It took him almost ten years to share his compositions with the world – Anders Trentemøller is as shy as he is a perfectionist. Considered today as one of the most elegant electronic music producers, We took the occasion of his worldwide tour and caught with him in Barcelona, where he presented his last album, Fixion – completed as his own utopia had finally found expression in the language of music.
Fixion is Trentemøller's fourth album – retaining still the oniric ambitions of his previous compositions. The entirety of the music is indeed still composed and produced by Anders, in his very own studio. But Trentemøller is a real band. From time to time, sound and rhythm here define a universe of sense fed with dark and romantic atmospheres; a melodic complexity calling for contemplation. The fourth full-length record may be understood as a gem given by the Danish compositor; a door open onto an eclectic journey – like River in me, a song where Jehnny Beth, the singer of the Savages, takes us into ghostly landscapes. So we wanted to capture the spirit of Anders Trentemøller, the musical utopian maker.
For the (few) people that had never heard of you before, can you just introduce yourself briefly?
I am a Danish musician doing electronic music, mixing it with indie stuffs, playing also with a live band. And I've been doing this for the last fifteen years.
You often cite The Cure or the Velvet Underground as references. What attracted you that much in those bands as a teenager?
What I loved about them was the different aesthetics and the sound they had – it was very different from what I normally used to listen to on the radio. I mean my parents were not really listening to any particular genre, they just put the radio on. And one day Venus in Furs was playing on the radio – such an amazing song! So maybe what stroke me first was that those songs were quite different from what was normally playing on the commercial radio stations.
Can you tell us a bit more about this period – a throwback memory? The first EP or LP you bought? Your first performance?
The first song that I can remember I bought was The Velvet Underground & Nico, cause I thought it was quite interesting, and it was on a tape – that was back in time. But then I was just listening to whatever was on the radio. So I was just listening to a lot of different music. The first live show that I attended... It was Disneyland After Dark, D-A-D, a Danish band. Yeah, that was my first live experience with music. My first own performance was actually with Thomas, my manager now – it was during a birthday party at Copenhagen, many years ago, and it was the first time I actually played electronic music together with Thomas. He was DJing and I was doing the synthesizer. What's funny is that now I am the one who DJs.
Could you cite one more song or artists that reflect the best your musical influences? There is alreadyVenus in Furs by the Velvet… What else?
I think another one could be Atmosphere by Joy Division, I like the sound of it, especially with the sense going on. It is also something that has inspired me for my new album. I mean I'm always grabbing from everywhere, but what has always driven me is doing it differently every time. Sometimes it took years before finding the inspiration back. Once I almost thought I had lost the ability to write music...
A funny thing is that, at first, people thought you were a techno producer, later on they put you in a dance-music box. Then you surprised them by experiencing a new 'genre' with Lost. How important is it for you to keep the energy of music by never falling into one genre, one box?
Yeah, for me all those different boxes aren't that important – they belong to a whole that is music. So I just like to do music without thinking too much if it's whatever it is. It doesn't really matter that much to me what you call it. One of the reasons why I love music is that you can get inspired by so many different styles and sounds – it can be soundtracks, it can be classical, it can be voguing, it can be rock, it can be everything. So I try not to think too much about that when I'm doing music. But for my latest album, I was definitely inspired by post-punk bands from the 1980s, because I grew up with them, you know. But still I didn't want the album to be a nostalgic one, so I also wanted something to look forward to and the big challenge for me was again not to be a copy of The Cure or Joy Division, but just being myself doing my own song – still with the inspirations quite clear in mind.
You once said that you transfer feelings into your music – which feelings have you been transferring into Fixion?
It is very hard to explain. Of course I like the more melancholic vibes, and I also wanted it to have some hope and some light so is not all that depressing. Hopefully it’s even a bit uplifting. It has some songs that are quite groovy – it’s not all about feeling blue, but it's also hopefully a journey through different moods. And that's how all my albums are, I think: it's not only just one vibe, but it's a little snapchat of where I am in my life and that shows in every album, so to speak. Just what feels right in the moment – it is not like I really have a plan before I start making a new album or what it should be about. It's something that really appears while I'm in the working process. Then the challenge is to follow a certain sound, or follow a certain root, and see where that leads me.
How important is it for you to have an actual band when performing?
It is something that I really need because obviously I can not play all the instruments by myself live. And it also just gives the music the sound that I want it to have, because there are live instruments on the recordings, and it just feels right for this kind of music. It would just feel weird to have the guitars and the drums on tape. So it feels right and that's also why I also have Marie Fisker singing live.
Lots of people are saying that electronic music has actually killed rock'n'roll and live musicians – what do you think of that?
I think it's true that live music, in some way, really suffered because los of people go to discos, also for venues it is much easier to hire one Dj rather than a band. But I still think that live music gives something special compared to Djing. I also like the fact that now we are actually combining two different worlds: the electronic world and the rock world – and they don't have to be two different universes, they can definitely melt together. That's also what we are doing live, what lots of new artists are doing. So I don't feel the gap is that big anymore – it was maybe big like ten years ago, but now it's much better. So I don't feel you can say that electronic music has killed rock'n'roll – they are working quite well together, I think.
Do you think today's rebellious spirit is to be found in what is vaguely called 'electronic music'?
Yeah! I truly think it can be found anywhere! In electronic music, in jazz, or in classic music, it is not so much about the music style, is more about what you want to do with your music. So it's something you can find everywhere. It is about the artist behind the music rather than the genre itself.