Denmark’s DJ/producer/musician Anders Trentemøller has just released his second album Into The Great Wide Yonder and State caught up with him in downtown Copenhagen a few hours before he boarded a tour bus for a month of gigs around Europe. Still fresh in our mind was his mind-blowing show at Roskilde in 2009 and the spookily unsettling video for his latest single.
You’re playing Tripod on October 23rd. Last time you played you had a stellar Danish line-up including Henrik Vibeskov and Mikael Simpson, who’s in the band this time?
We have a girl called Lisbeth Fritze on guitar, from this new Danish girl band Giana Factory, we have two singers Marie Fisker and Josephine Philip, they also sing on the new album. We have a guy on violin called Davide Rossi – he’s normally playing with Coldplay and Goldfrapp and we also have a girl playing the theremin called Dorit Chrysler, though I’m not quite sure if the last two will be playing the Dublin show.
Now speaking of shows, at Roskilde 2009 you played what must have been the biggest show of your career, both in terms of audience and production…
It was the biggest live experience for me ever. Of course Roskilde for me was always the highest thing you could do. Even as a kid going to Rosklde every year I never thought of ever playing on the biggest stage. It was a magical night.
A lot of time after you have a DJ come on after the big rock act you kind of imagine it’ll be more of an afterthought, but I don’t think anyone expected what happened at the concert. A massive cast of musicians, plus dancers, so many costume changes and use of almost the entire area out into the crowd too.
We used a lot of time practicing to make it a concert, not only djing, so we had the full band, plus guest appearances and more. When Roskilde asked me to do it I was certain I wanted to do something special. I was afraid of going up on such a big stage and not being able to fill it out. I also wanted to have some intimate contact with the crowd.
It can’t have been easy, how many people were there – 40,000?
50.000 I was told.
It was pretty intimate for a 50,000 person gig.
Yeah it was, maybe because we built this catwalk and small stage out in the middle and had these lanterns going out to the towers.
The rumour that weekend was that you had spent more on the production than you got paid to do it. Is that true?
Yeah, it is. But it was Roskilde. The Orange Stage.
Is there anything from that show you take with you on these shows?
No – a lot of people had seen that show so I wanted to give something new with this tour, especially the opening four dates in Copenhagen. I wanted to build it around my new album.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m so bad with names usually, but one band I’m listening to are a band from the UK called We Fell To Earth. It’s kind of indie but they are playing like it’s electronic. The drum patterns are looped, in a way. This is not so much party music though, it is much more melancholic but the sound is still electronic although it’s a traditional band set-up.
Who are some of the best new Danish acts?
I actually had four different support acts for my four shows in Copenhagen and they are some of the best new acts I wanted to see. One of them is a band that are supporting me on the European tour and are coming to Dublin too, and they’re called Chimes and Bells. They have just released their new album and it’s really a great album and their sound is something that I really like. Even though it’s different to what I do live it still has the same melancholic, dreamy drone to it. The singer’s boyfriend is also in the band and he has another band, Choir of Young Believers. I love them, a great band. Sleep Party People are really cool too. They all play in Rabbit masks. I think they are going to be quite big outside Denmark – they have their own special, unique sound. Check out the album – all the singing has gone through a weird pedal, but the vocals are much more of an instrument in the band. This girl playing theramin, Dorit Chrysler, also supported me, doing her own solo stuff. Visually it’s so crazy that you’re playing an instrument that you’re not touching. And she’s very dramatic in the way she plays.
Also, I’m actually producing an album for Josephine Philip, who sings on my album. Her new project is called Darkness Falls. She was in a band Ja Confetti but this is very different from the old stuff which was very happy.
Is there any other crossover with you and these previously mentioned bands musically? Any remixes planned?
Yeah, I’m gonna remix Chimes and Bells next single and I’m gonna work on it on the tour bus. They’ll be there with me so if I need a bit of extra guitar or whatever I can just ask. It’ll be a great way to use all that waiting time.
Your remix of Röyksopp’s ‘What Else Is There?’ is now probably more popular than the original.
Yeah, it’s crazy. Right now while I’m on the bus I’m also remixing UNKLE but all this practicing with the show has taken so much time so I’m past deadline on it. So I really have to do it on the bus.
Throughout the new album there’s what I would describe as a David-Lynchian twang…
I was not thinking that much about David Lynch but I was much more inspired by the surf sound, which of course also inspired Lynch. Names like Link Wray, The Ventures, Dick Dale – these names always had a special place in my heart so I wanted it to have some sort of twang sound to the guitars and I thought it would be fun to have it mixed with the more electronic stuff. The first album was much more pure electronic but I really missed physically playing real instruments. I started in a rock band years ago but the following 10 years were spent in front of the computer. It was great to go back to this way of working on this album. Also it was easier to go live with this album because a lot of sounds were already played on instruments.
You obviously like that crossover between rock and electronic.
For me it’s quite a natural development. When I was a teenager, as many teenagers did, I was listening to Joy Division, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen so that influence has slowly come back to my music – together with the surf stuff and also Krautrock, and a lot of new stuff also. I’m trying not to think in small boxes.
I would have let the earlier David Lynch reference slide until I saw the video for ‘Even Though You’re With Another Girl’. It’s pretty trippy in a 1940s kind of way.
One of my friends, Adam Hashemi, came up with the idea. He had a dream two weeks after we talked about making a video and he called me one day and said “I have a great idea for the video”. A guy flying and meeting his old lover and other stuff. I gave him total freedom and I trusted him to do a good job.
One last question, in the six songs you list on your MySpace as being big influences – three are sung by Hope Sandoval. A little obsession?
Yes, I must admit.
Did you ever meet, or send music to her?
I’ve tried but it’s quite hard to find a personal contact. She’s known for being very shy. She played here in Copenhagen two months ago and I was at the concert in the front row. She has a really beautiful voice and what she did with Mazzy Star has been a soundrack to my life and memories and unlucky love stories and all that. There are some good memories associated with their music, and also bad ones, but I really use music as therapy sometimes so Mazzy Star have always been a big soundtrack to me.
Photo by Nina Mouritzen