Without passion I would see no sense in making music.
Talking about Copenhagen’s rich and manifold music scene during the past years you can’t really ignore one man who’s been there all the time, constantly pushing other acts besides his own musical vision – Anders TRENTEMØLLER. The Danish producer has come a long way with his music – originally started as techno producer and DJ in the early 21st century, his musical taste and artistic ambition pretty soon ‘forced’ TRENTEMØLLER to go new directions, expand his sound and discover something beyond the dancefloor.
But he never lost his roots over this, he’s regulary visiting them by spinning records all over the world. NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION had the pleasure of meeting the artist right before such a gig in the legendary Berlin club Berghain. We’ve met a man who’s very down to earth and still a big passionate lover of everything he does, may it be DJing, producing music or speaking up his own mind. So, we sat down and got the chance to talk with TRENTEMØLLER about the work on his new studio album, why he would rather produce DEPECHE MODE than ALPHABEAT and what he learned from publishing his opinion on last year’s PUSSY RIOT debate.
Tonight you’re playing a DJ-gig instead of a show with a full band and your own compositions. Is this a different form of excitement for you on such a night?
Yes, it’s very different than playing with the band. With them you have the soundcheck and everything. Personally for me, I think I build a bit more up for the live show but I enjoy DJing as well. Sometimes I must say it is … well, a little bit more lonely than a normal gig. It’s just me on one side and the crowd on the other side. But as you said, two different things and I like them both although I must admitt I prefer playing with the band.
When you are on a DJ tour like you are at the moment, how do you prepare such a club night. Do you have the set already in the back of your mind? Like the first tune you’re gonna play?
No, totally not. It’s pretty much how about I feel in the moment. Normally I don’t prepare although I know I have some tracks that I know will work quite fine. It’s more fun for me to feel the vibe when I’m there and not think about too much prior to the event.
So, no special form of pre-selection for the tunes?
Well, I basicly bring a lot of tunes from myself with me. I mean DJing is about making the people dance – that’s your main job and you should always remember this. This is different with my band as I play my own songs, even if they are not danceable.
When it comes to your music you can clearly sense a certain progress over the past decade. Away from the pure techno music, into a very dark and complex sound structure. And you’re currently working on the follow-up to 2010’s “Into The Great Wide Yonder”. Can we expect even more change within this sound?
I’m still in the working process but I think it’s gonna be a mixture of things. Some stuff is gonna be a bit more club orientated, other got a bit more rock sounding material. So, maybe it’s a bit groovier than the last record. But still it will have this melancholic vibe in it. And it is so many different things, I find it hard to describe. And there will be some guest vocalists on it too, of course. But I can’t tell you details on this at the moment since I still need to figure it all out. (laughs) A lot of things are going on – yeah, but overall I think it will be a bit more electronic again.
A new TRENTEMØLLER record
will hopefully be out in fall 2013.
It will be a bit more electronic again.
Any schedule yet when you’re gonna release it?
I really hope in the fall this year.
As you just mentioned the more electronic vibe – is there a certain feeling to comeback to these roots, especially when you’re doing a club night like today? Like doing a proper techno album again?
No, not really. I think I’ve kind of done that enough. Sometimes in the past I felt like I’ve been trapped in this whole techno thing. I’ve been doing the form of music I’m doing right now from the very early start on but I never released it back then. And suddenly I had this success with just one sort of genre and that soon felt very boring to me. So, I don’t think I will ever make a pure techno record again. But on the other side I’m generally not thinking much in genres.
Not even under a different alias than TRENTEMØLLER?
Hmm, nah. Actually I like releasing stuff under my own name. Then I also have to care less about what people think of certain projects and in which genre box they put me.
TRENTEMØLLER: “Generally I’m quite open minded”
You’ve produced a couple of other artists like DARKNESS FALLS or DORIT CHRYSLER. What is special about the person TRENTEMØLLER as a producer? Do these artists hire you because they want themselves to sound like you?
Hopefully not. (laughs) When you’re producing other musicians you always want to take what’s best of the artist and maybe try to make it a little bit better. But sometimes you see things a bit better from the outisde when you’re not in the middle of the process which helps a lot. And especially with the songwriting and arrangements it sometimes helps to see things a bit from the outside to say things like ‘Maybe this track is a bit too long’ or ‘We could extend this bit of the track a bit’. So, basicly I’m trying to capture the sound of the band but also bring in my own experience.
So, what if ALPHABEAT call you?
(laughs) Well, I think I wouldn’t do it because they are a bit to far away from my taste. But, generally I’m quite open minded.
Any dream producer jobs you would immediately take?
God, there are way too many . . .
I always imagined you producing a DEPECHE MODE record?
Oh, yeah totally. I mean, they once asked me for a remix but that was all so far.
Would you be afraid of such a big band?
Yes, kind of since they are some of my big heroes. But it still would be fun to actually do it. I can imagine it quite rough, simple and a bit dirty I must say.
At least, they said the upcoming album “Delta Machine” will sound that way.
Okay. Well, then it would be interesting to see how they work in such an environment. A bit more back to basics, I guess.
As we are already on favourite bands, you are still a big music lover besides your own stuff. You’ve done lovely collaborations like your “Habour Boat Trips” compilation or your very own installment of “Late Night Tales” featuring a lot of your favourites. Are you a big fanboy and record collector of a certain band?
There are a few, believe me. I really love THE SOFT MOON or A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS. NICK CAVE is also quite a big hero for me. MAZZY STAR are also quite good but they only released like three albums. Or everything by THE VELVET UNDERGROUND probably. In general I like to listen and be inspired by both, old and new stuff. And as I said, THE SOFT MOON are really great and the way they mix electronic sounds with this dark wave atmosphere.
TRENTEMØLLER: “It’s important to support artists who are not allowed to live their own art freely”
Last year you addressed the whole PUSSY RIOT debate on your social network and you did not only receive positive feedback on that. How important is such political awareness for you?
Normally I never go out with a political statement. But his was something I could understand since they were also artists. And although they action was quite provocative it is still needed in a free society to have space for such opinions. And their punishment was just too far out to be ignored. I mean, three years? This is hard. But on the other side it is also Russia and a total different story. In the beginning I was just posting it since I was really shocked about how the whole case was. And a lot of people – especially from Russia – were quite angry about me.
Why? Is it maybe a lack of awareness?
Yeah, but not only this. They have strong feelings about this especially since religion was involved. Mixing religion and politics can be quite hard. And freedom of speech is unfortunately not something they are normally used to. So, there was strong tension I could feel on my Facebook page back then. For example, there were also a lot of people who want a change and who understand the wish for more freedom. But sill I was a bit shocked about the whole debate.
So, next time no statement like this?
Well, not really. (laughs) It’s important to support artists who are not allowed to live their own art freely. I think it’s important that we support each other.
Final question. What do hope and passion mean to you?
They are one of the main things for me when I’m making music. But even if I do sometimes make quite dark and melancholic stuff it’s also important for me to have some hope and light in the music. Well, and my biggest passion is of course music and making it. I also love DJing and the live shows but I really, really love to write and create new music. And without passion I would see no sense in making it.