This year Reykjavik has hosted the famous Sónar Festival, which was started in Barcelona in 1994 and is officially described as a “Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art”.
And yes, Trentemøller was there too.
The Danish electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist is one of the most important names in Europe over the last five years and Reykjavik Boulevard was more than happy to chat with him about music, travels and much more.
Hi Anders, it’s a great pleasure to talk with you! I know that you’re travelling through Iceland right now… Where have you been today?
Hello! Yeah, actually I’ve been out with my girlfriend to see some power plants and early this morning we went to… Uhm, I can’t remember where, but it was a swimming pool which was very nice. It is great to be here anyway, tonight I’ll play to the Sònar quite late (I think at 1.30-3am, so basically party time!)
What do you think of the Icelandic artistic and music scene? Do you like any bands or artists?
Well, of course I’d say Sigur Ròs and Bjork, but there are really cool things coming out of this country: just think that there are only like 300.000 people living in Iceland! That’s also because I think that the government really support art and culture and the main purpose is to promote the music scene worldwide.
We don’t know that much about the danish music scene so I ask to you: while you make music, have you been influenced by your country (in particular Copenhagen)?
Apart from Copenhagen, I maybe think that the whole scandinavian vibe holds a little bit melancholia, there’s a little bit dark and sometimes it’s reflected in my music, but it’s just something that is in my productions because countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway have this kind of gloomy attitude.
I love the fact that you can feel this element of variety in your productions, a mixture of different kind of music. It’s not just “minimal”! So, tell me something about your musical influences.
For me it was just a natural development back then; to me, doing the first album was great, it was very different compared to my first singles which were more for the dancefloor and I really wanted to do so much more than that. I’ve always done a lot of different kind of music: in the beginning I was only known for my own ‘dance’ kind of stuff but I did so much other music too, so it was a great opportunity for me because you can also make music that maybe is a little bit more “challenging” for the listener.
You’ve remixed a really wide variety of artists (Royksopp, Pet Shop Boys, The Knife, Moby, Depeche Mode, Franz Ferdinand and more): how do you decide who you’re happy to remix? Do they ask you the remixes?
I’ve been so lucky that the artists and the bands always asked me to do the remix. I’ve asked only once if I could remix a band (The Drums) and they were so happy about it, but usually artists come to me and ask if I want to remix their songs. Of course, I’m also so lucky to be fan of most of them! There are many musicians that I think it’d be great to work with; some of my favorite artists will also appear on my next album, so it’s really great not only to sit in your own studio and doing music on your own but also sometimes work with other artists and being able to take your music in a different direction.
We’ve heard that you really like to play a lot of instruments with the band and “make some good noise” with them during the gigs: is that a dimension that you want to recreate in the studio (for example, making an album) instead of keeping that just in a live situation?
Yeah, for my album “Into the Great Wide Yonder” I’ve had real drums, guitar, bass and other instruments so that album already had those elements. Actually the new album has a little bit more of the ‘electronic feeling’, but I’m trying not to think too much about the music style. I just want to make some good music, you know? Sometimes it’s more electronic, sometimes it’s more acoustic, sometimes both…
Is there something in cinema, visual arts or maybe something else not-music related that you take as background and inspires you in some way?
Definitely, a lot of things inspire me. For example, I’m in Iceland right now and the nature here is really dramatic and beautiful. I think that just been somewhere else that is not your usual domain can be something that inspire you. It is not always something you can point at and say “Oh yeah, this or that thing”: you just can be very simple, it doesn’t need to be always “big art” to inspire you.
Yeah you’re right! Well, this is a question that maybe has never been asked to you. Music and travel (both physical and mental) are strongly linked. How important is the travel for musical findings?
Even if travelling is something that can inspire me, I think I could make the same album just staying in my studio for two years without see anyone! So of course travelling is great and I love to visit different places, but it could also be quite stressfull to me. When I’m working I need to have some quiet around me and some space to make my music without distractions. Anyway, when I’m in Iceland I take some good inspirations, and also when I went to Mexico: I don’t know if there was something that inspired me but it gave me some quietness and some more positive energy to go back in the studio. You know, Denmark is really dark and it rains all the time, so it’s always great to have a break from the daily routine and to go abroad to see some beautiful places.
Ok Anders, I’d like to thank you for your time, enjoy Reykjavik and see you in Italy real soon!
Definitely! Actually I think I’ll play in Milan this summer in a festival or something, but I’m not sure yet… But I will definitely let you know.
Text by: Lorenzo Bruno