Trentemøller / Various The Trentemøller Chronicles

Trentemøller / Various The Trentemøller Chronicles
A master of genre disguise, Anders Trentemøller has the ear and sophistication to work his way convincingly into many different corners of electronic music. Call it a gift or a curse but it seems to work more often than not for the Danish producer/DJ, which is arguably why he’s become so popular over the last few years, and why this "official” second album should appeal to an even bigger audience. Collecting personal favourites from his twelve-inch releases on one disc and a mixed bag of remixes on another, he’s laid out a well-rounded example of his flexibility as a producer/remixer. Disc one is an actual mix of his, commencing with 2004’s "The Forest,” a medium-paced shape shifter that, thanks to his remarkable attention to detail in textures and arrangement, becomes an instant standout. The stunning "Snowflake” actually profits from a live setting’s raw acoustics and "Gush” finds a euphoric spot with its minimal electro thrust. That said, the gothic post-rock of "Blood in the Streets” demonstrates that his ambitions don’t always work out. CD two shows that Trentemøller’s remixing style is much steadier, finding him flexing his muscles with songs by the Knife, Sharon Phillips, Tomboy and Robyn, and mostly keeping on a jacked-up electro rush. Though the good outweighs the bad, his crack at bigger names like Röyksopp and Moby provide disappointing results. Perhaps there’s a little too much here to digest in one or even two sittings but as they say, sometimes bigger is better.

As far as the press release from your label goes, The Trentemøller Chronicles is being considered your second full-length release, though it’s clearly a compilation of singles, various tracks and remixes. What made you decide to release this as an album instead of spending time to record new material?

I have been very busy with preparing my big live set up with the band. Making new live versions of The Last Resort tracks etc., so there has not been much time and quietness to concentrate on writing new songs. The Chronicles is a compilation, not a new studio album. It is not released as a new album, but as you said, as a compilation. Therefore the title Chronicles. The Chronicles is the chance for Trentemøller fans to get my more rare releases that have only been out on vinyl so far. Some of them are rare b-sides that only have been sold in 300 or 400 copies. It's material from 2002 to 2007. So CD one is for me , personally, the most interesting CD. It's a mix of the more mellow stuff, beginning very down-tempo. There are also two new tracks on that CD, which have never been released before, and there's a live version of "Snowflake” that ends up in drum&bass, plus the radio edit of "Moan (trentemøller remix)” is also included as a bonus track. CD two is a compilation of my best remixes. From Röyksopp, Moby and the Knife to more rare stuff as Filur, Robyn and Tomboy.

Are you currently working on new material? If so, how does it differ from The Last Resort?
I am slowly beginning to work on new material, but which direction it will lead me I don't know.

Was it difficult getting permission from all of the artists to release your remixes of their music on a Trentemøller album?
Yeah, I think Poker Flat [label that released The Last Resort] had a hard time clearing the bigger names like Moby and Röyksopp. But in the end it happened (-:

You’re touring with a band. What sort of adjustments did you need to make in order to achieve a live sound that you felt captured what you were doing in the studio? Was it a difficult process?
It's of course very different, but not difficult, because using real instruments has always been a natural thing for me to do. I feel it's a much more musical experience to play with the band. You know, this is like a concert not just a regular DJ set with four-to-the-floor beats from the beginning to the end. Much more energy and sex and melancholic vibes and rave and... it's hard to explain. We try to take the crowd on a big journey. For me it was just the natural next step, taking the album "on the road.” The guys playing with me live are also playing on The Last Resort. I have made a new live version of every track, so that we don’t just play the tracks in the same versions as they appear on the album. And playing with a band also means a lot of space to jam, and that's fun. I can only tell you that so far we have been playing only sold out gigs on our tour, and people are enjoying it a lot. So if you expect to see a normal DJ set, you better stay at home. He he. (-:

Were there any songs of yours in particular that were more work than you imagined?
A track like "Snowflake” was very fun to do, because it ended up being very different to the original as you also can hear.

You’ve been approached quite a bit over the last few years to remix some high profile artists, like Moby and Pet Shop Boys, as well as two of my favourites: Robyn and the Knife. Have you had to say no to any artists that have approached you? Do you have any sort of criteria that the song must meet in order for you to accept an offer?
I have actually said no to a lot of artists. Sometimes because I did not like the track but also sometimes because I did not have the time to do the proper work. I take it very seriously when I do a remix. And I put a lot of effort and work into it. I ended up saying no to Puff Daddy because he asked me to do a remix while I was working on the Pet Shop Boys remix and I did not feel I could do two remixes at the same time. But it was of course weird to have two big names asking for a remix at the same time (-: It's fun to do remixes but I prefer concentrating on my own material. Making a remix is, of course, always about working on someone else’s work, and that's fine. But I am very much aware that I don't wanna end up like a remix-only artist. I express my feelings through my own music, not my remixes.

Is there a remix you’re most proud of?
It must be the Röyksopp remix! It still works on the dance floor I think...

Is there an artist in particular that you’d love to remix or produce?
Hope Sandoval from my all-time favourite band, Mazzy Star. I'm a BIG BIG fan of her/their music and Hope's voice is so beautiful and unique.

I find your remixes sound a lot more commercial and pop-oriented than your actual music (the "Konichiwa Bitches” remix especially!). Is that something you agree with? If so, what is it about remixing that brings out the more pop-minded, accessible side of your creative edge?

Remixes are made, mostly, for the dance floor. So for me it's always becoming a bit more poppier as you said... I don't know why really, but the fact that people have to dance to it is maybe a big factor...

You work within an extremely broad spectrum of music: techno, house, down-tempo, dub, you name it. Does your wide range just reflect your tastes? Or do you feel that it’s important as an artist to keep your music as varied as possible?
Yeah, definitely! I like a lot of different music, so for me I would get bored if I only did techno or only did down-tempo. For me it's important to have the freedom to just make exactly what kind of music I like. It is also [the reason why] I have nearly stopped doing remixes. It simply is more interesting for me to concentrate on my own material.

Is there one certain genre you prefer to work in?
It must be the melancholic listening music...

The Last Resort has a very organic quality to it. Songs like "Like Two Strangers” and "While the Cold Winter Waiting” feel almost as if a band is playing them. What type of set up do you have in the studio? Are you making most of this music with a computer or is it an organic (read: achieved with instruments) as it sounds?
I have a very basic set up. MAC AND A KEYBOARD AND SOME HARDWARE, AND THAT'S IT (sorry caps lock). I started in playing in several indie rock bands when I was young but slowly I was more and more interested in electronic music. Especially after I discovered the band Suicide, which really blended this lo-fi electronic sound with rock. They are still my heroes! So "thinking” band-like is a natural thing for me, when I produce music. That is why it sometimes gets this "live” feeling, I think. And then the fact that I use real instruments too. It gives the music this "random” factor and organic warmth. (Audiomatique)