Danish artist, Trentemoller continues to confound and refuses to be pigeonholed on his latest album, Lost. On the eve of its release ALFRED GORMAN chats to him in his studio in Copenhagen about his creative process and touring with his childhood idols Depeche Mode.
Speaking with a thick accent, it is obvious Anders Trentemoller has a lot to say about music – he is just, at times, hindered by language and gets tongue-tied trying to find the right words. He is still based in Copenhagen, as he says, “It’s not a big, crazy city, and it’s a close knit music scene.” While a lot of European musicians move to London or Berlin, Trentemoller says if he was to move it would be to New York City, “because of the whole music there, back to the ‘60s, The Velvet Underground, Talking Heads – a lot of the bands I really listen to. And despite being a very big city, it’s easy to get around.”
His unique brand of dark electronica and indie is very much in key with a lot of post rock and slowcore US bands, and his new album features several American vocalists. On this, his third album, his sound has progressed further, moving away from his electronic roots into producing music with the vision of performing with a band.
He’s had a chance to road test some of the songs, having just finished touring with Depeche Mode. “It was like a childhood dream come true, because Depeche Mode were the soundtrack to my teens. I’ve always loved the way Martin Gore could write these beautiful pop songs, but with a dark, melancholic edge to them. This was something that has always inspired me.”
Trentemoller certainly seems to have found his sweet spot on this latest album, with the perfect balance of light/dark, electronic/indie, instrumentation/vocals. He says when working on a new album, he never really knows where it will end.
“I really like if everything is open in the beginning. I kind of let the music demand which way to go. I start doing a lot of sketches of songs and very slowly through the process I start figuring out, ‘ok so this album is going to sound like this’. A lot of the songs ended up being very vocal based.”
The vocal tracks, he says, were written with specific vocalists in mind. After touring with Blonde Redhead, he was inspired to write Come Undone, for the amazing Kazu Makino. The Dream features Mimi Parker from Low.
“It was very clear for me from the start, that this song could really fit her voice,” he says about Parker. “So it was actually quite nerve-wracking, approaching her to see if she wanted to work with me. It happened like this with all the songs, I had all these people in mind and just kind of asked them, and crossed my fingers. It was just lucky for me that all the artists said, yes! Maybe they could also recognise that these songs were written specifically for them.”
While Trentemoller plays 90 per cent of the instruments on the album, they play live as a five piece. “We are really hoping to come down to Australia. We haven’t had any requests yet, but would love to come back!”