Trentemøller | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, May 24th, 2024  


Playing Off The Board

Nov 22, 2016 Trentemøller Photography by Sofie Nørregaard Bookmark and Share

Don’t pigeonhole Anders Trentemøller as an electronic artist. It’s a disservice to the sheer breadth of his musical acumen. This was reiterated minutes into a small talk conversation with him in which Detroit Techno was broached. He professed to have little knowledge of it, and even seemed bemused that he’d be compared to such a style of music. Favoring rock over dance, while certainly embracing the latter at times, has always been Trentemøller’s overriding ethos. Yet, it’s been an organic build to get to a place that really emphasizes rock for the Danish songwriter/producer, and has culminated with Fixion, his fourth LP.

“It’s been a slow, natural process for the past 10 years, and there were a lot of people unsatisfied because I didn’t play as a DJ when I played live early on,” he laughs. “But I played in rock bands as a teenager, and quite quickly people found that our shows weren’t going to be a techno rave. And then came the new fanbase slowly. And finally I can play and satisfy people, I hope.”

And with Jehnny Beth of Savages, a singer who embodies rock music in 2016, providing vocals on multiple tracks including lead single “River In Me,” you realize that this isn’t the Trentemøller of yore. These songs have a swagger and visceral kick that venture into uncharted territory for him.

Hence it’s easy to imagine that mixing Savages’ recent sophomore album, Adore Life, had an effect on Trentemøller, which is how he was initially introduced to Beth, and he agrees. “We met up in Copenhagen to record her vocals for Fixion, and it was done in 24 hours,” he says. “It was an intense process. Not meeting up face to face with people worked in the past for me, but this time I wanted something different, more direct. That definitely makes it even more personal…and I love Savages’ music.”

An obsession with music steers Trentemøller on this album. It’s the light he can’t resist, and much like M83’s Saturdays=Youth, it’s also something of a love letter to his teenage infatuations. He name-checks his love of Slowdive, Ride, The Smiths, and My Bloody Valentine, which were essentially his gateway bands. He also points to The Cure’s Disintegration as a major touchstone for Fixion, albeit at a subconscious level.

“I don’t listen to music while I’m recording, because I want to focus on being in the now. But Disintegration showed up as a big inspiration for me on Fixion,” he says. “It was something that I wasn’t aware of when I did the album at all, but now I can hear sounds from it all over, mainly in the big synths.”

Trentemøller is still humbled that he makes a living as a musician, and he’s deeply appreciative of the opportunities he’s been afforded. And yet he makes his albums with the crashing ambitions of a neophyte with something to prove, aspiring to create music commensurate with his idols. “I need to have a stomach feeling that I succeeded in my goals. It’s always a big challenge to make an album a story, or a journey…. I don’t think people are that used to the album format anymore,” he says with a tinge of dejection. “But for me it’s still important to think about how the albums fit together when I’m transferring my feelings into the music. I’ve always loved The Velvet Underground, and those are the sort of albums I want to make.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s August/September/October 2016 Issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.]


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