Pioneering Danish DJ and producer Anders Trentemøller will be playing in Manchester this October as part of the Warehouse Projects. Despite having received critical acclaim for his remixes of Moby, Röyksopp, and the Knife, as well as having his Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 voted Best of 2006, he still has yet to break the mainstream market. This show might just change that.
Known simply as ‘Trentemøller’ he is no stranger to the British shores, though his name has proved a little tricky for some. “When Pete Tong started promoting me on the radio I saw they had spelt my name ‘Trent Moller’ on the Radio 1 website,” he says on the phone from Copenhagen. “It then kind of stuck and I kept on seeing it on posters when I was playing in the UK.”
Undeterred, he has returned to tour following the release of his latest album, ‘Into the Great Wide Yonder’, best described as gloomy, instrumental dance music with plenty of British influence.
“The music I’ve listened to the most to over the years has been English bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division and The Cure who all have an underlying melancholia. There’s more depth and layers to investigate with that sort of music. I would have a really hard time making a happy-go-lucky tune.”
Being attracted to this type of music, he explains, is typically Scandinavian. “I find there’s a deeply melancholic sound in Scandinavia even going back two or three hundred years. It must lie in the blood or something.”
But there’s more to Trentemøller’s music than melancholia. His compositions are stark and drift from ambient and dreamlike electronica to bass driven rave anthems. It is at times reminiscent of Deadly Avenger or DJ Shadow and James Lavelle’s UNKLE, with introspective melodies led by off-tempo drums, deep bass, and distorted guitars. Stormy and energetic one moment, touching and mournful another.
Being hard to pin down, however, is all part of the appeal. For despite being electronic and orientated towards the Dance scene, the new record feels ‘live’, made with real instruments but put together on a computer, bringing two traditionally separate musical worlds together.
“People do still see me as just being an electronic or dance DJ. But I think this new album has these new layers which take me well beyond pure dance music. I felt like I had become locked into my screen. I missed playing instruments so I turned off my computer to force myself to use my ears again”
Surprisingly, one of the most striking ‘live’ elements of the new album, the twangy surf guitars, is almost entirely synthesised. “90% of the guitar on the album is fake. I used a synth and put it through loads of guitar pedals and amplifiers to give it a guitar sound that reminded me of something I liked. I also work a lot at night when it’s calmer so I can’t really just call up a guitarist and get him over. It was easier just to do it myself.”
After all the long, lonely nights producing the album in his flat, Trentemøller is thrilled to be touring again. “Getting out and playing the album for a live audience is something I’m really looking forward to. I’m excited to get out and share it, play different versions of the tracks and feel the feedback from the crowd.”
Alongside his permanent band of Danish composer and songwriter Mikael Simpson on guitars and celebrated Scandinavian fashion designer Henrik Vibskov on the drums, is Davide Rossi on Violin. “It was really lucky to have him play on the album because he’s really fantastic. Hopefully he’ll become a permanent member of the band,” says Trentemøller about Rossi, who has previously worked with the likes of Coldplay, Goldfrapp and the Verve.
Travelling with him on his European tour will be fellow Danes, ‘Chimes and Bells’. An atmospheric Indie band from Copenhagen, Trentemøller chose them personally. “I thought they suited the sound and atmosphere of the new album really well. Even though they’re not at all electronic, they still have a really melancholic and dreamy sound which I think could work really well.”
With four back to back sell-out shows in his hometown of Copenhagen, his popularity is also soaring across Europe. Highly recommended for dance music enthusiasts and Indie aficionados alike. Just remember to book your Tuesday off.