Ahead of his upcoming date at Warehouse Project, Jack Lewis-Barclay talks to Danish electronic music sensation Trentemøller about his musical influences.
The Mancunion: You’re quoted as saying that you wanted the new album to sound “more organic, warm and not typically electronic”. How did your use of instruments and production techniques differ from this album to the last?
Trentmoller: This time I wanted to go back to my roots: I started playing in several not very good Danish rock bands a long time ago in Copenhagen and I really missed using real instruments. It’s not the same experience, sitting and programming in front of a computer. So for this album, I used real drums, guitar, glockenspiel and piano to give this album a more ‘played’ feeling, almost as if it had been crafted by a real band.
M: The guitars on the new album are very prominent in comparison to your previous work. Who influenced you to add these sounds and textures?
T: Some of the inspiration came from surf music from the 50’s and 60’s, people like Dick Dale and The Ventures. Equally, Krautrock bands such as Neu! and CAN and I was very inspired by the new Portishead album Third. They had a sound that I thought was very warm and organic whilst still overtly electronic, so I wanted to emulate that on my record.
M: On the new album you have both instrumental and vocal tracks, which do you prefer making?
T: I like doing both. It was a new thing for me because previously I’ve worked more on heavily instrumental tracks. I was actually more than half way through the working process when I decided that some of the tracks could work much better with vocals on. So I asked some of my friends who are really quite good singers to contribute vocals. I think the end result is much better because of it.
M: Do you think you’ll ever return to your earlier minimal house 12” singles or does this new album indicate the direction of your music in the future?
T: I don’t know because I’m always trying not to repeat myself, to just make music that I feel like making. I don’t like to classify music into small boxes, so maybe the next album could be completely techno again or 100% folk, but somewhere in between is maybe more realistic. For me, however, it is much more important that I don’t have any artistic limits or musical boundaries.
M: You’ve remixed artists such as Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Moby and The Knife. Who have you enjoyed working with most, and who would you like to work with in the future?
T: Working with The Knife was a pleasure because I’m a big fan of their sound, and Karin Andersson’s voice is so good to work with. Right now I’m remixing Unkle and White Lies, so it’s fun for me to remix something that isn’t as electronic as my own work. Obviously Unkle is electronic in a way, but having the chance to remix something that is more focused on the vocals and melodies is nice.
M: Which artists do you think have most influenced you over the years? And have your music tastes changed in fifteen years?
T: I don’t think there has been as big a contrast as many people would imagine. I still listen to the bands that I started listening to, everything from The Cure to The Smiths and The Velvet Underground. These artists are still a big inspiration for me. From an electronic perspective, though, I really enjoyed the early Plastikman tracks.
M: With these largely rock based influences, what first got you into electronic music?
T: I was actually in London, maybe 15 or 16 years ago. We went to this sweaty underground club that played Drum and Bass and Jungle. It was the first time that I’d heard such energy in music. At the same time Bristol bands were bringing out brilliant albums, bands such as Massive Attack and Portishead. So by the time I left London I had a whole new bunch of records, mainly a mix of those Triphop bands and Drum and Bass. Soon after this I quit my bands, bought a sampler and started making music on my own.
M: In this respect, where would you say your favourite city is in terms of both inspiration and as a city to play to?
T: I think for inspiration, one of the cities that I has really inspired me is New York. Many of the bands I listen to have come from the underground scene there. Manchester has been very influential too, I love the old Manchester sound, The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and Inspiral Carpets to name but a few. As far as modern inspiration is concerned, my home town, Copenhagen has a burgeoning music scene, over the last three or four years the quality has dramatically increased. There are a lot of great artists coming out of Denmark right now, both electronic and rock bands.
M: Finally, If you hadn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?
T: Well, since I was a child I’ve simply wanted to make music but maybe it would be a job working with children. I worked in a kindergarten for six years, which I really enjoyed but I don’t miss it that much. I’m very happy to be able to make money doing what I love now: making music.
Trentemøller’s album Into the Great Wide Yonder is available now on In My Room Records.
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