A Brief Chat with Trentemøller

Danish musician and producer Anders Trentemøller was in Istanbul for a concert at Babylon on October 13. We had a chance to talk to the man himself briefly backstage prior to the gig, and we got back with the sincerest conversation ever in under ten minutes. We share it with you today, on his birthday.

I noticed that your birthday is a few days away. We are two libras in the same room, and I love libras. Happy birthday already! How are you holding up with the tour and all?

Thank you! We are constantly traveling. We will leave here early Monday morning, on my birthday. So maybe we will celebrate my birthday on Sunday after midnight. But I will have to get up early and not drink too much.

This is not your first time in Istanbul. Do you have memories from before?

Yes. The first time I was here, it was 15 years ago. We got all our gear, our passport, everything stolen by a pirate taxi. We bagged it all and went to do a radio interview. When we got out to return to the taxi, it just drove away with all our stuff. It was totally f.cked up.

So we had to stay here for four days, and we had to stay at the promoter’s place, in an apartment. That part was really fun, actually. We were kind of forced to be here for four days, and we didn’t have anything to do. The Danish Embassy was closed because it was a holiday. We didn’t have anyone we could contact, and all our baggage, instruments, everything was stolen. So that was my first impression of Istanbul. (both laugh) After that, though, we actually got to know some nice local people. So it ended up being a good experience.

In this tour, you mostly play songs from your most recent album, Memoria. If you were to pick the easiest and hardest songs to shape from this project, what would they be?

I don’t remember a specific song that was really hard, because I tend to delete songs that I find difficult. If it doesn’t work after several months, it won’t work. I won’t even save it for another album, by then I will be somewhere else in my life musically. There are two or three years between each album, and by then I just want to do something new.

Of course, the album recording experience and live performances are significantly different for you, as you work mostly solo in the former and with a band in the latter. How are those environments different for you, and what makes, let’s say, the live experience better?

The concerts are fun because I work very lonely and isolated in my studio. I don’t see many people. Of course, I see people, but I don’t work with them quite as much in the process. So it is great to finally get together with the band and arrange the songs for that live setting. They come forward with inputs and feedback. We come together and scout the music. I don’t want it to turn into “me with a backing band.” I want us to be a full band together. We first put a lot of time and effort into rehearsing the songs. And by now we have played a lot of shows, this is our third last concert in the tour, and then we won’t play for a year or something.

Any current projects you have been working on lately?

Yeah. I am working heavily on my next album right now. It’s not exactly official yet, but I think it will be out in September next year. And Disa Jakobs, who sings for me live, will be the vocalist in all of the songs, so it I think will be really good. Of course, I always feel that way, but still.

Will it be stylistically different from the last record?

Yeah. Hopefully, all of my albums have unique natural developments, but of course, it is still my sound and my way of making music. It has some shoegaze, dream pop, and post-rock elements, and is less electronic. It is a lot of different stuff mixed together, and I like being inspired by it all.

Let’s imagine we are at a Musicians Theme Park 100 years from now, and you also have a memorial stone there. Which one of your lyrics do you think would be written on it?

Ah, that’s a good question! I think it has gotta be something from “Veil of White”, the opening song of Memoria, which was also the first song I wrote for the album. It is a quite abstract, dreamy song, but I feel the lyrics describe the music quite well: “Walking in a veil of white / Almost out of sight / Fainted echoes of the past.” It is like waking in this f.cking landscape, where you have no idea which direction you have to go. It feels like a symbolic way of telling yourself you don’t always know how your life will take shape and you may lose sight a little bit with everything, and I am actually cool with that. It is as if a scarf that is wrapping you and keeping you warm, but also making you lose sight. I really like that double meaning. I don’t want lyrics to be telling a story A to B so that people can put their own thoughts and meanings in them. That lyric is quite open, and you can interpret it differently depending on where you are in your own life, hopefully.