or as a DJ in the next 8 months and just being in the studio. My Reworked/Remixed album came out on November 7 and it’s a great showcase of the remixes I have done and what other artists have done with my music. Overall I’m really excited to work on my next album in the studio for the next 8 or 9 months.Now that his tour is wrapped up, a new album is exactly what Trentemøller is now embarking on, so keep an eye out for more to come. Trentemøller - Reworked/Remixed is currently out, with a free download available here. Stay connected with any upcoming news on his Facebook.