Trentemøller is a Copenhagen based producer and musician famous for his club bangers and dark melancholic electroballads.
Dry Magazine met Trentemøller before his show at the well-renowned Sónar Festival in Barcelona to talk about why he quit DJ’ing and started a band of six musicians.
You’ve come a long way since tracks like Rykketid and What Else Is There, who is the artist Trentemøller now compared to the beginning?
Trentemøller: You’re talking about tracks that are almost 11 years old so of course things have changed as my life is also changing – my music should reflect what happens in my life. Now it’s a part of a more natural development for me to work with elements like indierock and some surf elements, but still I use club elements.
It’s more a hybrid between different styles. But it’s not something that I’m planning, it just happens and I try to go, where the music takes me.
So what’s happening in your life right now, which is reflected in your music?
Trentemøller: Yeah, that’s actually a quite good question. What I always wanted to achieve is describing my feelings and try to put it into the music. For ten years ago it was more about partying and clubbing. But I’m getting older, so maybe my mind is more multifaceted. So now it’s also okay to have this melancholic thing.
Earlier I was maybe a little afraid of going through those dark feelings, and now it’s just something that’s not so dangerous anymore.
You’ve produced a lot of club bangers before. Do you prefer doing longer productions now – full albums instead of doing single remixes?
Trentemøller: For me the whole album form has always been my favourite format, because I really think you can get to know an artist really well, if you listen to the full album. I compare it to watching a DVD, you see the movie from beginning to end and that’s maybe a little bit old fashioned because a lot of people are now catching one song on Itunes or Spotify, and that’s also fine, but I like just to sit down, especially with vinyl.
I really love this thing about using your time getting in to the music. We are so busy doing a lot of stuff, always on facebook and so on, it’s really nice with the music just to take a break and just dive in to the music. That’s possible with an album.
Are you the architect behind the visuals at your show?
Trentemøller: I do my visuals together with Henrik Vibskov. He also used to play drums in my band, so we go far back. Now Henrik is busy doing his own stuff, but in the beginning of each tour we talk about what to do. It’s easy for me to work with him, because his also a musician and we speak the same language. It’s hard to talk about music, if you’re not playing music yourself. Because it tend to get very abstract, if I say that this track should have a blue feeling – that’s hard for people from the outside to understand, but it’s quite easy with Henrik, because he knows our language.
Do you still get a lot of remix requests?
Trentemøller: I get a lot of requests, but I don’t so many, because I don’t have the time now, when we’re touring a lot. And I prefer to make my own music. But sometimes I’m doing remixes – I just did one for Jenny Wilson from Sweden, and now I have something for UNKLE.
You’ve played less as a DJ since 2011, why is that?
Trentemøller: I stopped playing as a DJ, because I got tired of the whole thing. But we’re playing a lot of shows with the band.
What made you tired of DJ’ing?
Trentemøller: DJ’ing is very different from playing with a band, which is a much more social thing. And its more fun to play my own music, than playing other peoples music. It’s great to play with a band, because every night is different.
DJ’ing you can mix it up in different ways, but in a band a lot of things happen which are not supposed to, we can make errors or just start jamming out of the blue. You can check you’re email while DJ’ing – of course there are a lot of creative DJ’s out there – but for me its more satisfying playing my own music live with a band.
You played at Sonar Festival before, what does it mean to you to play at Sonar?
Trentemøller: 2 years ago we had a great show playing Sonar By Night, so we’re looking forward to see, if there is the same vibe at Sonar By Day. Sonar has a really special vibe, and people are really open-minded. It’s not only an electronic festival; it’s a hybrid between lots of different stuff.
You’ve been on top of the electronic scene in Denmark for almost a decade now, what makes you different from the other artists?
Trentemøller: I don’t know if I’m on top of the electronic scene, because I don’t see my music as being just electronic anymore. I don’t see my music being so much a part of that scene and neither the indie scene. I’m kind of somewhere in the middle or outside of everything, and I just try to stick with what feels right. I’m grateful that people still go to our concerts and by our records, but if people didn’t come, I would still make music.
Do you see a development in the crowd at your concerts?
Trentemøller: Yeah, definitely. In the beginning it was only ravers, but now it’s a mix of a lot of young and old people like me, haha.
Being such an established artist now, are you living the millionaire life?
Trentemøller: No. There is a lot more money in DJ’ing alone, because you get all the money yourself. Now we are eleven people – six in the band and five in the crew. So it’s a big thing now, and everyone should be paid. So it’s not something I get rich of, but I love music and I love playing. So it’s a pay in itself.
What is the most fucked up thing that ever happened to your on tour?
Trentemøller: The most fucked up thing was when I was playing in Istanbul some years ago. We went to this radio interview, and we all got quite stoned, because they were giving us a lot of joints, and after the interview we took a cab, but after we paid the driver, he suddenly took off with all our things in the car, keyboards, passports, everything. Turned out it wasn’t an official cab, haha.
So we were lost in Istanbul without anything. We only had some cash. We went to the Danish embassy, which was closed because of holiday, so we had to stay there for 3 more days with some folks we met.
You’re playing Roskilde Festival this year, and you performed a spectacular show at Orange Stage in 2009 – what can the crowd expect from you this year?
Trentemøller: Hopefully a great set, if we’re not drunk. We won’t be, haha. We’ll play our festival set and that also includes some extra goodies when we’re playing on Roskilde. Also on the visual side.
Interview by Jacob Friberg Nielsen & Ask Christian Riis